Saturday, 21 April 2012

Hmm: Amber Warning - Watchout Watchout There's a Russian Malware Site About

Alert status Amber: 

Well, Bloggers Blog ... and Bloggers cannot help but being interested in their community and who reads their blogs, but beware. The URL's of the referring sites (Definition: A site that lists your blog and recommends by implication other people click on your link to see your content - hence the term 'referral') is given in the Blogger: "Traffic Sources" statistics section. They show up in your site statistics as in not who is visiting you but what "common" web-sites also likes you.

I have a "new" certain Eastern European referrer called:  


(Note:The (dot) in the above is so that your browse does not inadvertently "take you there" (officer) - repeat do not go there)

It's a naughty site that tries to tempt you by pretending to be a "You-Tube" style of video site with alluring ladies showing more than the typical You-Tube yard of flesh and then immediately asks you (while you are distracted) to upload a "new" version of Adobe Flash [hit the browser close "x" button top right hand corner gents!] - if you don't a piece of "malware" is heading for you


Then give yourself an anti-virus sweep just to be sure

A better description of what is happening can be found at:

And the $64,000 question: Are users of these sites really interested in my wargaming site? Answer "no": It is a 'black' server reading of a list of URL's trying to generate back traffic to steal identity information. In effect this is a modified version of a "phish" attack - as in "click me" you'll be rich. Why doesn't Google block it, well from the techie side of things the traffic profile is the same as legitimate referrals, it is only over time can Google detect odd things in traffic patterns - which is a little "after the horse has bolted".

Hope this may serve to be of help to someone

The Battle of Bedford Beetfield: 1644 ECW Hypothetical [1]

Defending London from Rupert: 

Parliament is in crisis. Two Royalist armies are approaching London, either of which could defeat the "retrained" Parliamentarians. As a result the ground chosen to defend the approaches of London at Bedford was a curious mix of psychology and defensiveness (or should that read deafeatist mind-set). The Parliamentarians deployed in a corner triangle (see below):

The points of the triangle were a hamlet BUA (top right), a baggage camp behind a wood (bottom right) and a "Beetroot Field" (far left). A "flying column" of upgraded Parliamentarian cavalry forms the left wing of the army, infantry dominated elsewhere (see above).

The Royalists deployed a "wall of shot" with excellent cavalry on both wings, hiding a Macedonian Phalanx of Pike away from the attentions of the enemy (Parliamentarian) artillery. It would be interesting to see which way the artillery dual went (see above) as both sides deployed two large cannon. Parliament's center anxiously waited the opening rounds from the 'big guns' (see below).

The Parliamentarian right wing commander (me) wondered how to get his some of his mass of "shot" involved without opening the door to the Royalist mobile left wing (see below): 

A close-up of the base of the Parliamentarian right hand triangle and the curious "flying column" something lCromwell must have been thinking about over the winter (and who said he didn't drink, I think too much eggnog is at work here). Dragoons, Shot, "vastly improved"Parliamentarian cavalry" and then Light Guns in the wrong place at the rear of the line (see below):  

The "Beet Field", the namesake of the battle, full of Parliamentarian "shot" and soon to be the scene of one of the bloodiest  slug-fests in our ECW campaign (see below):

To which the Royalist Right Wing (and he probably was to be fair) said "I'll 'ave 'em all" and promptly charged at the Parliamentarian Left (as they were politically leaning that way) in a aristocratic 'death or glory fashion' (see below):

Meanwhile the Royalist (far, far) Left could barely see the enemy and would spend most of the game marching to meet up with them, but were a useful "shot" and "cavalry" pack (see below):

A view from the Royalist Baggage Camp of the Royalist Artillery and "reduced" Pike Block, being kept in reserve as a sort of Triari formation, partly due to their vulnerability to artillery, partly due to the "no where to put them in this bad terrain" (see below):

The Royalist Baggage, where Rupert keeps his bloomers, would Cromwell get his hands on them? The Royals seem to be keen on oxen? (See below):

Deployment "configured": Next let the action commence ...

