Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Chain of Command – Pre-orders now available

Well, today was the first day for placing pre-orders for the new Too Fat Lardies’ rules, Chain of Command, which will be officially released on August 21.  This is a new set of rules take a whole different route of mechanics from the traditional TFL system of using cards for the sequence of actions.  This system is strictly a dice mechanics for what type of units that can act per turn. 

I am had been looking forward to this set of rules to do platoon size actions, but I will not be using it for the period that it covers, WWII.  I plan to use them to do my ‘Anarchy’ & Falklands projects.  So I might need to change/add a few things, but as the basics of what was available in the 1960s to early 80s really did not change that much from WWII, especially when it comes to an infantry only fight.  Most of vehicles that I plan to use are going to be light vehicles anyway and should not be too different compared to WWII equipment.

I pre-ordered the Big Bundle, which has everything in the Complete Bundle except the 28mm resin Jump-Off markers.  As I never plan to do any gaming in 28mm where I could use them, I decided against getting the Complete Bundle.  So what do I get?  In the bundle will be a hard copy and ether a PDF or an electronic tablet-friendly version of the rules (I will get the PDF), plus 24 game tokens, two green and two grey 24mm Chain of Command dice.  The tokens, dice, and the 28mm resin Jump-Off markers can be found on this Too Fat Lardies blog entry:

If you are interested in ordering a set of the rules, visit the TFL web store at

I hope to give this system a run in September or October of this year when I am back home using the “Anarchy” project in its first showing.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Future 20mm Projects - Minor update

I just mention in the previous entry that I sent off my next batch of 20mm figures to be painted.  One part of that batch are Liberation’s 1980’s USSR VDV paratroopers in jump helmets and berets.  There is enough to get me a platoon, plus some support weapons.  But the bulk of the figures will be for one of two other projects which in these pictures should give you an idea of what is coming down the line.  I bet you can figure them out without any more help.  But before that, I order two 1/64 diecast car sets.  They will be for my "Dark Days in America" project, but somehow, I foresee them in some chase games in the future too...

If you have to ask...I can't explain
Unfortunately it is 1:87 and not 1:64, and it doesn't have the right back windows, but it is the only Pinto wagon I can find
1970s style LAPD SWAT van to go with my 20mm 1970s SWAT team
Meanwhile, somewhere in Australia
"I am the Nightrider. I'm a fuel injected suicide machine. I am the rocker, I am the roller, I am the out-of-controller!"
"Greetings from The Humungus! The Lord Humungus! The Warrior of the Wasteland! The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla!"
20mm figure for size reference
20mm figure for size reference
Not for a game, but for a display

Painted 20mm goodness – Picture heavy

A while ago, I received my latest batch of painted 20mm goodness from Robert, the fine follow of Northumbrian Painting Service.  I also mailed off my next batch to be worked on as well.  So, what did I get!?!?

First off, let’s start with some of the more mundane stuff.  Here is a group of civilians, mostly old Hotspurs (now Stonewall Figures) and the two male figures in the back row are from Liberation.
This next batch of figures is from the seedier side of town with some thugs and roughs.  They are all the old Hotspurs.
Now these Geezers are not to be messed with unless you got some serious bottle.  Most of the figures are Elhiem, but the short ones in the middle are Platoon 20.
In an area full of these types of Geezers, you want to have a good bodyguard to protect you.  The figure is from Platoon 20 and the car is from Oxford Diecasts.
Here is a large lot of willing volunteers to stand up for the Queen or against her.  This is a group of various mix lot of armed citizens, criminals, cops, or ex-soldiers for the UK Meltdown scenarios.  All of these figures are from Liberation.
Just like the last group, but this time they find a supply of Mk III to Mk V helmets to wear.  Again, all of these figures are from Liberation.
Of course, those previous blokes would either be supporting or facing down the British Army as seen in this next picture.  These squaddies are wearing their Lightweights and Mk IV/V helmets and could be used for Regulars or Territorial’s for the ‘60s up to the early ‘80s.   They are all Liberation miniatures and I am waiting for Rolf’s release of more figures in the Mk IV/V helmets to round out the platoon and support teams.
In effort to show the masses the steadfast resolution of the Iron Lady, the follow two pictures are of another section of squaddies in riot formation.  In the second picture you can see the difference between the newest section (left) to the previous section (right).  This new section has DPM smocks on so I can tell the difference in the sections in a game that has two riot sections involved.  I still have one more section of riot gear squaddies, but I am going to be swamping heads to have some figures not wearing the NBC respirator to represent Big Men.  These figures are from Eureka.
Speaking of NBC respirators, it would not be very much of a Cold War feel of things without seeing the iconic picture of soldiers in NBC protective clothing.  The nice chaps at Elhiem have provided us with British squaddies in their Noddy suits to give me a proper Cold War feel to my Anarchy in the UK project.  Hopefully, one day they will do some nice 1970s-80s looking Americans in their MOPPs suits…that will be the real bee’s knees!
Now on the subject of Cold War Americans, this next photo is of US troops with the iconic M1 steel helmet and the M14 rifle.  While the M14 rifle is more remembered for the early 1960s for the US Army and mid-60s for the Marines, it still trooped on in US Army units in Europe until 1970s and in some National Guard units up to 1980!  Yes, they are still around today as in modified sniper rifles, but I am talking about straight up, line unit weapon.  So what can be more Cold War, the crap has hit fan image other than an Army National Guard squad armed with M14 rifles showing up to battle zombies or Soviet paratroopers.  These figures are from Liberation.
All of this talk about iconic images makes you wonder who is going to take photographs of it?  Well, no fear!  For here are members of the Fourth Estate to get it all on record, thanks to Liberation Miniatures.

