Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fortune Cookie Wisdom

This is way off topic, but I have to pass along this gem of wisdom I received in a fortune cookie today.

“A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.”

This is so true it’s scary.

Friday, December 10, 2010

World War II progress?

As mentioned in an earlier post one of the projects I have had on the ‘back burner’ for a couple of decades is an alternate (or Imagi-world if you will) World War II campaign. One of the hold ups to this in the past has been finding a usable map I was happy with. I’ve finally decided to create my own map(s). This will be a fairly lengthy development process as I’m definitely not a cartographer, but it allows me to scale the “world” to something I feel is manageable.

As a test run of this process, I’ve completed the early stages of the first Island Nation of the world. I’ve taken the concept of tiles with grids from War Plan 5 x 5. The below Island is made up of 6 separate tiles, with each tile subdivided into 25 regions. Tentatively, each of the smaller squares represents a 10 mile square area. The map is the easy part, next I need to flesh out the ‘Atlas’ that describes the major military/economic/political features within each of the squares. I’m still not entirely sure I’m happy with this approach either, but at least it represents positive movement on the project. Below is the raw first draft of the yet to be named nation, remember this is more a proof of concept effort at this time. I scanned each of the big Tiles individually, then inserted them all into an Excel document, scaled it to fit one page, and pdf’d the monster. The continent(s) of the world will definitely take some time.

Completing this first step along with surfing Bob Cordery’s Interbellum Imagi-Nations web site (‘’) on the train ride home the other night inspired me to take a stab at a little Imagi-Nation set in the Atlantic somewhere west of the Straights of Gibraltar. The below focuses on the interwar period from 1925 to 1935 and is intended to set the background. While not compatible with my intended approach to the above referenced campaign it was a fun exercise to kill time on the train. This is pretty rough, most names are just place holders at this point and there is still a lot of room for refinement.

ARMED FORCES 1925 - 1935

Air forces

Currently air force is an eclectic mix of equipment from various nations. However, in early 1935 as part of the effort to modernize and standardize their equipment agreements were reached with Heinkel. Under these agreements, Bripania will purchase 15 completed Heinkel He111’s and 10 He51’s. Additionally, Heinkel will assist in the creation of production facilities in Bripania for the production of a further undisclosed number of both these aircraft under license. While the deal was reached in early 1935, announcement of the agreement was delayed for several months until Boeing had completed delivery of the 6 DC-3 aircraft purchased by Bripania airlines for fear the U.S. government may try to stop the delivery of the aircraft. Unfortunately, this agreement is expected to result in the end of any type of favorable relations with either the United States or the United Kingdom.

While bomber command is thrilled at the prospect of obtaining a state of the art bomber like the HE111, fighter command is less than happy with having the He51’s forced on them which they consider a step backward from their current Boeing P-26’s. However, the purchase of the 51’s was a pre-requisite for both Heinkel and Germany agreeing to assist in setting up production facilities for the 111’s.

Heinkel He 111 soon to be produced domestically

Heinkel HE 51

The above will be added to the existing air force and Bripania Airline assets which currently consist of:

• 48 Boeing P26 Peashooter fighters,

• 12 Sopwith Cuckoo bi-plane torpedo bombers,

• 36 Blackburn Baffin bi-plane torpedo bombers.

• 14 Junkers Ju52 Transports.

Boeing P-26 (Peashooter)

Armored forces

As an island nation Bripania has up to now seen no reason to incur the cost of significant armored forces. However, in light of recent developments or the international stage, they are beginning to look at modernizing their armored forces. At present, the armored forces consist of 1 Battalion of 3 companies, organized as shown below:

• Coy A: 12 Renault FT-17 with 37mm gun.

• Coy B: 15 Renault FT-17 with 7.92 MG,

• Coy C: 8 Renault FT-17 with 37mm gun; 5 Renault F-17 with 7.92 MG
Renault FT-17

Mechanized Infantry

Early on the military leadership recognized the need for a small standing army such as Bripania to have a high degree of mobility. The result is that fully 50% of the infantry forces of Bripania are mechanized in some manner. Foremost among these are the 1st Dragoons. While Bripania had no Cavalry traditions, they have embraced the concept of the dragoon or mounted infantry, resulting in this motorcycle/side car combination equipped unit. The motorcycles are built domestically under license from India Motrocycles of the USA. Each Line Company is composed of a Company HQ with 2 officers, 1 1st sgt, 1 supply sgt, and 4 drivers/ radio operators in addition to 3 platoons of 30 troops each, with a HQ section consisting of 1 officer, 1 plt sgt, 2 radio men, a med MG team (Browning M1919) of 3 men and a medic. Additonally there is a support company consisting of 6 Heavy MGs (Browning M1917A1 water cooled) and 10 anti-tank rifles.

