Panzerschreck Design Studio

Journey of a Wargamer – Comments welcomed

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

2012 in review

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2012, December 31

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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2011 in review

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2012, January 3

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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A small hiatus: PC upgrade

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2010, March 20

I had hoped to update last weekend, a few things have arrived, including some more 2nd edition Tyranids and some ASL. Unfortunately my 5-6 year old PC is now starting to really show its age. I’m going to be adding a bunch of RAM, replacing the ancient 80Gb and 40Gb harddrives with 320Gb and 500Gb IDEs. Actually the RAM is already installed (along with a new CMOS battery) but I have to grab a new PSU as my old 300W doesn’t cut it anymore, especially as I’ve got a 512Mb Vidcard I need to install to replace the 128Mb Radeon x300.

All in all this should make for a much better working environment, with the dual monitor setup not chugging and a fresh XP install looking the goods. It’ll do until I get back from ASLOK when I’ll be buying a fairly monstrous new beastie of a PC for Windows 7. Anyway, I hope to post a couple of items up here this weekend but my main focus is retrieving all my data from the various old harddrives and getting it all organised before I do a complete reinstall.

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What’s next?

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2009, July 19

After the Tyranids…

So I’ve got my painting area sorted, 95% of my materials are purchased and I’m ready to finish off the Tyranids – the question now is where do I go after that? The Tyranids army is something that doesn’t too much planning and/or focus to keep going – a simple paint scheme, with a simple basing approach – I should be able to knock one major model or single unit of Tyranids in a week without too much effort and by scheduling the basing for a single effort, I’ll be able to have the army ready to play by the time of the Corsairs’ 2009/2010 club ladder league in September.

But I really will need to plan anything after that – most of what I have is 15mm and that requires organisation and scheduling to maintain a work ethic that keeps me from getting frustrated and bored or subject to the ooh shiny syndrome. So I’ve added a quick poll to the front end of blog with some options in no particular order.

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Wanted to buy

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2009, July 14

I’ve added a new section to the blog – the Buy and Sell page – seen in the top menu above. Nothing for sale as yet just my wanted list for minis (I may add some boardgames later, depending on my success with a couple of current searches). Most of the minis wanted are Genestealers and Tyranids from the early days of 40K – although there are a couple of Flames of War minis I wouldn’t mind getting hold of.

Pete

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Article ratings – feedback always welcomed

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2009, July 11

I’ve enabled a simple thumbs up, thumbs down ratings system that I’d appreciate people using if they don’t mind taking the time. I’ve also disabled the email requirement for comments so hopefully that might generate a little more feedback. With the ratings system running, if you don’t like a post, feel free to let me know why.

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The Swarm – Pics of the Tyranids

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2009, July 11

Apologies for the poor quality of the photos, I’ve spent the first day of my annual leave organising and collating my tyranids and remembered to take photos but with no tripod and crap lighting these are the best I can do for now.

The first pic is a general wide shot of the Tyranids as a whole – at least the ones that are assembled, not soaking in Simple Green or still on sprues or in blisters – the cardboard box holds pretty much all the unbuilt plastic Genestealers and Termagants I have from buying Battle for Macragge and trades for old school Genestealers.

Tyranids - 95% of the models

This is the first bulk lot of tyranids I bought through WargamerAU – I thought I received very good value for what I paid, and although I initially was going to strip the Genestealers to repaint them in the original classic Space Hulk theme, I’ve decided to stick with this theme as the basis for my entire Tyranid force – the Cultist army will be the one that gets done in the Classic scheme. There are a bunch of gargoyles not shown and a original Zoanthrope model that needs to be stripped and repainted along with a couple of rebuilds of broken models but other than those, this is pretty much everything.

Tyranids - The first bunch I bought less 1 or 2

These are some of the second lot I picked up along with some unbuilt and unpainted models to flesh out a few gaps. A few genestealers rounded out this lot.

Tyranids - Most of the second bunch

The third major lot I picked up purely to add to my original army – these are definitely headed for the simple green as the paintjob and basing aren’t my personal cup of tea – but they were cheap as chips.

Tyranids - Part of the third bunch

The mighty Barks gave me this huge bunch of original Genestealer Cultists and Advanced Space Crusade models – I hadn’t planned on doing a Genestealer cultist army but now I have to. I’ve still to see the metal figures he’s finding for me, I do note that one of the odds and sods he included is a charging Patriarch model…I owe the boy some decent scotch for this .

The Mighty Barks gave me these

And here we have Black Bart and his Hybrid Badnesses – when I saw these figures and the paintjobs on some of the hybrids, I was utterly lost to the dark side of Genestealer collecting.

Black Bart and His Hybrid Badnesses

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The Wargames Press – in print and online

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2009, July 7

Now that I’m finally settled in Australia, I’m in a much better position to take in new rules, magazines, blogs and forums/bulletin boards. I’ve picked up a couple of issues of Wargames Illustrated (pre-and post-Battlefront purchase) as well as a couple of issues of Battlegames.

Battlegames works very hard at differentiating itself from the other two UK based magazines. Sometimes I think itfalls into unwitting satire of itself, with almost audible hear-hears and self-laudatory commentary. Graphically it errs on the side of de trop with the tell-tale pointers of DTP overkill and form over function. The one criticism I have of Battlegames that resonates with me is that it can look like a Web 2.0 ‘zine on steroids and suffers from a surfeit of Photoshop cleverness. In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, Battlegames offers a great deal in terms of the written word. the prose is well-written and edited, with minimal overt editorialising or agenda-pushing and a distinct lack of the petty jealousies and bitchiness derived from envy that pervades online media at sites such as Page Miniatures The. Mike Siggins’ column is equally thought-provoking and incredibly insular in parts. Battlegames is expensive though, at AUD$17 a pop,  but for that you do get the aforementioned good writing, excellent photography and the “Old School Wargaming” tenor.

Wargames Illustrated, well according to some lackwits and luddites, it’s purchase by Battlefront (a successful non-UK wargames company, the cheek of it!) was the pre-cursor of the apocalypse. If one ignores that sort of thing and looks at the mag of late, It’s back to something of the good old WI of old. Sure there’s Flames of War content, but if FoW isn’t your thing, what’s to stop an adaptation of the FoW content from being usable with your current rules du jour. Certainly IABSM and PBI aren’t too dissimilar interms of scale and scope. There are some distinctly off-putting parts – but they may have gone by now – the excruciating faux bonhomie of the pseudo-Siggins is cringeworthy at best and lacking in any content of note. I wasn’t so impressed with the painting guide for the freebie ECW figure, being pure Dallimore in technique and really poorly presented. Sadly it seems that fewer people seem to be aware that there is more than 3 stark colour clashes to painting 28mm.

Online the usual suspects feature. PMT is becoming more and more irrelevant as it descends into self-parody with each month. By searching through some of the more focused forums around, one finds better advice, more trenchant opinion and often much more up to date news bereft of agenda-pushing and stalking horse commentary. The interface is as archaic as ever and the censor’s knife is wielded with the finesse and reasoning of a dull mattock. I tend to spend most of my online time these days at WargamerAU, despite its Fantasy/Sci-fi leanings, as there’s much to be picked up in terms of c0nversions, modelling and painting in an easily accessible format. When I’m not there I look for inspiration to the Guild, and other such forums. I avoid the heavy traffic forums like FoW, Daka Dakka or Frothers while the SOTCW forums are following the same path and featuring some of the same names that dissuaded me from paying much attention to TMP – sad really as SOTCW would do well if they would actually broaden their horizons beyond the few rules sets they do actually bother with. Again insularity rears its head in the case of the SOTCW. Will I rejoin? Possibly, but only because I don’t have all the back issues yet.

This may seem a tad negative in outlook as a blog post, but I’d like to stress that I see much to be positive generally.  I’ll spend more time paying attention to the various podcasts that are out there especially with 3 hours of commuting each day. There are also a few eZines and club forums that are worth searching out. I’ve given up on Yahoo groups for the main part, only Perfidious Albion continues to be a constatnt, mainly because of the varying content and a take no prisoners attitude to the Prima Donnas of the boardgames hobby.

Pete

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Corsairs: a new club for me.

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, November 9

I finally managed to get to the Corsairs club yesterday, for the last meeting of 2008. Nice big venue, good focus on fun and enjoyment. Lots of closet Flames players which I hadn’t really expected. I now have a specific focus for the next two months as I attempt to get my Mid war Fallschirmjäger and Soviets ready.

The good thing about the club is that there’s enough interest in playing non-tourny type scenarios and indeed some of the variant rules I prefer, so it’s time for me to dust off the old Grant books and print off my Table top teasers. In the meantime I shall also have to look at scratchbuilding some cheap scenery to flesh out the tabletop. Cue the placemats, postscrubbers and foam core is my bestest friend techniques.

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So where have you been?

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, November 3

The long night is over. I’m once again gainfully employed, and have very good job security courtesy of a promotion and raise after only 5 weeks at a fiscally conservative a risk-averse multi-national bank that used to only operate out of Hong Kong and Shanghai. It’s already made a nice wee difference

The € vis à vis the AU$

There’s no earthly chance that I’ll be buying anything sourced in the UK for at least a year and even then it’ll require a sizable shift from the 39-40p mark towards the 50p-55p position to make ordering viable. Whereas once I would have sourced 90% of my miniatures needs from the UK in terms of manufacturers, authors and general modelling supplies, these days I tend to be far more eclectic and perhaps discerning.  Much of my distaste for buying British these days stems from the derisory padding of prices through inclusion of VAT and especially the exorbitant postage and handling charges some of the entrepreneurs assail the consumer with.  But also I’m just a bit tired of little or no customer service in what is a very small, customer-centric industry.

But rather than focus on the negatives, I’m going to consider this an opportunity to wander along the hypotheticals and the optimists’ lanes.

All that said if the economic situation warranted it, I’d still be buying a fair bit of gear.  Peter Pig and Kerr & King would be my chief beneficiaries but Spirit Games would get some business, mainly on the publication front.

An order from Peter Pig would almost certainly include the various rules sets based on the Ak-47 engine, along with enough figures and certain vehicles to flesh out my 1940 Sovs and UK Home Army, along with the Brit paras I’ve had sitting around for the last 15 years.

Other UK purchases would in the main be from Kerr and King, with their 15mm range of battelfield terrain and detritus being a particular favourite of mine.  In truth, the K&K items are that nice and that inexpensive I’ll probably spring for a couple of boxed sets anyway.

The only other purchases would perhaps be some Foundry paints (despite my aversion to their prices) which I will find useful for my 19th century armies, particularly given the amount of horseflesh I have to deal with.

But until things improve, such will languish on the back burner.

More soon,

Pete

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ASL: Valor of the Guards is finally here!

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, July 17

Happy VotG day to me!

Happy VotG day to me!

