Panzerschreck Design Studio

Journey of a Wargamer – Comments welcomed

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Overviews of books I’ve bought or had recommended.

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 »

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.




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 »

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 »

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.

Posted in Books, Modelling and Painting, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

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.


Posted in Books, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

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.


Posted in Books, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in Advanced Squad Leader, Books, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

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, 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 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.

Posted in Books | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in Books, Modelling and Painting | Leave a Comment »

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.


Posted in Books, Modelling and Painting | 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.


Posted in Books, Modelling and Painting, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in Advanced Squad Leader, Books, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

Mark Pitcavage's Scenario Design Guide

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, October 6

I’ve ordered this 72 page, saddle stitched book out of curiosity and because it could be very useful in terms of designing some historical scenarios for Flames of War as well as ASL.

Here’s the blurb:

The Scenario Designers Guide for World War II Tactical Wargames guides designers through the scenario design process from start to finish. It was written for players of Advanced Squad Leader(TM) in mind, but it also provides much valuable advice and assistance to anyone who wishes to design scenarios for any tactical World War II board wargame, computer wargame, or miniatures wargame. It also includes two FREE scenarios! This is the ultimate toolset for World War II gaming

I’ve just received confirmation that it has been shipped today so it should be waiting for me when I come back from Australia at the beginning of November. I’ll try and have the review up within the first week after it arrives along with some thoughts on other useful books, materials for the scenario designer.


Posted in Books | Leave a Comment »


Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, October 4

For all that people complain about the crap performance of British early war armour, the 2 pounder tank gun was a damn fine weapon until mid 1941. It could clean up any german tank at 500 metres until the advent of face hardened plate and was well superior to the 37mm of the German vehicles.

I’ve always been fascinated by the various early cruiser tanks, the multiple turret A9, the supposedly improved A10 and the Christie suspension A13 in its various permutations. The key is that the BEF and the early desert forces had some wonderfully different camo schemes, no boring Khaki Drab for these lot. No, instead we have the glories of the caunter scheme and the two colour BEF France schemes. The problem has always been getting decent references books to match. there’s been much erroneous information over the years, much of it caused by the Airfix Matilda paint scheme and the terminology used to describe the paint colours.

Before I even think about painting my BEF armour I’m going to purchase the following books authored and researched by the doyen of British WW2 armour camoflage schemes, Mike Starmer:
Starmer's Europe Books
Starmer's North Africa books

I already own the following book which is useful but perpetrates some myths:
Zaloga's Blitzkrieg Camo and Markings

There’s a website that get referenced every so often, or something like that. Avoid it. The colour suggestions are out of whack, the information contains egregious errors (BEF tanks using all three greens in one scheme for one example) and basically you’ll just get confused. Better off spending the £10 + £2.50 for the Starmer book and get it right from the start.

Posted in Books, Modelling and Painting, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

New Books

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, January 12

Image hosted by

Picked this up off as part of updating my Normandy library on the British sector. It helps that it also ties in with the Rethem-Aller battles in mid-45.

Image hosted by

Everyman and his dog will be doing 7th Armoured in 15mm for Normandy but I wanted to do the 11th armoured so I could model the Inns of Court AECIII armoured cars and use my Cromwells with Evan’s US Paras.

Posted in Books | Leave a Comment »

The Perilous Amazon

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2004, September 6

Years ago, a couple of guys created an Advanced Squad Leader product called Time On Target. The first issue was a collection of themed scenarios set during the Battle of the Bulge and were released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the battle. They attracted pretty universal acclaim for the obvious research and dedication that went into them. At the time they were amongst the best ASL scenarios released.

Then about a year or so later, Time on Target 2 was released. This dealt with actions in April 1945 that occurred in Northern Germany involving the British 21st Army Group and the opposing Germans. Unlike most late war situations which usually end up resembling a heavy metal car lot, this featured a huge range of actions drawing heavily from John Russell’s No Triumphant Procession: The Forgotten Battles of April 1945.

Because they fell outside the usual US-centric Western Front ASL view, this scenario pack appealed greatly and encouraged me to think about creating some scenarios for my renascent WW2 miniatures games. However obtaining the book upon which the scenarios were based became an issue unto itself. I did however find a copy of the 1945 Story of the 79th Armoured Division which helped in some regard.

To cut a long story short, I recently was able to obatin an excellent copy of Russell’s book and just from reading a couple of chapters today I’m left in no doubt that creating a set of scenarios for 15mm WW2 miniatures enthusiasts will be possible. I’d already done some planning over the years in terms of the ideal format and accumulating some of the necessary resources and tools, but now that I actually have the prime resource I can move on ahead with this project.

The project itself is no simplistic endeavour, as to fullly do it justice and make it useful to as many 15mm WW2 wargamers as possible, I’m going to have go outside the Flames of War parameters and include a couple more sets of rules. The key aspects of what i want to do involve presentation and feel. There will be no screes of bland text, but properly formatted and illustrated aspects, including specific articles on scratchbuilding and painting guides. I hopoe to make it available not only on the web as a stand alone series but also to provide PDF downloads so that people can print it out at their leisure and at a level of graphic quality that is unattainable through a webpage.

Posted in Advanced Squad Leader, Books, Flames of War | 1 Comment »