Sunday 28 June 2020

Swearing at the Games Table

When if ever is it appropriate to swear around the games table? In the latest episode of The Quarantined Wargamer, I discuss this controversial subject with the minimal use of expletives! The use of swear words depends on the setting in which it is used, who is listening and the context or intention of the language. Our reaction to certain words is much about emotional conditioning at an early age as it is about societal rules of correct behaviour. I try to explain this conditioning, recognise when it can be broken and suggest some alternatives. 

As usual, I'm always interested in your views, so please leave your comments below - preferably without the use of foul language! Alternatively, you can join the conversation on my YouTube Channel and of course, I would ask that you consider subscribing so you don't miss any of my short videos. It's free, there are no adverts to get in the way, and you can always turn me off if you think I'm talking rubbish! 

Wednesday 24 June 2020

BAR Teams and Leaders

I recently posted some pictures of my efforts to rebase some of my 15mm US Infantry to use with the Chain of Command rules. I was able to put together an Armoured Platoon but I also had a lot of spare figures, almost enough for a second Rifle Platoon. I was, however, missing a few key troop types and I needed some more riflemen so I went on a mini shopping spree with Peter Pig. The order arrived a couple of weeks ago so now, at last, I have some BAR teams, Commanders and riflemen to show off. 

The Browning Automatic Rifle brought a lot of firepower to US Rifle teams. Invented at the end of the first world War and tested in the interwar years by gangsters, amongst others, by the time of World War II the BAR was a well trusted and reliable weapon. With an effective rate of fire of about 60 rounds per minute this .30cal automatic rifle wasn't as powerful as a true light machine gun, but it was portable enough to be described as an 'indispensable' element of infantry action. It didn't have a quick change barrel like the MG42 and its rate of fire was far inferior, but it wasn't designed to lay down continuous fire like the German weapon so the comparison is perhaps unfair. It was however reliable, very portable and could be fired from the hip in assaults. Its value was reflected in the fact that many platoons would include two BARs, a practice that became official doctrine towards the end of the war. 

BAR Teams

I had some additional BAR men left over from the packs of figures I bought and I didn't want to waste them so I decided to 'convert' them. The conversion took the form of a camouflage paint job to make them look like the M1 Garand. The Garand was loaded from an 8 round clip into an internal magazine and, being a semi-automatic rifle, meant that a well-trained rifleman could be capable of 30 rounds per minute. Like the BAR it fired .30cal rounds so it had good stopping power, especially at shorter ranges. As mentioned the magazine was internal so the Garand looks very different to the largely metal BAR with its Magazine protruding from the underside. But when painted to look like a wooden stocked Garand the metal magazine is hardly noticeable... unless you routinely come to a game armed with a magnifying glass! 

Riflemen armed with what looks like the M1 Garand...well it does at arms length!

Lastly, I have some more Officers and NCO's. I already had a load but all the ones I had were carrying either Garands or Sub-Machine guns while these are armed with the M1 Carbine. Again this is a semi-automatic weapon but the carbine fired a short cartridge .30cal round with inferior stopping power. However, its high rate of fire and light weight made it a popular weapon, especially in the assault. As usual, I have marked out the bases of Senior Leaders with a tuft of red flowers, just to make them easier to identify on the games table. 

Officers and NCO's with Carbines

I'm in the process of finishing off some more Jump Off markers and some US .30cal SMG teams. In the meantime another Peter Pig order has arrived, this time with some German specialist troops like engineers, medics and flamethrower teams! So plenty to keep me busy. Its been a long time since I have painted any 15mm WWII  infantry so to a certain extent I'm having to relearn some old tricks. Thankfully I have my old painting notebook to refer to which I have found very useful indeed.  

Sunday 21 June 2020

While you Paint

The latest episode of The Quarantined Wargamer was released on Friday and in it, I discuss a few of the possibilities for doubling productivity while we paint. Why brush in silence when you could be doing so much more? 

In all likelihood, you already listen to music or podcasts while you paint, but some people don't. I've even spoken to a few people that say they paint in silence, and that seems like a terrible waste of possibility. I discuss just a few ideas but maybe you have some others. Please share your thoughts and views either in the comments below or on my YouTube Channel. 

I hope you enjoy the video and, as always I hope you are keeping well. Stay safe folks! 

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Jump Off Points for Chain of Command

I've been working away on several projects over the last week but the only thing I have completed is a set of homemade Jump off points for Chain of Command. These were constructed from some of the bits leftover from various kits over the years. I never throw away any stowage items that don't get used so I have a bit of a collection and at last I have a use for them. 

