Sunday, 31 May 2009

Another HOTT Day in July Be Looming...

Good evening,


I've just had confirmation that Robin Sutton is preparing another HOTT Day in July event for us down here in Christchurch (NZ being in the Southern Hemisphere 'n all - mid July is our winter, hence the name...)

Should I get my act together, what with school 'n all, I hope to have my Skellie Dragon completed, possibly even my Early German HOTT army...but then again, who knows?!

I hope to photograph what HOTT armies I've got to take over the next couple of days.


The World War Three That Never Was...

Good evening,

Instead of writing up this week's class newsletter, I've been distracted by a fascinating series of clips on You Tube about World War III (that never was).

For those of us who are old enough to remember the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, you may recall that one of the fears in these early days was that instead of the Communists accepting the will of their people and laying aside their oppressive regimes, they would instead 'go down fighting' in a desperate effort to remain in power.

This movie (chopped into 10 parts for posting on You Tube) documents this alternate reality. It's a fascinating view for those who are interested in the political and military situation (and possible alternatives) at the end of the Cold War.



Saturday, 23 May 2009

Star Trek 11

Since this is my blog site, I feel entitled to have a rant every now and again. And my first rant is about the new Star Trek movie...

I'm a Star Trek fan (indeed, I'm keen on pretty much anything with the word "Star" in the title!), but I know that the ST movies can and have been a bit hit and miss. Indeed, roughly 50% of them have been...silly! So I wasn't holding out for much for this one...

And rightly so.

The story line is ok, it was a clever device plot to put the franchise on an alternate reality so they don't have to stick to the original time line/story plots, but my biggest beef about this movie was the production values - they couldn't be bothered with half the sets.
  • The bridge? Cool (apart from those annoying lens flares).

  • The sick bay? OK, nothing much to write home about, but OK.

  • Engineering? Rubbish! All they did was get a warehouse and fill it with pipes!

It's like, "Right the bridge looks good, but we can't really be bothered with the rest, just hire a big empty space and fill it with stuff."

And its not as if the stuff they filled it with actually looks like it should be in a star ship. It looks more like the storage warehouse for some mining operation. I mean they didn't have anything that looked even vaugly like an engine. Just lots of pipes going no where in particular.

Actually, the 'engineering' set reminded me of the Tardis - much bigger than would seem right for the inside of a ship!

Even the 'starship corridor' looked like the inside of a parking building, complete with paint flaking off concrete walls.

All in all...rubbish!

And Kirk, who's fresh out of the Academy gets the captaincy of the Federation's flag ship after his first outing in space? Oh please! It's like an ensign rocking up to the bridge of a Nimitz class super carrier, directing a successful operation with the ship's assets (the carrier air wing in this case) while the admiral pops out for...I dunno, a cup of tea or something, and then hands over the entire ship, the flag ship of the carrier battle group no less, to this newbie.

And so, in conclusion, the more I think about Star Trek 11, the less I like it.

Still, Scottie and Chekov were funny!


On the Workbench... to speak. Actually, they are in a box hidden away in the lounge easily accessible should I get the urge to paint...

(This image has been reconstructed from a Word file...having lost the original image...bother it...)

As you can see, as well as some EIR Auxiliaries, and the never ending Skellies, I've got some 20mm WW2 stuff mixed in there.

I've just got interested in WW2 Gaming using the Crossfire set of rules. They make quite a change from DBA and offer the tactical possibility of "OK, now what?" which has not been my experience with Ancients.

With DBA, if your plan doesn't work, you basically haven't got the ability to redeploy half way through to try a different approach. With Crossfire, you can (I think - when I've got to the "OK, now what?" stage my initial advances had worked and the games were conceded!), so it offers a different set of tactical considerations.

Plus, you don't need much in the way of figures. The basic formation is a company consisting of three platoons of three squads each, plus company support (HMGs, Mortors/Forward Observers, Engineers and the like). I'm using 2 figures per squad + 1 for the Platoon Commander, 2 for the Company Commander. So, (2 x 3) x 3 + 3 and 2 and sundry figures = about a box full of 20mm plastic WW2 infantry. Cool!

So one box of ESCI WW2 American Infantry has given me enough for one full and one understrength (two platoons plus support) Companies.

Likewise, one box of ESCI WW2 Brits has given me one company of Kiwis in Italy.

Add a couple of Armourfast Tanks - 2 Shermans (either for the Kiwis or the Americans), 1 M10 (American) and a Firefly (Kiwi) - and that's all I need to get started. Stan has got the Germans. I just need another box of Americans and British to fill out their second companies and I'll have more than I need in the way of infantry.

Click here for some Crossfire inspiration. It certainly did the job for me!


