Thursday, 18 July 2019

Gedemco "Versterkte Toren"

My next Gedemco kit is the "Versterkte Toren", which translates as "Reinforced Tower" or "Strong Tower".

Box cover of the "Versterkte Toren"
As I mentioned before, putting together a resin kit from the 80s is quite a challenge compared to modern MDF kits. Pieces don't fit very well, some sanding is necessary, and cracks and holes need to be filled up with Pollyfilla or something similar. Nevertheless, I love such old kits, since they have a character of their own and feel more unique compared to the modern mass-produced wargaming items.

But anyway, after the use of roughly 5 liters of glue, adding internal struts, as well as using rubber bands to keep pieces together during the glue-drying process, I finally managed to put together the structure as you can see on the images below. There is also a small building that is meant to go on the tower platform, but then no figures can be placed on the tower, so I'll not use it.






Next thing to do is to paint the tower, and add some sort of access to the doorway. The doorway is visible in the last image, above the stag warrior. My idea is to add an intermediate platform (more glue!), and use 2 ladders to reach the door. An alternative could be to build up a rock or hill around the tower, and make some sort of winding path or stairway, but I always try to keep the footprint of scenery items as close to the building as possible. The larger the base, the more difficult it becomes to place the building on the wargaming table, especially when using hills.

The box cover shows the tower using a ladder, but an image on Rudi Geudens' site (the original owner of Gedemco, and a nice site to visit if you're interested in some Belgian wargaming history), shows a different setup, using a hill with a stairway.

Image on Rudi Geudens' site. Note the small structure on the tower plaform.
When I was putting together the tower, I was constantly thinking I had seen this building somewhere before. And suddenly I remembered, on the cover of "Fantasy Wargaming", by Martin Hackett. I have fond memories of this book, since it was the fist wargaming book I read many many years ago outside of the Games Workshop bubble. I even took part in a tournament run by Martin Hackett using these rules, at European Gencon in 1993, held in Camber Sands.


However, on closer inspection, the tower in the back seems to be a different building compared to the Gedemco kit, but the two are very, very similar. Which triggers the questions who is the manufacturer of the tower on the cover of Fantasy Wargaming (no credits in the book), and whether the Gedemco kit was inspired by this original model, or the other way around?

Sunday, 14 July 2019

A conversion project (2)

I did some more work on my conversion of mounting a space marine onto an alien mount, to be used in our ongoing scifi campaign. This figure will depict "Bacchus Mahoney", commander of SpecOps.

I mounted the figure on the lizardlike alien, and added some bits and bobs. I opted for an arm with a powerfist, rather than the one holding a pistol, since I felt that gave the figure a more believable pose. It also allowed me to attach a pistol on his left leg.

I might still attach some reins, to be decided later.

The photos were taken with flash setting on, but anyway, they give a good impression of the composition of the figure.




Friday, 12 July 2019

Gedemco "The Keep" (2)

As reported previously, I put together an old modeling kit from Gedemco. I painted it during the past couple of days. Spray-paint a black undercout, drybrush in stone grey, paint in some details, and attach a cardboard door and trapdoor. Then apply a coat of matt varnish.

The finished model is shown below, along with some 80s Citadel miniatures.





Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Nurgle Chaos Warriors

A finished unit of Nurgle Chaos Warriors:



The figures are the Chaos Warriors from the old Battlemasters game. The figures are a bit blocky and simple, so I used a rather simple block painting style as well.

The banner was photographed from my copy of Realm of Chaos: Lost and the Damned book, printed, and attached to the miniature. This reminded me of something I also did many years ago: carefully making a color copy of coloured pages in the Warhammer Armies rulebook (color copies were hugely expensive back then, so slecting one or two pages to copy was crucial), cutting the banners out, and using them for my own units. These days, this is all so much easier and cheaper to do.


That same banner can also be seen here.

Another new book

Last week a new book arrived in the post. Not really new, it's an old book, but it's new to me.


The book, "Heroes for Wargames" is well-known in circles of Oldhammer and Citadel/Games Workshop afficionados. It was pubished in 1986, and highlights miniatures, artwork, painting, modeling, ... at the GW studio during the golden 80s.

I first saw this book in a bookshop in Vienna, when I was spending a few weeks there during an internship in 1987. Of course, being a student meant you couldn't afford a book such as this one (it meant not eating for 3 days or so ...), and it sort of slipped my mind. But I saw it being commented on on various Oldhammer blogs over the years, and decided I needed a copy as well. To my surprise, it wasn't difficult at all to find a 2nd hand copy at a very modest price, so after 30 years, I finally have this book in my collection ...