Exquisite timing from Milsims sees Valor of the Guards arrive at my door on my birthday. Even though I was Pre-order #22 or so back in 2005 and knew then what VotG would contain, seeing the contents in reality still managed to impress me. There’s a lot included in the box: 17 scenarios, 4 campaign games, 780 1/2″ and 352 5/8″ counters, two mapsheets and 36 pages of rules. When I showed Kirsty what the box included, even she was impressed! It helped that I trotted out the old saw, “ASL. It’s not just a game, it’s a lifestyle!” which brought a laugh. At $77 plus P&H, VotG is very much a bargain.

What strikes me after just a brief look at the package is how much more play value I’ll be getting compared to Red Barricades. Don’t get me wrong, I loved RB, but I’ve pretty much run the gamut of playing all four Campaign Games and all 11 or 12 scenarios that I know of that use the RB map and to be honest, RB can become a chore at times to get through.

Of the 17 scenarios in VotG, I’d hazard that I’ll be able to get through 14 of them before the end of the year in Face to Face play without overdoing it, and the three remaining are the larger scenarios that will reward taking the extra time to get familiar with all the new rules and the various aspects of the terrain. Once I’ve finished playing through all the scenarios as both sides then I’ll definitely be looking to play the various CGs and the extra scenarios that have been published already in Dispatches From the Bunker. This should take me right up until the end of 2009 and yet still leave me time for more casual ASL play.

Thankfully with regular attendance and availability of other ASL players at the Paddington Bears in Sydney, my days of solely playing ASL via VASL/ PBeM are history.

Not only is this a stellar day for me ASL wise, but it’s kickstarted my interest in other things Stalingrad. I’ve picked up a few more books on Stalingrad from Jason Marks et al, and some generalist Eastern Front histories that piqued my interest. I’ve also received some more Flames of War blisters that will now allow me to assemble the two Stalingrad themed forces I’ve always wanted to field – a Shturmoviye Gruppiye based force and the requisite German opposition –  T34 and KV variants, StuIG 33b SPGs and landser.

Last but not really least, Ithe quick perusal of the VotG chapter has allowed me to revisit the much-maligned Critical Hit Dzerhezinsky Tractor Works/Grain Elevator HASL modules. Just from this, I’m pretty sure I can come up with a much more workable version of the DTW and GE campaign games as well as sorting out the various scenarios. Just as with my Flames of War projects, this is not something designed for the rigours of competitive play but is more along the lines of a historical study game – purely for the interest in seeing how the history plays out on the tabletop or the mapsheet.

It’s been a very good day.

Posted in Advanced Squad Leader, Boardgames, Books, Flames of War, Gaming, History, Reviews, wargaming | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ASL: Stalingrad once again

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, July 8

Background:

I originally pre-ordered Valor of the Guards back in 2005 as about #21 on the order list. The game wasn’t finally published until 2008 and so I expected that my order would be processed, sent and delivered well before I left New Zealand for good in May.

Unfortunately it seems there was a problem with my credit card (probably not enough credit left – an issue that occurs when there’s little or no notice given of charging starting) and so my order was put to the back of the queue. Unfortuinately the first i knew about my new position was when I saw the charge for VotG on a recent statement after I’d  left NZ. So now there’s a parcel from MMP that is at my previous residence and hasn’t been collected. Arrgh! No Valor of the Guards!

The Situation Now

Thanks to my birthday gifts, I now am able to order a replacement copy via Milsims . With the asssistance of Kirsty, my copy of VOTG should reach me on my birthday rather nicely. This will also give me a chance to really look at getting back into ASL PBeM/Live VASL & Skype. The best thing about all of this is that VOTG really does look to be a superb module with so many scenarios to choose from outside of the campaign games. I’ve been squirrelling away as many AARs and assorted VOTG clarifications and answers in the meantime as well as getting some valuable input on exactly how to approach a playing/learning schedule.

This becomes very important as John Knowles is due to arrive for our annual ASL-fest in August which means we’ll be very much in VOTG mode. Hopefully the ASL-fest will also see our first look at the new Normandy Bocage Action pack complete with the new pages.

The other big news is all my stuff from NZ is due to be delivered tomorrow after some 10 weeks in transit. This however means some real downtime again while I get things sorted once and for all.

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The Timing is Right

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, April 21

As I potter around organising everything for the movers to pick up in 7 days time, I’ve been considering the limits on ‘net traffic as a regimen I’ll be introducing once I have a permanent new connection as from June. A couple of hard decisions need to be made regarding what sites I’ll continue to peruse for mIniature news and updates but I’ve pretty much whittled down the discussion forums I ‘ll be frequenting to no more than five.

I’ve been spending lots of time grabbing ideas and inspiration from GWP and The Guild, no matter that there are a couple of anal retentive types who nitpick sometimes for the sake of their egos. However it’s easy enough just to ignore them as people do stay on topic and the eye candy is spectacular.  Whereas at TMP, the dross significantly outweighs any benefits, and to be honest recent developments in subject matter make me very wary of having anything to do with the site now, particularly in regard to having my business linked even indirectly to it, let alone my actual name.

I can get my news elsewhere, usually from discussion boards, club mailing lists and alternative dedicated miniatures gaming news sites. Secondly I’ve no real desire to interact with many of the regulars on the TMP discussion boards. Very little appears that is of use there and the interface is as moribund as it was in 1999 when I first bothered registering.

Instead I’ll be looking at groups with a real sense of community, groups that don’t indirectly put my family relationships at risk through association with certain subjects, and groups that are proactive and supportive yet don’t take too much time to visit or discover information.

And as for the business side of things, I’d feel a lot more comfortable about putting my small advertising budget towards such groups as The Guild and GWP because of the benefits I receive from them as well as the support network.

It may be time to go back to the old days of mailing lists for specific rules sets  and topics rather than looking at generic everymans guide type sites. At least in part, because I will need to keep a tight focus.

P-J

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Beginners Choice, Part VI: The Fallschirmjäger Options – Crete

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, April 6

Why the need for a separate Crete FJ force, I hear you ask?

Simply put, the uniform, equipment, feel, look and posture of the force changes significantly. Not only that there’s more scope for me to make this one of my signature armies. It also has the added attraction of being a battle  that really resonates with me, an affair that was very much knife edged initially, and as such is ideal for the tabletop.

First of all some explanation of the changes required or available:

The Uniforms: while the FJ in 1940 had in the main used the standard Olivegrey/green overall and Field grey pants, there are references to the usual Luftwaffe Blue trousers being used and I intend to have a few of da Boyz in that configuration. Whereas in Crete, one gets the first appearance of the Splinter camo albeit just in limited fashion.

The Equipment: For Crete, I can add the LG40 7.5cm Recoilless, Tank Hunting infantry capability,  the Mountain LeG36 as well as PaK 35/36s and Flak 30s.

The Feel Look and Posture: So much changes with a Kreta type unit. For one thing, the Glider Assault component will be stretched out to a full LuftlandeSturmKompanie, and the basing scheme is far more redolent of the Mediterranean than NWE. This is a far more measured army in terms of being able attack, consolidate and yet has the staying power that perhaps the 1940 force doesn’t. If anything it’s still vulnerable to Armour but is nowehere near the Roadkill status of the Fearless Trained 1940 FJs.

The Company HQ loses the Swiss 2cm AT Rifles but gains the PanzerKnacker capability for the two Command teams. The three FJ Platoons are still there, along with the two MG Platoons,  a full strength 6 tube Stummelwerfer Platoon and a Light Gun Platoon with 2 LG 7.5cm Recoilless.

Support Platoons see the first real additions to the Heavy Mortar Platoon and Light Artillery Battery:

  • Anti Tank Gun Platoon: Four Sections of PaK 35/36 37mm
  • Anti-Aircraft Platoon: Three Sections of FlaK 38 20m

While the Pioneer Platoon remains, the Glider Assault Platoon is subsumed back into the LuftlandeSturm Kompanie fielded separately which makes more sense given I’m not intending to use this force in a tourney. Naturally one can add in the usual full on Air Support of the Stukas and Bf109s.

The LuftlandeSturmKompanie is replete with all optional HMGs and Flamethrower teams and consists of a slightly modified Company HQ plus four of the Glider Assault platoons.

So that’s the Crete Force. It’s probably the biggest in terms of pure Infantry I’ll ever field of the four FJ armies, but then again it’s a very specific force so I want to maximise the potential for it by using it in big games. And there’s always the option if I’m careful with basing and selection of camo smocks that I can use some of the additional troops for Tunisia /Italy. This is the one army that will need a lot of gliders and Ju-52s.  I’ll probably scratchbuild the DFS-230s and get the Ju-52s as and when I can via the prebuild models out there.

P-J

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Santimonious Muppetry

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, April 6

A bit of a Rant

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Rants and Raves, wargaming | 1 Comment »

Terrain: Some Thoughts, Ideas and a Plan Part III

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, March 15

Trees:

For years I’ve been looking to obtain a decent amount of trees to use on the tabletop. I’ve never been a fan of the usual scraggly felt surmounted by one or two lopsided, dilapidated pine trees. Admittedly I’m influenced by the years of playing 1/300th moderns and World War 2 games with hundreds of trees on the tabletops, tree lined roads and lots of greenery breaking up lines of sight. However I’ve always thought that too many wargames have a dearth of terrain that obscures or interrupts line of sight, thus exacerbating the problems of omniscience with the issue of an artificially target rich environment and far too much freedom of action.

I had been looking at getting K and M trees from Essex Australia but it would seem they no longer import them and frankly I’m a bit loath to deal with EA anyway as their word of mouth reputation hasn’t filled me with a great amount of desire to spend hundreds of dollars with them.

From what I understand the Games Workshop trees are pretty much rebranded K and M trees but they lack the autumn shades and variations I really am looking for. I may make do with a couple of packs to start with, particularly with my need for some 25mm ACW terrain. However failing that I think Noch and Heki will suffice particularly if I can obtain some of their value packs – I’m not a big fan of a multitude of pines so may offload those to defray shipping.

Hedges:

Commercial hedge models tend to look far too artificial for my liking so I may just suck it up and scrtachbuild a several linear metres of ordinary and Bocage hedgerows. There are some very interesting tutorials floating around on the ‘net anyway, and with the quantities I want for 15mm, it’ll be much cheaper to do them myself.

Walls and fences:

Walls are something I really will end up having to shop around for, the variety and pricing means I’ll hbe able to go for some serious amounts and with some major stylistic differences. Much of my walling will actually be hardmounted into existing terrain pieces as I’m loathe to lug around a whole box of free standing walling all the time.

Fences are a difficult area, as I’m definitely in the market for some region specific fencing such as Snake, 5 Rail for the American Civil War and the ubiquitous post and rail types, the problem being I’ll need a serious amount of all three types just to get the look right even on a 6′ by 4′ table.