When the press is not getting photos of Cold War warriors, they like to be the first on the scene of various incidents and crimes.  This next group of blokes will be sure to give them something to film.  Three of the previously shown Platoon 20 baddies decided to take some hostages.  The hostages are also from Platoon 20.
But those baddies forgot that good guys also wear black!  So in their black uniforms, here are the coppers to bring order to those baddies.  Yes, they are very much modern police and outside of my scope of the 70s, I just am not having much luck finding 20mm British police.  They also have a prisoner in his orange jump suit.  The police figures are from Under Fire and the prisoner is from Platoon 20.
But sometimes the regular boys and girls of the Metro are just not enough to stop the baddies, so that where Agents Bodie and Doyle from CI5 come in with some help from the ‘Old Man’.  The not-Bodie & Doyle minis are from Elhiem and the ‘Old Man’ is from Platoon 20.  The cars are from Oxford Diecast.  I want to point out to any hardcore “The Professionals” fans, the two cars actually have the same plate numbers as the cars from the 1980 season of the show!
But even CI5 just can’t get the job done!  Sometimes the baddies are really, really good and it takes a very talented agent to wrinkle the problem out.  That is when MI6 sends in their best agent, 007 – Bond, James Bond in his Aston Martin DB5. (Cue the strumming guitar!)   Bond is quite well supplied by Q Branch to get the job done from a Walter PPK to a rocket launching gyrocopter.  Bond is also quite handy at turning the tables on the villains of SPECTRE like using a captured Moon Buggy to make an escape.  But Bond especially loves to “borrow” one of his follow swinging agent’s cars to drive around London. (Bond is from Platoon 20; the Aston Martin DB5, the gyrocopter, and the Moon Buggy are from Kyosho; and the Austin Power’s Jaguar is from Oxford Diecast.)

Finally, I am not really sure that even James Bond can stop a horde of….ZOMBIES!!!!   Yes, 60 zombies to fester and bite brave defenders of old London town.    They are all Elhiem except the small headless child in the front, which is an old Hotspur civilian boy who’s head broke off over the years.  Oddly enough, I never got around to throwing it out and when I was sending off the zombies to be painted, I thought that it could be used for another zombie figure.
But there is one more post script to this entry and that is even after the zombie plague destroys most of civilization, there are always some survivors just trying to irk out another day as a living human.  These figures are also from Elhiem.
So there you go, some more painted goodness from Northumbrian Painting Service and I will leave you with two pictures for our moment of Zen of scenario ideas…
Be seeing you…

Slight Congo War Update

Well, I have not started reading Mad Dog Killers, yet.  But much to my happy surprise, Congo Unravelled: Military Operations from Independence to the Mercenary Revolt 1960-68, by Andrew Hudson (part of the Africa@war series) is now available as a Kindle.  I have the paperback version, but left it behind before my travel.  I picked up the Kindle version as I am eventually going to replace some of my physical copies with electronic versions to save on space.  So I have been reading that to bring myself back up to the political and social backgrounds of what was going on in the Congo before starting Mad Dog Killers.  

I am also glad to see that many, if not all, of the Africa@war series is now available electronically.  I am planning to eventually start reading on the Mau-Mau revolt of the 1950's.  The Africa@war series are not super detailed books, but they give you enough information to get a history in a nutshell for a great little primer on the various post-WWII African conflicts, especially in about 70-80 pages.

