24 March 2018

Flags of Jakalistan

I'm tinkering in taking part in a small Flames of War campaign with some wargaming friends using version 3 of the rules fielding a mix of platoons from the Arab-Israeli and Vietnam Wars source books. The slow-burn project stalled in the second half of last year (each of us painting a little bit between other projects), but one of the guys thought the Infantry Aces campaign might be an easy way for us to start actually gaming with these miniatures.

The rules for the campaign can be found on Battlefront's website here:

Instead of being set during World War Two, the Arab-Israeli or Vietnam wars, we wanted something in an imagi-nation that would allow a greater element of fun. Something in a Central Asian former Soviet Socialist Republic would give us a good mix of terrain, forces and equipment. I came up with suitably-sounding "Jakalistan" (using the first two letters of each of our names).

Jakalistan lies somewhere between the Caspian Sea and the Pamir Mountains. It's a micronation that has a semi-arid desert plain in the west, where the Jara River meanders into the Caspian Sea. There's snow-capped mountains in the centre of the country and jungles in the south east. This pretty much copies the campaign map in the link above.

If you have a country you should really have a flag. So the first thing I did was look at Soviet Republic flags (along with googling some other Soviet and communist flags people had designed online):

The Jakal Soviet Socialist Republic was created sometime in the 1950s - no one is exactly sure why this was, some say it was to give greater control to Moscow of the genetically modified pink quinoa crops that had been designed by Soviet scientists.

Flag of the Jakal Soviet Socialist Republic (~1952 - 1991)

The flag was the winning design after a competition was held, as it was in all the other Soviet Socialist Republics at this time. The blue in this design represents the Jara River, while the white represents Jakalistan's snow-capped mountains.

With the breakup of the Soviet Union, the First Secretary of the Presidium adopted a new flag to represent the peasants and workers of the country, who are said to be as tough as its mountains. The red was retained, representing the fields of quinoa.

Flag of the Republic of Jakalistan (1991 - present)

Things have unfortunately gone downhill in recent times. For a number of reasons the workers and peasants have split into two broad factions that are in open conflict with each other: the first supported by the democratic west, the other by eastern communist countries like China and Vietnam.

Workers faction flag/symbol

Peasant faction flag/symbol

Probably a bit simplistic, but I wanted to keep them useable as general symbols used during the current civil war.

Sources of inspiration of what I imagine life to be like in Jakalistan include Mitchell and Webb's 'Ambassadors':

Pretty funny in my opinion, but an aquired taste.

Wargaming wise I have already glued together some unused prepainted Il-2 that will proxy as Skyraiders from 'Brown Water Navy'. I'll probably repaint them with the worker's faction symbol.

Edit: and here's a campaign map using the Infantry Aces one from Battlefront:

Place names inspired by locations in Melbourne, Australia.

12 January 2018

3D Design - Metalhead 2

I went back and polished the design. In particular I thickened the legs to 2mm wide (from 1mm), cleaned the head/back connection and cut it up for ease of printing. Not sure when I'll be able to organise a test print, etc. but I'm pretty happy with the result.

11 January 2018

3D Design - Metalhead 1

Another New Year's resolution is to do some 3D design work and have it printed to use in a game. After procrastinating I finally settled on tinkering with Autodesk's TinkerCAD:


So far it's been pretty good as an online 3D solid modelling tool with a basic, easy to use interface.

I thought I'd start with something small, but reasonably complex. The aim is just to get comfortable in designing something. After watching season 4 of Black Mirror, I settled on the Metalheads, robotic "dogs" that are influenced by Boston Dynamics' own robotic dogs.

After an evening of tinkering I have designed the legs and the head:

Next step will be the body (a left and right half) and then I'll see what I need to do to get it printed. It's desinged to be a 28mm scale model that's about 2cm long. I have no idea if the design will be too small, so I might have to make some changes after some guidance.

Finishing the body only took just under two hours to complete and not worth another post. I could spend some more time to polish it, but now I just want to see if it's able to be printed.

07 January 2018

Last Game I Played - Hammerin' Iron NYE

In the backyard of a wargamer who's birthday is NYE. He usually hosts a BBQ and wargaming. The last several years have been Aeronef, this year only two of us played a game of Peter Pig's Hammerin' Iron. Frustating to say the least (I lost in a landslide).

Fallschirmjäger in Crete

Like many wargamers around this time of the year I make plans for projects I want to undertake in the year ahead. One of these is painting some Foundry Fallschirmjäger I bought, in September 2006! Many at the two clubs I game at are getting into Bolt Action, so I'll organise them for that system.