A conversion project

The academic year at my university has finally ended, so I have some time to relax, work in the garden, but also do some wargaming stuff. Or at least, that's what I hope for!

One of the little projects I want to complete is a conversion for our Antares 2401 campaign. The campaign has been dormant for a while, but I think we should start it up again. The campaign puts each player in control of a squad of StarMarines, with the GM controlling the opposition. The general commander of the StarMarines is Bacchus Mahoney, who has only been mentioned in the campaign reports so far, but does not have a figure representing him.

The overall tone of the campaign is more Rogue Trooper/Strontium Dog/original Rogue Trader 40K, rather than the gothic version 40K has become today. So I don't feel constrained at all to use figures as I see fit, and to make up some fun but perhaps weird combinations.

Anyway, this is the project:


Bacchus Mahoney will be represented on the battlefield riding an alien-like mount, which fits in with some of the characters that already saw some action (K'z'r'x, a drafted mercenary, represented by an original Tyranid/ Hunter Slayer miniature).
  • The mount is a Raptor from Harlequin miniatures, and was originally intended as a steed for Shadow Elves.
  • The rider will be an old 40K chaplain on a jetbike. I already removed his right arm, and will replace it with a plastic original Mk 6 Space Marine arm, most likely the pistol, since that will give him a more dynamic pose.
  • I already filed away some of the skulls on the figure, but still want to work on the banner a bit, probably replacing the skull on the banner with the imperial eagle from another plastic banner. The skulls on the kneecap also will be removed.
  • Some smaller items (also from the original Mk 6 Space Marine box) will be used to embellish the model here and there. 
I think it will turn out to be a very cool figure, and it might turn our attention back to our dormant SciFi campaign.

Wehrschach

Last weekend there was a militaria fair/show/gathering in my home village, which took place at Fort Liezele, one of the forts that was built at the start of the 20th century as part of a belt of forts around Antwerp. The fort since long does not have a military function anymore, but is used to host all sorts of events, and is open to the public.

Such a fair is always a curious affair. Traders try to sell all sort of militaria, ranging from rusty old equipment, all sorts of insignia, uniform items, books on military history, to boxes full of what one can only describe as "assorted junk". Being in Belgium, there's an abundance of WW1 and WW2 items, and within the latter category a sometimes unhealthy fascination with all things German, if you get what I'm hinting at.

But such an event is always an opportunity to look for some new decorations for the wargaming room. Preferably nothing too big or bulky. I am definitely not a collector of militaria, but I do have an interest in toy soldiers and the history of wargaming. That's a very niche aspect of militaria (if it even belongs to that category), but you never know what you will find.

So what did I get? An original edition of Wehrschach (German wikipedia link, Boardgamegeek link), a game published in Germany in 1938, and which is basically a chess variant. I have no immediate intention of playing it, but I thought it would be a nice addition for my "history of wargaming" collection. The board is somewhat damaged, but the game is otherwise complete.

Here's my own not-so-good photo, but you'll find other photos through the links above.


Wednesday, 3 July 2019

I painted something!

Due to various reasons - some personal, some professional - hobby time as been very low during the past couple of months. Nevertheless, I managed to paint something, 2 gun towers from the old Scotia Grendel/Kryomek/FantasyForge range, which I first reported on in a blogpost dating back to December 2017 ...

Anyway, here's the picture, with a classic 80s space marine shown for size comparison.


Sunday, 19 May 2019

Gedemco "The Keep"

This weekend, in between sessions of working in the garden, I started putting together one of the Gedemco sets I reported on before.

Assembling a resin kit from the 80sis quite a challenge compare to the MDF plug-and-play sets of today. Nevertheless, the discerning wargamer is not put back by a few hindrances along the way.

Step 1: straightening out the pieces. Some of the wall sections were warped. Since they are made of resin, put them in hot water, straighten them again, and leave them to dry on the kitchen sink. Ignore the cries of horror of other carbon-based humanoid lifeforms in the house. The pieces below are from the Tower set, but the idea is the same.


Step 2: Start glueing together the kit. These old kits are not, shall we say, made to fit. Several tries, a lot of cursing, and using various wooden beams to keep everything together, did the job in the end.



Step 3: Admire the final result. Some period figures are shown for scale. The stairs form a seperate piece, I won't attach it permanenly to the keep, so I can still use a ladder in some scenarios.




Step 4: Fill up the cracks and holes with some filler, but this still needs to be done. Painting as well, of course.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Some more Belgian wargaming history

A longtime gaming friend was cleaning up his basement, and asked me whether I was interested in old box of wargaming stuff. I always answer ‘yes’ to such questions, not in the least out of curiosity to see what shows up.

