Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Another Kickstarter and another new project

Well, I decided after some serious debate with myself about supporting another Kickstarter campaign and getting into yet another new gaming project, I am supporting another Kickstarter and starting another project.  I don’t know why I keep torturing myself like this because I know I don’t have the time to do any of the projects that I already started, plus this one is also violating my “No 28mm” rule that I announce on this blog earlier this year!  But after thinking it over and hearing about it for too long, I decided to take the plunge.  So now I am backing Baker Company’s Winter War Kickstarter (link: )

Actually it is a very good deal and it is amazing for what you are getting with your pledge.  I decided to support at the ‘Mannerheim Line’ level which will get me a Finnish infantry platoon and two Russian infantry platoons, plus various terrain packs and one of each unlock bonus stretch goals per platoon!  As of now, the pledge is over 27,000 GBP and there is still under two weeks left.  Using the cost for the add-on packs for determining the actual retail value of what I am getting, I figure that I am getting about 679.50 GBP of figures for just 220 GBP!  That is about 33% of the cost for everything!  If the pledges continue and more stretch goals get unlocked, that is more free stuff added the pot!  This is an amazing deal.  The ‘Border Assault deal’ is even a better deal for a discount.  But it is only one platoon of Finnish and Russians, plus the bonus stretch goals which is about 29% of estimated retail value!  Plus this not even figuring the savings from the fact that this is free shipping worldwide into the retail cost…standard practice is anywhere from 10-20% for most retailers shipping from the UK to the US.  So in reality, the savings for the Kickstarter supporters is even greater then what I figured out above.
Painted examples of the miniatures from the Kickstarter site
Plus the fundraiser, Baker Company, is a well established company and not some fly by night questionable cad.  I figured that even if I decide after a few years that I will never complete the project and do anything with them, I can still sell them about the same amount that I bought them at and still come out even in the sale.

Now I plan to use TFL’s Chain of Command (CoC) for this project.  As TFL society is really supporting this project, some of the first official army lists that have been released for free cover the Winter War, plus a nice download on Finnish tactics during the Winter War and can be found on the official TFL’s blog ( & ).  I am already starting to look for suitable wintery terrain, like trees with snow on them, terrain mat, etc.  I am really hoping that the pledge level reaches the next level at 30,000 GBP as that will unlock the field kitchen and soldiers eating for both the Finnish and Russians.  The other stretch goals are also great, but I am really looking forward to the kitchen set myself.
Another pic of the painted miniatures from the Kickstarter site
Also, as part of this new project, is looking for reading material on the Winter War.  I ordered Kindle versions of Ospreys of Finland at War and Mannerheim Line, as well as the Kindle book, A Frozen Hell, by William Trotter.  Unfortunately, I failed to notice that I order a “Pre-order” version of A Frozen Hell, so I guess it is an updated version of the one that is available now.  So I have to wait unit November to start reading that book.  I want to buy War of the White Death by Bair Irincheev as well, but as it is a Stackpole book and they somewhat regularly have a free book(s) sale on weekends, I am holding off on buying it until after I have read the other three books just in case it comes up as a free sale by then.

So I am ending this blog entry with a music moment of Zen with tribute song to the Fins during the Winter War by the Swedish metal rock band, Sabaton, called Talvisota


Whimsical Wednesday

Sometimes words can not describe things....

Saturday, September 7, 2013

An update, the Congo, and Marshall

Well, I am still around and still coughing (but will be seeing a doctor about that next week).  Still have not got anywhere on miniature gaming or reading TFL’s Chain of Command.  But what I have done since last update was get a few more chapters read in Ivan Smith’s, Mad Dog Killers, just over half way through.  His version of how the 5th Commando was in the Congo in 1964 is totally different than “Mad” Mike Hoare’s.  Speaking of “Mad” Mike, I started to listen to one of his audio books and only got maybe 10-15 minutes into it before I had other stuff to do, but Mike Hoare sounds great and is very interesting to listen to.

While on the subject of the Congo, a good friend, Thomas, visited the Swedish Military Museum just recently and took some pictures of the Swedish UN displays for me (THANK YOU, Thomas!!!!)  The link to his photographs is the following link. 
But going back to the Ivan Smith’s book, I am more inclined to believe Ivan Smith’s version of how the mercs fought and served in the Congo.  As such, I might have to relook at how I am planning to represent the Congo in future gaming.  Basically, rank meant nothing, so the concept of Big Men (to steal the term from TFL) would not be the officers or the NCO’s, but the instead the few men who really loved to fight with everyone else just supporting them (ironically, this is the key concept with TFL games and S.L.A. Marshall’s book, Men Against Fire, which just strengthens the their argument).  While Ivan Smith really only refers to what was going on with his Commando (roughly a platoon size element), it probably represents the mercs as a whole fairly accurately, especially when I remember one scene in particular of one of “Mad” Mike’s books where one merc stopped after river crossing and refused to advance any further as he was busily trying to dry his payroll check on a rock in the sun.  As Ivan Smith describes, the more aggressive mercs rode in the jeeps as they were the ones with the machines guns and did most of the patrolling without the bulk of the rest of the Commando.  Also, he stresses again the strong psychological effects of shamanic magic on the Simbas and the Congolese army.  While TFL’s B’Maso does not have “magic” and everything I have read from all sides state that “magic” was major role in the Congo war, I have to figure out how to do a fairly realistic rule on the use of “magic” in the games.

Now, on to discussing Marshall!  No, this is not about S.L.A. Marshall’s, Men Against Fire, but about the Battle of Marshall, Missouri.  An odd twist of fate means that I will be back home next weekend and will be able to attend the 150th Anniversary reenactment of the battle in Marshall.  The battle is one of those battles that really interested me for some unknown reason.  It was not a big battle, there was almost no casualties (0 killed on the Union side and 4 or 5 on the CSA side), and really did not resolved anything.  But I like reading about it all the same!  The battle occurred on October 13th, 1863 (yes, the reenactment is being held a month earlier, so it is more like the 149-11/12th Anniversary instead).  The battle was the turning point of CSA’s General Jo Shelby’s 1863 raid, one of the longest cavalry raids in the war covering about 1500 miles.  Most of the ill got bounty that Shelby got on his raid was lost at Marshall when he was defeated by troops of the Missouri State Militia (MSM) and the Provisional Enrolled Missouri Militia (PEMM) under Gen. Egbert Brown (the only Union general to defeat Shelby twice and had the chance to defeat him a third time but became indecisive and was relieved of command.)  The battle is very doable for small Civil War game with 1800 Union cavalry vs. 1200 CSA cavalry.  While the MSM were cavalry units, they were in fact more like mounted infantry with muzzle loading muskets or rifles instead of carbines and sabers.  The PEMM were generally not even uniformed, except maybe a colored band around the crown of their hats or armbands.  Of course Shelby’s CSA were from the Trans-Mississippi army with was horribly supplied and armed, so a sizable percentage of them would be in a mixed butter-nut, civilian, and Union clothing, probably even more so in the later with Union clothing supplies that was captured earlier in the raid. 

So until my next update,