Sunday 29 January 2017


Just got back from the annual road trip to the nation's capital Canberra for a weekend of gaming related shenanigans. The weekend followed a well established pattern of drive, shop, natter, eat, natter, sleep, eat, shop, drive and was in general a most satisfactory outing.

Highlights of the weekend included the second instalment of the CANCON wargame blogger's meet-up. Unfortunately this year with the public holiday falling on the Thursday there was a noticeable drop off in people able to make it. Still, I was able to say g'day to a number of fellow bloggers. Cheers to Reilly and Paul O'G for the pic.

I managed to pick up a few bargains at the second hand stall including 8 assorted Warhammer army books for $37 total, a unit of High Elf cavalry for $15 and approximately $85 worth of Firestorm Armada ships for $34. Very happy with that haul! I won't be venturing into the Firestorm Armada space, buying the ships for use with more generic small scale rules like A Sky Full of Ships.

I also picked up a couple of new games to play with the family:

Dinner was entertaining with Kaptain Kobold, Barks and the War and Peace boys as well as a healthy showing from our mob. The Duck's Nuts pub is a pretty good venue and the food was up to scratch too. Conversation ranged over a number of topics including the general loathing of a certain well-known wargames forum. I never cease to be amazed by the number of people who have been offended by the content and/or a proportion of the community on there, myself included.

The only real disappointment of the weekend was the lack of variety amongst the traders. Everyone seemed to be selling the same thing and I wasn't able to pick up any of the terrain items I had hoped for the 55 Days at Peking project. I guess that's a missed opportunity for the traders and the money will go to online vendors instead now. Unfortunately that means postage will have to be paid but I can't help that.

That's pretty much it. Only 364 days till the next one!


Saturday 21 January 2017

55 Days at Peking... The Boxers are ordered

Loads of reading has continued to keep me enthused and a couple of days ago I sorted out the first order from Redoubt Enterprises. This comprises the majority of the troops for the Boxer forces. Given this is the larger block of painting I wanted it out of the way first.

Screwing up my eyes and clicking Complete Order before I fainted at the postage (45GBP!!!) I purchased the sum of 113 Boxers in various incarnations. When organised into units they will give me the following:

6 x 12 man units with melee weapons
2 x 6 man units with firearms
2 x 6 man units of Kansu Braves
2 x 6 man units of Tigermen
1 x cannon and crew
1 x "demolition rickshaw" i.e. portable bomb

12 units plus a couple of artillery isn't really a lot given the nature of how things pan out on the table but that's fine. Units will "recycle" as they break (a lot!) or (less often) are destroyed.

I've also put in a big order for 25mm round bases and some assorted carts from the wonderful Martin and Diane at Warbases.

Off and running!


Sunday 15 January 2017

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge VII - Day 27, or Doomed to Repeat the Mistakes of the Past

Yes, it's that time of year again, when painters from the four corners of the circular globe gather together to honour their shadowy master, the Snowlord, who resides in his icy fastness in the Frozen North, awaiting the tribute of his followers. 

Translation; proud Canadian and all-round top bloke Curt Campbell of the Analogue Hobbies blog is once more running the annual Painting Challenge, and both Millsy and myself have thrown our hats into the ring. And naturally, my own output is languishing in the doldrums.

Well, no excuses; I'm on 28 points while others have already passed the 1K mark, so I'll just have to pick up the pace!

First out of his box was this handsome fellow;

This is Scibor Miniatures' Santa Snowman Slayer, a dwarven maniac in festive guise. He will fill the Barbarian slot in my Frostgrave warband led by Vaino the Enchanter (as seen here) and his well-meaning Apprentice Ilmar. So he also counts as a useful start in my Frostgrave Duel with Millsy, though I think I can expect a swift counterattack, since young Michael has never been one to let the grass grow under his feet...

Next up was this little vignette, Delenda Est...

My meditation on the human condition in the form of the ghosts of the past confronting the warriors of the modern age; the spirit of a departed Carthaginian soldier awoken by the tumult of war in 1943.

This was to have been my entry for the first Bonus Round, 'Armour', but exactly as happened last year, the best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley. Oh well, live and learn (hopefully).

I've had a lot of encouraging comments on the piece, and as this is the first WWII tank I've painted in over three decades, I'm gratified at the response. I might have to rustle up some more down the track!

So that's the story so far - I've cleared the decks to try and remedy the options paralysis I've been experiencing, and hope that this will enable me to focus properly on the task at hand.

Stay tuned...


Saturday 7 January 2017

55 Days at Peking... A beginning

One of Don Kingman's wonderful watercolour paintings from the opening credits of the 1963 classic film
produced by Samuel Bronston and starring Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner and David Niven

Right then! I've finally made a decision about my big new project for 2017 - it will be a Boxer Rebellion theme and it will be centred around the Siege of the Legations in Peking in 1900.

After much consideration, wandering about the interwebs exercising my Google Foo and counting my shekels over and over I have decided to go with a 28mm large skirmish model. This will involve at least 130 Chinese troops and as many as half of that number in Great Powers troops spread across most of the various imperial protagonists.

Last night Russ, Cory and I played a test game using Matakishi's free skirmish rules The Natives Are Restless Tonight available from his own Boxer Rebellion project. They mostly suit my needs and with some tweaking will, at least for the time being, be the preferred rule set as they play fast and allow for plenty of on-the-fly silliness and heroics from both sides.

This morning I sat down and re-watched (for about the 100th time I think) the 2.5 hour cinematic epic 55 Days at Peking, one of my favourite all time history / war movies. I love everything about it from the story, to the scale, to the relatively accurate period colour. I'm not usually a Charlton Heston fan but in this instance I think he suited the role and alongside David Niven (who was magnificent IMHO) made the film quite watchable over and over, for me at least.

The sets from the film are one of the things that have always caught my eye and I'll be looking to try and recreate some of that flavour on the table when I start build the board. My intention is to build approximately 4-6 legations, plus a number of gardens, the canal, a large ornamental gate (thanks to Dave Docherty!) and plenty of other smaller items to add flavour. It will be a LOT of work and storage will be an issue but I've wanted to do this for some time and there's no point doing it by halves.

Over the last few weeks the lovely Mrs Millsy and my in-Laws have shelled out on some serious reading for my birthday this year to keep me fired up and interested. I've got both the Osprey Men-at-Arms Boxer Rebellion and Peking 1900 Campaign books in the post, along with an eBay find I have been after for some time...

Lastly there is some more serious reading for bedtime, a copy of The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China by David J. Silbey. I have read several good reviews about it and am very keen to get my head into it the minute it arrives...

So, plenty to keep me occupied for the next few weeks as I work out my requirements in terms of troops. They'll be predominantly from the Redoubt Miniatures Boxer Rebellion range which covers pretty much everything I require, although for some reason seems to lack personality figures despite these appearing in their other colonial ranges?!? Go figure...

Anyway, that's enough for starters...


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