Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Fun - Hassling with the Hoff

"Can you hear me now?  Good."

I'm going to leave this riiiight here...  Have a great weekend!!  :-)

David Hasselhoff - True Survivor


.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My Times with Ragnar & the Horn Resounding

 "Odin approved"

Since last May it really has been the "Year of Saga" around here.  What began with a few isolated players here and there, grew through the Fall and Winter to culminate with a national event at Adepticon in Chicago.  Although personally I've worked on a Viking warband and some related terrain, I have not been very active on the gaming front, unfortunately.  Regardless, I thought that the following might be interesting to all you Saga fans out there.

In future "catching up" posts I will feature my Vikings along with WIP stages, and my plans to make a dual purpose force for both Hail Caesar and Saga.  I'll do the same for the terrain, and my first few games.  (I did share a few pics previously on my Google+ and Twitter @DerFeldmarschal accounts.)


 Teaser pics

To get a better feel for the local Saga experience, Eric Hagan's Google+ account is a great place to start.  I've featured some of Eric's initial Saga terrain on HERE before.  Monty Luhmann's blog Twin Cities Gamer is another excellent source of Saga action.


"And there was much rejoicing... Hooray!"

Things really started to take off after we had a "Saga Storm" meet and greet event here last September.  Over 20 players showed up during the day for a just for fun/play as many games as you want event.  There was 10+ tables set up with specific scenarios, you just grabbed someone to play and picked a table.  The day also included "Saga Storm" t-shirts and dice that were preordered, and ended with a big multi-player Feast of Crows battle between two sides.  This also spawned a (Locals only) Facebook group that's been very nice for coordinating games.  Monty's coverage can be found HERE, and Eric's post HERE.


Another Saga event, another t-shirt.

Shortly after the highly successful Saga Storm, Eric was asked to be one of the tournament organizers of the very first Saga Grand Melee tournament in the US.  This included making tons and tons of Saga terrain as every effort was made to make this a very high quality event.  Locally, we'll no doubt reap the benefits of this terrain stockpile.  I continue to make my own terrain and look forward to painting up the lovely Dark Age buildings I got from Stronghold Terrain.  More on that later...

I am still greatly disappointed that I wasn't able to attend Adepticon this year and be part of the Grand Melee fun.  Still, between the new terrain and growing base of great players with fully painted warbands, Saga is in a really good place locally right now.  Eric again supplied some great coverage of the event HERE and Adepticon in general HERE.

Had enough?

Some of this might be old news to some, but be sure to visit the various links as there are tons of pics of great looking warbands and terrain.  A virtual treasure trove of Saga inspiration. :-)

My next post will be switching gears for a bit as I get back to work on my Mordian Imperial Guard and participating in a 40k Escalation League (See previous post).


To get things moving along, this is my second post today.  So in case you missed it you can catch up on my musings over returning to the blogosphere here:  Better Late Than Never

.

Better Late Than Never

Here comes the cavalry...  Finally!

I've unintentionally put off the my return to the sphere-o-blog for far too long now, and with things ramping up hobby-wise, it's time to dust off ye olde Der Feldmarschall blog in order to once again share my hobby adventures with all you wonderful chaps out there.

A bit has changed with perhaps more to come.  One of the delaying factors in returning has been mulling giving the blog a facelift both in title and appearance.  True inspiration has yet to strike as I have yet to think of something better than the current format.  Other than that there has been some minor tweaking and some things gone all together.

One thing completely gone is the old Military History posts.  This is not only to make the blog more hobby centric, but also the belief in doing something right or not at all.  If the weekly/daily Military History posts ever do return, all 365 would be done ahead of time so the daily posts would never skip a beat and/or they would be given a blog of their own.

Other weekly features that I tried out last year may or may not return depending greatly on time available for blogging without sacrificing true hobby-time.  So perhaps not a weekly occurrence anymore, but when inspiration, interesting content, and spare time all conveniently collide.

A lot of blog-worthy things have happened since last July, but to keep this post from rambling on too long I'll start the process of catching up in the next post.  For now I'll just say that much of it was related to the game Saga.  Currently however we've started up a local 40k Escalation League (See HERE).  Looks like a great opprotunity to build a base of fun players and painted armies to game with, and another chance to get my Mordian Imperial Guard Army going again (Yeah those guys I actually started the blog with :-) )

Thanks for tuning back in,
Jason

.

Monday, July 14, 2014

I'll be back!


First off, I'd like to apologize for not being able to make the rounds on the blogosphere for about the last two weeks and comment on most of your great blogs.  July has been crazy.  Crazy and busy, with more and more real life challenges piling on everyday. 

