28 August 2019

Flag of South Melbourne

I couldn't find a flag of South Melbourne online, so decided to make one in Photoshop. It only took about 30 minutes to create.

It's based on the coat of arms:

Which I found on the Heraldry of the World wiki here: https://www.heraldry-wiki.com/heraldrywiki/index.php/South_Melbourne.

In heraldry terms it's Gules, on a Fess between in chief a repre­ sentation of the Constellation of the Southern Cross, with five Stars, and in base a Lymphad, sail set, Pennon and Flags flying, Argent, two Mullets Gules. In plain English it's a red field with a white stripe with the Southern Cross on top and a galley (from Scottish heraldry) with full sails below. There are two red stars on the white stripe.

The arms were granted on 3 February 1967. The shield is based on earlier arms assumed by the City of Melbourne, with a colour change from black and gold to red and white, the colours of both the city and its former Australian rules football team, the South Melbourne Football Club (known now as the Sydney Swans). The Southern Cross is drawn from the State arms and flag badge, its position above the white bar indicating that the City is south of the capital, Melbourne. The ship presents the sea, southern boundary of the municipality, with its facilities for swimming and water sports.

I used the ratio of the flag of Victoria, 2:1, and the flag of Denmark for the ratio of the stripe vertically. The red is based of the red in the Union Jack. The stars are evenly spaced about a third of the width of the flag apart.

I'll use it for a faction in Brutal or A Right Bloody Mess (ARBM) gaming.

22 August 2019

Conquest of Paradise with Crumble

Conquest of Paradise again, this time with Nic, Jack and Ruby. And again I experienced a completely different game (don’t worry Ara, you’re still the potato master). This was probably due to new players or players trying out different tactics (including myself when I was presented with a lucky opportunity).

Nic (red playing pieces) was Tonga, Jack (yellow) Samoa, Ruby (green) Hiva (the Marquesas islands),  and I (white) Raiatea (the West Society Islands) as our home islands.

We all explored away from our opponents, and a few turns in I had discovered Aotearoa (New Zealand). I had kept the other two islands (Hawaiki and Tuamotu) hidden away from prying eyes (call me Doctor No). Ruby kept picking open ocean chits, and so was surely eyeing my islands.

Ara (who couldn't make it) asked if there much conflict this time or if passengers hoyed out of the transport wakas and left to fend for themselves in shark-infested waters. There were only two battles, both between Nic “The Hammer” and “Money Bags” Jack. This occurred just before Jack was set up to take on the Mosquito Islands (the western part of the map), but Nic put stop to that. Though unfortunately Nic brought a canoe to a stick fight. And an amazing shaman. The battles were largely inconclusive (though they did drag Jack back from his lead).

Some of us tried (unsuccessfully) to get to South America and find the kumaras (sweet potatos) while Charlie deftly navigated the board. Ruby created a fleet of canoes (easy to bluff your opponents with a what appears to be a huge forces when canoes only cost 1 Build Point). Near the end of the game she was too nice and decided not to place the Typhoon event card in our midst. Big mistake, as her canoes were over a heap of atolls and she was close to winning (in the end I won as I held a small region of high yield islands, including Aotearoa far away from the others). I had also gained the Wood Carving card that was worth 2 Victory Points as I also held a Mythical Island (Hawaiki), giving me 24 (of the 22) Victory Points needed.

What was sweeter though was Nic's delicious apple and pear crumble with walnuts and almonds. I'm sure to be playing this game again.

04 August 2019

Last Game I Played - Junta

Nigel invited people over for a board game day. What's the game seven friends play when they want to play Diplomacy but know that once was enough? Junta!

If you don't know Junta, it's in my top 10 (but then again, I don't play many board games). But it's been around since 1978, so it must be good:

I ended up as president early on, which I'm not a fan of, but then I managed to get myself a massive voting block:

Along with one other player who was also lucky enough to be dealt a good hand we were able to create a super voting block. Combined we were however incompetent (we were role-playing the personalities of the Republica de los Bananas, honest!). Coup after coup, after coup. After coup, followed.