• 1st Dragoon Regiment

• HQ – 5 Officers, 5 radio men, 5 motorcycle/sidecars, 10 truck drivers/mechanics, 5 cooks,

• Coy A – 215 men, 64 mortorcycle/sidecars

• Coy B – 215 men, 64 mortorcycle/sidecars

• Coy C – 215 men, 64 mortorcycle/sidecars

• Coy D – 32 men, 21 motorcycle/sidecars, 6 M1917 Browning MG and 10 Mauser 1918 T-Gewehr anti-tank rifles

Total 702 men, 218 motorcycles/sidecars, 10 1.5 Ton trucks,


The standard Infantry or “leg” infantry continues to be structured along the same lines as during the Great War.


The Artillery arm still has a long way to go for modernization. Most of the current field guns are French 75mm quick firing filed guns, purchased from either France or the United States. They have also acquired a number of 4.5” quick firing Howitzers from the United Kingdom and one batter of 150mm Cannon based on the German SIG33. However, as relations with both the United States and United Kingdom continue to deteriorate, it is likely the old turn of the century guns will remain in service as well.


Early in 1925 the high command recognizing that virtually all of the naval ships were still coal fired and far outclassed by the new vessels entering services with other nations, embarked on a major restructuring of their fleet. Over the next 5 years all of their existing ships were sold for scrap (with Japan purchasing a majority for scrap steel). The 5” and 6” gun mounts from these vessels were converted into shore batteries.

In 1926 they purchased one “O” class sub from the United States and two WWI “W” class destroyers from the United Kingdom. In 1927 purchase one “Clemson” class Destroyer from the United States and contract to build 5 under license domestically between 1927 – 1930 for a total class of 6.

"W" Class Destroyer in Bripania service

The above is rough and in need of some work, but it's been so long so my last post I figured I'd go ahead post it now.  If you read it all the way through, thanks.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Finally a new post

Since I'm haven't been very creative of late I thought I'd cross post some of the fluff from our fictional (Imagi-Nation if you will) Napoleonic’s campaign. The items can be found on the right hand side under Napoleonic Imagi-Nations. I’m ashamed to say, that what I’ve cross posted represents the best of my efforts.

Very briefly, our campaign came about after Historicon 2009. Our group, having painted a considerable amount of 28mm. Napoleonic’s for that effort needed an excuse to use them. And, at least in my case, it was additional motivation for the run up to Historicon 2012 (and all the Russian lead I need to paint), and the following Historicon 2013 where we (a.k.a. Peter A.) will be running Leipzig.

The campaign consists of 8 nations/players. As the group is a spin off of the Hofkriegsrats (HK-Rats), our continent is named Ratskania. We are a very punny group, and view the campaign with differing levels of seriousness.

The nations and my summary of them follows (Keep in mind they are rivals or potential rivals - so I could be biased). Ratlandia ruled by the Grand Formage, is on the southern coast, and run by the campaign GM. Their name sums it up, think Napoleonic Skaven. They were invaded on our first turn by their 2 neighbors, Benefice and Fartengas.

Fartengas is located on the southern coast, and as the name implies is well known for the aromatic activities. They formed an alliance with Benefice on the first campaign turn and have been rolling through Ratlandia ever since.

Bennefice is on the east coast. It is modeled on revolutionary France (right down to starving citizens due to chronic food shortages); it is ruled by First Citizen Rob S. Pierre. Benefice is situated on my southern border.

Vulgarandgarish is located on the West coast. It is ruled by King Gav I, and is well known for garish clothing and vulgar eating habits. It is located on my Western border.

S’Gottland is located on the West coast. It’s populated by red coated refugees from the ‘old world’. They, like my nation, are currently engaged in operations to defend their oppressed kinsmen from Gullderland oppression. S’Gottland is situated on my Western border.

Fuddland is located on the Eastern coast. This idyllic realm of peace and culture is ruled by the beloved and bumbling Elmer von Fudd (did I mention it’s my nation?). As you would guess from its name it is populated with cartoon characters. Fuddland is currently engaged in liberation operations against Gullderland necessitated by crimes against humanity (and ethnic Fuddlanders).
Additionally, the sacred soil of Fuddland was recently desecrated from a raid by Dahara fanatics.
Dahara is located on the West and North coast. It is ruled by a ‘prophet’ of some sort, spouting on about ‘light’. These religious fanatics seem set on expanding their ‘enlightenment’ at the point of a bayonet. They are (or at least were) at war with Gullderland, and have recently raided a fishing village of Fuddland.