Friday, 20 April 2012

Model of the Month: WWII HaT"StuIG 33" x 2

What a fantastic high from making this kit and I don't think it was anything to the liquid glue I was using in an unventilated room. It was a quick-fit joy to make. HaT have really sorted out their kit assembly!

It was a delightful put together in less that twenty minutes.

The only down side to this kit is thinking up an excuse to buy another box. Two models pretty well covers the requirements of a Command Decision German Division (Infantry, Panzer Grenadier or Panzer). 

In one session I managed to put together two.

The instructions were excellent, the only difference between printed and actual in the box was a simplification, using one part instead of two for the bit that goes underneath the gun.

All-in-all its 10/10 for a fast build, 9/10 for a scale model but it has plenty of scope for customisation (adding to stowage bric-a-brac on the rear engine cover area). You can imagine it is one of those vehicles that 'landsers' would keep jumping on for a ride, given half a chance.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

April's Renaissance "Man of the Match"

Just a couple of photos of my current favourite wargaming stand, the Renaissance Artillery from my Maximilian Army (see below):

Their moment of glory being "pulling a draw out of the hat" against those blessed Class A "Swiss" Pike Block:

On the last turn of the game. As befits a stand(s) with so much saucy character (and I saved them from fighting Trolls).


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Painting and Making Tray Update

Chaos abounds with the prospect of an imminent house move. The painting tray seems to have gone into "assemble bare plastic model" mode as an antidote to the "house move" stress (see below):

A bucket load of the Perry 'Renaissance' Plastics on the left (near enough two and a half boxes of pike/shot/crossbow and one box of archers/halberds) destined to be my Renaissance Swiss Impetus Army. I will have to dig out some mounted Knights from somewhere at some point, but right at the moment I'm concentrating on 'two legs'. To the right is a bunch of GW 40K flying Tyranids (Gargoyles) I put together with my eldest son for fun.Lurking in the shadows at the rear are some more old GW Empire "Handgunners" destined to be Renaissance "Harquebusiers" (released from a fate worse than death IMHO). See below for a closer look, undercoated with the Vallejo equivalent of Scorched Brown = Charred Brown:

The Holy Roman Emperor (HRE) Charles V is getting some attention, but it is a slow burner not gaining much traction and in need of some inspiration otherwise I will still be without a "general" stand for my next Impetus game (see below): 

Fear not fellow 'treadheads' 20th Century mechanical devices are 'mentioned in dispatches' too (see below):  

I now have a flotilla of four RN Tribal class destroyers in 1/1200 scale to attack the KM Bismarck at night and I picked up a wonderfully weird 1/72 HaT German assault gun that I didn't even know existed (a Pz III chassis that carried a150mm Infantry Gun StuIG 33B) in plastic from a Easter trip to Edinburgh and a visit to Wonderland Model shop on Lothian Road (***** = 5 Star). That's next up to be 'glued' together. 
PS Hope the leg/ankle is healing 'NZ Paul' (Plastic Warriors)

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Worse and Best of eBay Experiences

The 'low': Buyer Beware - I got what was sold as per the photograph, but I misread the sellers description:

I had this item on a "watch list" thinking it was a Games Workshop Empire Cannon suitable for my Renaissance armies. I logged on to see the seconds ticking down on the auction and nobody had bid .. gulp .. 99p and it was a retail value  of a tenner. A split second decision was needed and I saw no other bids so I went for it. Only then did I realise for my 99p (+£2.50P&P) instead of a "full" sprue of an Empire Cannon, it was just the 'extra' bits left over. Arrgh! Too good to be true and it  was. It's OK for a bit of colour to a diorama for a quid but not for £3.49 (although it did come in a lovely big package!). An eBay low.

However there was also an eBay 'high' (see below):

"Finally" I get two 1:1200 Tribal destroyers and boy are these authentic Airfix oldies (should be good quality plastic in there). This means I have the kit required (but not all painted) for the Vian versus the Bismarck night attack. In total this cost me £5.20 including P&P, at £2.60 a destroyer I am happy enough at that as it officially closes my 1:1200 collection. (Although I may have to give some thought to scratch building HMS Rodney, HMS Renown, HMS Sheffield, HMS Ramilies and HMS Victorious .. sorry did I really say I had finished?)