I eventually lost the peasant and my ally was shot after a coup (I was sunning myself on a beach in Mexico somewhere).

Needless to say I didn't win, being too honest (the game encourages you to lie). Great fun though.

03 August 2019

Medium Mark A Whippet and WWI British Tank Crew

I have a list of my painting goals for 2019 (see here) and it was filled with "anything that's shiny and distracts me". This is one of those shiny things.

While I have a load of 28mm late WWI Germans / Freikorps to paint, I decided after the Foch game a few months ago to paint the Whippet tank and British tank crew I had instead. Mainly as a test to see how WWI would paint up and that this was a self contained project.

The tank (picked up in early 2014) is from 1st Corps and is a lovely piece - nice chunky detail in the resin hull while also having fine white metal details in the four machine guns. It got a quick coat of Vallejo US field drab (70.783) with yellow ochre (70.913) mixed in for the highlights. Then gunmetal (70.863) for the tracks along with white (70.951) and flat red (70.957) for the markings. Then plenty of black and brown washes to weather it.

I am still planning on writing or painting on the front panel, as I am intrigued by the story of "Musical Box":


Every tank needs a crew, and I got these Old Glory Miniatures sculpts from the second hand stall at Cancon last year, with the tank corps staff officer being from Warlord Games' British LDV section set. The first are more than a little ropey, but good enough.

Colours used for the uniform was and base of Vallejo brown violet (70.882) highlighted (heavily) with English uniform (70.921). The helmets were brown violet (70.882) with yellow ochre (70.913) mixed in for the highlights and the gasmask bags were stone grey (70.884) with white (70.951) mixed in for the highlights.

While I could've spent more time with shading and highlights, I think WWI miniatures can be a little more unpolished to reflect the subject.

I have since started painting the early war Belgians I have and thinking about how I want to paint the late war Germans. The former may be a little cleaner, but the Germans will probably get the same treatment as these British.

02 August 2019

Tusk (Mammoth Hunting) in 15mm

When I first started wargaming again in 2005, I started by playing Flames of War. This was my first foray into 15mm and I fell in love with the versatility of the scale. DBA soon followed, and I picked up Irregular Miniatures' Tusk rules and miniatures; purely for the quirkiness factor.

They were left unpainted for a few years, but by 2010 I had painted the six mammoths (two of them calves), two woolly rhinos and 16 cavemen for Little Wars that year where I ran a few participation games.

The mammoths got a bit of extra fur (courtesy of Green Stuff) to cover their seam line along their backs, but they were pretty easy to paint (and actually not bad sculpts). The characterful woolly rhinos being from Eureka Miniatures' 10mm fantasy range.

A week or so ago I decided to add to this collection with some more 10mm miniatures from Eureka Miniatures with some deer and lions (which could double as sabre-toothed cats). To give an idea of their scale, I based them on 18x25mm bases while the mammoths and woolly rhinos are on 30x40mm bases.

When I primed these (with some 15mm Napoleonic uhlans and medieval Malays) I wasn't planning on painting them, but I thought "when are you going to paint these?". So I painted them then. It ended up being a quicker process than I thought, taking less than an hour. I love the result of a quick dry brush with some highlights/detail, being surprised how well they turned out.

The colour palette used was limited, only using Vallejo black (70.950), white (70.951), US field drab (70.783) and yellow ochre (70.913). I mixed a grey for the antlers and shades of the two colours with the black and white. I also painted the bases with yellow ochre, but when I was done I think the original bases were painted with another colour I used back then. So I'll have to redo the edges at some point. Will probably use the craft paint raw umber to keep things simple (which I use for all my non-desert and non-snow bases).

Edit (31 August 2019): I have painted the edges raw umber on the five adult mammoths, two baby mammoths, two woolly rhinos, three deer, three lions, four dogs and 16 cavemen. It always feels good to complete a project.