I'm temporarily throwing in the towel until at least late July / early August.  Hopefully by then I'll have gotten the chance to hobby a bit so there will be a few more posts about projects, minis, and games to share.  Not just all history and movies posts.

Thanks for stopping by, and I'll see you all again soon!

Jason

.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

War Movie Wednesday - The Guns of Navarone


This week War Movie Wednesday rolls out one of the "Big Guns" of war movie classics, The Guns of Navarone.  Directed by J. Lee Thompson and staring Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn, along with Stanley Baker and Anthony Quayle.  Truly one of the greats, it was nominated for 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture, winning Best Effects, Special Effects. 

"Our Heroes", well maybe not that one on the right...

The movie pits a small Allied Commando team against the Germans of occupied Greece and the seemingly impregnable mountain fortress that houses the massive "Guns of Navarone."  These radar directed monsters control a key pass in the Aegean Sea that threatens destruction to any Allied ship that dares sail within range.

Meanwhile 2,000 British troops are stranded on the island of Keros with the Germans moving in for the kill.  The Good Guys must take out the "Big Guns" so that the Royal Navy has a chance to rescue the poor Tommies before it's too late, and also help prevent Turkey from being bullied into joining the Axis Powers.

The REAL stars of the show!

Commando raids make some of the best and most tense war movies.  They're also a great way to showcase a small collection of actors against an the epic backdrop like that of fictional island of Navarone.  The cast doesn't disappoint either with Peck doing his usual solid job, Quinn bringing his flare and emotion, and any war flick the includes Niven is almost guaranteed to be a good one.  Stanley Baker and Anthony Quayle could of both handled the lead themselves and add another level of quality to the group.

The most intense game of "Knock, knock.  Who's there?" of WWII.

The Guns of Navarone is a true epic that still manages to maintain an intimate feel to the plot.  The individual characters, tensions, and twists are not lost in a barrage of special effects and larger than life sets.  We are able to follow along with our heroes to the bitter end, sharing in their daring adventures, while also being aware of the thoughtful anti-war message woven into the story.  Whether you've seen it before or not, I hope you enjoy this movie as much as I have.


The Guns of Navarone (1961)


A few final thoughts...

I don't remember when I finally got to see The Guns of Navarone for the first time (probably a rental), but long before that I owned the playset (I still do actually, stored somewhere in the garage...).  Countless hours were spent setting up huge battle scenes down in the basement.  For years, I had to go on pure imagination as the TV listings were always far beyond my bedtime. 

The movie eluded me for years, and the closest I ever came as a kid was while I was in the hospital.  The movie was scheduled for 11:00 pm, and my Dad had gotten special permission (small town) to stay past visiting hours to stay up and watch it with me.  The great mystery behind the Guns of Navarone was about to be revealed, and I can still remember the anticipation and the excitement of spending some special time with my Dad.  Alas, my little eyelids failed me, and I fell fast asleep before the movie started. 

Still, every time I watch The Guns of Navarone, a little bit of that childood emotion reawakens.  :-)

Literally, hours of fun!

Bonus Links:

The Guns of Navarone Trailer

The Guns of Navarone Theme

The Guns Of Navarone Soundtrack Suite

The Guns of Navarone Theme Song

Up in the air Juinor Birdman!  Up in the air...

NOTE:  War Movie Wednesday is an opportunity for me to feature a few of my favorite war/war related movies on the blog.  Maybe not technically the "best" war movies or even "great" movies, but films I've enjoyed for one reason or another.  Interesting and entertaining enough to watch during hobby time at least.  Something that can be found for free on YouTube and played on your computer or similar gadget sitting by your hobby area.  Unfortunately these posts are also limited in choice and quality by what I can find on YouTube, which also includes putting up with subtitles from time to time.

.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

War Movie Wednesday - North West Mounted Police

In TECHNICOLOR!

Little change of pace this week as we head to the Canadian frontier of the 1880's  In the days when the North West Mounted Police were an earlier version of today's Mounties and trouble was brewing among the Métis (Frenchy types) and the native Cree in the form North-West Rebellion with everyone else caught in between.

"Dusty Rivers? Isn't that a contradiction in terms?"

Directed by Cecil B. DeMille, the aptly named North West Mounted Police stars Gary Cooper and Madeleine Carroll.  The film also co-stars Paulette Goddard, Preston Foster, Robert Preston, Akim Tamiroff, and Lon Chaney, Jr..  Nominated for five Academy Awards (Won Best Film Editing), the movie is a mix of action, adventure, drama, love triangles, treachery, and tragedy with many lighthearted bits thrown in.

"So your answer is "NO" then?"

