Tuesday, 29 July 2014


So I might have got a little carried away....

I had pretty much finished off all my Laphroaig before getting a cold. The cold then saw the end of my emergency medicinal purposes only whisky....

I decided I better get a bottle or two to enjoy. Almost got more Laphroaig, but with family heading overseas later in the year, I figured I'd wait until then to get some duty free :)

So, I decided to buy a bottle from my regular online retailer Whiskey & More.

This is what I got....

Too much maybe? :)

To be fair the Glenmorangie is to drink with my Personal Trainer at his leaving do (well ex-trainer now I guess since he is moving on to bigger and better things). 

The rest are all mine though. Looking forward to trying them all out :)

Sunday, 27 July 2014

I've actually finished something...

...and it's more painted mini's. Enough to actually have a small, legal Axis Dust Warfare force even! :)

I still struggle with taking photos of minis, but here's what I've finished:


I wanted to do something different since I had done both Battle Grenadier units in splinter camo. After looking through a few magazines/Osprey books, I found a painting guide for marsh pattern splinter camo. I quite liked the look of it and thought it would be something a bit different to try.

Overall I'm happy with the unit and the look, but I think I have been a bit too heavy handed with the splinter pattern camo markings. Something to be more careful with when I paint the zeltbahn on my Bolt Action minis.


Who doesn't like zombies!? Pretty happy with how the zombie skin has turned out. It took me awhile to decide how to paint it. I suspect the skin could do with another light coat of a very light skin tone or even stone grey to give a more pallid look, but I think they'll do as they are for now. The main reason for painting them was to figure out a zombie skin look ready for when I paint Seamus and his girls.


Again, I wanted to do something here so they stood out. I've always liked the look of spring oak leaf camo. It was an easy choice for it to go on these guys. Pretty happy with the result.


My first walker. As per the rest of the army, I have stuck with traditional late war German colours. I had the AK interactive yellow primer and late war German colour set. Decided to use them on this to try them out..... bad idea. Wasn't happy at all with the result. The colours just clogged up my airbrush (no matter what I did) and the lighter green colour just looking really odd. Looking online, others have had a similar problem and it may be a separation issue. Hopefully it was just a bad batch, but have contacted the place where I bought it to see if it can be replaced. Better luck next time maybe?

EDIT: So I emailed the place where I got the AK items from. They replied on Monday and immediately sent out replacements which arrived today! Mighty Ape are awesome! Check them out if you don't already use them :)

Anyway, was much happier with the look after going over the green with the Tamiya colour I normally use and then a little bit of dry brushing to highlight using my normal Vallejo colours.

I also had a play with some of the AK weathering sets too (rust, engine grime and heavy mud). I think they will be interesting to use in the future. Anyway, for what was effectively a test vehicle to try things on before starting on the walkers I normally field (and my Bolt Action stuff).... I reckon it turned out pretty well.

So that means that I now have painted for my Dust Warfare Axis force:

Battle Grenadiers (x2)
Laser Grenadiers
Beobachter Team
Sniper Team
"Hans" Light Panzer Walker
Axis Zombies

The zombies are the only unit I can't legally field (need a different command unit), but a decent sized force otherwise. 

See here and here for the Battle Grenadiers and Laser Grenadiers.

Apparently this is the next project I have to start and finish....

I guess I better go and get started then! I'll be trying out the German uniform guide in the Painting War magazine for these guys.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Out for a wander

I've been going a bit stir crazy being stuck inside with a cold. As I was feeling more alive yesterday, I decided to go for a walk along a local coastal track.

I figured I'd wait until mid afternoon where the high tide was coming in to see what bird life was active. Not much as it turns out.

From the starting spot....

My first encounter was with some Fantails. 

Initially, I had set my ISO before starting down the track. I completely forgot that I would have to adjust it as soon as I started taking photos in the shade. A large series of very dark photos had to be deleted.... After actually thinking about it, I figured the best option would be to just set ISO on auto to allow the camera to compensate for the quickly changing light conditions.

These were all taken with my Sigma 150 - 500mm. I had set the camera on shutter priority, but I am wondering if aperture priority might have been a better option? Something to play with on another day.

I couldn't decide if these guys were just super friendly or pissed off that I was getting in the way of their dinner as they were quite happy to come up very close. I suspect it was the later reason though....

"Come at me bro.. I dare ya"

My preference is to photograph birds in flight rather than just take pictures of birds. The Fantails are pretty quick and I had no show of trying to lock on one that was already in flight. So I waited until one had settled on a branch and then tried to track them when they darted off. My reactions were far too slow.... this is the best I could get

I had hoped to see a Hawk as I know there are a couple in the area, but it wasn't to be today. I did find the other bird that I was hoping to see. There were heaps of Tui through here last time, but either the timing or season just wasn't right. I did manage to find a couple and got a few photos after crashing and banging through a bit of bush to get the right angle.