Sunday, 17 May 2009

DBA Numidians

Good evening,

Thought I might post some old pictures of a early iteration of my DBA Numidians (Book II List 40 - II/40). These are all HaT 8024 Numidians Cav (with one HaT Celtic Cav rider with a Carthaginian head swap) with some HaT 8020 Carthaginian Infantry (specifically, the Numidians)...

Initially I designed the army composition...

  • 1 x LH General

  • 5 x LH

  • 6 x Ps

...around the fact that DBA LH can make as many moves as PIPs you want to spend moving them.

So, I thought, lets have a Light Horse General, so, so long as the General goes along with the multiple moving LH, that group of multiple moving LH will not have to suffer the -1 "General out of contact" penalty.

And given that heavy foot can't kill Psiloi, just force them to flee to come back sometime later, I figured I'd also take the all Ps option and park them somewhere relatively safe while the LH did all the work - specifically by finding exposed flanks and exploiting them. So far, it hasn't worked out too bad.

Subsequent to these shots I have also added a Cav General, a Blade element and an Elephant to represent Juba's army. I've also added a wall of sand as a God, added another Bd, and classified Juba as a Hero to morph the army for HOTT!

Funnily enough, this is one of the my few armies that actually has an appropriate camp element!

This was created, painted and based for my by Mike Hansen in Auckland. Very clever fellow is Mike.


Thursday, 14 May 2009

Skellie God and Stronghold

Good evening,

Once again, to annoy Robin with more incomplete elements, here are my HOTT Skellie God and Stronghold.

They are actually two purchases from the $NZ 2 Shop, part of some figurine set that came with a toy warrior and wizard respectively, complete with these accessories. I just painted them us as I did the rest of the Skellies - black undercoat, dark grey (well, ok, the Skellie Hordes missed this step), light grey and white.

If you're wondering, the skull didn't actually come munted - I left the skull glued to its painting base and thought the PVA might dry quicker if I left it on top of the wood burner. Opps!

Still, now it looks more like an ancient ruin. To aid that impression, I intend to build up the base so as the skill is half buried in sand. When I get round to it...


Monday, 11 May 2009

Mars, a Roman HOTT God

Good evening,

To further Robin's annoyance at incomplete elements (see his comment on the Early German post), here are a couple of shots of my 54mm Plastic [Toy] Roman who I'm using as my 20mm Marian and EIR (and Polybian and Camillan, and hey, any Classical/Helenistic Greek) HOTT God element before I actually managed to finish his base...

He's getting cozy with my Late Republican/Marian Roman General element for my, well Late Rebublican/Marian Roman DBA army.

I just painted his flesh shades of red. That's a pile of spare shields, spears and swords at his feet.

Here is a shot of one of the [so far few] battles he's been in. Going against a Lost World Magician General who was up hill. Suffice to say Mars was done like a dinner!


Sunday, 10 May 2009

Geocities is closing down


Just checked to see if I could find more storage space with Geocities only to find that they are no longer hosting any new websites, and are closing down all [free] web hosting at the end of the year. I'll have to see if I can retrieve my Battle Reports and transfer them to here.


Early German Ghosts...

Just to prove to Robin that I do, occasionally, apply paint to figures (see his comment on the previous post)...

These are the ghosts of the retribution of Augustus' legions subsequent to the famous massacre of three legions in Teutoburg Forest. (Click here to listen to a pod cast from the excellent History of Rome blog site.) Augustus didn't look kindly upon Arminius' treachery and took it out on the locals, pushing them back behind the Rhine. These dudes are some of recipients of Augustus' ire.

The paint job was easy. Primer of Citadel's Chaos Black (it covers well, shrinks when it dries and forms quite a good 'skin'), base coat of Goblin Green, first dry brush of, I forget, some Citadel dark bluish grey, a lighter dry brush of Fortress Grey and a top dry brush of white. (The flash has over brightened them a bit...)

I got the idea from the Evil Empire themselves - Painting the Army of the Dead. Just as well I saved the article, I have not been able to find it on the web again.

I added the final step of one more dry brush of white as the miniatures just looked a bit grey to me, not ghostie enough...

In gaming terms they are part of a HOTT Early German army I have pulled together from left over Esci Barbarians. Its composition is something like this...

1 x Warband General @ 2 AP
3 x Warband @ 2 AP ea.
1 x Hero @ 4 AP
6 x Hordes @ 1 AP ea.
2 x Lurkers @ 1 AP ea.
1 x Dragon @ 4 AP

I've actually based up 12 of these Hordes to add some flexibility, as well as put aside three mounted Germans in case I want to use a Rider element.

As I potter away on my Early Imperial Roman Auxilia, I'll slowly hack away at these German Hordes, the Hero and the Dragon. The warband are pretty much done...well, pretty much...


Macedonian Stickman


Well, it is here. In, stink, a while ago, HaT brought out a set of Later Greek Hoplites and Macedonian Phalangites. Nice figures, all very well historically researched, well molded armor (for the front rankers, none for the back, which sounds about right) fact, why am I telling you all this, go have a look at the HaT site (look for 8045 and 8043 respectively), and the Plastic Soldier Review reviews (Hoplites and Phalangites).