I need to make a few more but I have run out of the right size barrels. I have some plastic ones that are a little bit large, but the size difference probably won't even be noticeable if I don't put them alongside the correct ones. I have also been painting up some Peter Pig US infantry but these are still undergoing the varnish stage so they won't be finished until later in the week. 

Sunday 14 June 2020

Caring for your brushes

I have been painting miniatures for well over 30 years and, while I don't claim to be an expert, I do think I have learned a thing or two about caring for my brushes. They are after all the most important tool on the paint table and we should be trying to get the maximum productive life out of these often very expensive, precision instruments. Friday's episode of The Quarantined Wargamer shares a short tutorial video on cleaning brushes and some of my favourite tips learned over three decades at the paint table. 

As usual, I'm asking do you agree with me, or do you have some tips and tricks that I haven't mentioned? Whatever your opinion, please share it in the comments below, or over on my YouTube Channel. And of course, I'd ask you to consider subscribing to my channel where I am trying to post a short(ish) video every week. 

Until next week stay safe, and keep rolling high! 

Friday 12 June 2020

Return to Ravenloft

Social distancing has meant gamers of all stripes have had to resort to the internet to keep in touch and play games. I've played a couple of wargames games now with the Rejects using Zoom but my hobby activities have extended far beyond just wargaming. For the first time in a very long time, I'm roleplaying again. And not content with one game I'm taking part in two separate campaigns with two groups! 

Last year my eldest daughter (the original Padawan) and her Partner invited my youngest daughter and me to play the Stranger Things themed D&D game. Perry had bought the special edition box set and over the course of three sessions, we played a very enjoyable mini-campaign. I loved it, I hadn't played D&D in years and it was good to get behind a character sheet again. The Young Padawan also really enjoyed it so Perry suggested we get together regularly for a 5th Edition D&D game in the Ravenloft campaign setting. We started using Discord to run the game but quickly switched to Roll20 and this has worked really well. 

Meanwhile, my old school chum, Andrew suggested running a short game with our original D&D group, using Discord as our means of communicating and rolling dice. We are playing the Red Box D&D rules from the 1980's... in fact, I'm using the same books I used for our first ever game over 35 years ago!

Probably the main reason our roleplaying group disbanded was the difficulty in getting everyone together on a regular basis. Our jobs were pulling us all in different directions (literally into different parts of the UK and beyond) and work and family commitments made game nights problematic at best, particularly when you are playing a campaign that needs a certain level of commitment by all the players. The advent of internet tools like Discord and Roll20 has suddenly made some of the problems of geography less of a problem, although work commitments still play havoc with scheduling. I for one hope we can make a go of this new socially distanced campaign because it has been great to see and chat with the guys again after our prolonged break. 

Back to wargaming, the Rejects have played a couple of Zoom enabled games recently and both I and Ray are working on some more so despite restrictions on gatherings still being in place, we have managed to see and chat with each other, and play games, almost as much as we did before. Its a Brave New World...and I think it's going to be around for a while. 

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Re-basing Panzergrenadier's for CoC

Following on from the rebasing of my old Flames of War 15mm US Infantry for Chain of Command here are some Panzergrenadiers. These are meant to be Panzer Lehr Division infantry and I have several Half Tracks to accompany them that I need to do a little work on. I'll show off the support equipment, for both sides, in another post when I have finished retouching the paint and repairing broken MG's etc. 

The Panzergrenadier Platoon on my homemade unit card consists of a Leader (in this case a Leutnant) with a Pazerschreck Team. Then three identical squads each consisting of an Obergefreiter, two MG Teams and five riflemen. Each squad also has two Panzerfausts, making this a very small but deadly platoon. 

The Leutnant and accompanying Panzerschreck Team. 

Two of the three MG Squads lead by their Obergefreiter. 

Behind the Platoon is the 'spare' infantry I have ready. These will be used in either support squads or other Platoons entirely. I'll be adding in some specialist troops like snipers, medics, engineers etc for both these and the US to increase the support options available. 

I have recently bought some more US infantry figures but I'm waiting for these to arrive so next on the painting desk will be some homemade Jump-Off points built largely from items in my bits-box. All those little spare items of stowage that often come in vehicle or infantry blister packs are finally being used. Hopefully I'll have these ready for next week. 

