Saturday, December 18, 2010

A big shout out to the posties of the world

I've had stuff come through the post from the UK, the US even Germany this year as well as all over Australia. All of it has arrived in one piece most of it very quickly. This is the time of year in the western world when the postal workers really get hammered with all the Christmas stuff getting sent. So nice one guys and girls your efforts are appreciated.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

1:72 Somus (sic)

A neat little three man tank from the French army of WWII. The display base that this vehicle was on had Somus instead of Somua.

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1:72 Matilda II's Deagostini and ?

The tank on the right arrived today in the post from Hong Kong with a Somua 35 and the Stug from the previous post. Nearly identical to the Deagostini Combat Tanks Collection vehicle I received last month. It isn't as well made with the smoke launchers and a few other bits including the exhausts cast as part of the body or turret rather than as separate parts.
The unknown vehicle on the right has the id stripes that were a feature on some real  life vehicles.

Revell British 8th army soldier for scale.
I've had a look about for possible producers for these three tanks but have so far drawn a blank. Could they be rejects from the factory that produces the vehicles for these part collections? They just look too similar to CTC vehicles, even down to the tank numbers to be a coincidence.

The tracks on the Deagositini vehicle (right) are much more accurate.
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

1:72 die cast armour arrivals Stug III

Stug III auf G drivers side.

Commanders side

View from the rear showing the deliberately bent shield on the top mounted MG.  The painters have also missed the rack of spare tracks at the rear between engine deck and fighting compartment.

Rear view showing the crooked spare road wheel and the unit insignia which looks a bit like an elongated x on a shield.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Games Workshops store finder doesn't get updated?

Its frustrating when you try to offer a service and expect some help from a reasonably well run company which you are buying increasing amounts of product from and they just cant seem to get it right. The Games Workshop Oz store finder doesn't show the two stores in Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia. Only the one which has been stocking less and less as the store that isn't listed goes nuts with their product. AAAAGH! Jeez guys give me the access and i'll fix it myself.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Renedra Barrels

Released under Renedra's Generics label, I picked these up from Warlord Games with a few other bits that arrived today. There are five wooden barrels and five casks on two sprues in a chocolate brown plastic (grey is available) in this retail packet. Each barrel has two halves and goes together smoothly although the two rings around the center of the cask don't quite line up.

The smaller casks which are 1 cm in diameter just before putting them together.
The smaller of the two is a gunpowder keg sort of size while the larger is more of a small wine size. Both have squarish sides rather than the very bowed wine barrel sides.  These are great little scenery enhancers both for fantasy and historicals and a pile might even be useful as an objective. Perfect for all the pirate games that people seem to be playing .

Halo Reach Actionclix figures

B1 received the latest release Actionclix that he's been sweating on. The figures are the Spartan Noble Six team  from the Microsoft Halo Reach game. I only really looked at them very briefly as they are over scale for 28mm sci fi and pretty soft in the detail department. One thing i did notice was that the sniper rifle on the figure in the blister was truncated while the picture showed a much longer version. B1 was trying to get the game to work but couldn't work out why the clix weren't making sense. Then he realised the clix insert had been put into the wrong figures at the factory. Doh! 5 minutes later he was in business.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Real Thing - 80 Pounder Gun emplacement

I thought this might be interesting for those late 19th century wargamers. These guns were put into Warrnambool,  Port Fairy and Portland in 1889 to defend against a possible Russian invasion. The Portland gun and emplacement were restored in 1984 and give a good idea of what an emplacement of the day would look like.

From the rear
The site would have dominated the bay below it although modern day industry seems to have gotten in the way.
Door to the left of the gun.
Date stamp on the gun.
The magazine and lamp passage doors to the right of the gun.

B1 and B2 man the gun.

The Real Thing - Grant Tank in Australia

M3A3?5? Grant tank on the side of the road at the entrance to the now defunct Melbourne Tank Museum on the outskirts of Melbourne, Victoria.

Side doors indicate an early model as it was deleted as a weak point in later tanks. The 75mm barrel seems way too long but may be the M3 75mm gun as indicated on page 21 of the surviving Grant tanks PDF.
Two tone Australian camouflage.
Hull front
 The Museum closed in 2005/6 and the two Grants in the collection were sold to a private collector which means I took these photos a long time ago.
The Australian War Memorial states Australia received 754 of these from the United States during 1942 and according to the research done by Paul D. Handel on Anzac Steel they served until 1955 in some reserve units. Because they were part of British/ Commonwealth orders they were fitted with the lower height British spec. turret.
I've spoken to an older local here in Warrnambool who can remember the local Army reserve unit (CMF?) having at least one which they used to drive from the old barracks which was at the site of the current South West TAFE campus up onto the sand dunes to fire at the reef out to sea on the weekends.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pegasus German Army Infantry 1939 Review

Pegasus Set 7499 straight from the box
I've been aware of these for a long time but haven't ever seen them in the flesh until I managed to get some into my local FLGS. Images of these are really hard to find as well at least partly because of the woeful Pegasus site. Plastic Soldier Review has come through again with their review and photographs of the assembled figures which is here.