Really happy with how the colours turned out. 

Definitely one of my favourite birds. 

So not too much photography wise, but a nice walk :)

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Bolt Action Continues

Another Sunday rolls round and another gaming session. A pretty quiet day again with Rob away and with me being under the weather. That time of year I guess. A cold is the last thing I needed before heading into a few days off work though!

Mark and Phil were getting some forces set-up for Bolt Action when I arrived. With both of them having Allied armies, the question was asked about whether I could field 1000pts of Germans. Which, with my spending habits, was no problem :)

They had both worked out 500pt lists and would combine to face me. Mark with his Brits and Phil with his recently arrived US Marines.

I'd already decided to take a radically different force compared to the last couple of weeks:

Reg. Lieutenant
2 Reg. Infantry squads
1 Vet. Infantry squad
1 Medium mortar
1 StuH 42
1 Sd Kfz 222
1 Sd Kfz 251/1 transport
1 Sniper team

The StuH 42 was to there to have some fun shooting at buildings (hurry up and release a Grille ausf. H please Warlord!). The transport was just to try it out.... and, as luck would have it, we'd play the perfect mission for a transport.

Both the Allied forces were pretty similar at 500pts a piece. Lieutenant, 2 - 3 infantry squads, medium MG or something like that anyway. The brain is a bit hazy at the moment.

The mission: Top Secret!

A secret stash had been left in front of a local Chateau. The race was on to grab it. Who would get there first?!?

With all units starting in reserve, it was going to be a slow start. A surprising number of Allied units make it on quite quickly. The Germans aren't so lucky.... but the Veteran unit in the 251/1 do arrive and race straight for the Chateau while British units cautiously make their way across to it.

The StuH pops on early as well (but on the opposite flank to keep the Allies honest) and starts merrily popping away at various units.... 

...and doesn't hit a single thing all game. I'm beginning to think tanks aren't really that useful in this game...

But then, disaster (or at least premonitions of disaster) as the US Marines pop smoke and mark the 251/1 and 222 with smoke for an air strike. Still, there is enough time for the 250/1 to move closer to the objective where the Vet. infantry are able to dismount and capture it.

Allied forces congregate near the Chateau, but still seem  reluctant to use their numbers to force me of the objective. The British are content to take a few shoots and do pin the German veteran's. Which was annoying as the German vet's failed to rally and ended up having to go down. That was the order check I needed to pass......

Knowing air strikes were imminent, both the 251/1 and 222 moved closer towards the Allied forces, but also try to move away from friendly units. I knew other units could end up pinned from the strikes, but hadn't realised this was both friendly and enemy units. Moving up closer ended up being quite a good tactic!

Both times ground attack aircraft arrived. That meant the end of my vehicles, but also loads of pins all over the place for both Allied and Axis units!

Then the British artillery strike arrived. Unlike last week.... there were no ones rolled this time. A delay had allowed the artillery marker to be moved to be in between my infantry and the StuH 42 (hexagonal Brit para maker in this pic):

The resulting bombardment was pretty disastrous for me. The StuH 42 ended up with a couple of pins, so was able to do nothing but drive in reverse for the rest of the game (I kept failing my order checks), more pins stacked up on my vet. infantry and command squad. And Mark got lucky... a 6 was rolled for one of my regular infantry squads. End result was that they were obliterated under a barrage of HE.

But, by now, my vet. infantry had passed an order check and were retreating to the rear...

And the Allied forces had found their sense of urgency and were moving up quickly. Having no where to really hide meant pretty much all my units, but especially the vet's with the objective, were taking a lot of fire. Numbers were dwindling and pin markers were stacking....

But time was also running out. For both sides. And it kinda ended here:

The objective was isolated, Allied units were fast approaching, the Germans were decimated. Time ran out, so the game was a draw. All honesty though, the Germans were hurting and had hardly scratched the Allies.

Still a good game and I'll take the draw :). I still think that if the Allied forces had been a lot more aggressive early on and risked loosing a squad or two (they had the numbers to do so), then they could have won it. Had I managed to get my command unit up a little quicker to support the vet's, then it would have been easier to pass that order check. If I had, there would have been no catching me.

So, some thoughts...

  • Americans with the automatic rifles are going to prove challenging
  • Mark remembering his British special rules will also prove challenging :)
  • I quite like mortars. It proved quite effective in the game 
  • This is definitely an infantry game. I think I had 1 too many vehicles And not enough infantry/total orders
  • Perhaps its how we're playing, but so far MMG's have proved pretty useful. More so than those on the forums seem to think anyway
  • We really need to sort out and agree on how we're playing terrain (and then remember how!) :)
  • Building rules as they currently stand still feel weird
  • Artillery is good. Air strikes seem like a double edged sword
  • Pinning is king. As soon as units get pins on them, they really seem to struggle. Once they have multiple pins, then they're next to useless. Might be worth trying to rally earlier or spend a turn with a down order on them. Not sure. Guess this is part of figuring the game out!