Crops:
Too many variations here, but probably a combination of the infamous floor mats, Teddy bear fur and maybe some of the BTA Cornfields for that quintessential North American look. the latter being probably the most expensive of all my terrain purchases particularly if I go ahead and do a modular terrain version of Gettysburg or Shiloh.

Posted in Articles, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, Rants and Raves, wargaming | 2 Comments »

Terrain: Some Thoughts, Ideas and a Plan Part II

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, March 15

Tiger Terrain is a new producer of terrain that I’m looking at. Referenced by members of The Guild  and Gentlemens Wargames Parlour  some of the items appeal as a means of breaking up the lines of sight, and hopefully avoiding the curse of FOW games – way too much open ground in the area of effective range band – 15 to  60 cms.

These are the particular products I’m looking to add as they will fit in nicely with the Crescent Root and Kerr and King items.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only downside to the Tiger Terrain stuff is a combination of the price (somewhat on the high side for now) and the fact they require PayPal with no credit card facility  and having been badly burned by PayPal previously, I’m probably going to have to sort out an alternate means of obtaining them indirectly.

JR Miniatures offer a very low cost alternative and also some interesting alternatives to the previously mentioned manufacturers. Admittedly they’re cruder in terms of finish and somewhat more robust (read chunky) but with a bit of work, attention to detail in painting and some judicious application of extra material they have the possibility of really bringing a table to life.

The main selections I’m looking at are these three:

 

I’ve also been advised of Battlefield Accessories USA  and I’ll be picking up a couple of sample pieces to see how they work as well, notably:

 

This will fit in very very well with the Kerr and King Roadblock, I can see a few being bought for some urban slogfests.

So that’s the buildings sorted, now on to ground cover, hedges, walls, fences and trees…

Posted in Articles, Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, Rants and Raves, wargaming | Leave a Comment »

Redeployment and Refocusing

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, March 2

Just as with Friday’s post, a bit of a generalist musing over a fair range of topics today.

I’ve been reading through the rest of Freyberg’s biography the last few days. Now I’m almost certainly biased in this respect, but for me the criticisms of Auchinleck ring very true, insofar as the debilitating effect of his adherence to a mode of warfare that had been palpably shown up as an abject failure in the face of even moderate enemy competency really was rather striking. Freyberg had an arrogance about him, but that arrogance wasn’t exactly born of youthful enthusiasm as opposed to practical experience and contrary to some authors’ views, it wasn’t as if Freyberg was someone recently promoted to staff rank – sometimes I wonder if the authors actually appreciate just how high ranking a Lieutenant General really was in terms of field armies. So far it’s been a damned interesting read, particularly regarding the inquiries into Crete and Greece that were effectively suppressed, and Freyberg’s willingness to take on board Hargest’s criticisms of his hands on command style as testified by Hargest himself did do a fair amount to make me reconsider my view of Freyberg’s ability at the level of Divisional commander.

Out of all this I’ve also found an area of the desert war that really does interest me at a level I don’t think I’ve looked at before: the relief of Tobruk in December 1941. Overshadowed by the events elsewhere and Rommel’s gallivanting around, the operations of 2 NZ Div are quite striking and will reward further study both at the tactical level of Advanced Squad Leader and Flames of War, but also at the operational level of Simonitch’s The Legend Begins. I wonder if there’s a genesis of an idea in looking at using a development of the VITW/Typhoon system to focus on that particular episode solely. Perhaps in view of the above heading, it might be better to just stick with TLB and ASL for now. Certainly it’d save me having to start a FoW desert army which could take years to finish.

Cassino looms large on the horizon right now as well, so I may take a break from Freyberg and the Ferns once the Alamein chapters are done to assemble a decent reference library again.

Overhanging everything at the moment is the move to Australia. I’m now at the stage where I’m going to have to make some very hard decisions about what to take with me and what to leave with family. This is complicated by the issue that family storage issues prevent me leaving too much behind and budgetary constraints affect how much I can actually ship across.

Thankfully I know I can safely take most of my modelling gear across with me, it’s the boardgames and roleplaying that need to be well organised. Given that I’m not a games collector thses days, and what titles I have are very much for playing I’m probably going to bite the bullet and eliminate the wasted space of the boxed games by ziplocing many of the titles and look at reboxing once in Australia. The Roleplaying material is limited to one system  these days but there’s a lot of it and not easily replaceable.

As for this blog, I’ve got a plan in mind for the period March through June. March will tend to be general musings, with some filler articles and photos of my armies as I continue to pack them away. April is where I’ll very much be reliant on pre-prepared posts to keep the body alive and thus there’s likely to be more posts of the rants and raves variety than photo-ops. May is where I’ll effectively be posting from Australia for the first time which hopefully means some photos and reports of my initial forays into the Australian gaming scene. I expect to attend at least one Paddington Bears game meeting in the early days of my arrival which should mean I get to demonstrate my incompetency at ASL in public. If I’m really smart I might even get a game of Storm Over Arnhem in which means no chance of dubious victory.

I’m looking forward to taking a bit of a relaxing holiday from work in May, as I’m very much at the end of my OT rope. The money’s nice but it’ll be fun to rediscover the two day weekend and I think that I’ll be happy to sit and paint during daylight hours for a change, without real time pressures although I should really look to have the Late War British finished ready for the first Central Coast Corsairs meeting I attend. Budget wise I’ve had to look at exactly what I’m going to be purchasing in the way of minis for the next 12 months, most of which involves tabletop scenery and modelling supplies.

And so that’s it for the first post of March. February looks to have been a very productive month for this Blog, not quite up to the level of January but still very pleasing to be one of the top three months since I started this iteration. Perhaps if I actually sat down in May/June and wrote up some more reviews I might get some commentary response 🙂 Yes I’m an attention starved fool.

P-J

.

 

Posted in Books, General, Modelling and Painting, Rants and Raves, wargaming | Leave a Comment »

The end of the month…

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, February 29

My copy of Paul Freyberg’s biography of his father arrived earlier this week. It’s a little battered, but still very serviceable. I’ve managed to get through to the first stage of the Crete battles and it’s reminded me that there is still so much to look at. Crete is one of those WW2 battles that I feel can only be really looked at with a line drawn through much of the scholarship of the pre-Ultra release era. So much was unable to be said, so much commentary without a core understanding of the realities.

What did strike a chord, and is still occasionally discernable in certain operations today, was  the total lack of understanding of British Higher command towards the commonwealth troops. The treatment of Freyberg and Blamey in Greece was not just poor, it was criminally reprehensible and Wavell and Wilson’s handling of the matters should have seen them sacked with the full weight of prosecution.

Wavell certainly comes across as a complete noserag.  I’m looking forward to reading more of Freyberg’s Italian Campaign recollections. Yes, the aurtthor is somehwat too close to the subject, but then again, having the source on tap and most importantly willing to talk about matters helps. Paul Freyberg himself being a soldier brings a degree of polish and understanding to the prose, yet he doesn’t fall into the trap of talking down to his audience.

Glad I finally got hold of a copy. Now to pick up a few more recent books on Crete and Greece.

In other news, the Tiger Abteilung arrived as well. Given it worked out at $15 per tiger , I’m well pleased.I had a quick glance through the little FOW handbook that came with it and I don’t think that much of the actual historical pieces. There’s something definitely offputting about the section on Wittman. Not overtly Nazi Fan-boy, but the hagiography reeks of Agte and phrases such as  “he died a soldier’s death”  make my skin crawl.

The models are ver’ pretty indeed.Definitely staying in the can until Australia though. I want to be much better with the airbrush by the time I tackle them.

Posted in Books, Diary of An Army III (1944-45 German Kampfgruppe), Flames of War, Gaming, History | Leave a Comment »

Reference materials and Reading list

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, February 23

I haven’t restricted myself to buying just models lately, I’ve also picked up a few books:

The first is a  biography of Freyberg by his son, which has been on my Holy Grail list of books for some time. It’ll make a nice counterpoint to the rather facile criticisms of the Cassino battles by some of the more acerbic British and American authors (Fred Majdalany being a notable exception) and will also compliment my collection of Crete references perfectly

Freyberg VC 

The second book is another one that will sit by my workbench at all times, and will hopefully aid me in my quest to improve my modelling skills:

The Handbook 

The third book should be no surprise to recent viewers, given what i’ve been buying lately:

How to Build a Tigger 

I had thought of picking up the Greenland Ospreys on Panzers etc, and may still do so, but this should give me a starting point with the detailing.

The last book I bought lately was to get me started on the various 2nd Edition Flames of War supplements. I finally completed getting all my 1st Ed Flames of War books (somehow I now have 3 copies of the early Diving Eagles book though) apart from Stars and Stripes, but that will be easy enough to find. The real book I wanted was the initial 2nd ed army book: Festung Europa:

Festung Europa 

So that’s my current reading pile, no real relaxing reads, but enough to generate some real ideas.

Posted in Books, Diary of An Army II (1944 Fallschirmjäger), Diary of An Army III (1944-45 German Kampfgruppe), Flames of War, Gaming, History, Modelling and Painting, wargaming | Leave a Comment »

The best of intentions…

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, June 5

I had hoped to have a lot of updates ready to upload well before today, but I’ve been distinctly unwell for a couple of weeks and unable to achieve anything beyond setting up The Killing Ground ready for a solo run through. Yes indeed it’s almost the perfect time to start a day by day playthrough of the game.

My late war brits are still sitting accusingly on my painting table but I did manage to actually do some cleaning of castings for a little while last night. (Universal carriers – the non-one piece later Battlefront pieces). Other than that I’ve been watching a few movies and 1970s era TV series – notably Flags of our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, Talvisota (again) and most recently the first few episodes of the BBC post-apocalyse drama Survivors.

I reember seeing Survivors in bits and pieces in the 70s but hadn’t seen the very start of the programme. So it’s all been a bit of a discovery for me. Other than that I’ve tried to limit my onlie activity to minimal periods of time before the migraines start in earnest but I have managed to find a very pleasant gaming site to peruse regularly – it’s not populated by the anal-retentive agenda laden types that have allowed me to drop the Armintrout site almost completely:

The Guild

So many good ideas and they’re very welcoming and supportive. Makes a nice change really. Populated by pragmatist type gamers and modellers and not too worried about the correct number of threads per inch in uniform blouses. Check out the Guild Group Builds area particularly the Nebelwerfer battery – given I saw it just before I bought some Battlefront Nebelwerfers and transports you can guess what I ended up setting as a project.

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It’s a wrap

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, May 14

So that’s the initial series of reviews completed. Thanks to everyone who’s visited this blog and coommented either here or elsewhere.

As for the next set of model reviews – who knows? I’ve got some projects that will be taking up most of my time over the next 8 weeks, mainly to do with getting an army ready for Panzerschreck VII along with some much needed terrain pieces.