The army is designed to be flexible, by being both a generic Reinforced Platoon and also themed to be a Fallschirmjäger platoon as per the '1941 – Operation Mercury' theatre selector. Hence why some of the squad selctions aren't the best (terrible AT and no armoured vehicles). It also uses everything I have in my lead mountain (I bought Artizan DAK for the Gibirgsjägers and a Bolt Action PaK 36 over Christmas). I initially had bodyguards for the second lieutenant and medic, but decided to drop them and the AT grenades in one of the Fallschirmjäger squads to squeeze in a motorcycle with an MMG sidecar as I also had an unspent 10 points.

Operation Mercury Reinforced Platoon - 999pts
Second Lieutenant (Veteran) - 65pts
1 Second Lieutenant with Pistol

Fallschirmjäger squad (early war) (Veteran) - 149pts
1 NCO with Submachine gun
1 Infantry with Light Machine gun (requires loader)
7 Infantry with Rifle
Entire squad is Stubborn

Fallschirmjäger squad (early war) (Veteran) - 149pts
1 NCO with Submachine gun
1 Infantry with Light Machine gun (requires loader)
7 Infantry with Rifle
Entire squad is Stubborn

Captain (Veteran) - 138pts
1 Captain with Submachine gun
1 Infantry with Submachine gun

Medic (Veteran) - 30pts
1 Medic with Pistol

Gebirgsjäger squad (early war) (Veteran) - 153pts
1 NCO with Submachine gun
1 Infantry with Light Machine gun (requires loader)
8 Infantry with Rifle

Medium Machine Gun team (Veteran) - 65pts
1 Medium Machine gun team

Light Mortar team (Veteran) - 46pts
1 Light Mortar team

Sniper team (Veteran) - 65pts
1 Sniper team (rifle)

Anti-tank rifle team (Veteran) - 39pts
1 Anti-tank rifle team

37mm Pak 36 (Veteran) - 60pts
1 37mm PaK 36 gun

Motorcycle with Machine-gun sidecar (Regular) - 40pts
1 Motorcycle with Machine-gun sidecar

I'll need to purchase the motorcycle with the sidecar... or I could convert something. After searching for images of Fallschirmjäger and Gebirgsjägerin Crete, there was a few of pack mules that gave me an idea.

This picture was enough for me to mock up this planned conversion of the last Gibirgsjäger miniature I have with a Eureka Miniatures donkey. Most people shoudl be able to figure out what it's a proxy for.

The plan is to post updates on painting as the year progresses. We'll see if I stick to that plan or if I get distracted by something else.

23 December 2017

Last game I played - Tanks!

On Monday one of the wargaming clubs I game with held their annual Christmas breakup party. There's usually a simple beer and pretzels game that's played as a tournament (Star Wars Miniatures, Heroclix, single X-Wing spaceship per player, etc). This year it was Battlefront's / Gale Force 9's Tanks with everybody getting a random 20 point tank with upgrades (provided by the TO). After last year's chaos IS-2 and Tiger tanks weren't included (if you play the game you'll understand).

Most of the games were works of art, the way tanks danced around each other like that scene in 'Fury':

Not having the IS-2s and Tigers didn't stop the chaos though. At the end of the day the game really can't be taken seriously - it's beer and pretzels and doesn't try to be anything else.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2018.

17 December 2017

Battle of Beersheba (1917)

The centenary of the Battle of Beersheba occured in October, but for various reasons Mark wasn't able to run the game until the League meeting today. Andrew, Django, Ian and James took control of the ANZACs with Peter and I defended with the Turks.

Mark was interested in recreating the battle as this was the last real major charge by a British mounted force (and a legendary Australian success - refer to the 1987 film 'The Lighthorsemen' with Sigrid Thornton) and one truly deserving of being remembered and honoured.

We used Warhammer Historical's Great War with 28mm miniatures (from a range of manufacturers form Mark's extensive collection) with modifications to the rules to simulate the charge. The real battle was a race against time to secure the wells before Turks and Germans could blow them up.

The ANZACs had 3 units of light horse, 1 unit of (British) Yeomanry, 2 units of dismounted ANZACs and some artillery. The Turks had 6 units of infantry, 2 HMGs, artillery and a small unit of German engineers guarding the wells.

Here are some photos from the game, starting with an overall view of the table:

The view of the Turkish artillery towards the east:

Turkish peasants relaxed in their trenches:

Looking slightly less relaxed (I was reminded of that charging scene in 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'):

The final charge after the Light Horse were able to break through to get to the German engineers and cut them down (bastards):

Typical of the British, they let others do the hard work and then came in at the end and tried to snatch some glory:

All in all another great game and a good end to gaming in 2017.

