Monday, August 29, 2016

Reading, Research and Blucher

This week I've been reading "The Road to Rivoli" by Martin Boycott-Brown.  The book is OOP but I got a copy last year via a bookseller dealing in ex library books.  It came at a good price and great condition, although my wife keeps wondering when I will return it to the library!

Last summer Curt ran a 100 Days Campaign using Blucher, which hot me thinking about creating a similar campaign based on the early Italian campaigns.  Of course that went no further than the "I wonder and Wikipedia" stage, and by the time this book arrived I was on to chains new squirrels.  This summer Curt is running a second Blucher campaign based on Austerlitz, with me playing the French.  This will be blogged about but I am holding my cards close to my chest.

But the new campaign got my thinking again, and that got me reading....stayed tuned but I be got far more progress this year.

Anyway I do recommend the book.  It is a bit of a slog at times, but a good read at others.  There us good background on Boney's early days with less hero worship than other sources.  There is also a ton of wargames potential here - river crossings, mountain actions, surprise attacks etc..  So far I've covered the campaigns in. Piedmont, the crossing of the Po, had grudge at Lodi, the crossing of the Mincio, setting up the Siege of Mantua and the battles of Castiliogne/Lonato.  The early campaign in the mountains is a big heavy but like the Army of Italy things really get going on the plains of Lomdardy!  Next up, the have chasing Wurmser from Bassano into Mantua and the the bridge of Arcola.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Big Lee's Epic Milestone

More shameless pimping here.  Big Lee has hit the magic 2,000,000 hit mark which is an epic achievement (or approximately 25 times the number of hit's that I have attained) .  I am not surprised because BLMA blog is a constant flow of game reports, modelling tips and great photos of real life AFVs etc.

Big Lee is having a prize draw to celebrate e the milestone.  Go check it out and throw your name in the hat, but are sure you stick around to presume what else is there.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Little Cold Wars

A belated shout out to Tim Gow over the publication of his Little Cold War rules (available as a real book or an ebook).  In keeping with my cheap and impatient nature I picked up the ethereal version on Amazon and give it a full recommendation.

The game simulates 1970s cold war actions using 54mmish toy soldiers and toy tanks.  It is played in an HG Wells manner, using match stick firing cannons and dart board anti tank fire!   It's goofy as all get out, a heck a lot of fun to play and gives a very good game. As afar as I could tell it also does a pretty reasonable job of simulating armour and infantry combat in a mid-to-late 20th century environment.  And there are good resources on unit organization, equipment and where to find the silly toys!

I play tested an early version of the game back in 2014 (see the AAR report) and am in fact the Canadian play tester referenced in the rules.  I could sorely be tempted to play this on my back lawn, if I can locate a good source of toys (lacking the car boot sales available to Mr Gow et al).  I fore see clashes in a post breakup Canada between the Cape Breton Liberation Army, Soviet Canuckistan and le Quebec Libre.  Please note that these were not invented by me but by a Nova Scotian comic, a right wing American wacko and a senile French generalissimo.

Later addition - ok I was waaay too flippant on Quebec Nationalism there, which has of course been a recurring theme in Canadian politics for 50 odd years.  I am however thinking of a French French supplied and influenced French Canadian force.  In my experience Quebecois view the idea of influence from Paris with about as much joy as they view influence from London, Ottawa or Washington.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Kardstadt am Eder

Followers of this blog might note that when it comes to obtaining wargaming toys and accessories, my attitude can be best described as cheap and impatient.   Having looked over my terrain and buildings,  I decided that I needed buildings that would be appropriate for my SYW Kleine Kreig project.  A quick flip through tourism guides and photos on the web showed me that the period architecture of Western Germany looked a lot like those beautiful model railway buildings sold by Faller et al.  However a mass mail order of plastic kits wasn't going to meet my budget or attention span.

A better option would be home scratch builds.  I consider myself reasonably proficient with foam core, artist board and scrap cardboard and feel that I can turn out a workman-like final product.  Unlike some members of the fraternity I quite enjoy this type of modelling project.  I will likely turn to this option down the road.  I find that January and February are good times for building construction - a good project when the budget is tight, the nights are freezing and Christmas packaging is a ready source of materials. 

But in the interim cheap and fast gave me a clarion call in the form of emails from Wargames Vault about free samples of Dave Graffam card model kits and deep discounts on Graffam kits.  So off I went.

A completed model of the freebie hovel in the foreground and a work in progress Carriage house in the background.
What you get  are a set of PDF files that you can print out and assemble as buidlings.   The hovel and carriage house above were two of the freebis.  FOr the hovel I rpinted the templates on regular paper and glued them to a cut up cereal box (Gluten Free Chocolate Chex)  with the spray adhesive visible in the background.   I believe that the section of the Leader Post that I used has an article on Canadian Literary icon Margaret Attwood, who is a second or similar cousin on my mother's side.  My maternal grandmother had a regular correspondence with "Peggy" right up to her death at 99 and received signed copies of all of Atwood's works.

Same buildings, different angle.  Note the flaps on the carriage house to attach the roofs.
Given the small size of the model and the stiffness of the cereal box, the hovel is quite sturdy and set to be used on table.  I glued the carriage house onto light card stock, which is less rigid.  Combined with the bigger size, this one will need more support.  I figure on using foam core inside the walls to give it some bulk.  We have a good supply of slightly used foam core thanks to my wife's time as a Brownie and Guide leader.

From another angle.
The carriage house comes with two roof pieces and an optional dormer winder which I will mount in the white rectangle visible above.  This kit is a marvel of options.  It is a layered PDF file that let's you pick wall types (brick, stone or wood), roof options, window and door positions, weathering (see the cracks in the shot above) etc.  You can reuse the same kit many times and get different results on each one. 
A different arrangement of walls, windows and doors on the carriage house

So far I am having fun and am pleased on the results.  More posts to follow.

The finished hovel looks suitable to house Hansel and Gretel.

Close up of the Carriage House.  You can see the need for internal support.