With regards to the follow up articles on the Renault D2 and the Type 89, I doubt I’ll get a chance to start on these in the short term, but expect to see some progress reports in late July or early August, by which time I should have a few more models to review and a better grasp of photography. I would point out that I’m unlikely to buy items from overseas that I can get locally so you’re unlikely to see many of the everyday models such as StuGs, Shermans, Churchills or T34s ordered from Peter Pig, Command Decision/Skytrex, Quality Castings or QRF. However expect to see a few Battlefront models reviewed as they arrive. I’d love to be able to afford enough samples to do proper comparisons for 15mm, but realistically it’s not going to happen.

I’ll leave you with some pictures of a couple of games played at my local club:

Warhammer Ancient Battles 1

Warhammer Ancient Battles 2

Warhammer Ancient Battles 3

Great War in 28mm

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Review III: QRF Japanese Type 89

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, May 13

15mm/1:100 th scale model

The model made by QRF is the A version with the sloping turret and the two part glacis.

There are 5 parts to this model: The hull, two double-sided track suspension sponsons, the turret and the commander’s hatch. In general the model is pretty crisply cast. Edges are quite distinct and the detail while simple is there. One piece of detail that is very well done is the grill work on the exhaust – it’s something that you’re better off doing a thin wash to highlight rather than drybrush.

Looking at the hull there are a few areas of concern however. The rear track guards are poorly cast and lack the curve of the prototype, in this case there’s some damage to them which would require replacement with plastic card from the end of the exhaust onwards. Underneath the track guards is a real problem area. Be prepared either to carve or dremel the bulges of excess metal that will interfere with the top track run. A good sand down of the attachment plate will also help. There are a couple of shape issues I have with the fighting compartment area – I think the frontal aspect is a bit shallow, the lower glacis could be a bit deeper to avoid the odd looking gap between ground and belly of the hull. The side sponson angles just seem a little off in that they’re just that bit too horizontal for my liking.

The tracks: Again you’re going to have the same old problem of attaching them to the hull. This is exacerbated by the nature of the suspension units which are not slab sided at all and have many undercuts. I think you can eliminate using a plastic card shim here and instead look at using a thin sausage of milliput to create the necessary conformation of an attachment bracket. I’m not sure that the shape of the track units is that correct, as it doesn’t taper to the rear and create that steep angled look to the tank from the side. The suspension detail is pretty much non existent with none of the suspension brackets visible just solid flat disc wheels. The top track run is simple but has the return rollers showing which is a nice identifier.

The turret has some issues that will require fixing however. For one thing it’s too shallow, and the profile is not symmetrical when viewed from the front, with the right side evidencing a marked slope while the left side is much steeper. Along with the shallowness, the turret top suffers from shrinkage and is quite concave as can occur with metal castings. The turret also catches badly on the rear engine grilles to the extent that you have to traverse the turret some 60 degrees away from the centreline before this is no longer a factor. Definitely a case of adding a shim or raising the fighting compartment by about 1mm. The shim would also at least give the turret some additional needed height as otherwise the turret just looks rather wrong (the gun mounting is set too low by comparison). The turret cupola is the later version which would have a split hatch as opposed to the upturned bucket type with the dustbin lid cover. However as many Type89s were effectively hybrids this is less of an issue and it would be a simple matter to do the old style cupola.

The turret unfortunately also suffers from mould misalignment…this is noticeable when viewing the turret from the rear where you’ll need to do some filing and tidying, but also on the left hand side of the turret where there is a significant undercut in the lower third (although the photo shadow overstates this to some degree). This is probably why the slope on the left looks wrong and really can only be fixed by building it up with putty to eliminate the step and return the correct slope angle. There’s also a fair bit of banding which is annoying although not exactly

One thing that will strike you is the lack of rivet detail. This tank rivals the Italian M series tanks in number of rivets but there are none to be seen on the model. Be prepared for lots of fiddly work adding rivets to this model. Personally I’m not going to bother – I’d rather focus on getting the paint scheme right and looking crisp.

All in all a serviceable model. Very plain to the point of simplistic but it should paint up well. Those of you interested in the Mainland Asia battles should get a lot of use out of the Type 89.

Posted in Modelling and Painting, Reviews | 6 Comments »

Review II: QRF Renault D2

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, May 11

So let’s see how this one turns out:

Four pieces: hull, turret and two identical track/suspension pieces.

 

The hull is a hollowcast piece with a very thick nose area, a subdivided hollowed middle chamber and a solid rear end that isn’t as deep as the nose. The turret is a solid one piece casting (like the original really) with a 2mm peg as the mounting point. The track/suspension units are reversible single piece mouldings.

 

All in all a pretty tidy model, much better than the FCM 2C. I still have some issues however: notably in the area of the trackwork and finish of the hull.

At each front end of the lower hull superstructure (where one attaches the suspension units) QRF have a large flat plate that continues down from the mudgaurds. This is about .5mm higher than the rest of the corrsponding attachment area and thus the track sponsons are not going to sit flush longitudinally. This would be a minor point, albeit annoying, and fixable with a simple shim of plasticard (something I have no qualms about doing normally anyway to get a flush seat on any model) if it wasn’t for the issue of these reversible track units. Nice idea in terms of mould efficiency but an absolute bear to keep everything square on the model if the contact surface is not flush. And given the various nooks and crannies of the suspension sponsons, that’s not going to happen. It’s exacerbated in this case by the fact that the trackwork itself is wider than the sponsons and suspension so again one has the problem of a non-trued mounting in one aspect. Combine that with the frontal plate issue and you’ve got issues of load bearing on the glue . Fixable properly by using Milliput as a gap filler to obtain the 90 degree true aspect but a bit more work than I’d want if I inteneded to field an entire company of this model.

 

The hull itself is pretty good although the angles of the stowage bins at the front end of the tank are blurry in definition and incorrect in aspect angle. A minor nitpick, solved with some judicious use of a file and a decent blade. Details generally are okay although somehat perfunctory and not as crisp compared to those attainable by resin models in general – but that’s always been an advantage of resin in any scale. My hull casting has a 1-1.5mm diameter sinkhole and a secon smaller one but both obvious and deep to the naked eye behind the left hand stowage bin. Again fixable but annoying. Looking at the hull directly from above, it’s slightly out of true at the upper glacis area and where the sloping engine plate meets the turret deck, but nowhere near as objectionable as the FCM2C was. This is something you’d have to be looking for to notice and shouldn’t show up from the usual oblique vantage point.

 

There’s some sinkage on the rear engine plate which mars the fairly basic grill detail but if at this stage you’re worried about that you’re probably thinking about redoing the engine grills anyway so you’d fix that at the same time with some milliput. The rear plate of the hull isn’t too bad with basic detail.

 

 

The Turret

 

Generally okay. Horizontal mould line around the turret is a personal annoyance. The real issue here is the fact that the armoured shroud for the coax interferes with the driver’s periscope badly. The turret is unable to be placed properly fore and aft as the shroud rests on the periscope and raises the turret slightly. This also means that it catches when turning the turret. Not a problem if you glue down your turrets but I don’t as I need to show turret traverse/armament orientation in my games. Fixable with a circular shim of plasticard easily enough. Details are somewhat crude at times and the casting is pretty rough in finish but a good primer and smart paintwork will smooth that out nicely.

 

The suspension units are not too bad apart from the issue of attachment mentioned above. The finish is a bit rough with some pitting and sinkage but nothing too drastic. Be prepared to remove some of the flash around the front drive whee but be careful of the rear idler, as the casting shape of it means it can look like flash. I did note that the rear idler on my model has signs of shrinkage in the metal which shows itself as a gap between the misshapen rim and track. Also the track at the rear is almost pointed rather than conforming to the expected curve. Rudimentary tracklink detail on upper surfaces and visble front/rear asp[ects but I hate painting tracklinks anyway so this works okay for me. There’s an obvious join/gap in the track midway along the bottom run.

 

Summary:

 

Average to poor quality in terms of casting crispness and shape, basic details are there, some aspects could be improved. I’m not sure I’d want to buy a whole company of them given the price per model, but it is effectively the only available model of the D2 that I know and it is after all a French tank which means you get to paint something that looks like it was designed by Dali with a colour scheme from Picasso. An improvement from the FCM 2C and very usable. Just be prepared to do some work and don’t rush the painting and preparation. A good paintjob will work wonders on this model and disguise most of the faults. Finally it’s not as cliched as fielding Somuas or Char Bs so you get style points.

Posted in Articles, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, Reviews | 6 Comments »

Small Delay

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, May 10

Sorry but the second and third parts of the QRF review series will be slightly delayed until tomorrow evening  (Friday) as I’m still working on things.

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QRF Review

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, May 10

To be honest I’ve never thought that much of the QRF stuff from what I’ve been able to glean from the pics on the website. The quality of the castings always looked slightly hit or miss, and somewhat rough in finish. One of my pet hates is mould lines around turrets, hence my aversion to the OG/Command Decision stuff so I was quite happy to limit myself to an initial sampling, especially as I’ve not seen QRF stuff in the flesh before.

As for the cost of the order, the total came to £13.69 plus £6.00 shipping so just on NZD$56 for three models. That’s with the 20% discount applied. Somehow unless I could get that discount with every order I’m not sure I’d be ordering that often. It’s not an outrageous amount but just the reality of ordering models from the UK.

The order arrived on Monday 15th January packed in a standard bubblewrap envelope with each model in a ziplock bag and wrapped in newspaper. Pretty standard packaging and nothing had escaped. I was a little surprised that there was no invoice enclosed but perhaps I should have specified I would have liked a hardcopy one included in special instructions.

Because of the relatively new status of the models/masters (in the case of the D2 and FCM 2C) I had some reasonable expectations about casting quality and fit from the outset, particularly based on the photos I’d seen on the website (I’d seen the painted example of the 2C from another customer and discounted it as a useful reference because of the quality of the photo and the less than stellar paintjob).

The only damage in shipping I could find was that the main gun of the 2C was bent out of true to 90 degrees but given the vagaries of shipping, that was understandable. Thankfully the metal used is pliable enough to allow readjustment without real issues of metal fatigue (good thing that LKM moved away from the FreiKorps metal type years ago).

The FCM 2C comes in 6 pieces: Hull; twin double sided suspension units; main turret; subsidiary turret; and a smaller upper hull superstructure/engine deck. On first impression, the castings aren’t as good as I’d hoped. The main hull is warped and bowed along the longitudinal axis on the sides, there’s significant shrinkage on the upper horizontal surfaces (a problem consistent with the nature of big single metal castings) and the model itself isn’t square along the front or rear hull lines, with a fairly obvious bias to the lefthand side. Much of this I believe to be due to the nature of metal casting, particularly the shrinkage, but I was surprised to see how far out of true the casting was.

