Sunday, January 20, 2019

Replica Metal Soldiers & Models

What's that off in the distance? 

One of the pleasures of the hobby is in a way it's complete pointlessness.  I got these just before Christmas on a whim from Andrew at  Mrs Kinch has a bit of a weakness for a shiny (or as she calls them "proper toy soldiers") toy soldier, so I got her the special Christmas carol singers set that Andrew had produced.  I must post some pictures of them in a bit. 

Egad! Prussians!

Regardless, while I was completing the order, I noticed that Andrew had these chaps and before I knew it, I had had a sudden rush of blood to the head and had bought them.  The castings are reproductions of a Britains figure of a Prussian line infantryman in parade dress.  They took remarkably little work to get ready for painting, the only job was attaching the plug arm that holds the rifle, which was but the work of a minute. 

Look at those moustaches. 

Once assembled they were painted with my usual acrylics and given a thick coat of yacht varnish.  Proper yacht varnish that requires white spirits and that stinks to high heaven.  That's how you know it's good.  The result is a thick glossy coat that really brings out the character of these old castings. 

Detail is a bit soft. 

One complaint I have heard about these is that the detail is a bit soft.  I don't see this as a problem - it's simply the style in which the figures were produced and it lends itself to a very particular painting style.  You can add or leave out as much detail as you like and the simple style of figures supports it.  I'm not sure that I would paint in quite as much detail (like blacklining the gun barrels for example) next time.  

But having seen both these figures and the special set of Christmas Carol singers, I can unreservedly recommend Replica Metal Soldiers & Models.  At £3.75 per casting (with discount for unit packs), they are towards the cheaper end of the scale for traditional toy soldiers and the results speak for themselves.  I may not wait so long to dip my toe in the traditional toy soldiers pond again - may the Prussians menace my bookshelves for many years to come. 

Do you know how fast you were going Miss?

The LadyBaby seems to be developing very expensive habits and was recently seen behind the wheel of a sports car.  I fear she may pursue a career as a dazzling young socialite with dire results for Daddy's pocket book. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Wet Palette

Like most of the important things in life - I came late to this one.  Mrs Kinch very kindly got me a wet palette for Christmas.  It’s quite a substantial one about the size of an A4 page.  It’s been a revelation.  I’ve used a great deal less paint and found it much easier to thin my paints appropriately.

The only snag was it was rather large and couldn’t be brought anywhere as the lid wasn't watertight. 

The palette I had came with a refill pad of "wet pads" and palette covers. So I set to with the refill pad and some scissors and an old tobacco tin.  I cut the pad and paper to size and slipped it into the tin.   The result was watertight, light and has proved very useful.  Can’t recommend the wet palette enough - if you're doing any amount of painting at all, I would urge you to try one. 

The Kinchlets are continuing to grapple to with the problems of LEGO.  

Sunday, January 6, 2019

New Years Resolution

Some Prussians before the issue of suitably dastardly moustaches  

I haven’t been posting much of late and that has been almost entirely down to a whirlwind of work and Kinchlets.  Toddlers are tremendous fun,  but they do soak up an awful lot of time. 

In the mean time I have been painting these fellas.  They are Britains recasts by Replica Miniatures and they serve no wargaming purpose,  I bought them because I fancied them.   They shall be glossed within an inch of their lives and will then march across one of my bookshelves. The “painting by numbers” approach is very easy with these big figures and there’s something quite soothing and restful about it. 

That’s all for now. We shall see if I can keep this blogging malarkey up - I’ve missed it. 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Review: The Barbary Pirates by C.S. Forrester

The Barbary PiratesThe Barbary Pirates by C.S. Forester
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Short and lively, this a popular history for younger readers of the conflict between the infant US Navy and the Barbary Pirates of North Africa. The prose is simple and crisp as is usual with Forrester and the narrative gallops along at a satisfying pace. Adult readers will no doubt want something more in depth on the subject as this treatment is necessarily superficial, but even adult readers can benefit from a simple story well told.

Good for younger readers or as an introduction to the subject.

View all my reviews

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Review: Chaos Child by Ian Watson

Chaos ChildChaos Child by Ian Watson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ian Watson offers my favourite interpretation of the 40k universe, though Dan Abnett is a close second. Chaos Child, the conclusion to the Inquisition War trilogy, is a curates egg - good in parts. Watson's command of description and character is as good as ever, but sadly he doesn't stick the landing.

Plot is not Watson's strong point and he is far better at describing the dream like absurdity of the setting than he is at paying off the story points he's laid down for himself. The book as a whole undergoes a significant tonal shift half way through as the over arching plot he has been playing with for the previous two books is sidelined in the pursuit of what seems like a far more personal quest.

