Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Sunday, January 31, 2010

English Civil War Update

Well, we finished the pike block for the first unit of greencoats - and then ran out of modellers glue! In the month of January we had "No buy January." In other words, if it wasn't a necessity (I know this is heresy but gaming isn't) we didn't buy it. Now I have some glue and we will be back in business!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Games and Scales I play: Middle Earth. Part 1.

"In the hole in the ground lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort." Thus starts the immortal The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien. The climax of the book is The Battle of Five Armies, with Goblins and Wargs on one side and the forces of Good led by Gandalf the Gray including the armies of Men, Wood Elves, Dwarves and Eagles.

Games Workshop has produced a game, The Battle of Five Armies with the usual Games Workshop method of hooking you into a hobby genre. The rules are best on their excellent Warmaster series. What is great about this boxed miniature game is that it comes with everything you need to recreate the battle: 10 mm sized armies of Dwarves, Wood Elves, Men, Goblins, Wargs, and the Giant Eagles. It also includes the major personalities: Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield, Dane of the Iron Hills, The Wood Elf King (Thanduril), Bard of Laketown, The Goblin King and Beorn. What makes this box set even more desireable is the terrain that is included: The sides of Lonely Mountain, The Running River, Thorin's Gate and the ruins of the City of Dale. You can purchase additional units like the Spiders of Mirkwood Forest or the dragon Smaug.

The figures, mountain and ruins do not come painted, but believe or not, I find 10mm figures easy to paint. I don't focus on the individuals (except for personalities or command figures) but focus on painting it as a unit. The focus should be on the "biggest" colors of the unit and also on shields and flags. The river is hard cardboard.

The battle is one of the most play balanced of all time; after about 8 games, but sides have won 4 times. The game usually goes right to the end and will keep you on your toes. Will the goblins overrun the smaller forces? Or will Beorn and the Eagles arrive just in time? The game currently retails for $82.00; I got it on eBay for $50.00.



Bard and the men of Rivertown. This is the weakest army in the game - keep them on Lonely Mountain and protect their flanks!

A close-up of Bard the Archer; I thought it would be a cool idea to put a dragon on his banner.

The Dwarven Host. These little guys are tough! Thier army is the same size as the men but is more heavily armored and did I mention they were tough? That's Dain who is their leader.

Gandalf the Grey and Bilbo. Gandalf is the overall commander for the Forces of Good; and has a few spells up his sleeve.

Goblin Wolf riders and Wargs attack the Dwarves and Men.

No love lost between the Goblins and Dwarves!


Thorin Oakenshield behine the improvised wall under Lonely Mountain. If you are playing the good guys, you want to get him in the fight as quickly as possible - adds alot of combat power to friendly units.

The Wood Elves. A large force with many archers.

Elves spreadout on the other side of the battlefield.


The Wood Elf King.


The Goblin King and goblins move through the ruins of Dale.


The ruins come with the game. Easy to assemble and paint. There is an excellent painting guide and terrain building tips in the usual GW style in the rule book. Say what you may about GW, but they know how to cover the entire aspect of the hobby.

Goblins advance on the elves.


The Forces of Evil have lots!

Thorin gets into the fight.


Goblins cross the ford.



Beorn in his giant bear form. I honestly need to repaint him, I think he looks like a giant gopher.



"The Eagles! The Eagles!" he shouted. "The Eagles are coming!"

Monday, January 25, 2010

World War II: The Australians in the Desert

If you're the British and you have to fight the Germans in North Africa, you might as well bring the tough descendants of that penal colony you started with you. That's right mate - the Australians of the 9th Australian division. This is my son Alex's Flames of War Army: based on the 9th Australian Division and elements of the British Desert Rats.

This is the fierce commander of the Austrailians, Captain Alexander "The Bruce" Reinwald (He's the one in the middle). Like most Aussies, he's so tough, he doesn't need a gun. Here he's shown throwing grenades at the Huns, or as it is more properly known as "Australian rules Baseball."


Crusader cruiser tanks lead the Aussie horde.

Troop commander Leftenant Bruce Higgins.


Another view of Leftenant Higgins.

Recon troops in Bren Carriers. That's Sergeant Bruce McDuff keeping an eye out for the Afrika Korps.

Leftenant Bruce "G'day" Brinkletter leading the recon troop.

"Bruce 1 this is Bruce 3 . . . are you Bruce 2?"

Lance Corporal Bruce Guiness on the left flank.

Two platoons of Aussies . . . not a pretty sight for the Afrika Korps . . . or for not any properly secured supplies in the British 8th Army.

First Leftenant Bruce "Rugby" Ball leads from the front.

Aussie infantry. That's Lance Corporal Bruce Campbell with the light mortar on the left.

Me mates: Bruce, Bruce, Bruce and that's Bruce with the Bren Machinegun.


Leftenant Bruce "Outback" Steakhouse leads the 2nd Platoon of Austrailians toward the British supply depot . . . I mean Germans.


More Aussies.


Valentine Infantry Tanks led by Colour Sergeant Bruce "Crocodile" Shorts.


Colour Sergeant Bruce Shorts calls in the attack.



"Go that way . . . they're having shrimp on the barbie!"


Anti-tanks of the Royal Artillery commanded by (wait for it) Captain Bruce "I'm really English" Thorpe-Gala Apple. Anti-tank guns destroyed more tanks in North Africa than any other type of weapon system.


17 pounder anti-tank gun. One of the best anti-tank guns in the world.



Limbers for the guns had the ammunition. Here L/Cpl Bruce McBruce gets another round of ammunition to use against the German panzers.


Lloyds Tractors. This is what pulled the guns and limbers.



Vickers Heavy Machine guns.



Sergeant Bruce "The Moose" Gibson aims carefully.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Games and Scales I play, Part 10, The Empire

A versatile army for Warhammer that can be tailored depending on your opponent. Solid infantry, hard hitting knights, battle wizards. But if they don't fight as a team . . . son #4 led this army to victory.