F2C Parts
F2C Overview

The main turret looks to be a tad too short, almost squashed as it were, and on closer inspection I know why: the turret casting is lopsided, which is rather obvious when viewed from the front. The left hand side is deeper than the right hand side, it leans to the right. I’ve compared the model to the 6 view plans I’ve got and indeed the turret is askew. Other issues with the turret include the fairly significant mould line around the circumference, and the fact the locating hole for it needs to be drilled out, and that even when the turret is located correctly, the rear abrades and catches on the hull raised detail (this actually is a problem with all three models). Thankfully by adding a small plasticard riser to the underside of the turret I can get around this, but it will involve a fair bit of work to reverse the lean as well.

F2C front alternate
F2C Front profile

The suspension units are interesting. QRF cast them as double-sided, so that they basically just needed one master. There are issues of a minor nature with these as well. The trackwork is serviceable, although there’s some pitting and slippage along the top sides, and the track detail is rudimentary at best, with the bottom run of tracks being plain along the contact area with the ground. The MGs on the bow quarters are in bas relief which I find offputting, better to have left them for the gamer to add themselves or included a couple of barrels separately. The actual detail on the sides is okay if a tad simplistic, but there’s a lot of scope for extra detail that I’m used to getting with resin production. As for the attachment procedure, well let’s just say I’m glad I have decent line drawings so I can determine where exactly I’ll need to affix to the hull. That in itself will be a mission as the framework cast onto the hull sides for this very reason is misshapen, miscast and because of the significant bowing, will need to be replaced.

Attaching the units to the main hull will need a fair bit of work to get a decent fit. No use of superglue here, this is a case for a fair amount of two part epoxy araldite, model clamps and I hate to say it, filler putty. It’s been many a year since I’ve had to use the amount of filler on a single model that I know I’ll need for this. The double sided suspension units don’t offer a flush perpendicular surface to attach either so some shims of plasticard are necessary to get a proper squared off look .

The upper superstructure was very simple and had no major issues although again it’s slightly bowed and out of true. The subsidiary turret is probably the least problematic of all just needing a quick rasp with the file to clean up.

F2C Arse

In summation, I was disappointed with the quality of this model. I had expected a lot less blurring of details (there’s some chunky flash on the front and rear of the hull) and the level of detail is rudimentary as well. What was really disappointing was that with such a newish master and model release that the castings require so much work and in some respects (the hull) are irredeemable. I’d started out with a fair degree of reasonable expectation, and frankly the reality hasn’t matched up. I’m still undecided as to whether I’ll order more FCM 2Cs as the effort required to bring them up to the level of finish I’d want to field on the table is significant and even then I might be better off scratchbuilding my own.

I’ll be looking at the Renault D2 and Japanese Type 89 tomorrow.

Posted in Articles, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, Reviews | 6 Comments »

Paper and Iron

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, May 8

I see from the stats that the upsurge in visitors corresponds with an increase in regular posts and funnily enough inclusion of images. It’s not hard to actually post something reasonably substantive each day, although I’m not sure how many relevant pictures I can insert without being too flashy.

A bit of an opinion post today, mainly to do with boardgames, and the current state of the hobby as I perceive it.

I’ve almost given up buying new games. Many of the newer games are on subjects I find uninteresting or more often I have severe doubts about the ability, research methods and general credibility of the designer, developer etc etc. I’m also loathe to spend close to NZD$100 on a game that will end up needing a complete new rulebook, reprinted components and more than likely has some fundamental flaws that should have been picked up in playtesting.

In this I’m more talking about some of the major game companies: Decision, GMT, MMP/Gamers, Clash of Arms and ATO. I haven’t included Avalanche or Columbia as I don’t own a single game from either and am unlikely to. Of those 5 publishers, only MMP seems to have been offering a range of games that both interest me and have decent development and playtesting as well as fairly significant track record on quality control.

Decision can say goodbye to any of my money these days, for one Ty Bomba(stic) is heavily involved in game design there and I find nothing to like about either his research, persona online or indeed his ability to design an interesting game. Secondly Decision have almost the worst record at stuffing things up in terms of errata and lack of adequate playtesting that I’ve seen of late (Wacht am Errata II anyone?)

GMT, well they have Dick (Head) Berg as an unfortunate PR face for them and his games on the subjects I’m interested in are pretty poor in terms of understanding and definitely research of the topic. GMT also have had real issues with releasing multitudinous subsequent editions of the same game along with a notable amount of printing errors. I also have some issues with the ethics of the company on three or four levels, which when added together pretty much mean they’re a non-starter. Plus outside of a couple of recent one off games, they’re very much a stable of designers with the same old series, same old solutions churned out.

ATO : nice physical production values, some really interesting topics but would someone please get them a) to develop and playtest their games b) realise that graphics and gameplay are part of the whole not separate things you design in isolation and c) quit using Nazi apologists and panzerporn fanbois as their development team. Oh and notably, pushing the envelope graphically is fine as a means to an end but it is not the be all and end all – I’d rather have a game that works and is intuitive to immerse oneself into the system properly.

MMP: If they could just get Adam Starkweather to drop the proto-Ty Bomba mode he seems to be developping online, it’d be great. There are a lot of really good, well developed and playtested designs coming out of MMP, it’d be a shame if Starkweather’s inability to compromise or even admit mistakes dissuaded people from buying the games. At least with MMP though, they seem to get things done right the first time. It’s not like their living rules are used as a cop out for lazy development and minimal quality playtesting a la GMT. Now if they could just keep Rinella and Starkweather in check it’d be great.

Clash of Arms: I’ve only got games from their early days and I doubt I’ll buy more. Not really to do with the quality more that CoA no longer publish games on topics that hold any interest for me.

Posted in Boardgames, Rants and Raves | 3 Comments »

Further Reading and Research (read Amazon shopping)

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, May 8

In a weak moment I mentioned publicly that I was thinking about storyboarding the historical flow of events using the Killing Ground. Mike Traynor and Charles Vasey, who have an interest in both the game and the campaign expressed in no uncertain terms that I need to publish my experiences in doing so. I think I see some serious outlay at Amazon again:

copp_fields.jpg hill112b.jpg goodwood.jpg bluecoat.jpg

While this is only scratching the surface of my needs for further reference materials, it’s a good start. I’ve already got Major How’s account of Hill 112, along with the usual works by McKee, D’Este, Zetterling and Balkoski, but I will need to grab some more US accounts to flesh that side of things out. Thankfully the US side of the Normandy campaign is well docuimented and less open to interpretation.  I will however have to grab Buckley’s tome on the employment of British armour in Normandy as there’s some fairly significant analysis that will help. The Canadian side of things is best taken from Copp’s books and Hubert Meyer’s opus on 12 SS PzGrd Div “HJ” . I’ll use Hasting’s Overlord and the Isby edited German side of the hill monographs for operational flow but as I’m not interested in analysis so much as movements and courses of events, I can safely avoid much of the polemic or agenda laden parts.

This looks like being a very sizable project, much more than I originally intended  – I’m not so sure I’m up to it, it’s starting to look all too like actual work and I left  academic rigour a long time ago.

Posted in Boardgames, Books, History | Leave a Comment »

Change is-a-coming…

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, May 5

I’ve spent the last few days working on the prelimary sketch designs for the new websites with a view to migrating the gaming related content from Iago’s Lair as seamlessly as possible. Along with that has been codifying some of the draft articles that are sitting around gathering dust (just like some of the models) and rationalising the schedule for writing.

With all this in the pipeline, sadly I’ve not been able to kickstart my ASL or boardgaming again, although once The Killing Ground arrives some time in the next 7 days I expect to be fairly busy. Modelling wise I’m almost through the last of the late war Brit support troops – 3 inch Mortars are so damned useful.

Back to website matters, initially I’ll probably just port over the personal ASL info (PBeM records, the yearly games logs and a couple of the reviews) and update/revise the non-WW2 minis section.

I’ve done some very basic.png sketches of where my personal site is going in terms of layout, and while it seems cluttered now, that’s because the initial parameters are for a minimum spec resolution of 800 by 600, so anyone using 1024 by 768 or like me using 1280 by 1024 should see a lot more “whitespace”. Anyway here’s the initial draft plan of Hex and Violence which is destined to replace Iago’s Lair:

Hex and Violence front page

 

The next page is much more content oriented:

Hex and Violence secondary page

The last page sketch is the format for the gallery pages. Pretty much designed to use thumbnails with associated textual commentary alongside as my personal preference is for contextual references to accompany images. While pictures may be worth a thousand words, context is king:

Gallery draft

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Getting things together and a plea for help.

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, April 27

I’m still pretty new to this blogging regularly (semi-regularly?) thing with WordPress, so the fascination for me has been just looking at the very basic stats this blog has generated since I started it and linked it with my posts elsewhere.

I think the main thing I’m getting to grips with is planning topics and setting aside time for photography. Sadly I’m still a complete novice with regard to digital photography. and most of the photos I take aren’t acceptable because I lack the patience and setup to get decent results.

My biggest issue right now is trying to get some graphics together for the business. I’m trying to educate myself gradually but I’m not at all capable of generating acceptable work for the web. I’m still an unwilling luddite as I know what I want but lack the actual skills to generate the graphics themselves. So if anybody could help me out with graphics for the web I’d appreciate it. What I’m after is things like a decent banner /logo for this place and some small graphics to help bring some pop and vigour to my website (s). I’d love to be able to afford to commission someone to do this, but financially I’m just not able to (at least not until after I move to Australia in 2008).

Any suggestions  for improvement generally are welcomed as well, in fact any feedback would be appreciated.

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Sometimes I really shouldn’t look at websites

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, April 27

Battlefront new toys
LCVP

Let’s see, three Landing craft, 81 figures including crews – I think I like the idea of this.

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What’s all this here then?

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, April 17

Just seeing what is possible

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March Madness

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, March 29

Just picked up the final hardcover edition of the six volume series from Arms and Armour Press (for less than 1/3 of the price I had considered spending for it!).

Armour camouflage & markings North Africa 1940-1943
By George Bradford

Hard Cover, Published 1974 by Arms and Armour Press, 98 pages, includes many black and white photos and colour illustrations.
Over 100 superb colour profiles and views of tanks, and 90 black and white photos illustrate this detailed reference work. Described and pictured are the camouflage & markings of the armoured vehicles that fought in North Africa from the first Italian campaigns and the German advance to El Alamein to the final Allied victories that drove the Axis into the sea.

The contents are: comparative colour swatches; Italian armour camouflage & markings 1940-43; British armour camouflage & markings 1940-43; the birth of the DAK; German armour camouflage & markings 1941-43; American armour camouflage & markings 1942-43.