Friday, 13 April 2012

A Cruel Fate for the Harry Tate

End Game: 

Never stand between a hunter and its game. The RE8 found itself as "all that stood between the Hun and glory" and in rather unglamorous fashion was set upon "top and tail" by the two remaining German scouts. Forward and rear machine guns blazing RE8 faced the full force of a Germanic operatic fury with stiff upper lip public school stoicism (see below):

The crowd of players clamoured for the model to replace the card counter. An even more ungainly scene depicting the plight of the RE8 (see below). Damage cards were exchanged ... many to the RE8 and a few in return to the Germanic scouts. 

Then the valiant RE8 was no more, flames billowed from its frame and it plunged earthward, the fate of the crew unknown (see below).

The even odds seemed to now be in the favour the Germans (the best they had all day, evens) but a slight miscommunication between the German scout pilots left one of them open to a 'free' deflection shot from a passing N17. The German scout was not in a good way and even this little trivial nick brought him down (see below). This changed everything.   

The "Yellow Albatross" faced with two N17's and himself low on ammunition decides that discretion is by far the greater part of valour and heads east to rebuild the Jasta. He waves forlornly at his trapped comrades in the fields below as he departs. Once again the pendulum battle in the skies above the trenches 'hangs in the balance'.

To be continued ...

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A Furious 'Five Minutes'

The Hun soon scores a revenge kill back as a Sopwith Pup is downed (see below) in a ferocious exchange of machine gun fire with the "Yellow Albatross" (a known killer from the 'Dawn Patrol' that staked Pierre before deciding to break off from the combat). The sides are now four Entente active planes to three Central Powers, still even'ish given the German (over) confidence in their men and their machines:

Pierre slides into the combat zone. Altitude and angles means that he can hit nothing but more importantly nothing can hit him, despite some things looking very close (see below): 

"Kaboom" the RE8 strikes with its front machine guns as the "Pink Terror" is engulfed in a ball of flame. A veteran German crew is lost (KIA). This is quite significant in the "campaign". Meanwhile Pierre goes head-to-head with a German single-seater scout he has trouble identifying (see below - answers on a postcard). Damage is taken by both planes and they continue on as if nothing has happened:

The "Yellow Albatross" chalks up another kill, as yet another nimble RFC Sopwith Pup is 'bagged'. They are dainty little things, beautiful to look at but seemingly not up to the rigours of war against an Albatross armed foe (see below): 

It is now the French in their N17's (two of), and an RFC (damaged) RE8 versus two German scouts in petty good condition (although with the secret damage in WoW you never quite know). One of the German pilots has a ferociously growing reputation and with appetite for Sopwith Pups. How wil he fair on N17's one wonders? The event must be decided soon, with the Germans circling the field where their comrades are sheltering.

Who is so important down there on the ground? So important to risk all these valiant men and machines in such a 'high risk' operation with a small chance of success? I wonder if the brain behind this scheme was in reality addled with schnaps? 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Squadron Sramble !!!

The Crazy Rescue Mission:

The Hun is afoot with mischief. Pierre was barely half way through his late breakfast croissant and 'aperitif' when the distinctive low drum of aircraft engines was heard coming from the East. In the countryside around the Entente airfield troops were out hunting for the "downed" German pilots of the Dawn Patrol's "bag". So unusual for the Germans to come so deep over the Entente lines. Could the crazy Hun be attempting a a bold 'rescue' mission?  Staggering and swaying somewhat Pierre mounted his trusty N17 taking care to taxi a respectful and tactically astute distance away from the 'crazy' RE8 pilot who attracted trouble and mid-air collisions. See below, Pierre is far left, the dangerous RE8 is in the center:

The Hun. Flying low and making for a clearing, out of which a marker flare burns, near the wrecked remains of a German aircraft (see below). Apparently it is possible to "wing-walk" crew over the trench-line! Seeing will be believing ;) 

Given that there was a heavy tactical element of positioning in the first combat of the night (taking three quarters of the playing time) I was amazed at the brutal "up the middle on one" tactics of the Imperial German Air Force. It was as if they had forgotten we carried guns on our planes (see below):

An Albatross makes it clean through the Entente 'fighter' (plus RE8) defensive line (bottom left, model replace by a card for convenience sake) and brutal head-to-head combat take place over on the far right. Pierre is out of camera shot to the far left, trying desperately to get into the action, but the game is literally 'going too fast' for him to catch up with (see below). Will the Germans sweep in and rescue their comrades in under our very noses?

