Tuesday 31 December 2019

The 2019 Plan - How did we do?

In the dying hours of 2019 I'm going through the ritual humiliation of assessing progress against "the plan". Lets see how we did this year......

Not part of the plan, but the two 3D printed Vipers (left and right) were some of the most pleasing models I made this year

1.  Burma Skirmish and Eastern Front 15mm - I will finish off the USMC 20mm force, sort out a set of rules and then get some games in. as a stretch I'll sort out the extra Australian, Gurkha and Japanese troops I have uncovered

Nope, didn't happen (apart from sorting out a few USMC vehicles and picking up a new LVT(A)4 at Reveille. Oh, and a few new 15mm winter vehicles. 

2. I will format and finish my WW2 squadron level naval rules and my WW2 coastal set, and at least get a working draft of my age-of-sail set completed.

100% complete! The WW2 rules were published as "Find, Fix and Strike", and the coastal rules as "Narrow Seas". I'm rather pleased with the way they both turned out, FF&S in particular proving to be pretty handy for use in one day or weekend campaigns.

3. "Action Stations" and "Iron and Fire" - I will complete a set of ship cards for both so that I can set up games from scratch more quickly.

Failed - mainly because I was knocking up loads of new craft for Action Stations - which all need basing over the next few months.

4. Stingray - as the NWS game for Salute this year I will renovate the game, add some new things I have been thinking about and generally get everything sorted for an excellent showing at ExCel.

Success! A few new models made (including the WASP "black ops" Stingray, a giant mermaid and an experimental Terror Fish for the forces of Titanica). The game at Salute went very well and received many admiring looks and comments. Great fun as usual.

So not a brilliant performance against the plan as written, but then I did get loads of other stuff done, so not a wasted year. Now it only remains to work up the plan for 2020. Watch this space!

Sunday 29 December 2019

2019 in Review

In the closing days of the year its time to reflect upon the last 12 months of gaming and modelling. I'll review against "the plan" on the 31st, instead this os more of a general look a how the year has been


I set off with high hopes of getting in more games this year. For various reasons, family issues and other things, that didn't really happen. I didn't get down to the Berkeley Vale club anywhere near as often as I'd hoped, although when I did it was always for a cracking game with some very dear friends. We managed to get the Sudan campaign up and running, Mark developed and ran his excellent Chariots variant of "Wings of War", and my "Far Distant Ships" Napoleonic fleet action rules had a decent run out in a refight of Kamperduin. And in the dying days of the year I've been back to "Liberdy", the BV western gunfight town. Always good for a laugh, and the last time made all the more enjoyable because of the Steve/Rodger "dynamite" incident (Steve's reaction was priceless). I can hear the cries of "move on" now.....

"Steve Irwin" and attendant RIBs deploy against Japanese whaling ships in my INaWaD game for this year

I've run a very few games at home (apart from playtesting), Denmark Strait on the anniversary, some 1940s Mediterranean games, Sunda Strait and "Save the Whales" as my game for INaWaD 2019 being the most enjoyable. I had intended August to be the month of games (following a month or modelling) but it never really happened. Note to self - more home games please!

I had a few rather good trips out to gaming events and shows. April saw my "Stingray" game at Salute, and then again at Colours in September. Fun days both, although Salute was extremely tiring. Stuart and I did have a  fun chat with a fish and chip shop owner and his mum about the game's source material the night before in Canning Town - top chips as well! I was back at Thornbury for the IPMS show with the Wings of Glory Aerodrome - won "best participation game" again. I'm thinking "Cod War" for 2020. And I had a lovely weekend in Doncaster for the Wings/Sails of Glory annual get together at the air museum. This is always a very happy weekend, meeting friends from across Europe, and this year I actually did quite well (I came top in the naval side of the event and third overall in the rankings). lat but not least, the Naval Wargames Weekend at Yeovilton. Again, a very enjoyable couple of days at the air museum with "Stingray" on day 1, and day 2 spent as a player rather than an umpire for a change, driving ironclads around the Adriatic before raiding the medieval East Coast with a bunch of Viking raiders.


So I finally managed to get "Narrow Seas" published - over a decade in the making but they have done well and developed a decent fan base. I have plans for these for next year, details later. "Find, Fix and Strike" also hit the streets in the Summer, again they have done well and I've had fun with them playing through a number of WW2 Mediterranean actions.

I've had fun working with soem other people's rules - Black Seas in particular where I got involved in the final stages of development. I'd like to think he changes I proposed (many of which were adopted) have made the game a better representation of AoS warfare than it was, and my suggestions to Warlord on scales and selection of parts for the plastic kits landed very well.