So now I have hardcovers of Panzer Colours; Blitzkrieg; British Tank Markings and Names; The Eastern Front; D-Day to Berlin and now North Africa to go laong with the various Histoire and Starmer titles. It’s only taken me 25 years to get hold of all six but better late than never.

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OMG! LOLZ! Pete's playing something to do with Kursk! Hell has officially frozen over.

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, March 17

Hell’s Bridgehead: Clash along the Psel River. July 1943It had to happen, after years of avoiding Kursk as a subject to bother with (overrun as it is with the SS fanboys), I’ve finally bitten the bullet and grabbed Critical Hit’s Hell’s Bridgehead module and volume 6/4 that focuses on it. I think I may well have just put the game on the shelf as a conversation piece and not even thought about playing it until I actually read the designer’s notes and most importantly Kurt Martin’s irreverent and amusing piece on the playtest. Sure it was written back in 2002 but it’s the type of off the wall commentary style that works for me, and I love the reference to the “Kursk Blues Cafe”. I can see why HB has garnered so much praise and positive feedback and I’m glad I made the decision to buy it and the relevant issue. The best thing is that what map and rules errata has been corrected in the 2nd Edition and the new map style is ver’ pretty indeed:

Hell's Bridgehead Kursk Map 1

The scenarios are a good mix, not too small, not too big with at least three proper CGs. Plus there are the scenarios in the magazine that use the K2 map which is almost as pretty (no pic of K2 sorry). There’s so much material here for great ASL games (especially once I look at playing some of the Schelling mini-CGs from the ASL journal on different aspects of Kursk. Thankfully I doubt I’ll be spending gratuitous amounts on supplementary reading (mostly the KOSAVE , Glantz and Zetterling books) but I think I’ve found the necessary inspiration to actually do that Mid war Soviet army for Flames that I’ve been holding off on. Not sure I really want to build an army that has anything to do with Totenkopf or Das Reich however.

Lots of reading in 6/4 to take note of and some interesting additional scenarios outside the focus on Kursk – including a look at the Japanese airborne assault on Palembang airfield. Now to sort through all the existing errata and check 7/3 for additional material using the Kursk maps or even Tigers to the Front. The K2 mapsheet could well be used as the basis for some more non-HASL designs.

I’m glad in a way I took such a long time to look at CH stuff again – I’d lost the most severe of the negative pre-conceptions and so I’ve been very pleased with the advances in presentation and general feel. I may have to invest in a few destroyed tiggers and panthers for the tabletop anyway.

P-J

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Mmm ASL stuff

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, February 22

Came home from work today to find my copy of the Critical Hit 1997 Special Edition had arrived from Canada. I bought this purely for the Dzerhezinsky Tractor Works content and I’m happy enough with the price I paid, given the issue is long out of print. It was interesting to see that there was some extra material for Platoon Leader 2.1 which I can easily retrofit into PL2.5a if needed.My next order of business is to get hold of the actual module for the Tractor Works so I can go ahead and look at correcting the issues of play balance and clarifications that personified this particular era of Critical Hit. Now all I’m looking forward to is the arrival of Issue 7.3 and Stalin’s Fury over the next few days – My copy of CH’s Hell’s Bridgehead is waiting on confirmation of the availability of Issue 6/4.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be purchasing a few more products over trhe next few months, probably just to catch up with things again, but I may go nuts and get hold of the Berlin Module because I’m such a nut these days about Historical map sheets.

You’d think that a small module with only four scenarios would not be amongst my must buys, but Action at Carentan is definitely on my must buy to play list. That and Journal number 7 which has a lot of very enjoyable, smaller yet intriguing scenarios are probably going to feature a lot in any face to face games I get to play over the next few years, with the latter being probably the dominant series of scenario choices for VASL.

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The Bells of Hell Go Ting a Ling Ling Part 2

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, February 13

So work’s been busy as all getout lately. That hasn’t stopped the deliveries of goodies from parts elsewhere thankfully, I’m now at the point where I’ve got 95% of my boardgame collection stable with very few more purchases needed. I finally got hold of the Stalingrad maps I referenced a while ago, and sure enough there’s a significant difference in area covered betweren the large hex and the smaller hex versions, the latter actually reaching to the Volga.How did I pick these up? Through the auspices of Stephen @ Warchest in Melbourne, Australia. Must say i’m every impressed with the service from him. Fair prices to boot. I bought the second edition of Critical Hit’s Valor of the 37th Guards, which included not only the large hex map of the Dzerhezinsky Tractor works but the original map from the 1997 DTW module and the original Grain Elevator minimap from the 1997 Critical Hit Magazine Special Edition. So I’ve almost completed the necessary accumulation of product.

I’m going to end up with some duplication of mapsheets but that’s no hardship as I’m sure I can find a use for them. So basically all I’m after now is the original DTW module with its 2 Campaign games and four scenarios and the 97SE with the Grain Elevator scenarios/CG. The latter is on order already from The Sentry Box in Canada, and I may have scoped out a copy of DTW although I’m paying the OOP premium 😦

I also picked up one of the lesser items on my want list – a copy of the old Area-Impulse ACW game, They Met at Gettysburg which has a poor reputation but surely can be salvaged. Other than that, I’ve been catching up on my reading and now that I have the Starmer books and a Vallejo paint chart (the one with actual paint swatches) I’ve pretty much got some writig to do.

I even started playing some ASL again, Stalingrad natürlich, with my old adversay Jay White. We’re now on Turn 3 of our game that was interrupted by me getting sidetracked by real life, and so far it’s been one crazy Rollercoaster ride once again, with the highlight for me being the critical hit I scored with a Molotov-Projector on one of the two StuIG33Bs Jay is fielding. One flank is almost completely secure through the blazes that have started up.

Anyway I really need to take some pics again (I’ve been slack – no change there) and posting again

P-J

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More Books

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, January 23

Back from work to find an Amazon parcel on my doorstop once more, this time from Amazon US. Three Balkoski books, comprising his Normandy trilogy; Omaha, Utah and Beyond the Beachhead. I’ve been an inveterate borrower of the last title for some time now, so it was about time I picked up my own copy.

I’ve been a tad dilatory about acquiring Balkoski’s books for various reasons, but it was mainly that i was looking to buy hardback editions of all three along with the relevant books by Georges Bernage and the various Battleground Normandy books. I’ve looked at the similar BattleZone books, but the list of authors hasn’t thrilled me as they’ve also done some of the less well received Battleground: Normandy Books (any of these authored by Tim Saunders, Ian Daglish and Tim Kilvert-Jones being the ones to get hold of as opposed to Carl Shilleto or Ken Ford who seem to have done very much potted history by rote).

Beyond the Beachhead is sufficiently well known and regarded that anything I say would be gilding the lily, but I hold firmly to the view that Balkoski’s written the definitive accessible and accurate accounts of the Utah and Omaha beaches and immediate actions thereafter insofar as they’re objective, detailed and cognisant of the wider picture. The important factor to me is that Balkoski has avoided the polemical posturing and misinformation that has marred much US so-called scholarship on the Normandy invasion. It certainly makes for an easier and pleasant read especially given the flow of his writing.

I’ve only managed a brief read of the Omaha book so far, but the quality of the writing is apparent in terms of flow and ease of engagement. I was pretty certain that Balkoski’s writing would have matured nicely, and the level of research and deatil incorporated seamlessly so far has been exactly what I was after. Read in concert with the Batlleground book and Bernage’s title, I’m getting a much better picture of what Omaha incvolved from both sides than I had before. I’m looking forward to continuing on with the book at a measure pace, partuicularly as Battlefront will be releasing US assault infantry designed specifically for the Omaha/Utah landings…now all I have to do is get hold of some more plastic card and construct some detachable wading trunks for my existing Shermans.

P-J

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In the footsteps of Sutcliff and Graves

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, January 21

Recently I was involved in a discussion regarding historically themed fiction a la Rosemary Sutcliff’s Eagle of the Ninth and Robert Grave’s Count Belisarius. Sutcliff wrote primarily for a teenage audience while Graves wrote for his classically educated contemporaries, but Sutcliff is seen as being in the same league as Graves and in my opinion rightfully so. Grave’s I, Claudius may have had the publicity with the excellent Derek Jacobi series, but Sutcliff’s Eagle also managed a respectable transition to the TV screen in the 70s IIRC.Out of this discussion came an Amazon UK order for three books: Alfred Duggan’s Winter Quarters, Wallace Breem’s Eagle in the Snow and a newcomer to this field, Rebecca Tingle’s Edge of the Sword. The first two books are reprints of much lauded works dealing with the decline of the Roman Prinicpate, while Tingle has chosen a formative year in the life of Æthelflæd, daughter of Alfred the Great, as the basis for her work. Of the three, Duggan and Breem came highly recommended, shile Tingle was very much a speculatiive acquisition with not too many expectations.

The first book to arrive was Tingle’s, after only three days transit from the UK (another reason I’ve given up buying books locally) and I managed to get through it that evening. It’s a light read, with reasonable characterisation and some solid descriptive passages. If anything caused me a little murmur of discontent, it’s that there’s no real feeling of the land in the writing. Outside the obvious cues of names and cultures nothing reaches out to define this is Britain in the 9th Century. I did wonder whether the author has actually been to Britain and travelled in the regions she writes about. However this minor point aside, the author sensibly limits herself to describing the immediate surroundings in general terms rather than attempting to pinpoint absolute locations.

It’s evident that the intended audience is teenage, as the book focuses on the experiences and feelings of Æthelflæd more so than actual scene-setting. Thus events are described in passing rather than breathless detail, although sometimes the reader is treated to an exposition of clothing detail that jars given the semi-opaque descriptive tenor. Overall it’s a solid if unspectacular piece of writing, fortunately not marred by the author’s academic credentials intruding overtly. Tingle is not up to Sutcliff at this stage but for a first book there’s a maturity and sureness that bodes well. For mine, the book could have gone a little longer and it certainly felt unresolved in some aspects, but it will hit the mark for the intenbded audience, being not too challenging yet not patronising. Teenage fiction probably walks the finest line in that respect.

Unspectacular but not boring or mundane.

P-J

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Quick Reaction Force: First Impressions of the FCM 2C

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, January 21

Firstly a word of apology for not having the pics…I’ve not got my camera set up properly for review purposes and the models aren’t available to photograph this weekend.

One of my long term projects has been to have a selection of models of some of the less well known WW2 tanks: The Neubaufahrzüg, the FCM Char 2C, Renault D2, Japanese Type 89 Chi Ro and the British Medium Mark II/IIC from the 30s. I’ve toyed with the idea of scratchbuilding some (as I only need a few of each) and buying the rest as funds allowed from the manufacturers who make them – not that many do.Recently (as in over the last 6 months) I saw that QRF had released a model of the FCM 2C. I was reasonably impressed with the publicity photo they had of the master, it looked serviceable, and I knew they did the Medium IIC and the Type 89. So when I had some discretionary funds on the CC and QRF had a 20% off sale (to offset the strength of the pound vis a vis the Pacific Peso) I went and ordered a few sample models.