The eagle-eyed gunner of the RE8 has other ideas and the bloody cull starts, first blood to the Entente as the Albatross (and the brave and crafty pilot Kevin) falls to a 'lucky shot' (see below):

Pierre adjusts his goggles and swings his N17 in a graceful arc into the heart of the combat.

Monday, 9 April 2012

38t Panzer "Marsch"

The perils of trying to update a blog on a mobile device mean that I am typing this post again. Perhaps it was my chubby fingers or a "interface error" but here for the second time of telling is the "38t Panzer Marsch" (see below): 

These are all examples of the Fuji 38t 1/76 kit, copiously available in the 1990's where most if not all of the above were collected. Like their namesake Skoda 38t the kits were relatively cheap and easy to put together. Many a pitched wargame battle was fought against the Matchbox French Char 1 bis (one notable game occurred in a London pub's wargames room where "Rommel" as per history took a part.French DCR in France 1940).

They have a lightened "hard campaigning" look about them and so need the balkan black German cross and those 'red and white' large side numbers. One day that will come ;)

The 38t is a nice little model that serves well for the Germans in Poland 1939 (as part of their "Light" Divisions), in France 1940 famously with Rommel in the 7th Panzer Division and also 8th Panzer and even into Russian in 1941. Axis satellite allies also used them post-1942 but there the camo schemes started to go three toned and away from the grey. You could even find them as mobile "train" defenses, carried on flat-beds in "Partisan country" to deter partisan attention.   

35t Solo Panzer "Anton the Great"

This one is a rare Esci original Skoda 35t tank, with the fabled 'dustbin lid' cupola. Serving in Poland, France and early Barbarossa Russia in 1941. They did not survive the winter of 41 in German service, but variants lived on in the satellite Romanian and Hungarian forces (much to the distress of their crews when they faced a T-34 or KV-1).

This one is in the usual "decal free" state and is more an "individual" modelling project than a "company force" wargaming OoB. It is destined to be the last serviceable Panzer 35t in the 6th Panzer Division driving to enigrad in late 1941. Due to mechanical breakdown it was eventually pushed into a ditch. The Panzer crews now fighting on as infantry.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Addictive WWI Dog Fight Game: Based on Blue Max Rules

Found this WWI Air Combat game and it is addictive ;)

A FREE online games based on the infamous Blue Max (which was evolved further into the Canvas Eagles roles)

Tally Ho

So far I have been shot down in three games out of the eight I have started, but there's a motto somewhere in there to help me. Watch out for a crazy late war German plane called the Siemans Schuckert D.IV that is incredibly maneuverable

Footnote: The perils of trying to edit an Blogger posting on a mobile device means that sometimes you can lose the whole content of your post and have to retype it  :(

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Panzer II "Marsch"

The early war panzer photograph collection was never quite finished. The Panzer II 'posse' pose together (see below) in France or Poland.

Four Matchbox/Revell and two Fujimi, the chap with the commander is the really early war variant (see below). They are crying out for decals (black crosses in particular) and I want to give all the early war crew tank commanders a little individual attention.

I do have one other Panzer II still in DAK colours and I am debating what to do with him, whether to turn him grey or camo him up for the recon vehicle.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

From the Fires of Hell, "Dragon's Teeth" are Drawn

The Maximilian Landsknechts have to pull it out of the bag somehow.