27 July 2019

Napoleonic Lithuanian Uhlan Conversion

A long (long) term project is to put together an 15mm Napoleonic French army representing Davout's XIII Corps in northern Germany around Hamburg in 1813-14. This will also include the Danish Auxiliary Corps.

I have almost a full FoGN army (unpainted) with all the relevant 18mm AB Figures (available from Eureka Miniatures). Painting wise I think I'll start with the cavalry, in particular the 17th Lithuanian Chevau-l├ęger (Uhlan) Lancers.

Their uniform looks like this:

And years ago I bought the relevant Grand Duchy of Warsaw line lancer troopers:

But I only bought eight (I think as the original rule set I had in mind was either Lasalle or Shako II), so a few weeks ago I bought the other four needed for a unit... except I bought these Vistula Legion lancer troopers:

Notice the different saddle cloth? Yeah. Bless the internet though, as I quickly found these images with sheepskin throws:

In under 15 minutes I transformed the Vistula Legion lancers to look like this:

They have been undercoated and basecoated with raw umber and a white/raw umber dry brush (what I usually do with all my miniatures). Next, painting.

24 July 2019

Ancient Hebrew Rocking Horse Chariots and The Judean People's Front

A few years ago (back in November 2015) the League of Ancients' Field of Glory competition was Biblical-themed. Army lists could be anything fielded from 'Swifter than Eagles' and the four biblical army lists from 'Lost Scrolls'.

While I had a few Numidian light foot, I really didn't have anything suitable. Sure, I could've painted a new army, or borrowed one. Instead I quickly assembled 16 Ancient Hebrew rocking horse chariots and four Judean People's Front command stands. As you do. They would be added to some Ancient Spanish and the Numidians miniatures I had to make up a Philistine army (because I was being a Philistine).

The wooden pieces for the conversions were bought cheaply on eBay and cost less than AU$5 from memory. The rest of the wooden body for the chariots was made from balsa wood offcuts and matchsticks. The tops were painted thick card with Battlefront WWII Soviet cupolas and tank crewmen.

The command stands were assembled from spare miniatures I had in the lead pile - mainly Eureka Miniatures samurai painted to look like Judean People's Front (or the People's Front of Judea) from 'Monty Python's Life of Brian'. If you haven't seen the film then I suggest you do. The flags were sourced from online and resized/recoloured in Photoshop. They're a little pixilated, and if I did them again I would spend more time designing / cleaning up the flags in Photoshop than I did.

The point of the exercise? Wargaming doesn't always have to be serious, and you can easily theme an army if you have to. Being a mishmash of troop types it didn't go too well (I finished deep in the bottom half of the draw). I did have fun though.

Edit: Here's some photos of the camp I built for the army. It's made to look like a film set and represents the walls of Jerusalem covered in "Romani ite domum" ("Romans go home") as per 'The Life of Brian'.

21 July 2019

Cruel Seas and Tibetans for ADLG

Mark R was keen to try out his night fighting rules for Cruel Seas and I was keen to actually use the PT boats I had painted earlier in the year for the first time in a game. So we played one of the convoy scenarios (scenario 5 from memory) from the rule book.

Mark had two armed trawlers accompanied by an M-class minesweeper. I was lying in ambush with one Elco and three Higgins PT boats (starting the game as blinds, with an additional two blinds to confuse Mark). I therefore started the game with a clear tactical advantage over Mark's slow fleet and my aim was to ensure I kept it by swamping him with torpedoes and machine gun fire. It worked (okay I only had a few successful torpedo contacts).

The night time rules worked well, with the unpredictable visibility distance (potentially shifting up or down in 10cm bands) meant I couldn't hide just inside a magic cloak of darkness, but had to be adaptable. I think they reflected the historical situation well.

And after sinking his fleet (though I came 4 hull points close from losing one of my own boats), I am sure Mark is keen to fight the next scenario with me having to shepherd some cargo ships across the table while he has fun zipping around.