To be honest I’ve never thought that much of the QRF stuff from what I’ve been able to glean from the pics on the website. The quality of the castings always looked slightly hit or miss, and somewhat rough in finish. One of my pet hates is mould lines around turrets, hence my aversion to the OG/Command Decision stuff so I was quite happy to limit myself to an initial sampling, especially as I’ve not seen QRF stuff in the flesh before.

Unfortunately my initial intention to order 5 different models fell by the wayside after I discovered that the Nbfzg was actually made by SDD rather than QRF. Oops. Anyway, as I was ordering late at night, I also managed to forget to order the Medium Mark II.

I knew from the pics I’d seen of that and the Nbfzg I would be looking at some fairly significant post purchase detailing anyway, so for review purposes it wouldn’t be quite so useful to include it. But still, the opportunity to grab one or two was lost.

In the end I ordered the Renault D2, FCM 2C and the Type 89 Chi Ro. The order process went smoothly including payment via credit card, or so I thought. It was about 12 hours later when I saw Geoff at QRF had emailed me to say there’d been a glitch with the website and while payment had been processed QRF didn’t have an actual record of the substance of my order.

As for the cost of the order, the total came to £13.69 plus £6.00 shipping so just on NZD$56 for three models. That’s with the 20% discount applied. Somehow unless I could get that discount with every order I’m not sure I’d be ordering that often. It’s not an outrageous amount but just the reality of ordering models from the UK. Returning to the glitch, a simple email reply solved any issues and the models would arrive when they would.

The order arrived on Monday 15th packed in a standard bubblewrap envelope with each model in a ziplock bag and wrapped in newspaper. Pretty standard packaging and nothing had escaped. I was a little surprised that there was no invoice enclosed but perhaps I should have specified I would have liked a hardcopy one included in special instructions.

Because of the relatively new status of the models/masters (in the case of the D2 and FCM 2C) I had some reasonable expectations about casting quality and fit from the outset, particularly based on the photos I’d seen on the website (I’d seen the painted example of the 2C from another customer and discounted it as a useful reference because of the quality of the photo and the less than stellar paintjob).

The only damage in shipping I could find was that the main gun of the 2C was bent out of true to 90 degrees but given the vagaries of shipping, that was understandable. Thankfully the metal used is pliable enough to allow readjustment without real issues of metal fatigue (good thing that LKM moved away from the FreiKorps metal type years ago).

The FCM 2C comes in 6 pieces: Hull; twin double sided suspension units; main turret; subsidiary turret; and a smaller upper hull superstructure/engine deck. On first impression, the castings aren’t as good as I’d hoped. The main hull is warped and bowed along the longitudinal axis on the sides, there’s significant shrinkage on the upper horizontal surfaces (a problem consistent with the nature of big single metal castings) and the model itself isn’t square along the front or rear hull lines, with a fairly obvious bias to the lefthand side. Much of this I believe to be due to the nature of metal casting, particularly the shrinkage, but I was surprised to see how far out of true the casting was. The other castings had their own idiosyncracies:

The main turret looks to be a tad too short, almost squashed as it were, and on closer inspection I know why: the turret casting is lopsided, which is rather obvious when viewed from the front. The left hand side is deeper than the right hand side, it leans to the right. I’ve compared the model to the 6 view plans I’ve got and indeed the turret is askew. Other issues with the turret include the fairly significant mould line around the circumference, and the fact the locating hole for it needs to be drilled out, and that even when the turret is located correctly, the rear abrades and catches on the hull raised detail (this actually is a problem with all three models). Thankfully by adding a small plasticard riser to the underside of the turret I can get around this, but it will involve a fair bit of work to reverse the lean as well.

The suspension units are interesting. QRF cast them as double-sided, so that they basically just needed one master. There are issues of a minor nature with these as well. The trackwork is serviceable, although there’s some pitting and slippage along the top sides, and the track detail is rudimentary at best, with the bottom run of tracks being plain along the contact area with the ground. The MGs on the bow quarters are in bas relief which I find offputting, better to have left them for the gamer to add themselves or included a couple of barrels separately. The actual detail on the sides is okay if a tad simplistic, but there’s a lot of scope for extra detail that I’m used to getting with resin production. As for the attachment procedure, well let’s just say I’m glad I have decent line drawings so I can determine where exactly I’ll need to affix to the hull. That in itself will be a mission as the framework cast onto the hull sides for this very reason is misshapen, miscast and because of the significant bowing, will need to be replaced.

Attaching the units to the main hull will need a fair bit of work to get a decent fit. No use of superglue here, this is a case for a fair amount of two part epoxy araldite, model clamps and I hate to say it, filler putty. It’s been many a year since I’ve had to use the amount of filler on a single model that I know I’ll need for this. The double sided suspension units don’t offer a flush perpendicular surface to attach either so some shims of plasticard are necessary to get a proper squared off look .

The upper superstructure was very simple and had no major issues although again it’s slightly bowed and out of true. The subsidiary turret is probably the least problematic of all just needing a quick rasp with the file to clean up.

In summation, I was disappointed with the quality of this model. I had expected a lot less blurring of details (there’s some chunky flash on the front and rear of the hull) and the level of detail is rudimentary as well. What was really disappointing was that with such a newish master and model release that the castings require so much work and in some respects (the hull) are irredeemable. I’d started out with a fair degree of reasonable expectation, and frankly the reality hasn’t matched up. I’m still undecided as to whether I’ll order more FCM 2Cs as the effort required to bring them up to the level of finish I’d want to field on the table is significant and even then I might be better off scratchbuilding my own.

I’ll be adding a lot of photos of the raw castings and continuing on with my efforts to come up with a serviceable final model over the next few months but the enthusiasm levels are a bit low at the moment – there’s a lot of work ahead and I’m just not sure I have the energy or commitment wherewithal.

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Once more into the rubble

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, January 17

In Australia, Jason Marks has a small limited edition publishing house that specialises in books on Stalingrad. The range of titles is very small, but the books are some of the few available that deal with the small unit operations within the city, given the destruction of many of the records and the very few survivors from the Kessel.

I’d been after his Death of the Leaping Horseman book ever since I heard about it, but for a while there it was only available on the second hand market for around $200 USD which was just too much for my blood. However the other day, while looking to spend money on research materials, I found he’d reprinted it and I could pick it up for AUSD$80. Oh yeah that was very much in my range again. I also picked up An Infantryman in Stalingrad, a detailed and very interesting reminiscence of the combat experiences of a leutnant in the 94. Infanterie division who took part in the battles for the Barrikady factory as well.

Given I’ve been on a Stalingrad kick for a while (with varying levels of active work) it was an easy decision to make. I’m still to pick up the latest book, which is another $80 AUSD on the barrikady fighting, but it will come. Anyway this interest in oparticularly the factory fighting arose out of the ASL historical module Red Barricades, which focuses naturally on the Barrikady complex and the period in October November 42 when the factories were progressively assaulted. I’d steered clear of the Stalingrad stuff for a while in ASL, purely because I doubted I’d ever get to do another Campaign game through lack of time and opponents. However while working on the Flames of War Stalingrad book, I found myself looking again at gaming small parts of the fighting using FoW and ASL.

To cut a long story short, the books arrived on Friday, and I’ve been picking my way through them occasionally as it suited. There’s so much detail there at the tactical level, one sees the composition of a particular German assault group down to individual weapon loads for the soldiers. The best thing about the books is that they’re based on the actual extant primary source war diaries and corroborating evidence wherever possible, and in the case of the memoir, egregious errors have been corrected but the original errors are footnoted and explained. The only quibble I have is that the maps are just a tad too small and could have been redrawn to give more clarity, but some of the private collection photographs are outstanding, particularly the ones shot while on the approaches to to the actual factories.

I’m now impatiently awaiting the release of Valor of The Guards and the Red October modules from MMP, just to see what the scenario listing is like and how they match up with the descriptions in these books. I don’t think you’lll see me trying to build terrain for them anytime soon, at least not until I’m in Aussie myself and have a decent amount of room to store and build the modules, but there’s some real incentive to get it right.

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When Craftsmanship has its place…

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, January 16

As a teenager, I remember the débût of Verlinden into the realm of aftermarket decals for 1/35th models. Back then it was a new wave of detail freaks etc etc filling the gaps the major manufacturers couldn’t justify with esoteric and limited production runs of all kinds of useful but not economically viable modelling addenda. And then we saw it with flags and shield decals for ancients through Napoleonics and ACW. All those time consuming and very artistically intensive areas that defy the common wargamer’s talent to replicate with a paintbrush are now the preserve of the gifted and organised aftermarket supplier.

Where is this guy going, you ask?

Well around New Years, I was browsing the web as one does when one is bored and listless and on one’s own. I’d made a couple of orders for books and models so far that day and really I had a few spare dollars available to me and I was still working on obtaining stuff to complete my Late War Brits. I knew I needed some decals, and enough to outfit a Cromwell squadron, a troop of Churchills, a full Motor Company of infantry, two full Carrier Platoons (yes 24-28 Carriers) and two RHA AT platoons along with a Field battery of 25lbers.

I’d been looking at doing the 11th armoured anyway, and the Churchills would end up beingfrom a neighbouring Tank brigade so I sent off to Dom for some of his new Decals. Normally I’d send off to BF locally, but I wanted to not have to bother with a whole bunch of extra decals I wouldn’t use to get enough for 11th Armd, and secondly I wanted to have a look at Dom’s decals for myself. So I armed myself with my trusty plastic and ordered a selection of decals from Dom’s site.

Now the purchase itself was nice and painless. and Dom’s personal email confirming and thanking me for the order within 24 hours was a nice touch. We may disagree on several aspects of wargaming, particularly in terms of the industry and rules, but it’s not an issue that drives our every gaming instant. Anyway, it was less than 8 days before the order arrived in an wee envelope (decals are such easy to freight things, it’s worth buying as many sheets as you can afford in one go whereever possible, the economy of scale is that much. Unfortunately with the strength of the Pound vis a vis the Pacific peso I’d had to limit myself to a single £10 order.

I’d ordered the 11th and 79th divisional decals, some white tactical markings (with blackedging), a sheet of 44-45 recce unit decals, the Lorried Infantry Brigade sheet and Dom’s first release, The Finnish set (I’m sure I’ll find a use for them in the Talvisota and Jatkosota forces.). I’ve not yet had a chance to apply the decals, a matter of getting everything ready and in one place. However when I do, I’m glad Dom’s seen fit to includ a nice handy tip sheet about applying them. It never hurts to have something of a hard copy reference guide to refresh the memory and there’s a tip or two there that I’d not actively considered before.