Be seeing you


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Congo War, 1960-66

I mention before about gaming the Congo War of the early 1960’s and my interest in it.  By sheer chance, I stumbled across on Amazon that Osprey is going to be releasing a booklet on the Congo Wars, 1960-2002, by Peter Abbott.  I am very pleased with this news.  It will be officially the fourth booklet from their Men-At-Arms series for the Modern African Wars.  Its expected release date is in February, 2014. This also happened to occurred after I dug out my 15mm Peter Pig Africans while cleaning the basement and thinking about mounting them on FOW bases and start getting back my Congo project.  I am taking it as a sign that the Congo must be free (of mineral wealth) again! 

I just happen to finish my book on the Civil War in Louisiana and will be starting up a new book, so it looks like I will be starting Mad Dog Killers: The Story of a Congo Mercenary, by a former ‘Mad’ Mike Hoare’s 5th Commando merc, Ivan Smith very soon.  I have already read both of Mike Hoare’s Congo books, so I am looking forward to this one as well.  Unfortunately, most of the books on the Congo War that I don’t have are hard copies and not electronic.  I was hoping to eventually cut back on my book collect but getting everything electronically.

I have plans on how I am going to convert some figures to do the Irish, Indians, Swedish, &Ethiopian UN troops, as well as the Katanga and Mercs troops.  I will not be able to get them 100% accurate, especially with some weapons, but I will have to live with it.  But the big thing will be to find someone that will take on the job on making 15mm SKPF APCs and Ford Thompson armored cars for my UN troops, as well as the odd look tower turret for the M8 Greyhound that the Katangese army had.  I am going to start checking some of the different manufacturers about custom orders.
C’est le Congo!


Working in my basement / gaming room

I had a couple of weeks off from work this month and I did some cleaning and reorganization of my bedroom and the basement, which includes my gaming area.  I am still working away at it, slowly, but I did throw out 5 large industrial size trash bags of junk!  I finally got one of my two gaming tables cleared off of junk and folded it up.  I also got everything out from underneath the other table too.  I have to clear the top off that is buried under a foot or two of junk.  Once that is done, I will fold that table up and put it away.   If anyone is in the St. Louis area and wants two 6’ x 2-1/2’ (72”x30”) white plastic folding tables, you can have these.  I am looking at getting rid of both of them and replace them with three 4’x2’ tables. 
I am going to do this because I am placing another one or two wire shelf units along one wall, which will narrow the area around the table to sit at or walk around.  With the two large tables, I will have a table space of 6’x5’, but only less than 2’ on either side of the table.  As I am not a skinny, wee lad any more, and less than 2’ is not going to cut it.  But with the three smaller tables, I can arrange them to have either a 4’x4’ table or a 6’x4’ table, which would give me just under 2’-6” per side, which is also the suggested minimum room for a chair at a table.  Ideal space is 3’ from the table edge to the shelves.  Also, by the table only being 4’ wide, it makes it much easier to reach across the table to the opposite edge making it possible that I can shift the tables up to the shelves and then having just under 5’ of space to walk around three of the four sides of the table.  I might even get some narrower shelves to replace the existing ones on the opposite wall which can get me a few more inches (2 or 3) to both sides of the table.   Oddly enough, this actually reinforces my earlier blog entry about scaling my games down to a 4’x4’ gaming area, but I didn’t even knew it then!
On a side note, in my bedroom, I am looking at having some custom shelves made to place on two of my short walls (again, I have eight walls in my bedroom).  The shelves would be in a “L” shape and bout 6” deep, so you can easily stack DVD’s, CD’s, and medium size paperbacks on them.  I am trying to think long term here, so if I sell my house years from now I can make it a selling point (not much of one, but still a positive point) vs. making narrow shelves just for displaying miniatures/nick-nacks.  But I have no clue if 20+ years from now if DVD’s/CD’s or their replacements will be more or less the same size.   Also, I have no clue in if 20+ years if paperback books will be a thing of the dinosaur, so maybe these shelves will not be a useful thing.
Anyway, on to finishing Phase II for getting gaming back into my home.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

High School Map Kickstarter

I know that I have mention some Kickstarter campaigns on this blog before, but I rarely advertize the ones that I support on this blog.  Some I just don’t mention because they really don’t follow the general theme of this blog, that being miniature gaming or history, like the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition RPG Kickstarter that ended a while ago (I don’t get to play Call of Cthulhu, but I really do like the stories and adventure arcs.)  But this is one of those that I am supporting and it does relate to miniature gaming.  This is map of a generic US high school for RPG’s / miniature games by Fabled Environments.  While it is normally intended for RPG gamers, it can be very useful to the minimalist miniature gamer that just wants to use a map of an interior of a building to do a skirmish base game, like a police raid or zombie hunt.