Texas Ranger Dusty Rivers (Cooper) has come north looking for the outlaw Jacques Corbeau, the same man Sergeant Jim Brett (Foster) is after.  An uneasy alliance is formed, but our heroes soon find themselves in the midst of a rebellion where friend or foe is not always determined by your accent!

Women, the real trouble makers!

For me this was an enjoyable movie for its unique period subject matter alone.  Used to seeing Cooper in serious no nonsense westerns, it was fun to see him in a more lighthearted humorous role.  Although modern audiences may find the obvious fake indoor filmed "outdoor" scenes and bright Technicolor uniforms a bit campy, I really find it part of the charm.  Back when movies had to create "the illusion" without the help of CGI.  I hope you will enjoy it too!  :-)

North West Mounted Police (1940)


NOTE:  War Movie Wednesday is an opportunity for me to feature a few of my favorite war/war related movies on the blog.  Maybe not technically the "best" war movies or even "great" movies, but films I've enjoyed for one reason or another.  Interesting and entertaining enough to watch during hobby time at least.  Something that can be found for free on YouTube and played on your computer or similar gadget sitting by your hobby area.  Unfortunately these posts are also limited in choice and quality by what I can find on YouTube, which also includes putting up with subtitles from time to time.



.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Dracula Untold - Finally another epic Dracula movie?


There's lots of "vampire" movies/shows out there, but very few of them worth watching.  Even fewer still for a classic vampire/Dracula fan like me.  Bram Stoker's Dracula in 1992 remains one of my all time favorite movies.  It's impact is seen throughout my gaming hobby and my Warhammer Vampire Counts Army.  It continues to influence a desire for future Gothic Horror projects and games.  Its soundtrack is still a mainstay every October.  Its imagery is now my default for the genre.  As far as Dracula and vampire films go, it is an epic, and there has never been another one since.


Cue Dracula Untold coming this October.  Starring Luke Evens of recent Hobbit/Bard fame, its cast includes a number of other notable actors as well.  The story mixes the historical Vlad Tepes and dark fantasy.  The trailer looks good, but that's not always a sure sign.  I admit to a bit of quiet excitement, but I've been burned too many times to get my hopes up just yet.  I'm hoping at least for an enjoyable movie, but I dream of finally seeing another inspirational epic!

Dracula Untold (2014)


I guess we'll see on October 17th, but until then... your reaction? thoughts? predictions? concerns?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.  :-)




.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Fun - Give a Hoot!!

Nope.

Wargamers love to do things PROPERLY, so if you want to cut loose this weekend and hoot and holler with the rest of 'em, then you better take a moment and learn from the best of 'em.  How exactly does one learn how to hoot and holler properly?  Look no farther than this charming video of old American Civil War Vets giving it one last go at the "Rebel Yell," and you'll be well on your way!

Enjoy and have a great weekend!  :-)



.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

War Movie Wednesday - 84 Charlie MoPic


Before the mid to late '80s, movies about the Vietnam War were few and far between.  With the success of Platoon in 1986 the gates were soon open for others like Hamburger Hill and Full Metal Jacket or even television series like Tour of Duty and China Beach.  The low budget independent film 84 Charlie MoPic is definitely a gem that unfortunately gets lost in the shuffle.


Directed by Vietnam Vet Patrick Sheane Duncan and starring a cast of unknowns, the film takes the form of a mock documentary seen entirely through the camera lens of the 84C20 Motion Picture Specialist the movie (and soldier) is nicknamed for.  The cameraman and a fresh Second Lieutenant are send along a routine five day recon patrol to film for training purposes.  Of course nothing is routine in war.


Personally, I hadn't seen or heard of this movie until it was shown in one of my college ROTC classes in the early '90s.  I was just learning the basics of small unit tactics and patrolling back then so it definitely had an impact.  The filming technique made more famous by films like The Blair Witch Project, seemed hokey at first, but gets more and more "real" as the film goes along.  No soundtrack and no frills, the movie simply follows the same squad of soldiers from beginning to end.  It makes the movie very personal and unique among war movies that I've watched.

84 Charlie MoPic (1989)


War Movie Wednesday is an opportunity for me to feature a few of my favorite war/war related movies on the blog.  Maybe not technically the "best" war movies or even "great" movies, but films I've enjoyed for one reason or another.  Interesting and entertaining enough to watch during hobby time at least.  Something that can be found for free on YouTube and played on your computer or similar gadget sitting by your hobby area.  Unfortunately these posts are also limited in choice and quality by what I can find on YouTube, which also includes putting up with subtitles from time to time.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the movie!

 .

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

War Movie Wednesday - Waterloo


They just don't make them like they used to.