I’m looking forward to bering able to have neat and proper markings for my late war brits. It seems right to have everything crisp and neat at first then ladle on the ephemera of personal kit. I was very happy with the service and the quality of the decals, they certainly will make getting the army looking “right” a lot easier and hopefully less frustrating.

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I've been a bad, bad man.

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, January 13

Last night, the humidity reached 94% and stayed there. Given I’d just finished my first week of manning the phones for a national call centre, it was the last thing I needed when all I wanted to do was go to bed and get a good long sleep. No chance of that with the temperature in the early 20s all night.

So instead I went browsing at Amazon.com, AmazonUK and ABEBooks. You can see the disaster approaching can’t you? Anyway, equipped with my trusty plastic in a quick-draw holster I prowled the dusty streets…varmints were everywhere but I’m a wily old campaigner and I managed to avoid the bright lights of the DVD Wish List only to find myself in the middle of a Joe Balkoski D-Day bookstore: Three books later (Beyond the Beachhead, Omaha and Utah) I sought refuge in the aisles of historical fiction and again managed to refrain from firing all my ammo off, emerging with three kills (Duggan’s Winter Quarters, Breem’s Eagle in the Snow and a new Sutcliff-esque author’s Edge on The Sword) and a nagging sense that I’d escaped with my sanity intact. Unfortunately I was suborned by reading some colated reviews of the Battleground series, so it was to ABEBooks to do some trawling for low-cost copies…

I managed to find a reasonable selection of some titles I particularly wanted, namely Tim Kilvert-Jones’ Omaha Beach, Tim Saunders’ Operation Epsom and Gold Beach volumes and because it was on special at $1.00, Carl Shilleto’s Pegasus Bridge/Merville battery issue. Over the next few weeks I’ll be impatiently awaiting the arrival of these and the previous orders I made on New Years Eve. So February will be a very good month to get the armchair and reading lanp fully operational for those late summer evening reads.

I didn’t escape totally from the DVD section as I also picked up the UK edition of the 1993 version of Stalingrad, but I manfully resisted dropping by Amazon.de or buying any more figures. I’m now at the point where I’ve obtained most of the books I was looking to add although there are a couple I’ll pick up in February as they’re fitting in with one of my projects.

It’s still too warm to paint much right now, particularly as I’d be dripping sweat all over the undercoated tanks. I’ll see how it goes later tonight if it cools down. Hopefully this coming week I’ll have some arrivals to report. in the Meantime I’m going to see what I’ve dragged out of the archives from my notes when I was in Australia, I’m pretty sure there’s a review or two nestled in there.

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First order to arrive…

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, January 9

No surprises really when it was the Battlefront order with the Falschirmjäger crewed Pak 35/36s and Vallejo Middlestone. This means that I can actually do some painting of mid/war FJs and vehicles. Damn, now I have no more excuses.

Anyway, the Pak set comes with two guns, 6 gun crew, an observer cmd team and a three man local defense/2ic team plus spare barrels with the StielGranate moulded on. Misc inclusions are two 37mm ammo pannions and a paradrop container plus the requisite two medium and 2 small bases. On closer inspection, I think the FJ moulds are starting to show some wear and tear, the observer had significant amounts of flash around his upper arms and shoulders and there were telltale signs of mould slippage as well. Thankfully nothing that couldn’t be cleaned up in about 10 seconds although it is a little bit of an annoyance, as I’ve only come across this issue with the last of the BEF blisters that BF produced.

The Paks are probably going to be set aside for now, as I’m going to replace them with some Pak 97/38s instead, preferring the look of the model in terms of heft. Plus the shells the gunners are carrying are just that wee bit large for 37mm being more the size of 75mm PzGr40 rounds. I had planned on getting some painting done tonight but looking at the time, it’s getting to the stage where I’m too tired to do much more than undercoat and as I still use enamels for that, I’d rather not go to bed reeking of turps. Especially as work has left me with the beginnings of a mild headache. No pics just yet, once I’ve got bandwidth to spare I’ll update the various posts in a big way.

Ciao for Now

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Some more loot

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, December 30

As mentioned previously I’ve been looking at doing something with Stalingrad as a theme for minis for a while, ever since I helped out with the Stalingrad book at Battlefront a few years ago (seems like last month really).

I finally bit the bullet and ordered Death of a Leaping Horseman and An Infantryman at Stalingrad today and probably will buy the Barrikady book next month as well. With the purchase of two Starmer books and some more FJ models, I’m sure I’ll have plenty to read through over the next few months even with Carlyon’s Great War tome as my current reading.

I do see a fairly significant purchase of StuIG33b models and infantry to go along with this, especially as I’m just a tad short on german infantry at the moment although I do have a blister or two of the greatcoated ones sitting in the spares box right now.

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Oops!

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, December 26

That next couple of days turned into a few weeks didn’t it? Sorry about that and the lack of content generally. Sadly the time in the interim has not been spent purchasing, modelling or reading anything remotely wargames related, let alone generating written content. I’ve been flat out working for the man again, as seems to be my wont around the turn of each year.

The silver lining? I’m no longer economically challenged (read broke as), all my bills are paid well in advance, I’ve even created some much needed workspace and I ‘ve got my schedule finally sorted once and for all until April. I’m writing up all my notes from October still – data entry sucks the will to use the PC at home something fierce – and I ‘ve a few extra things to paint courtesy of Andrew and Evan. Oh and 50% of my Finnish war movies are back where they belong (ta Dion, Wayne and Evan).

Not making any promises for the rest of the week, but a couple of my favourite bloggers have made some pertinent comments regarding the way they look at their blogs these days that I’m keen to follow up on.

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Slightly left-field but this is a Blog after all

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, November 9

A quiet few days since I last posted but I’ll try and catch up over the weekend with the posts for the missing days – keeping to one or two posts a day seems to work, it’s not overloading me and yet there’s some food for thought.Most of the people I know who paint well and yet manage to produce a lot of output usually have either the TV or radio on as background noise. I can’t do that at all, I’ll find I get distracted enough to want to see what is actually happening on screen or with radio, I’ll get frustrated with the crap songs or worse end up with blood pressure issues listening to talkradio. So for me, what I do is crank up Winamp or put on a CD of mp3s.

My current playlist in both cases (I burn my playlists to CD) is something new, something old, something blue, something borrowed:

      Artist – Album

    • A Perfect Circle – Mer de Noms
    • A Perfect Circle – Thirteenth Step
    • A Perfect Circle – Emotive
    • Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine
    • Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral
    • Nine Inch Nails – With Teeth
    • Rammstein – Am Anfang War Das Feuer
    • Rammstein – Reise Reise
    • Rammstein – Sehnsucht
    • Simple Minds – Life In A day
    • Style Council – Boxed Set
    • The Killers – Hot Fuss
    • Tool – Undertow
    • Tool – Aenima
    • Tool – Salival
    • Tool – Lateralus
    • Tool – 10,000 days

    I’ve been on an industrial kick lately, and including the Style Council breaks it up nicely especially as late Style Council segues into the proto-house movement after a couple of excellent café jazz albums. I still haven’t got around to ripping my Glenn Miller and Piaf Collections but I should do when I start really getting into the whole music matches theme for painting.

    P-J

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    Soviet Three Colour Camo

    Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, November 7

    A Soviet T28m40 (aka T28E) of the 1st “Red Banner” Tank Division, 1st Mechanised Corps, Karelian Front, June 1941

    This is taken from the Soviet Tank Camouflage book I talked about last week. For me it’s an incentive to not only do an Early War Soviet Army but to have a real variety in the look of the various tanks. Yes it’s on the Finnish front, but there’s enough justification to have my T28s utilise the three colour scheme along with a two colour option for the T35s and the like. What I find pleasing about this is that the majority of my Early war projects are going to be more than just monochromatic paint schemes, with the BEF, the Poles, the French and the 1938 Czechs all having a variety of camouflage that will look good on the tabletop. The saving grace for me now is that the Soviets applied these schemes by hand rather than sprayed them on, so I can simply use brushes rather than need to get up to speed ahead of schedule with the airbrush.

    A Soviet T26m37/39 of 6th Tank Division, 28th Mechanised Corps, Iran 1941

    Another example of how interesting the possibilities are for Soviet armour. No monotones in my army, mate.

    P-J

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    Rebasing: I hates it with a passion I does

    Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, November 5

    Spent most of the evening organising my 1812 Russians and French Napoleonics so I can start rebasing for use with the Age of Eagles rules the club napoleonics project will be using – they’re pretty fast play, a few factors to count but nothing that doesn’t become second nature (most of the mods are situational rather than discrete).

    We’re using a bespoke basing system as it’s a club project and none of us can see any need to be compatible with any other armies outside our own. My armies are currently based for the old WRG 1685-1845 rules with individual figure casualties which makes them awfully fiddly. Moving from Battalions to Brigades as manoeuvre elements is interesting but based on the game last Thursday I can live with moving up to that level. I’m probably going to end up with about 6-8 figures per base for infantry and 2-3 fgs for cav.

    We’re also using double sized elements to really speed things up in terms of physical movement and this helps with the arty which will have two gun models and 8 crew per base making them rather nice to look at. The Russians have 22 battalions of foot, 8 cavalry regiments (80 cavalry, 296 infantry and 12 guns), while the French have 16 Battalions of Infantry and 9 Units of Cavalry (90 cavalry, 306 infantry, 6 generals and 12 guns. The artillery is too scary to contemplate just now as there are so many guns and I have full limbers still waiting to be based and painted plus a selection of supply wagons I should get around to constructing.

    The only good thing about all this is that finally I’ll be rid of the evil that is single figure basing, moving to 8 and 12 figure elements and no more casualty removal except by element.

    P-J

    Posted in Modelling and Painting, Rants and Raves | Leave a Comment »

    Soviet Camo Book

    Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, November 4

    Camouflage of the Tanks of the Red Army, 1930-45 Maksim Kolomiyets and Il’ya Moschanskiy (tr. Stephen Sewell), Armada Vertical No. 5, Exprint Publications Moscow, 2000.

    This looks to be pretty much the Panzer Colours equivalent for the Red Army. It’s a mine of information with lots of detail on the methods and application of paint schemes as well as debunking some of the myths. As I’m working on an Summer/Autumn 1941 Soviet force soon, it couldn’t have come at a better time, allowing me to work out which schemes would have been used in which region and seeing for myself what thecolours could look like on the tanks I intend to build.

    P-J

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    In the mail

    Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, October 31

    Back from a revitalising holiday to find that Mark Pitcavage’s Scenario Designer’s Guide was part of the accumulated mail waiting for me. First glance – nicely done. Lots of reading to do and a few notes to make before a fuller report is on the cards. Not sure that it’ll be as useful as might have been suggested for non-ASL scenario designers but more later on that. So much to do today and I haven’t even typed up the updates.

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