In the afternoon I faced Ian S and his Feudal English in a game of ADLG with nearly painted Tibetans. I was massacred.

I deployed poorly, with my cataphracts not lined up to face Ian’s heavy foot. They were also one combat factor down against his knights, so it wasn’t surprising I only killed two elements to Ian getting 28 (my army break point was 21!). This also included him killing two of my generals.

The surviving general’s report states it was a resounding victory, with the rest of the army taking a well deserved holiday (England is always sunny to a Tibetan).

23 June 2019

Ancient Spanish for ADLG

The June League of Ancients meet saw me face Lyle D and his Middle Assyrians (I/25a) with my Great Sumerian Revolt army (I/1c) for a morning DBA campaign game.

It was a short game, more due to luck than skill - I was able to quick kill Lyle's light chariots with my bow, with two (maybe three) 6-1 rolls in my favour. The other kill was a 5-1 from memory.

It had been a while since I played Art De La Guerre (ADLG), so I took up an offer from Matt W to play a classical-themed game in the afternoon. He fielded an Alexander the Great (#40) army and I wanted to field something suitably historical. I fielded something I haven't used before - Ancient Spanish (#89). These were from my Field of Glory Carthaginian army (Magister Militum / Chariot Miniatures), and I used the African spearmen from that army as my Celtiberian.

The list consisted of:

Thurro (competent C-in-C)
2 Celtiberian (impetuous heavy swordsmen elite)
4 Celtiberian (impetuous heavy swordsmen)
2 Light infantry (sling)
1 Burning cart (scythed chariot)

Lubbo (ordinary sub-general)
1 Celtiberian (impetuous heavy swordsmen elite)
2 Celtiberian (impetuous heavy swordsmen)
4 Caetrati (javelinmen)
2 Light infantry (sling)
2 Light cavalry (javelin)

Caciro (competent sub-general)
3 Medium cavalry (elite)
3 Light cavalry (javelin)
3 Light infantry (javelin)

I have never used many of these troop types (including javelinmen) and consequently deployed poorly. Very poorly.

While on my left flank I deployed the mounted command, I engaged them against Matt's mounted command that outnumbered me and was better equipped.

The centre command should've been the one to face the elephants and be able to take the ploughed field, instead I sent them off on the far left flank. They did next to nothing all game (in part due to having a commander that was hardly able to activate).

However the impetuous heavy swordsmen ability saved me, because when I hit Matt's line I was able to claw back something (helped also by some fortuitous shooting rolls). In the end I lost, but I was close to breaking Matt's army (18 demoralisation points from his army value of 20). But not a victory.

Overall I was happy with the Ancient Spanish list, and a little tweaking of the commands has me ready to field them again.

26 May 2019

Lazy Sunday Session - Conquest of Paradise and Bloodborne

Nic R had the house to himself (well Charlie did, he allowed Nic to stay), so a lazy Sunday session was organised.

I was keen to play Conquest of Paradise, particularly as it had been around 18 months since I last played. While Nic would be GMing of sorts and hosting, the other players (Wes, Jack G and Ara H) would be exploring the big blue. As a four player game I (as Samoa) was stuck right next to Jack (as Tonga), while Wes and Ara were further away to the east.

We played a lot more cordially than last time (not a single round of combat!), which I put down to Ara not wanting to attack as he sheepishly didn't want to ask on what the rules/mechanics were. Instead he tried to sail to South America (as you do).

Ara did successfully get there and bring back kumara (sweet potatoes), we were all cheering when he made it. That non-confrontational strategy put him in front and ultimately won him the game.

It was interesting to see the game with different players play out completely different to last time. A lot of fun. I then had a little time left before dinner plans, so I took part in a short game of Bloodborne.

Definitely a game of easily being able to stab your team in the back, but we were all still too friendly - cooperating and sending players to regenerate that were on low health when needed.