Sunday, January 22, 2012

Catching Up & New Stuff

Before we get to the new stuff, I just wanted to mention that I've been out of the loop for a bit here in January.  Being sick, busy real life stuff, and computer problems have all conspired to keep me off the Blogosphere for the most part.  So don't be surprised if a few retro comments from me pop up on your blogs as I make an effort to catch up in the next few days.

First new arrival this month that I wanted to share is the fairly new Waterloo rules from Warhammer Historical.  As a little Christmas gift to myself in mid-December, I took advantage of the 50% off sale they had before it ended.  It took awhile to get here, but the wait made this magnificent looking rulebook even sweeter when it finally arrived this month.  I hope to share some pics and a little review of the book in the future, but for now I'll just say this is probably the best looking wargaming rulebook I've ever seen.  I'll stick with using Black Powder for playing Napoleonics, but I certainly hope to use this impressive tome to help generate some interest in the period with my local fellow gamers. :-)

This month also saw the release of a new army book for my Vampire Counts army for Warhammer.  Although I don't see playing Warhammer as often as I used to, this new book will definitely let me finally free my legions of darkness that have been locked up in their figure cases since the release of 8th Edition.  The new magic cards have been strategically placed in the picture above to cover up the single negative this I found so far about this new book...  that horrible excuse for a vampire they decided to slap on the cover.

Last, but certainly not least is a recent eBay purchase.  These days I mainly sell my extra gaming stuff on eBay, but I allowed myself to make a rare purchase when I spotted these guys above.  I used to have a nice little collection of Wargames Foundry American Civil War minis that I originally purchased to play the Brother Against Brother skirmish rules back in 2001 when I returned back home to Minnesota from the Army.  The local group that was playing stopped very abruptly only a short while after I purchased and started working on my force.  With much disappointment, I ended up selling them a few years later.

I was particularly fond of the cavalry models that just like my Cossacks have a foot and mounted version of each character.  These are no longer available as single packs and some are not available at all, so I was quite happy to have the chance to buy them again after all these years (and for a great deal too).  I don't know if I'll and up playing any ACW period games in the future, but I'll definitely enjoy painting up my little cavalry troop after they arrive.

That's all for now, see you around the Blogosphere!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cossacks! & Pals

Cossacks!  Right up there with Pirates and Vikings...  sure to add more fun to any wargame!

Cossacks!  For some reason I think the word should always be accompanied with an exclamation point.  You don't say Cossacks, you YELL Cossacks!  The only time it's not needed is when they've passed out.  Otherwise it's drinking, fighting, burning, riding, raiding, partying, gambling, pillaging, singing, revolting, dancing, sailing, plundering, laughing, shouting Cossacks!

Well, last night I pulled out my Cossack miniatures from Wargames Foundry.  You can find their mounted and dismounted figures here and here.  I've always loved these figs, and the only problem with them has really been to decide what to do with them.  Historically, these minis are good for the 16th Century until the 19th.  They also make great Black Sea pirates, characterful Kislev handgunners for Warhammer, or even Vampire henchmen for Pulp and Gothic Horror games.  But why choose?  Just figure out how to base them so they can be used for everything!

I think in the end the primary role these guys will play is part of my Seven Year's War Russian Army.  At least that's the shelf they'll sit on in my display cabinet.  Right now I'm thinking most of my infantry units for SYW and Napoleonics will be on 40mm x 40mm bases with four figures to a base.  Although the Nappys might end up a little wider with more figs to a base, they should still be 40mm deep.

The problem for my Cossacks  is not only do they look a little cramped when compared to my "marching" figures, but I'd like to base them individually on 20mm metal washers so they can be used for all sorts of other fun stuff.  On a 40mm base that doesn't leave a lot of room, much less any room to still make some sort of scenic bases for the unit.

As the pictures above show, I think it's just better to go with a 50mm base.  The Cossacks are more of irregular unit anyway.  More akin to militia or other special units like Frei Corps or Jaegers.  I'll only ever have one "battalion" of these guys with five or six stands, so it should be a small matter.  Especially when playing very flexible rules like Black Powder.

I still want to have some fun with the unit bases, and even have an extra sled gun to add for fun.  My plan right now is to drill circles into my 50mm Litko bases where each fig will be placed with the bottom of the hole magnetized.  The top of the individual base will be flush with the unit base much like Games Workshop's bases for War of the Ring.  That's my idea anyway, but it might change a bit as I work out the details.

Whether I start painting other stuff for SYW or Naps, my initial project goal is to set up a small village raid skirmish scenario complete with terrain, mounted and dismounted Cossacks, musketeers, and hussars.

The mounted Cossacks pose much less of a problem.  Since most cavalry are based two to a 50mm base, I'll just mount these guys on individual 25mm x 50mm bases.  I'll probably do the same for my hussars and then make movement trays for them.