Sunday 7 June 2020

Planning & Targets

There is a reason why you get deadlines and targets when you're at work... because it gives you a point to focus on. It gives you an excuse to put other things aside to focus on a particular piece of work. It also helps you to focus on what's important...or at least, what is important to your boss. So how can this mysterious power be brought into a gaming environment where we are not going to be fired if we don't achieve a particular target?

The latest episode of the Quarantined Wargamer discusses this topic and as always your feedback is most welcome. 

Am I on the right track?... or am I just crackers? As usual, please drop me a line below (or over on my YouTube Channel) and tell me how you plan and organise your hobby workload. 

Thursday 4 June 2020

Donnybrook via Zoom

Yesterday something incredible happened...Ray put on a game! Actually, he put in a really good game and what is more amazing, he used the Donnybrook rules!! Still your beating heart, I know, we're all in shock as well. Seriously though, he ran a really good game last night with four Rejects dialling in via Zoom to join the action. The game lasted a little over an hour, was exciting and produced a cliffhanger type ending where victory could have gone to either side. Gripping stuff and we've arm-twisted him into running another game sometime soon. No doubt Ray will post something a little more detailed on his blog in due course but I wanted to share a couple of pictures I took during the game. 

Our umpire for the game, veritable Master of Ceremonies, and all round good chap, Ray.
Our Umpire for the game, veritable Master of Ceremonies, and all-round good chap, Ray.

A quickly grabbed shot of the game on my Laptop Screen. The picture quality wasn't too bad and Ray was able to move his camera around a little if we needed a better view. 

I won't give away the ending - I'll let Ray give you the details on his blog, but it was a cracking game and very enjoyable. Zoom worked really well, the sound and picture quality was fine and the usual banter ensued throughout the game. The only thing missing was Posties egg mayonnaise sandwiches, at half time! 

Wednesday 3 June 2020

Rebasing WW2 US Infantry for CoC

Many of us employ the phrase "a wargames butterfly" when describing our gaming interests. I'm realising that also applies to me, now more than ever, as I have recently purchased Chain of Command by the Too Fat Lardies. This isn't the first TfL games I have used - the other being What a Tanker - and indeed the first in some ways influenced the choice of the second. I have an abiding interest in the Normandy campaign and I have a lot of 15mm terrain for this Theatre, so it made sense to utilise it for two rulesets rather than just one. I am also a growing fan of the Lardies rules so when choosing a suitable infantry ruleset for the period I started by giving serious consideration (and eventually picking) of Chain of Command. 

Now I have a bit of a head start in the project aided by the fact that I used to play Flames of War for the same period and theatre of war. I sort of fell out of love with that ruleset, and I sold much of my figure collection (something I regret bitterly) but I still had some figures in storage. I dug them out recently and was inspired to re-use the models for a different game. The result has been a week of intense rebasing from teams to individual basing suitable for CoC. I've completed my US troops and later this week I will be starting on some Panzergrenadiers. Hopefully, I will be able to start playtesting the rules to learn them within just a few weeks of buying the rulebook.

Some of the US Infantry based for Flames of War. These and others were earmarked for rebasing. I had more than enough figures to make a Platoon for CoC but decided to rebase them all. 

First I needed to remove them from their bases. The plaster I had used broke away fairly easily and it was then easy to get the metal figures off the plastic base.

Once I had cleaned up the metal base of the figure I had to decide how to rebase them. In the end, I decided on individual infantry on 10mm round bases. Leaders on 15mm bases and weapons teams (or at least part of them) on 20mm bases. 

Here's the 60mm Mortar team with five crew. Two crew are based with the mortar on a 20mm base and the rest of the team are based individually. 

With the figures glued onto the MDF bases, the long process of adding new plaster began. I have run out of the dark wood filler I normally use (more is now on the way, so I used a medium brown version. This wood filler is pre-mixed, is easy to work with a wet brush and dries quickly. 

All the exposed 'earth' was painted dark brown (the colour my normal plaster comes in!). 

The final stage, application of static grass, tufts, flowers and stones. 

The finished Platoon

The HQ and HQ Squad with a Bazooka Team

One of two infantry squads

One of two MG Teams

The whole platoon -  There are a lot of spare figures not in this shot, enough to make an additional squad for support if necessary. 

Next on the table for rebasing are some Panzergrenadiers. Once I have these done I can start some playtesting to help me learn the rules. I'm hoping that by the time the German figures are rebased I will have received delivery of some new figures from Peter Pig (some support options for the US troops) but more on that in a later post.