Oh and if  we stick to Bolt Action again next week, then I think this will be the longest we have ever stuck at one game! :)

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Bolt Action - Take 2

Gaming days seem to roll round quicker and quicker. That's probably a good thing! :)

Was a pretty quiet session today with just Mark and I rocking out a 500pt game of Bolt Action.

I'd field my Germans and Mark was playing British.

Being 500pts, I figured it would be an all Infantry affair..... how mistaken could I be!? Here's Mark's force....

How the hell did he fit a Cromwell in at 500pts I thought! Well, dropping a rifleman from each squad helped. As did taking an Inexperienced Lieutenant. That meant just enough points to squeeze in an Inexperienced Cromwell. This was not looking good..... I had no AT whatsoever. The rest of his force was Regular.

My force was all Regular and consisted of...

2 Squads of 10 (2 smg, 1 lmg, 7 rifles)
Medium Mortar + Spotter
Sniper Team

The scene was set.

We rolled our mission... Total Annihilation. And it would get messy....

Both forces advanced onto the table. Mark's force looking good. Mine needs a little work..... :)

The British forces quickly took up commanding positions in the buildings. The Germans would take a little longer (I had foolishly set-up some nice little hedged backyards for the buildings on the table side that I ended up on... whoops).

Meanwhile... out of the shadows... a dark shape startled the advancing Germans as it raced around the buildings....

....catching a few German units with their pants down. Luckily, it's shooting was rather ineffective. By now Mark's FAO had moved into position and targeted the Chateau where one of the German platoons was setting up a defensive position. We consulted the rules to see how this worked. My wise words to Mark were don't roll a 1....

That little black base sitting on the building wall.... that's the targeting marker. Something had gone horribly wrong with the targeting calculation... Mark had rolled a 1, allowing me to move the target position. The bombardment didn't do much, but all the pin markers effectively neutralised that platoon.

Meanwhile, I decided I had no choice but to try and pull off an assault on the Cromwell. Some lucky rolling would be required.

Somehow, I actually managed to pull it off and damage the Cromwell. Unfortunately having no AT weapons meant I could only do superficial damage. A crew stunned result gave me 1 turn to review options...

Trying my luck in the next turn left the infantry squad isolated as the assualt failed (failed tank fear morale) and they got punished for it. I eventually managed to pass my morale check and gave them an order to run into the building. As the game was fast approaching an end, the British forces decided that cold steel was going to be the only option now.

The assaults went in. First the FAO assaulted the MMG reducing the team to 1 man, but dying in the process. The British commander positioned himself for an assault only to be assaulted by a nearby German squad and was wiped out.

The unpinned British squad had a crack at the German squad that the Cromwell had been mauling. The reactive shooting from the Germans was brutal and at the end of the assault, only 2 Germans remained alive. Their celebrations were short lived though as an HE shell from the Cromwell ended their day.

By this time the game pretty much ended (we forgot about our turn counter, so figured we had completed around 6 turns). Only the Cromwell and PIAT team remained effective on the British side. The remaining infantry squad had 7 pin markers and a mortar ranged in on them. The Germans had only lost the MMG and 1 infantry squad.

Next week I'll be making sure I have some AT weapons in lists at all points levels!

We also found we really needed to remember a few key rules, like:
  • Snipers ignore cover and get +1 to hit when shooting
  • A 6 is required to wound infantry in buildings
  • Penetrating weapons are really useful to counter the above
Overall, they wouldn't have actually changed the game much, but would have meant a few more pin markers in certain places. 

We also ended up in a couple of tricky situations. Mark was hoping to assault my infantry with his Cromwell, but the angle meant that he would hit the buildings before going at least half its maximum move. Being a medium tank, we figured that he couldn't assault due to this which seemed right. Just as well.... I wasn't keen on having to try and pass a morale check as there was a good chance of the unit routing. The tank machine guns put some hurt on as it was anyway.

The building rules seem a  little odd. Mark had part of a squad split over 2 levels in a building, but as far as we could make out, the whole team had to be on the ground floor to be able to move out (not sure they can be split across levels or different rooms either?). Even giving a run order wouldn't get the guys on the second floor outside (rules just state "must be on ground floor"). Seems a little odd with runs being able to take you up multiple levels or through the walls of 2 adjoining buildings. We suspect its for simplicity.

Still, a little more reading is required I think. 

We'll try again next week :)