42 figures in 20 multi part poses depicting early war German soldiers.

MG34 on the left and the German anti tank rifle on the right which probably represents PzB 39 due to the cartridge cases mounted to the rear on either side of the breech.
Crawling figure, probably the worst figure in the set which says something of the quality of design.
The design of the set is brilliant with quite a few kneeling / crouching poses. All weapons have slings attached which is difficult to achieve for one figure let alone a whole set. The only figure i thought was a bit wrong was the crawling figure above whose helmet sits up high on his head. I'll trim the second ones head down so it goes a bit lower. 
  • not enough bases, which is part of the design but just plain odd
  • hardish plastic which seems to be taking normal plastic glue well
  • as always the MP40 is over represented but there are some nice poses here
  • only 1 wounded figure and no officers or mortars which has allowed more variants of the basic troops
  • these figures are very similar size wise to the Prieser 1/72 figures to the point where I have used an arm from the Preiser set 72501 to modify one of the Pegasus figures
  • rifle grenade and ATR are included
All in all a great set from Pegasus who also have a set of German paratroops and French WWII figures which seem to be stalled in development.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Wargaming opponent

I was doing my usual Saturday afternoon gig with the Games Workshop stuff at the local FLGS when one of our counter staff said there was a man to see me. "A man ?" I said, thinking that I had no outstanding debts as far as I knew. It turned out it was a semi local looking for a wargame that wasn't Warhammer. Nap's, ACW and WWII were mentioned. One thing I have avoided like the plague is Napoleonics because I know just how many figure purchases that might lead to. ACW isn't really something i'm interested in although a pick up game could be entertaining. My interest was piqued though. Which leaves WWII.

WWII 20mm would be my scale of choice because I already have enough figures here without any extras. Although 15mm is enticing because of the sheer range available again its a slippery slope to another scale and range of figures I have to find homes for. But what ruleset to play?

Having come home and ruminated about it IABSM suddenly came to mind. It's a copy of rules that I've had for a little while but have had no reason to play so I may suggest these. Cheap as chips with room for gentlemanly discussion and period specific adjustments to the rules. Not for rules lawyers apparently so we'll see how I go with the sales pitch.
The I Ain't Been Shot Mum website is over at Lard Island.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Halloween in Australia

What is it with an US holiday getting rammed down our throats? This year the supermarkets have gone into overdrive and it just leaves me wondering when they will try Thanksgiving.  

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

When the wheels stop turning...

So i was riding along doing a couple of laps of the local park on my trusty Mountain Bike when a poor gear change resulted in the chain snapping. Huh? was my first thought as the pedals suddenly became very light and that tell tale sound of the chain running out onto the ground registered. Luckily all the parts were still hanging on, my trusty chain breaker was handy and I had it back together in about ten minutes.
My trusty no name chain breaker on the left and a Topeak one on the right.

Which leads to this post which is going to deal with Chain breaks, how to avoid them and how to fix 'em.

Bike chains come apart for a number of reasons. Wear will weaken a chain to the point were they will pop apart under shifting tension, stuff can get caught in them and twist them apart for example trail debris and poor or incorrect joining of the chain can also create a weak point that will come apart under stress.
How do you avoid the splits?
  • keep your chain and chain rings in good condition and by that i mean clean and lubed with your choice of lubricant, they will wear quicker on a mtb rather than a road bike as all the crud does them no good
  • when you're changing gears avoid putting too much stress on the chain by planning for shifts
  • use a good quality chain that's designed for the chain rings you are using
    to be continued...

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Green Zebra Pasta in Albury

    The family and I wandered up to the New South Wales Border to do a spot of business and some catching up with family friends at the end of September. We had an action packed weekend and then extended trip back through Rye on the Mornington Peninsula. While we were in Albury I wanted to go for at least one meal at the Green Zebra as B1 and B2 both enjoy their pasta. Unfortunately it's been a while since i've been there and they aren't open on a Saturday night. Never mind, we wandered in the next morning for breakfast.
    Street signs with the snazzy Green Zebra logo
    Caffe Latte with a little squiggle
    B2 enjoying his fresh juice.
    Poached eggs and bacon, handmade fresh bread and a little squiggle of sweet reduction. This photo was taken with my phone and doesn't do justice to how awesome this looked, smelt and tasted. 
    French toast with bacon and real maple syrup. Thick slices that were actually fluffy with the perfectly cooked egg mixture.