Gullderland is the last our nations. It is on the East coast of the continent and on my Northern border. It’s had some change in rulers since we started the campaign and currently appears to be ruled by some sort of committee.

My apologies to any of my fellow players who I’ve misrepresented, but this is after all, the Fuddland view.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

September Production

October already? Where did September go? More importantly, why weren’t there any post in September? I really need to become more disciplined about regularly posting here.

Work wise I’m hitting the ‘crazy’ period at work. My ability to make post during the next month and half or so will be limited, but I’ll do my best to do better than I did in September.

Painting wise, September was fairly productive for me. I finished 64 Russian Line figures, that’s 1 Brigade which means I have now finished all of the infantry figures for my first 25mm Russian Division.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August Production

Actually, this probably should be titled August lack of production. From a painting perspective it was a pretty lame month. I completed 1 unit (12 figures) of Russian Militia and 16 chickens.

Yes, I said chickens. Our group uses chickens and other farm animals to mark units that are disordered. They look much less obtrusive on the table than pipe cleaners or some other type of marker. Plus plopping a chicken, pig or sheep down next to a unit provides an opportunity for bad jokes and puns that can’t be passed up.

I do have several units partially completed, but there not done so they don’t count. The good thing about the abysmal painting results for August is I can only get better.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

August is almost over - where has all the painting gone?

Since I don’t seem to have anything eloquent to say, and I know anyone visiting the site would rather see photos anyway, below is a photo of the Moscow Opolchenie unit I finished this month. This month has been a rough month painting wise. I’ve lost two weekends to social/family commitments and been working on the weekends (I hate it when work interferes with something as important as gaming)

This unit varies from my normal basing which is four stands of four figures. Why? Well because the Front Rank figures are getting expensive, and other than for Borodino I don’t expect these to see a lot of table time. I also hope it will give them a little more ragged appearance on the table next to the four figures stands.

There’s an outside chance I’ll finish another Regiment of Russian Line Infantry (2 battalions) this weekend, but I’m not hopeful at this point. They only need their Shako cords, pompoms, and musket slings done. Then the obligatory clean up of the more egregious “oops” mistakes before they can get based.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Project process

Not much to post today, just a quick update on the painting progress for the 2012 project. July’s numbers were not exactly impressive; I completed 2 Russian line battalions, 1 Polish line battalion, and one French Horse Artillery Battery for a total of 48 Infantry figures and 6 Artillerist.
In August I really need to focus on completing more Russian Infantry so I can at least field a Division, then I need to find time to get in a game soon to keep the painting motivation going – of course gaming means no painting progress, what a cruel hobby this can be.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Projects in the works

Part of the reason for creating this blog was to help keep me focused on painting troops for the Hofkriegsrats 2012 Borodino project. When I first started toying with the Borodino madness the plan was to use 15mm figures. I already had a ton of 15mm Russians and they’re cheap and paint quickly. Unfortunately all the other Hofriegsrats have 25mm figures, so I’m in the process of starting a 25mm Russian army. My portion of the required troops is fairly small. Unfortunately, I’m not a very fast painter (I’m not exactly a good painter either). I’ve made a good start on the Cavalry and a modest start on the Infantry. I have 2 years left to complete the remaining 544 Infantry figures and 80 Cavalry figures.

Of course, the 2012 project isn’t the only one on the radar screen. There is our ongoing “fictional” (think Imagi-nations) Napoleonic campaign. I still need to get around to painting my late war Flames of War American Cavalry Recon Troop. Then I’ve got about 70 Renaissance armored Pikemen I need to get to. Plus I’m being pulled (well, maybe I’m willingly embracing it) into the Victorian world of Space 1889 so I’ll need to paint up a bunch of those figures. And then there’s the 40mm American Revolutionary War project that had a false start a couple of years ago and has languished since then (I still trip over the pile of 40mm lead every now and then). I still need to add a couple of Chariots to my Picts and a few more Roman’s as well.

And finally, sometime around 1983 I acquired a copy of the June 1980 Wargamer Digest which had an article about an “alternative history” World War II campaign. Ever since then about every 4 months I get the urge to start an Imagi-nation World War II campaign… maybe someday.