After our regular boardgame night, I loaded the box (unopened) in my car, and only unpacked it when I came home.

Lo and behold - a large treasure of Belgian wargaming history was revealed. A number of boxes of 25mm buildings by Gedemco. I already reported about Gedemco before, but I was pleasantly surprised to see so many boxes suddenly in my possession. That’s why I never say no when someone is offering me old wargaming junk ;-)

The boxes contain the address of the Tin Soldier shop in Sint-Niklaas, one of the first wargaming shops in Belgium, whose history can be read here.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

New Decorations for the Wargaming Room

I was in Paris a couple of days ago, and made a stroll along the Seine, taking a look at Notre-Dame (closed off due to the fire a few days before), but also checking out the various stalls of booksellers, the well-known bouquinistes. My eye fell on some illustrations - probably teared out pages from early 20th century illustrated encyclopedias - that could serve very well as decorations in my wargaming room. There was a whole box of them, but I resisted and only bought 2 of them, for 5 euro each. I still need to frame them, then put them up on the wall ...

Although there were plates of various periods and armies, I chose 2 that related to Belgian military history.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

100 Days

Some new acquisitions came in the post last week - new 6mm buildings from Total Battle Miniatures. The buildings below are from the 100 Days range, so now I can finally host that Waterloo game I planned to do in 2015.

I guess the Waterloo fanatics will recognize some of the iconic buildings without blinking an eye ...



Sunday, 24 March 2019

Imaginations in 42mm (13)

Following up on my (solo) experiments with a ruleset for my armies of 42mm toy soldiers, I can already draw some conclusions w.r.t. further developments and a first real playtest.

1. Troop Density

The basic unit size is 8 infantry figures (4 for cavalry), and they can split in 2 subunits (4 figures for infantry, 2 for cavalry). That means that either an infantry unit can act as a unit of 8 figures strong, or as 2 subunits of 4 figures each. Since I give great importance to how the game looks visually, figure density is an important consideration.
I also decided the Commander in Cheif and his staff is represented by 2 cavalry figures.

Below you see both armies, with either full units in 1 hex, or 2 subunits in 2 different hexes.

Blue Army, 8 infantry figures per hex, or 4 cavalry figures per hex. The CinC is in front of the battleline. This is the visual impression when all units are located in a single hex.
(Part of) Green Army, deployed with all subunits taking up their own hex, resulting in 4 infantry or 2 cavalry per hex. Each infantry subunit has either an officer or a standard bearer.
Overall, I am pretty pleased with how things look, although I have a slight preference for the denser troop formations. But since units can be split or joined again during battle, we will have to play a few games to be sure.

2. The Time Track

The main mechanism in the game will be the time track, inspired by the mechanism used in the boardgame Conan.

Every unit is represented by a tile in the track. Every side gets 10 commands points each turn, and can use these to activate units (different actions can cost a different amount of command points). Once a unit is activated, its tile is put at the end, and the entire row slides forwards. Units in front can be activated cheaply, units in the back (which have been activated recently), are more expensive to activate quickly again.

During my solo playtest, it seems to work, but I will probably only make the first 2 slots a cost of 1 or 3.


3. Combat Resolution

I decided I wanted a mechanism that did not remove toy soldiers (after all, I painted them, so I want to see them on the table!), and that combat results would only be determined when a unit was activated. This requires that each time a unit is the target of an enemy unit in firing, it receives a little marker. At the start of the activation, the number of fire markers is used to determine the overall effect, and the fire markers are removed.

I used a very simple combat resolution table, shown below. I rolled a D6, cross-indexed with the number of hits received.


However, I forgot to include some more interesting effects. Thus, I will redesign this table, including some more effects:
  • Out of ammo
  • Unable to move
  • Disorganized
  • Retreat
  • Panicked Retreat, with adjacent friendly units retreating as well
  • Retreat, nemy units following up
  • Losing some commands points
  • etc.
Any of the (permanent) above effects such as out of ammo or being unable to move can be "removed" by a rally phase (beginning or end of a unit's activation), which I still need to think about in some more detail

I think having a variety of combat outcomes can greatly add to the atmosphere oft he game and add to the evolving narrative.

4. The Imaginations

I still haven't come up with good names for either of the two countries, except that I have decided I want the names in Dutch/Flemish (see also this blogpost for some previous thoughts on this).