    I will admit I did a couple of nights work for Paul and Wendy a long time ago. It could even have been last century as it was not long after they had set up. But I don't think that means I have a bias without good reason. They employ good staff both in the kitchen and out the front and their passion for food shows through. Paul's organisation borders on the obsessive although you don't really appreciate this until you see inside the tiny cool room that the cooking staff work out of. Recommended eating although its tight inside if you're lugging a kid in a pram. 

    Sunday, September 19, 2010

    Pegasus City Ruins 1 final build

    Pegasus City Ruins 1 completed. The ruin with the checkered flooring on the left has had the full treatment. Two or so extra coats of paint than the plain one. All holes and join marks filled and sanded flat. The tops of the columns have been built up to represent the torn edges.  

    Pegasus City Ruins 1 painted and coated with two coats of White Knight Crystal Clear Acrylic "Satin"

    The finish and fit on these is good straight out of the box but with a little care and time they can be something you'll really be showing off.

    The small upright broken off the building on the left

    I'd also love to see another part of the building with a staircase and landing to access the second floor. Well thought out by the manufacturer with a solid feel the only niggle would be the small window bead that will break. And if that's the only thing wrong with a kit you must be on to a good thing. They're available direct from Pegasus and most hobby shops at least in the U.S. and Australia should be able to get them in for you.

    Friday, September 17, 2010

    More novels from the Black Library

    Ive just put down "Soul Hunter" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden which is a nicely done book on the Night Lords Traitor Marine Chapter. I was almost hesitant to start reading it because i thought it would be too full of hack slay chaos blah blah blah. Well written with a mix of Heresy era background and present day (40K) writing this book was a relief after a handful of Black Library books that seemed to be loyalist propaganda rather than good stories.

    From the smattering of "void" battle and ship boarding actions and characters that seemed very real with their conflicting natures to the revelation of the poor state of the Chapters resources this book seemed to be thoroughly thought out and written as a novel rather than a cookie cutter Chaos manuscript.
    As several reviewers have noted on the Black Library website this book shows a Chapter less afflicted by Chaos because of the reason they left the Empire of Man. I would hazard to say they are almost closer to the depiction of the Fallen in Gav Thorpes "Angels of Darkness" than to the other Traitor Space Marine Chapters. My recommendation is get the book is you want some more perspective on why one of the "less" corrupted Chapters went over to Horus and into the Eye.

    I'll have to watch out for "The First Heretic" which is coming in November.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Pegasus City Ruins 1 review and build

    These Pegasus plastic kits have been available for a few years but living outside major metro they are a bit hard to spot in the flesh. Information was hard to track down partly because of the abysmal Pegasus website. As near as i can tell Pegasus are a large retail store in the US who have their fingers in a few pies with some 1/72 or 1/76 plastic kits being of interest to me and then this Gothic building series in 28mm. With their website concentrating on R/C kits and add ons its a little hard to get accurate information on what these kits can do. There are two Gothic building kits with this one being the smaller ruined version, a bridge and a cathedral/church type building.
    I was lucky enough to be in the LFGS when the rep who handles Pegasus called in and I jumped up and down till some were ordered (didn't take long though).

    The Pegasus City Ruins kit in its raw state moulded in a darkish grey plastic. 
    On opening the box i was impressed to find no sprue, so what you feel when you pick up the box is all kit. The larger Gothic building is impressive just on the weight alone. From an environmental point of view they should be congratulated as there is no waste at our end and presumably the sprues go back into the melting pot at the production end.
    There are twenty solid pieces in the ruins kit with the only fragile bit being the small window bit on the top right hand corner of the piece you can see above the glue pot on the left of the photo above (that was a mouthful). Its well designed with no electrical cabling at all making it suitable for both fantasy and sci fi applications. It also pushes together without glue. 

    As this kit was going to be a gaming piece and display model in the store i've put it together in two ways. The first is glued and painted straight from the box the second has been glued and modified to give a more realistic feel.

    Gothic city ruins pushed together for a test fit.
    Built straight from the box with a basic paint job its very satisfactory.
    After undercoating and putting the first coat of Grey on i realized there was still a flash mark inside the window frames so out came the small file.

    And its at this point that i realise that i've misplaced a few photos. Read the second part of the build here