23 November 2017

Victorian ADLG Tournament 2017

The League of Ancients ran its annual ancients tournament over the weekend. It was the second year of using 'L'Art de la Guerre' (ADLG) third edition rules. This year armies were restricted to 15mm 200 point armies drawn from the Dark Ages, Feudal Ages and Late Middle Ages lists.

I took a Medieval German (227) army consisting of:

Army Corps I
C-in-C Frederick III, the Peaceful (Ordinary) (0)
x4 Heavy Knight impact (Ordinary) (52)
x2 Heavy cavalry firearm (Ordinary) (22)

Army Corps II
S/gen Louis, Duke of Savoy (Ordinary) (0)
x2 Heavy Knight impact (Ordinary) (26)
x2 Heavy cavalry impact (Ordinary) (20)
x4 Crossbow (Ordinary) (28)

Army Corps III
S/gen Tully Bascombe (Ordinary) (0)
x4 Pikemen (Ordinary) (44)
x2 Light infantry firearm (Ordinary) (8)

As you can see, a pretty ordinary army. Having only had four games previously under my belt, it was a good learning opportunity. What follows are pictures of mostly my army's backs (not such a bad thing - that's how I want to be seeing them during a game) and them being thrashed (I didn't win a game!). In all 21 people played over the weekend (some only on the Saturday or the Sunday), with a mix of armies.

The lists of armies were:
Feudal Spanish (148)
Beja (162)
Feudal German (183) x2
Later Crusader (187)
Teutonic Knights (209) x2
Later Samurai (210)
Medieval Scandinavian (221)
Feudal Scots (222)
Medieval Scots (222)
Hundred Years War English (225) x2
Medieval German (227) x2
Medieval Spanish (228)
Free Company (230)
Burgundians (231)
French Ordonnnance (234) x2
Burgundian Ordonnance (235)

In the morning on the Saturday I faced Alex I's Medieval Scandinavian (221) and lost 96 - 14 (he would go on to be the overall winner).

In the afternoon I faced Andrew W's Feudal German (183), losing 95 - 15.

On the Sunday morning I faced Andrew O's Hundred Years Wars English (225). Lots of Lb. And stakes. I was wearing him down (he had a few units with cohesion markers), but it was not quickly enough, losing 99 - 11.

In the afternoon I faced Peter C's Burgundians (231). This was another close game (the the final score doesn't truthfully reflect the closeness of the game. Honest! I lost 95 - 15.

Another well run tournament, things went pretty smoothly (three playing umpires were in use again and worked well). While I didn't get anywhere near the podium (okay, I was second last, but only because the player in last place only played two games). I did win the player's choice for best painted.

The guy on top is charming - I'll have to find out where he's from.

Edit: the drinking Saxon is from Wargames Foundry's SAX005 - Saxon Shield Wall Characters set:

All in all a fun weekend, doubling my number of games of ADLG I've now played, making me a lot more comfortable with the rules. More a definitely on the horizon.

07 November 2017

Cup Eve DBA Tournament

Every year the Monday Knights host a DBA tournament. It's a lot of fun and gives people an opportunity to paint and field ancient and medieval armies relatively easily. Version 2.2 was my introduction to the period 10+ years ago (where I had only played Games Workshop games and Flames of War up until then).

I love the game for its simplicity (but not the simplicity of the language the rules are written in!), and the ability to field interesting armies from history. The open book tournament used version 3 of the rules, including normal terrain set up. I decided to field IV/12e Maori as I painted them 3-4 years ago and never fielded them in a game.

The miniatures are from Battleline Miniatures in New Zealand. The sculpts are okay, needed a lot of cleaning up, but there's next to no choice out there, but I'm happy enough with them (as I'm slowly collecting Pacific armies or ones that adjoin it).

Anyway, onto the games. In the first game my 12 Blade army faced Ed with an army of Elephants (Burmese or Tamil I think). Was a nightmare. Lost 10-2.

Game two was against  Django and his Ptolemaic (II/20c) army with a little bit of everything. Struggled to take down the pike in difficult terrain, but managed to survive longer than I should have in the open against Knights, lost 9-3 (there's a pattern forming).

Game three saw me face  Steve and Italian Condotta (IV/61). I thought a littoral landing would be cool and I hadn't done one in years. Cool doesn't win you battle kids (particularly if your opponent does it better than you), lost 8-4 (I lost 5 elements, mostly to the Knights).

Fourth and finally game saw me face off against Gareth and New-Kingdom Egyptian (I/22a). At this stage I was regretting my poor choice of army in an open tournament; no mounted and no bad going troop types, lost 11-1 I think.

All in all was good to finally play version 3 after not playing DBA for a few years. I plan to play at Cancon in January next year - so time to paint and play with something with more flexibility. Tibetans maybe, or Malays. Not sure yet.