The characters are all still interesting and writing is as good as ever, but ultimately, nothing really changes as a result of the events of the book and that is a shame. If you are a fan of the setting and would like to take a tourist trip through some of its weirder locales, this is a book well worth reading, but if you just want to enjoy a story - there are better uses of your time.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

D-Day Part Two - Sword Beach

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Sword Beach - Someone appears to have removed the artillery from this German emplacement.

This game was played quite some time ago. You can read about the first game of three we played here.   Looking back at my records, we played it in February - which just goes to show how long its been taking me to get around to blogging. 

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But there are still enough troops inside to wreck the Allies day. 

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Sword Beach - the Germans ponder their options.  Beach landing scenarios can be difficult to turn into interesting games because the defender often doesn't have much to do other than hunker down and fire at the closest target.   A good game isn't impossible, but in this case it relied on the Germans having some artillery and some limited reserves. 

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Sword Beach

Now one of the advantages of playing Memoir '44 is that the scenarios are available and lots of folks have played them.  Consequently there are a lot of statistics available on the games as whole.  The British typically win this scenario 75% of the time, but with a far lower margin of victory than the shellacking that the Americans typically get at Omaha.  They win, but they don't win by a country mile. 

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The Allied players were a lot happier with this setup as the terrain wasn't as steep and actually getting off the beach wasn't so challenging. 

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Allied armour charges up the beach. 

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The landing craft are mainly set dressing - in that they don't have a game effect, but we used them to count victory medals.  Each time the Germans scored a point, we added some smoke to "blow up" a landing craft. 

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The British armour is trying for a breakthrough. 

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The British infantry slog it up the beach, forcing a lodgement in the centre, while the German pummel them with artillery. 

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A British commando appears behind the cafe and knifes a German sentry.  This marked an early lead for the British as they stormed up the beach. 

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The German commanders had some tricky decisions to make.  Should they try to contest the allied landing while it is still on the beach, but risk committing their small reserves too soon or should they try and draw them into the close country further up?

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German infantry occupy the town, counter attacking the advancing British commandos. 

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A desperate German counter-attack onto the beach can't save the rapidly collapsing German centre. 

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The Cafe  gets rather crowded as the last few defenders are driven from the beach.  A British victory put the Allies even going into the final game.  We used the 'Allo 'Allo figures as a means of counting victory medals.  Every time the Allies scored a medal, we added another character to the Cafe Rene.

It inspired Edith to give us a bit of a song.

After setting up the next table, we repaired to a local greasy spoon where several mixed grills were consumed.  I had the fish and chips and they were tip top.  Savage joined us briefly for grub, but he'd snorted some absinthe that didn't agree with him the night before and had to head relatively soonish.

Hopefully, I will get to the next post and the end of the campaign before too long, but I'm trying to discipline myself and update J&F at least once a week. We shall see if that lasts. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Back once again...

Looking at my blogging of late, it has been far far too long.  Weirdly, I have a couple of entries in the drafts folder, but I haven't finished them off because I haven't been happy with them.  As perfect is the enemy of good, it just means that I haven't finished any blog posts at all.  I'm back in work full time and working shifts again, so between work and family there hasn't been a huge amount of time for wargaming. 

So in brief, I've been mucking about with Game Workshops latest offering "Kill Team" which is rather good.  Kill Team is a small scale game and reminds me very much of  first edition Rogue Trader in that it is a semi-rpg with figures.   I've only played a couple of games, but I've really enjoyed them.  

I've also been playing With the Colours, a solo computer moderated game.  It's free and quite satisfying when played as part of a campaign.  I've been leading Lt. (now Captain) McKinch of the 18th Royal Irish with some success against the Russians, though the Victoria Cross is proving elusive.  You can find a bit more about that in the latest issue of Miniature Wargames. 

I've never  experimented with computer moderated rules before, but these have really kept my attention. They provide a simple objective based game, but one that has plenty of incident and variety to keep it interesting and that still allows you to do your own dice rolling.  

Given that it's free, it is definitely worth a shot. 

The face of disappointment

Life with the Kinchlets is exhausting but rewarding.  The LadyBaby has some full sentences now and the Bear is climbing everything in sight.  

We went down to the park recently.  The LadyBaby was asleep, but the Bear was not.  Unfortunately we arrived just as some construction was under way.  The poor little chap became very upset and spent about ten minutes trying to break in.  He was not successful, but not for want of trying. 

In the meantime, I've been watching this.  This chap is quite entertaining. He reviews films and television programmes that have been adapted from books and critiques how well the adaptation succeeds. It's the sort of thing we all do when we see a film version of a book we love - but Dominic manages to raise a laugh while doing it.