My color scheme is another thing I'm working on.  I certainly don't want to paint these guys as colorful as the Wargames Foundry examples, nor do I think I want them too uniform looking like maybe painting most of them in blue coats for Don Cossacks.  Although I'm open to suggestions on everything, right now I'm leaning toward more drab natural colors like the examples below with some reds, blues, etc. mixed in.

This should be a fun project, but I don't expect it will be a quick one.  Instead of painting a uniformed line infantry unit, this will more like painting a whole bunch of individual 28mm minis.  So I expect to work on these guys off and on between my IG Mordians unless the project momentum carries me away.

Finally, I don't know if Blucher or Gneisenau had any Cossack pals, but the old Prussian Field Marshal certainly shared a lot of their vices.  I've been itching to do a Blucher command stand/vignette.  This would either give me the Napoleonic Prussian "fix" I need so I can work on my SYW stuff or it will be the "catalyst" that will plunge me into placing a Prussian order with Perry and Calpe Miniatures.

I have a few questions I have to answer as I'm gathering more minis for this project.  First off, should I even put Blucher and Gneisenau on the same command base or give the Chief of Staff his own?  Hopefully someone with more 28mm Napoleonic wargaming experience than me will chime in with a good answer.

Right now I plan to keep them separate as "Marshal Vorwarts" doesn't seem like the type to hang out in the back with the staff weenies.  On Blucher's base I do plan to to include an A.D.C. representing Graf Nostitz, but also with him being "out front" maybe it would be appropriate to include at least two other cavalry models as part of a bodyguard.  My question on this is, what type of cavalry should I use?  Hussars?  Uhlans?  Cuirassiers? Something else?  Any idea on a particular unit that would make sense?

So right now I'm thinking Blucher's base with 4-5 mounted figs, and Gneisenau's with 4-5 mounted and foot.  Or one big base with both of them on there with everyone else.  Either way, a couple of fun projects brewing, and any input or thoughts are appreciated.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

March Attack rules & Crusader Miniatures

First off, I wanted to share this bit of news from the Crusader Publishing site posted on January 2nd:

 Free March Attack Rules for Bloggers

"For the next couple of weeks I am giving away PDF copies of the March Attack rules to anyone that runs a blog. Simply drop me an email at Crusader Publishing with a link to your blog and I'll email you a download link to the rules. I tend to send out free printed copies for review with magazines and thought it may be a nice idea to do the same for web sites.

I know that when I look at buying a new game I tend to search around for examples of games, descriptions and battle reports rather than read the 'official' blurb. So, no strings attached, if you see them and they are not your kind of thing, don't play Napoleonic much or just already have a set that you are happy with that's fine. If you give them a go and like them that's a bonus, if you just want to read and write a review - good or bad - I'm happy with that too

I really haven't had the chance to look them over, so I'll hold off further thoughts for now.  At first glance they appear to written for 15mm Napoleonic battles which is a scale I no longer play.  They also look well laid out and organized with a high production quality.  I think it is a nice idea by Mark Sims to give out a "sample" of his gaming rules, especially for some of us that have no local shops that stock his publications.

We can see pictures of his miniatures on the web before we buy them, but it's sometimes harder to invest in a rule book by just seeing its cover and a brief description.  Anyway, I figured some of you 15-18mm guys out there might find this info useful.

During my brief correspondence with Mark, he also confirmed that he plans to start working on his Seven Year's War miniature range again later this year.  Although he did also mention they would come in the second half of the year and anything six months out is really still up in the air at this point.

Either way, a return to this range sometime in the future is welcome news.  I'm still deciding wither to jump into a SYW or Napoleonic 28mm project first, but I will be using Crusader and Wargames Foundry minis for my SYW armies when I do.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Part of Darth Vader has died...

The Dark Lord of Awesome!

Although George Lucas wanted to keep it a secret, it took more than one man to portray Darth Vader - Master of the Awesome Side on the silver screen.  No one can forget the man behind the voice, James Earl Jones, and most know of the big man in the suit, David Prowse.  However, even less realize it took Bob Anderson donning the black suit to transform the original stiff Star Wars lightsaber duel between Vader and Obi Wan Kenobi into the epic battles between father and son (Luke Skywalker) in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

The circle is now complete...  (yawn)

Although David Prowse could look enormous and make a threatening gesture or two, he proved he wasn't very good with a sword and couldn't do the moves necessary to step it up a couple of notches for ESB.  Enter Swordmaster Bob Anderson at age 57, and the rest is movie history.

Who's your daddy?!

Although being uncredited for his stunt work in movies was nothing new to Bob Anderson, George Lucas was hoping to keep the illusion that Darth Vader was played by only one man until Mark Hamil spilled the beans in a 1983 interview.

"Bob Anderson was the man who actually did Vader's fighting.  It was always supposed to be a secret, but I finally told George (Lucas) I didn't think it was fair any more," Hamill told Starlog magazine, "Bob worked so bloody hard that he deserves some recognition.  It's ridiculous to preserve the myth that it's all done by one man."