Now the one thing that spoiled these figures for me was the fact that you could actually see so much of their armor. Why? Because they were holding their shields out to the side as if to say "Look at me!". Not really the kind of thing I would want to do when I'm about to engage in some close personal combat. So...

What I did was carefully cut around the back of their shields with a craft knife, being careful to slice up my thumb a good couple of times, and then bend the shields around to their front. With some I even applied a bit of glue to anchor the shields in front of them. For some I applied glue to re-attach their arms!

(Note, that Art element is simply a HaT Scorpion with a Greek Light javelin man and a Cart command figure (I think) with a head swap from a Revell Praetorian.)

With the Phalngites, this had the added advantage of being able to raise the angle of the front rankers, so that instead of their sarissa/pikes (1/32" brass rod) sticking out in front of them, they now had them pointing sufficiently vertical that I could have their element bases in front to front contact with an enemy element base.

OK, so the result is not very uniform (a phalanx would be pretty ineffective if they kept their sarrisa at different angles as mine have here!), but this exercise has meant that I have been able to use all of the poses on the sprue for my Alexandrian pike based DBA armies (such as II/12, /19, /20 and the others who I can't remember the number of...).

So, out of one HaT Macedonian Army box I have been able to pull together 6 Pk elements and 2 Sp. (As well as 2 4Ax, 2 Thracian 3Ax, 2 Ps, 1 Kn (with the help of one additional Zvezda horse and rider), 1 Mac Cv (again, with the help of one additional Zvezda horse and rider), 1 Thessilian Cv, 1 Allied Greek Cv and 1 LH, with a couple of Greek lights left over. Great value for money. So much so, that I've done this twice so that I've got two Successor armies or one Double DBA/Warmaster Ancients army. Cool stuff.

Now, if only I could get round to painting them...

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Skellies vs. Classical Indians

Speaking of Skellies, here are a couple of shots of a very quick game my Skellies had against a 25mm metal Clasical Indian HOTT army (complete with a Hero, a God, and one very sneaky, sneaky lurker...). 'Twas all over in a blink of an eye. It went down something like this...

I was the defender, so I set my mounted (1 Hero, 2 Knights and 2 Riders) opposite his shooters, my infantry (4 Hordes) to the left of the hill upon which I had placed my Magician General, with a God (actually my Numidians' Wall of Sand ala The Mummy!) off stage right, waiting to come on.

The idea was to swing the mounted around past the shooters and into his cavalry in the centre where I thought I'd have the best odds. I was hoping for quick results with my Knights and Hero while the Riders valienly protected their flank, hopefully with the help of the God.

And that's pretty much where it ended! Suddenly a lurker appeared uphill in contact with Magician General, rolled high and that was that! I lost my General, lost the game, and learnt a lesson - don't deploy your General in terrain!


Wednesday, 6 May 2009

20mm Skellies


Haven't got many photos of my painted minis (read - "nearly all of my figures are unpainted"!), but I have almost completed my Double HOTT Skellies army. Just got to varnish this Caesar Skellies (I have been using a water based polyurethane stain produced by Cabots, but have run out and am reluctant to part with $NZ 30+ for a new tin...) and then do the base...

The flash has pretty much washed out the figures, but as you can see, I like my Skellies white! White on Light Grey on Black. (Bit like these guys that I did many moons ago...)

The Cabots adds a bit of a brown on top, but not as much as a wash. Hey, they've been bleached by the desert sun for thousands of years...or something...

More shots can be seen on Robin Sutton's Blog, specifically here...

The breakdown of the army goes something like this...

2 x Magicians (Gen)
2 x Hero (or 1 Behemoth, if I ever get it painted)
1 x God
1 x Dragon
7 x Hordes (or 8 if I use that Behemoth)
3 x Blades
1 x Shooter
2 x Knights
2 x Rider
1 x Sneaker

More later, when I get the time.


Tuesday, 5 May 2009



My Name is Nick, and I'm a wargamer.  (Echoed chorus of "Hello Nick" heard in the background...)

Specifically wargaming with 20mm plastics.  And a few 25mm Sci Fi figs. I had an active site quite a while ago...

...but real life got in the way and I gave it over to my mate Stan, along with Canterbury Miniatures which he now runs.

I mostly play DBA and HOTT, with a bit of Warmaster thrown in, but I'm now starting to get into a bit of WW2 gaming as well through Crossfire.  All with 20mm plastics (and a very few 20mm metals mixed in with my ancients).  Oh, and a 28mm Troll for my Raetian Goblins who I'm classing as a Storm Giant.

Anyway, don't expect much here soon, I'm a primary school teacher with not nearly enough time on my hands for much else.

Just in case anyone was wondering.