I have several of Fabled Environments maps and I do like them.  You can print them out with squares or without.  They are scaled to be 1” = 5’ (1:60) making them ready to go for 28mm.  If you print at a reduced scale of print to 60% will get you 15mm (1:100) or to 79%-83% will get you 20mm (1:75.9 to 1:72).  So, all of the key scales can be covered with just a little effort in the printing.

As part of this Kickstarter, anyone who backs it at the $10 level will receive an exclusive PDF map of typical US school bus that holds 50 kids along with the PDF of the high school and a football stadium.  That is not a bad deal at all.  Also for another $10, you get the PDF of a two story mall or a fast food restaurant.

This Kickstarter ends in just about 30 hours.   So you will need to take action soon if you want to get in.

Monday, July 15, 2013

My visit to an atomic bomb drop site!

OK, recently I discovered that where I am working is not too far from one of only few bomb sites where an atomic bomb was dropped from an airplane on a populated area...but this one is in the USA!

Now, as Paul Harvey use to say, "and now...the rest of the story".

From the Wiki entry:

"On March 11, 1958 a U.S. Air Force B-47 Stratojet from the Hunter Air Force Base's 308th Bombardment Wing in Savannah, Georgia took off around 4:34 p.m. It was scheduled to fly to the United Kingdom for Operation Snow Flurry. The plane was required to carry nuclear weapons in the event of war breaking out with the Soviet Union. Air Force Captain Bruce Kulka was the navigator and was summoned to the bomb bay area after the captain of the plane had encountered a fault light in the cockpit indicating that the bomb harness locking pin for the transatlantic flight did not engage. As Kulka was reaching around the bomb to pull himself up, he mistakenly grabbed the emergency release pin. The Mark 6 bomb dropped to the floor of the B-47 and the weight forced the bomb bay doors open sending the bomb 15,000 feet (4,572 m) down to the ground below.

The Mark 6 Atomic Bomb
Although the bomb did not contain the removable core of fissionable uranium and plutonium (the core was securely stored in a containment area on board the plane and thus not technically a traditional "atomic" bomb per se.), it did contain 7,600 pounds (3,447 kg) of conventional explosives. The resulting explosion created a mushroom cloud and crater estimated to be 75 feet (23 m) wide and 25–35 feet (7.6–10.7 m) deep. It destroyed a local home, the residence of Walter Gregg, and leveled nearby trees. Nobody was directly killed from the blast but several people in Gregg's family were injured from the explosion."

There is more to the story than that!  When the bomber crew realized that they just dropped an atomic bomb on the US, they immediately contacted Hunter AFB and gave them the coded message that they lost the bomb.  As this code was never used before and was not something regularly trained on, Hunter AFB could not understand the message.  So the bomber crew radio the local civilian airport at Florence, SC, and stated to for them to contact Hunter AFB and tell them the bomber has "lost their device."  Also the the bomber crew instructed Florence airport to send every available emergency vehicle and to bomb site, without saying it was a bomb site!  Also the Gregg's children had just left their tree house about 15 minutes or so earlier or they would have been the first Americans killed by an atomic bomb being dropped on the US!

The bomb site
It also took many years for the Gregg family finally win their settlement from the US Government for their damages to their home.

For more detailed accounts go to here, here, here and here.

Anyway, I did go to visit the site and got with a couple hundred feet of the crater, but did not know exactly where it was to go out and walk up to it.  But since then, I know where it is and an I am planning to revisit it later.  But I did find the roadside marker for the event and have included the pictures of it here.



Solo Board Games: 'Toe-to-Toe Nu'klr Combat with the Rooskies' and 'We Must Tell the Emperor'

This is sort of an odd coincidence that I would be publishing this blog entry when you read my next one!

Anyways, I found a board game company that has several solo board games based on various topics called Victory Point Games (website).  I ordered several of the games a couple weeks back and got them this Saturday.  I also picked up one of their out-of-print games on eBay ("We Must Tell the Emperor") which I also got Saturday.  

If you click on the names of the games, it will take you to their respective Board Game Geek entries. I played around with only two of them so far, "We Must Tell the Emperor" and "Toe-to-Toe Nu'klr Combat with the Rooskies".  I had a hoot with both of them!  Very easy games, only took 2 hours at most for a game.  If you are into solo gaming, they are well worth the cost.