The demise of the Swiss Knights (see below) to a devastating rear attack by now the psychotic Germanic Men-At-Arms out for revenge, taking great pleasure in still being 'fresh' due to their deep formation (claiming Impetus) and additional 'rear attack' bonus dice. The valuable (3 VP) Swiss Knights became mere paper confetti, their far off Cantons mourning the loss of their noblemen. Remember the Maximilian break point is "ten", the Swiss "fourteen", so the parity in VD is slightly misleading as the Maximilian's are still behind.

Victory Point Count: Maximilian 9 VD to the Swiss 9 VD

Then tragedy stikes! Damn those unstoppable Swiss Pikemen the Maximilian camp is lost (see below), the army break point is reached, but the Maximilian "turn" must be completed before the game can end. On the up side the Swiss Pike has come within point blank range of the Maximilian artilery. 
Victory Point Count: Maximilian 11 VD (Army Morale Breaks) to the Swiss 9 VD

Mwanwhile the second Swiss Pike Block finds itself flanked by "shooters' delivering a devasting point blank volley. This point in the game is reffered to as the "Execution of Swiss Pikemen by Firing Squad" (see below):

Followed by the "Burial of Swiss Pikemen" phase, a base worth 3 VD is removed (see below):
Victory Point Count: Maximilian 11 VD (Army Morale Breaks) to the Swiss 12 VD

It comes to the last dice rolls of the game. A little tickle by some pesky skirmishers mounts another casualty before "The Big Guns" speak at point blank (a mere eight attack dice). A cloud of smoke obscures the Swiss Pike block from sight ...

When it clears it is apparent the "The Swiss have Fallen", (a base is removed worth 3 VD) their banners and pennants are seen to waver, the Swiss morale morale breaks and they retreat (see below):

Victory Point Count: Maximilian 11 VD (Army Morale Breaks) to the Swiss 15 VD (Army Morale Breaks)

The Game is drawn, a bloody draw at that, but without wanting to sound blood thirty it was a great game to play:

Relief that Lady "G-Spot's" is not pillaged by the Swiss (see above), but what did we learn apart from always pay the Swiss to be on your side or you have to pretty much kill all their army before you stop them? You had better face up to the fact that sooner you will have to kill at least one of their Pike Blocks!
Next time, next battle ... I'll have a painted General ;)

Monday, 2 April 2012

The Swiss bleed Maximilian's Men

First to go are the shooters as surviving a second round of combat is too much to ask for (see below). The Swiss Pike merely stand disrupted (green poker chip):

Victory Point Count:  Maximilian 6 VD to the Swiss 2 VD

Attention turned to the valiant Maximilian mounted crossbowmen (aka 'The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse'). Having severely damaging the Swiss Knights previously by inflicting missile casualties the mounted crossbowmen find themselves in a finely balanced battle that could go either way. Defending the hill makes it an even three attack dice apiece (see below).

They were brave but not lucky enough (see below):

Victory Point Count:  Maximilian 6 VD to the Swiss 3 VD

Then there was the big one, Swiss Pike Block versus Landsknecht Block. Was there ever any doubt. The Swiss just don't loose their edge/ Maximilian's men fall (see below). The Landsknechts have bloodied the Swiss Pike but not enough to strip a base away, in return Maximilian has lost three, each worth two victory points: 

Victory Point Count:  Maximilian 6 VD to the Swiss 9 VD

This is savage as the Maximilian break point is "ten" whilst the Swiss are far away from their beeakpoint of "fourteen". There is no room now for any further loss to Maximilian even that of a lowly skirmisher. There are however two silver linings to this cloud of despair, firstly the army is not in rout after also losing its general (nobody notices) and it decides to fight on, secondly the Swiss Pike Blocks are now exposed to withering point-blank missile ('shot' and 'crossbow bolt') fire (see below). 

The Swiss Pike make a desperate charge to loot and pillage the Maximilian camp which would have ended the game there and then but the Swiss just fall short of the necessary contact distance (see below), "A" class troops or not. Note also the mounting casualties on the rear base of the Swiss Pike, their 'steam' could be running out or alternatively we might have just annoyed them!

Are there any twists left to this tale?

Next: The Landsknecht last hurrah!