Green Army (the more traditional one)
  • Generaal: Sigisbiduwald von Trappstein-Hohenschlieffen
  • 1ste Regiment Fusiliers, Companie A & B (Black)
  • 2de Regiment Fusiliers, Companie A & B (Red)
  • 3de Regiment Fusiliers , Companie A & B (Blue/Yellow)
  • 1ste Karabiniers te Paard, Eskadron A & B (White)
  • 1ste Artillerie (Brown)
Blue Army (the more modern one)
  • Generaal: Philip-Leon du Madeleine du Tré
  • 1ste Ban Schutters, Schaar A & B (Red)
  • 2de Ban Schutters, Schaar A & B (Turquoise)
  • 3de Ban Schutters, Schaar A & B (Straw)
  • 1ste Verkenners Te Paard, Patrouille A & B (White)
  • 1ste Mechanisch Geschut (Magenta)

Friday, 15 March 2019

Wet paint: 20mm British Airborne sniper team

I'm in the process of doing a bit of a refurbish / reorganisation on one of my very first wargame armies -- 20mm WWII British Airborne. I am reorganising the figures into units which are suitable for use with Chain of Command (although that will not preclude their use with other rulesets of course), as well as redoing their bases to have a single basing style. These figures were painted over many years and based in many different styles, so the rebasing was needed.

In Chain of Command, the platoon HQ section for a British Airborne platoon has a sniper team, for which I did not have any figures painted up yet. This is hereby corrected:



As you can see, the 'wet' part of the title of this post is to be taken literally - the ink on the base was freshly applied when I took the photo. The figures are from FAA (the sniper is part of the assault party).

As an aside, I am now officially getting old. Seeing details on these black undercoated 20mm figures well enough to paint them was impossible without magnification. I think I'm going to need reading glasses :)

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Imaginations in 42mm (12)

I finally managed to start experimenting with my 42mm soldiers, with the aim of developing a quick and simple ruleset. I still have to come up with names for my imaginations, but let's not worry about that yet.

I usually develop house rules by starting from a  core mechanism I want to explore. Once that core mechanism is solid in place, I start adding additional features in a "add-as-we-need-it" fashion. It might also turn out that the core mechanism I have in mind doesn't work, in which case we go back to square one ;-)
Such an approach to developing rules works quite well. Think about the groundwork first, before getting lost in all sorts of bells and whistles that will rarely get used.

So what are the core principles of the game I have in mind?
  • Hex-based.
  • Inf = 4 figures, cav = 2 figures, artillery = 1 gun + crew. I'm still pondering whether 2 Inf units can combine in a larger one, since I painted them up as "sister" units (one with a flag, the other with an officer).
  • I wantAs the main core mechanism, I want to use the timing mechanism from the Conan boardgame. Each army has a "timetrack", in which the units are lined up. Each player gets a number of command points, which he can use to activate units. If a unit is at the front of the time track, it is cheap to activate a unit,  if a unit is further down the track, it becomes more expensive. Once a unit is activated, it goes to the back of the queue and the entire queue is pushed "forwards". I think this could be a very elegant mechanic, but time will tell.
  • I'm also considering of having combat resolution for a unit only when the target unit is activated. Whenever a unit is shot at, place a marker next to the unit. When that unit is activated again, count the number of markers, and roll on a table to determine final effect, thus introducing a little fog of war w.r.t. firing effects.

Setup of the table.
The timetrack for one of the armies. I borrowed the idea from the "Book of Skelos" mechanic from the Conan boardgame.
My quickly scribbled notes for a first playtest.
The green army.
The blue army.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Advanced Civilization: An Olden Goldie

During the 90s I was a heavy Advanced Civilization player. "Heavy" meaning we didn't hesitate to pull all-nighters to complete this beast, look up variants on the proto-internet etc. Our gaming group still fondly remembers those games. And yes, Crete was my favourite nation to play.

When I was recently thinning out the collection and bringing a couple of games to the local shop (which offers a nice 2nd hand selling service in exchange for store credit), I was pondering whether I should sell my copy of Advanced Civilization as well. But I just couldn't do it, mainly for nostalgic reasons, but also because apparantly it has become quite a collector's item fetching high prices. A gaming buddy of mine offered his copy (without doing some research first) for 20 euro. It was gone within minutes.

So, instead I decided to set up the game again after having been untouched in the box for nearly 20 years, and play solo. The result is shown in the pictures below. I quit when the first civilization started to collect a high number of trade cards. I considered continuing for a few more turns without trading (I even asked for opinions on BGG), but since trading is such an integral part of the game, I gave up and put everything in the box again. Perhaps 20 years from now I might take it out once more and repeat the exercise :-)