On June 18th, this week's feature almost has to be Waterloo.  Certain words and names are recognized around the world and Waterloo is definitely one of them.  If not the most famous battle in history, Waterloo is close to the top.  Even without ABBA's help, there's just something about Waterloo that captures the imagination of so many people.  The last grasp at glory, the fall of giant, the end of an era, a near run thing that could of tipped history either way.


Of course to wargamers Waterloo is old hat, and probably the most worn hat next to Gettysburg.  Most gamers that are into Napoleonics have run across this movie at one time.  To others, it's a true epic waiting to be discovered.  Back when war movies had to use actual real people (The Soviet Army) or cardboard cutouts instead of CGI.  Unfortunately Waterloo even with its spectacular battle scenes, didn't do so hot at the Box Office, otherwise we might have seen a few more of these "big battle" epics (Like Stanley Kubrick's planned "Napoleon") .  I guess we're left to treasure the ones we have.


Making of an Epic

Produced by Dino De Laurentiis and directed by Sergei Bondarchuk who had previously done another big battle epic "War and Peace," Waterloo was one of the most expensive movies ever made at it's time.  Starring Rod Steiger, Christopher Plummer, and a cameo by Orson Welles, the movie also employed over 15,000 soldiers from the Soviet Army, a full brigade of 2,000 cavalry, 50 circus stunt riders to perform horse falls, and a bunch of engineers and laborers to work on the battlefield itself.  It was said that the director was in command of the seventh largest army in the world while filming.


 In order to turn the rolling farmland outside Uzhhorod, Ukraine into an authentic battlefield , the Russians bulldozed away two hills, laid five miles of roads, transplanted 5,000 trees, sowed fields of rye, barley and wildflowers and reconstructed four historic buildings.  To create the mud, more than six miles of underground irrigation piping was specially laid.  Too bad they couldn't do anything about the mountains in the background.  The original film apparently only shown in the Soviet Union, was around four hours long and also covered the battles of Ligny and Quatre Bras in more length and detail.


Bits 'O Trivia

The Soviet soldiers panicked repeatedly and scattered during the filming of some of the cavalry charges. Attempts to reassure them by marking the closest approach of the horses with white tape similarly failed, and the scenes were cut.

When filming Napoleon's abdication speech producer Dino De Laurentiis ordered the cameraman not to load a new reel of film in order to save costs.  The film ran out before Rod Steiger had finished delivering this highly emotional speech.  The actor was not pleased.

When the British offer surrender to the Old Guard, Vicomte de Cambronne supposedly said, "The Old Guard dies but never surrenders."  Cambronne himself said afterwards that his reply was, "Merde," (shit) as was shown in the film.  For years afterwards, the word "merde" was referred to by the French as "le mot de Cambronne" (Cambronne's word).

Richard Burton was sought to play Napoleon.  Producer Dino De Laurentiis blamed the film's box office failure on the lack of stars.

Waterloo (1970)


Parting Thoughts

Anytime I want to get into the mood for painting Napoleonics, I just need to pop this movie in.  It has a great soundtrack, and all those spectacular battle scenes and uniforms are a real treat.  Although Steiger took some time to grow on me, the portals of Napoleon and Wellington are really what make this movie great.  The raw emotion one moment, charming wit the other.  The juxtaposed scenes, especially pre-battle, where the two adversaries seem to talking to one another are very well done..  Also I love the use of "whispering thoughts" just like in another favorite movie of mine, Dune.

Last but certainly not least are all the memorable quotes this movie has to offer.  From Star Wars to Monty Python, memorable quotes are a clear sign of a classic regardless of the genre.  Quotes that can be used as "bits" at the gaming table are even a bigger bonus for us Wargamers, and Waterloo is packed full of them.  So packed, that I will address them on their own future post, but you can get a taste of them HERE.


As Always...

War Movie Wednesday is an opportunity for me to feature a few of my favorite war/war related movies on the blog.  Maybe not technically the "best" war movies or even "great" movies, but favorites of mine for one reason or another.  Definitely films that I enjoy watching again and again, and that inspire me in one way or another.  Whether that is to laugh, cry, feel pride or disgust, think deep thoughts, run around the room yelling "Ratatatatatatat!", or sit down and paint a mini or two.

Ultimately what I hope to offer here is something interesting and entertaining enough to watch during hobby time at least.  Something that can be found for free on YouTube and played on your computer or similar gadget sitting by your hobby area.  Unfortunately these posts are also limited in choice and quality by what I can find on YouTube, which also includes putting up with subtitles from time to time.

As always, I hope you enjoy the movie!


Bonus Links:

Waterloo Trailer

Waterloo Soundtrack Suite

Waterloo Documentary


.