In "We Must Tell the Emperor", you play the Japanese in WWII and must try to marshal your resources and chose which Allied Army Front to fight and try to push back.  In my first game, I failed to keep Nimtiz's Front in check and he pushed to far inwards, but I had destroyed the ABDA Front, and pushed both MacArthur and the British all the way back and had several attempts to try to deliver a Knock Out Attack and destroy both of them, and the Chinese were pushed pretty far back.  Then the Mid-War started to occur and things where starting to turn ugly.  Then late war broke out and things really got ugly!  The game end with Japan defeated (barely! I only had two more turns to go for a draw and I was still looking good for my resources) with the British Front pushing into the Home Islands.  But all of the other fronts were right there too, so I doubt that I could have held on anyway.  Man, I hated that B-29 fire bombing event card!

In "Toe-to-Toe Nu'klr Combat with the Rooskies" you play the crew of several B-52 bombers flying into the USSR to drop your nuclear payload and fly back home.  This was a complete hoot as it is heavily influenced by one of my all time favorite movies, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.  I keep humming "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" as I cruised in to bomb the Rooskies.  It has almost inspired me to go looking for a 1/600 or a 1/1200 scale B-52 bomber to paint up for the marker.  Oh, and there is even a Survival Kit card!

 Just by also a weird coincidence, I discovered that next Strategy & Tactics magazine (#283) will feature a board game called, "Fail Safe."  I might have to break down and buy that game. 



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Vicksburg is taken, boys!

OK, I spent way too much time on this yesterday when I should have been working on the basement.  But I was trying to figure out how to put up a slide show on here from my 2008 tour of Vicksburg for the Sesquicentennial.  Next thing I know is that I spent way too many hours on this.  

This is my first, and possibly last, music video.  I hope you enjoy it.

(Yeah, I know that it is rather slanted to the Union and Missouri, but so am I!)



Whimsical Wednesday: 1776 & Gettysburg

Today is a few YouTube videos in the spirit of the 4th of July.

First, by far, is one of my favorite movies and musicals: 1776.   This is especially rare since I really don't care to much for musicals, as there is only about six others that I like.  It is a very well done musical play that was written by a history teacher, Sherman Edwards.  It was his first and only play that he ever written.  He broke several "rules" for musical plays, like having the first 15 minutes with no music and ending without a happy, memorable tune (but the movie add one instead of ending with the original of the bell toiling so to have something playing over the credits.)  

It is also my tradition to either watch the movie or listen to the soundtrack every 4th of July for the last 25+ years.

Here is a video of the trailer for the movie:

This is the song that is my favorite called "Is there anybody there?" It is sung by John Adams (played by William Daniels) at the the night before the big vote for independence.

Also, today is the 150th anniversary of the third and final day of the Battle of Gettysburg with Pickett's Charge, as well as the day that Grant discuss the terms of surrender with Pemberton of Vicksburg.  While in Arkansas, rebel forces under Holmes and Price prepared for the assault on the fortifications of Prentiss at Helena.

While I didn't care for the movie, Gettysburg, I did like some of the battle scenes and actually like Jeff Daniels as Joshua Chamberlain.  It is a pity that someone has not done a good movie about Vicksburg, but I doubt that it would do good commercially.  

This is one of my favorite scenes from Gettysburg:



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Last Corner!

Some of you may have remembered back on 12/17/12, I posted a blog entry that I was going to paint my bedroom from a nasty pea green to bright white.  Also, some of you may know that I am a traveler for work and only get home two weekends a month, if I am lucky.  Sometimes it can be as long as one weekend every two months.  Plus in my 12/17/12 entry, I showed a picture of my book cases and what a mess I had and that was going to start inventorying them and restack them on three additional book cases that I bought for my bed room. 

Finally, after six months, I am almost complete.  As you can see in the picture below, I am finally on my last corner to be painted in the bed room (due to the way my bed room is laid out, I actually have eight corners!)  All of the books in my bedroom have been inventoried, but I still have the ones in the basement to go through.  The room is still in total chaos, but once I get this corner finish and dried, I can start to get things straighten up.  Also be on the look out a couple of months, I will be putting up a list of books that will be looking for a new home as I am going to be weeding through my collection.

I had to drag my old computer desk out of my bed room and that was what use to sit in this corner.  I have to go out and buy an new one, but for now I have a small folding picnic table (2'x4') that I will be placing back there.  My old computer desk has seen better days of about 20+ years and was starting to fall apart.

So for now, I am taking a break and letting the paint dry so I can hit the corner one more time with an coat.  Hopefully tomorrow will bring about order from the chaos.  After that...the basement!  First will be some general cleaning and pitching out some junk that just needs to be thrown away.  Then, it will be sorting/inventorying through miniatures to figure out what to keep, what to try to sell, and what to just throw away.  Hopefully by the end of the year, I will have my gaming area again in the basement.