I think I’ve just depressed myself. Time to stop writing and start painting.

The Hofkriegsrats are a group of (primarily) Connecticut based mental cases that formed for Historicon 2009. For Historicon 2009 we ran 6 1809 games, culminating in a massive Wagram game on a table over 36 feet in length (kind of “z” shaped) and comprising roughly 2,800 25/28mm figures. Hopefully by 2012 we will have all recovered from that adventure enough to run 3 or 4 1812 games, featuring the Borodino blood bath. Plans are also underway for us to run a massive Leipzig game at Historicon 2013. Clearly this behavior confirms the long held belief in the hobby that all Napoleonic gamers are megalomaniacs.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Well, so far I’m off to an inauspicious start to the blog.

Time for the obligatory Historicon report: I was pleased with the new venue (Valley Forge Convention Center). The facilities were nice and for the most part cool, in their defense the temperature was 105 when I arrived their Wednesday. My main gripe with the Host in Lancaster was their abysmal air conditioning system. I stayed at the Radisson and the rooms were nice, the staff was pleasant. Unfortunately, for most of the convention only 1 of the 3 elevators was operational. Walking down 10 flights of stairs while being a nuisance isn’t that big of deal; walking up 10 flights of stairs, well, that just isn’t going to happen.

I found the dealer hall and flea market to be rather lacking compared to past years. (Warning rant follows) If you are the exclusive U.S. dealer for a line of historical miniatures why in the world wouldn’t you attend the premier historical miniatures gaming event in the country? It actually probably saved me money since with the current dollar to pound exchange rate it’s actually cheaper now to order direct from the UK and pay the 25% postage then it is to order from the particular US distributor in question.

After nearly 25 years of being in the hobby I finally played in my first Civil War game. The game was run by Dr. Tim Cooper from the U.K. using the new Zouave rules by Bob Jones. Since bob wrote the original Piquet rules the two systems are similar, creating what I feel is the best ‘fog of war’ effect of any system out there.

I met Tim at Historicon last year. He is a fellow Piquet Field of Battle (by Brent Oman) player and became an honorary Hofkriegsrat. Hoffriegsrat I hear you asking. For Historicon 2009 a group of us crazies (under the leadership of head crazy Peter Anderson) got together and ran 6 1809 games culminating with a massive Wagram battle.

I also played in a General Quarters III game. I managed to get my two British Cruisers reduced to smoking, sinking scrap metal. I’ve played the GQ 3 rules a couple of times and really like them – but then I don’t really know much about naval warfare.

The last game I played in was Tod Kershner’s “Great Redoubt” game. Tod is the author of the Warfare in the Age of Napoleon rules. I had a small Russian cavalry command (2 Cuirassier and 2 Hussar units) on the right (north) flank of the redoubt. Between myself and the player on my right who had a brigade of Dragoons we managed to clear all of the French Cavalry off the table. I enjoyed the game, I always enjoy routing French troops.

I still prefer the Field of Battle for Napoleonic battles. At this stage in my gaming career I find the “I go, you go” type of rules a little gamey. As I reflect back on my time as a Tank Company Commander I never new for sure if my Lieutenants would show up where they were suppose to when they were suppose to and I feel that the Piquet system does the best job of representing that uncertainty.

Other than the above I schlepped some lead and provided morale support for two of Peter Anderson’s Field of Battle Napoleonic’s games (both of which won PELA awards).

As always there was lots of eye candy with some truly stunning game setups. Below are photos of some of the tables that caught my eye. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to play in any of these.  The first 3 were part of the 'Uncle Duke' games, the last 3 are from a Space 1889 Cloud Ships of Mars using scratch built 25mm ships.

All in all it was a good convention, good gaming, and good seeing old friends.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Time to take the plunge

While I consider myself a historical gamer, I guess it’s time I joined the modern era and tried one of these blog thingy do-hickeys. Hopefully this will keep me focused and help me work through the occasional painting block.

Periods that will be covered are primarily Napoleonic, Renaissance, World War II, maybe eventually some American Revolution (I’ve got to either start painting the pile of 40mm figures or sell them, I’ve been tripping over them for 2+ years now), Ancients and maybe some Victorian Science Fiction (I know, it isn’t historical – but the back ground is cool). From time to time I may include some snippets from the Imagi-Nation Napoleonic campaign being played by an eclectic group of us comprising wargamers from Australia to the U.K. I’m sure there will be other eras covered as well given that I have the attention span of a gold fish with ADD.

Stop back, I promise the posts will get better.