Also on the Warlord front - "Cruel Seas" arrived at the end of last year (and incidentally prompted the delay in gatting "Narrow Seas" out), a set of rules with a few "issues", I had fun developing some variants which seem to have gone down well. The arrival of CS did, however, prompt a number of 3D modellers to generate some lovely models which I have printed and adapted - more on this later.

Waiting in the wings is "Project X" - all done now bar the formatting. Just need the models sorted....


This year's "big thing" was my 3D printer. I went for an Anycubic Photon resin printer. It can be a bit tricky to set up, the post printing work gets a bit messy with isopropyl alcohol baths for the models but the results are gorgeous. I've printed out all sorts of things from spacecraft to tanks to skirmish figures to buildings to ships, and I've lost count how many.

Cylon raiders - one of my favourite types of sci fi space fighter. 
These three popped of the printer over the summer

Another iconic trio of spacecraft, again courtesy of the Photon

As an example, I printed out a 1/300 sci fi army of 50+ vehicles plus a moon base in a weekend, a few flotillas of Italian MS, MAS, trawlers and minesweepers in 1/600, Finnish, Romanian and Bulgarian 1/600 fleets, bits and pieces for Gaslands, a load of space fighters for Battlestar Galactica and X Wing, Klingon, Federation and Cardassian ships for "Full Thrust / Engage" (not to mention a swarm of Jem Hadar ships which I really must finish), some lovely 15mm technicals and loads of terrain pieces. I am VERY happy with the results, one of the best purchases I've made in wargaming.

On the more traditional front my 15mm Winter Skirmish collection has grown slightly with some new SdKfz 251s (Zvezda sneaked out a Nvelwerfer model that builds up nicely , and I grabbed a "Mobelwagen" at Reveille). But plans for a revamp of my 1/200 Vietnam figure collection stalled, as did my plans for some medieval "camp follower"/DBA camp vignettes - figures bought, but not painted and assembled yet (maybe these are early candidates for 2020, after the current batch of 3D prints are finished?)

So, in summary. A very good gatting for modelling and working on rules, not so great on games, but a fun and very enjoyable year of wargaming nonetheless.

Sunday 22 December 2019

Photon Phun

You could be forgiven for thinking that a lack of posts here suggests I've not been up to much recently. Au contraire, I have been extremely busy, Laura headed off to New Zealand for a gap half year last month so I've been up to my eyeballs in horse care and looking after the alpacas, but in the margins I've been giving the Photon a good thrashing. Here's some of the items I've printed off in the last few weeks:

First up, a series of Napoleonic naval fortifications. The release of Black Seas has prompted the 3D modelling community to  deploy their expertise. There are a number of ships available to download, but the things that caught my eye were a couple of martello towers and a sea fort, the Chateau de Taureau. All are lovely renders of the originals and print up nicely. I printed a set martellos in 1/450 to fit in with my Peter Pig small ships of the same nominal scale.

The sea fort didn't print too well as one end detached from the print bed. However, the upperworks of the fort were fair and since the fort is supposed to sit o its own island I decided to fill in the missing area with some miliput "rocks". 

Of course the joy of 3D modelling is that you can rescale your models to print at just about any size, so I printed off soem examples in 1/1200 and also in 1/2400 to fit in with my Fleet Action collection.

Another set of models I found were the lovely 1/200 WW1 collection by Mike Bergmann on Thingiverse. One of my plans for 2020 is to resurrect my 1/300 WW1 Western and Eastern Front games, probably using Bloody Big Battles. So I decided to do some test prints of the 1/200 models scaled down to 1/300.I was not disappointed.......

This is just a small selection of the models in Mike's WW1 collection. The detail is lovely and they come up a treat on the Photon.

Finally for this post, a rather nice set of "Technicals" for my AK47 games. I've been after some alternatives to the Peter Pig Toyota Hilux. The Land Cruiser I printed out a few montsh ago (with the Tetrarch and Alecto) is a nice addition, but these really fit the bill.

These are from two sets of files on Thingiverse. The first is a collection of "tin cab" 4x4s, in basic, cut-down and "uparmoured" versions. The file set also contains a variety of weapons to fit into the flat beds, including a rather nice ZPU-2. The second is a rendering of the infamous "4x4 with BMP turret" seen during the Libyan Civil War. Again, this was on my "must do" list. A few hours after finding the files my African warlords are in possession of some nifty self propelled firepower :)

Thats it for now. I have many, many more models to share with you dear readers, but they will have to wait for now.......