The real deal.

To me there are many times when Lucas does something "his way" or what he might think is right, but it usually turns out to appear selfish and just another dickish move on his part.  I think the fact it took no less three men to portray Darth Vader makes the character all the more amazing, but now part of that trio has passed on at age 89 on New Year's Day.

Bob Anderson, Master of Awesome.

Before making his mark in the movie industry, Bob Anderson served his country in the British Royal Marines in World War II, as an Olympic fencer in 1952, and longtime coach of Britain's national fencing team .  During five decades as a sword master, fight director and stunt performer he worked with actors that ranged from Errol Flynn to Antonio Banderas.  First working with Flynn on The Master of Ballantrae, other career highlights include: various James Bond movies, Highlander, The Mask of Zorro, The Legend of Zorro, The Princess Bride, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

RIP Mr. Anderson, your blade will be missed.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year & Looking Ahead

Hoping the new year goes a little bit better than this...

First off, I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and all the best for you and your families in 2012!

I'm not a big New Years guy.  To me it's just another day except for the NHL Winter Classic.  Resolutions can be made any day of the year, blah, blah, blah.  Anyway, on with looking ahead to the rest of 2012...  Life has been bumpy lately in terms of both time and money, so hopefully the new year sees some of my projects get back on track and the ability to afford to start a few new ones.

First off is getting back to my Imperial Guard Mordians.  With a little more consistent effort, these guys should progress fairly quickly especially with all the vehicles.  I have mixed feelings about the 6th Edition of Warhammer 40k coming out later this year.  I like 5th Edition and the way the Imperial Guard plays right now (at least my list), so I'm apprehensive.  Then again, things could always improve...

A new army book for my Warhammer Vampire Counts army is coming out this month and one is rumored for the Empire in the Spring.  Although I love the minis, my enthusiasm for Warhammer 8th Edition is at a low ebb right now, and I'd rather start a new historical project or two than work on my Warhammer armies.  Still, you never know when inspiration strikes, so we'll see if the army books breathe new life into my Vampire Counts, Empire, or even Kislev armies.

Another project that needs to be finished up is my Dwarven Army of Erebor for War of the Ring.  I have some human allies from the Kingdom of Dale in the works, along with evil armies of Easterlings and Mordor.  These other projects can wait a bit though, and who knows what Games Workshop has in store for the LOTR line later in the year as The Hobbit movie gets closer.  Still, I think a few games of the LOTR skirmish level game needs to be played fairly soon.

A more immediate project I'd like to address is working on my War Room.  As I mentioned in the related post, my goal is to get a game table set up again here at home, so that might include some small terrain projects.  Regardless, I'm looking forward to rearranging things a bit, and get a new painting area set up.

What I'm really itching to do is get back into historicals and this time with 28mm instead of 15's or any smaller scales.  The miniature ranges that have been coming out in recent years from Perry Miniatures, Victrix, Warlord Games, Calpe Miniatures, along with old stand by's like Wargames Foundry and Front Rank have been pretty amazing.  Along with this recent high production rule sets like Black Powder and its supplements, Lasalle, and Maurice due out later this year are very encouraging.

The main question is whether to start with the Seven Year's War or a Napoleonic era army.  For SYW, I'm prepared to work on all the armies myself starting with the Prussians and Russians from Wargames Foundry and then adding the Austrians from Crusader Miniatures (Plus some help from Front Rank for all of these).  The metal miniatures will be more expensive to be sure, but I hope to start off with two smaller forces to get playing and grow from there.

With Napoleonics, I would hope for at least one other local partner in crime if not two or three.  This will be a problem as the local gamers I know and enjoy playing with are firmly entrenched in GW games.  Although I wouldn't mind starting a Prussian or French brigade or two, I'm definitely interested in seeing new plastics for Austrians and Russians.

Although the new Maurice rules and Imagi-Nations might open some possibilities for SYW stuff, I see this as a finite project.  I really like the style of the Wargames Foundry range, since I see my SYW armies as more collections of "Toy Soldiers" than the more gritty realistic feel I hope to go for with Napoleonics.  So maybe it's best to start there, as opposed to a more open ended project like Napoleonics.

There are a few other dark horses out there such as Franco-Prussian War, English Civil War, or even some Victorian era skirmish stuff, but right now there are no immediate plans just ideas bouncing around in my head.  I think a good place to start is by painting my collection of foot and mounted Cossacks from Wargames Foundry.  Not only can these figs be used for Eastern Renaissance, SYW, Napoleonics, or even Kislev handgunners, but they're also perfect for skirmish games and (Black Sea) pirates for some Legends of the High Seas action.

Too many words and not enough pictures I know...  If you read this far, then God bless and good luck with all your endeavors in the new year!