Sunday 24 December 2023

Seasonal Salutations 2023

Or Happy Hols, Merry Xmas, and any other alternative greeting that is appropriate. I'm ecumenical about celebrating at this time of the year.

Another picture taken by my beloved of our tree. She is the light of my life. So from us both, have a lovely day and catch y'all on the bounce.

Friday 22 December 2023

News on Rules

Just an update to say that not only am I still working at knocking Big Little Wars into shape, but that a couple of fans are working on making OHMU War Machine available as a PDF.

Whether this is a facsimile of the original, or a revised an updated second edition has yet to be clarified?

There are pros and cons to both approaches, and shades between a facsimile that's revised to more extensive changes that bleed over to modernizing the combat resolution and command and control mechanisms to meet the current standards for wargame rules and making it a new edition.

Either way, if all goes well there will something coming, but as to when, I have no clue. It depends.

Monday 18 December 2023

Big Buster Mostly Finished

I've mostly finished the rebuild CAS-4CP model. It still needs a coat of gloss varnish before adding decals, and then afterwards I will need to spray matt varnish.

I'm so glad I've finished this rebuild because this rebuild has been a bit of a slog.

I think the added bulk really adds to the feel that the Buster is big, much bigger than the conventionally sized Ape and Dog combat armour suits that the Army and Marines use.

Friday 15 December 2023

Kneeling Combat Armor Suit Mostly Finished

Mostly finished meaning that I need to spray some gloss varnish and then add decals and then spray again with some matt varnish.

So, this is the third Special Forces CAS-3-Mod-1 mech finished for my Combat Armor Suit Detachment Alpha  that appeared in my second novel, Strike Dog.

The remaining three mech models for my Special Forces unit are waiting some TLC on my workbench. As they say, watch this space.

Wednesday 13 December 2023

OMWB: Kurganets-25

I recently acquired from Badger 3D a lovely resin printed Kurganets-25. I need to clean some minor flash off before painting, but the quality of the resin print is outstanding.

You may be asking why I bought this? Well, I reckon that this IFV will be around for the foreseeable future and is therefore perfect for games in my SF setting.

Besides which, I mention the Kurganets-25 in my World of Drei series of short stories.

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Great Wargaming Survey 2023

Three takeaways from the 2023 Great Wargaming Survey are resin printers are popular, 98% of wargamers are in the hobby for life, and the average age of historical wargamers is rising.

Actually, go watch the video, it's worth watching.

My takeaway, we are all getting older, even us SF &F wargamers. The survey while an outstanding achievement is still self-selecting for those who know and can be bothered to answer. Caveat, none of us are getting younger.

That's all. Sharing because I care about stuff I do.

Friday 24 November 2023

Thanksgiving Aftermath

It has been a long time since I posted a Thanksgiving post, but today we're recovering from last night's meal with Susan's colleague from work, Simon Bland, who really appreciated being invited to share a feast with us. He's lovely.

And while Simon didn't want his picture taken, and Susan was far too flustered to have hers taken, she took a lovely picture of me, which I'm going to share just because I love her for taking it.

Y'all have a great weekend, and catch you on the bounce.

Monday 13 November 2023

Warfare 2023 Show at Farnborough

For the first time since Covid lockdown in 2020 we've been to a wargame show. We met up with Paul from The Man Cave. He described our conversation as erudite, which is totally flattering given the amount of cussing a typical conversation with me entails.

I looked around the show, but only bought some size 0 Kolinsky sable brushes that were on offer. I saw a lot of bargains, but I need more stuff to paint like I need another hole in my head.

Susan took a picture of me looking at temptation and resisting the urge to buy more stuff. There were plenty of great looking games being run.

Above and below are a couple of pictures of the impressive games on show.

For a full on video showing what we saw, check out Big Lee of Miniature Adventures, who has you covered.

And Susan caught me on camera wondering around the vast hall. As you can see there was a plethora of tournaments games being played on the day too.

And afterwards I gave Paul a lift back to London in my M1009 CUCV Chevy Blazer.

We were blessed with nice weather and had a great day out.

Sunday 29 October 2023

Big Little Wars: Post 12 - Small Robotic Attack Platforms (SRAP)

Small Robotic Attack Platforms (SRAP)

Small robotic attack platforms (SRAP) is a generic catch-all term that covers all remotely operated small robotic vehicles. Human oversight is required for them to move and attack.

Remotely operated SRAPs come in a range of configurations with different capabilities. The most commonly seen are small flying drones, more correctly referred to as a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle).

Civilian SRAPs are only available at defense of 2, because they are commercial platforms rigged to carry weapons. Armoured military variants have a defense of 4.

However, unarmed reconnaissance UAVs are often deployed by the military as semi-autonomous vehicles. See Semi-Autonomous Combat Platforms (SACP) in the Armoured Fighting Vehicles section (coming soon in a separate post).

Small robotic platforms are not affected by shock, so they are not assigned a shock rating. But they can be hacked. Small robotic platforms are bought as needed, but are not always available to players in all scenarios.

Creating Small Robotic Attack Platforms

The base cost for each small robotic attack platform is the movement added to the defense value. This section provides examples explaining how to use the tables below to create and cost the value of unmanned robotic attack vehicles. 

SRAPs must pay to mount weapons and the for cost of the weapon. All movement is in meters.

The weapons for SRAPs can be found below, added at cost. Chosen from the available weapons for the size of mount chosen.

I'm all too aware of the time between this and the last post about these rules. No excuses, it's all down to me dropping the ball.

Finally, thoughts and opinions always welcome.

NB: Big Little Wars posts to date.

Thursday 28 September 2023

OMWB: Frustrating Big Buster Rebuild

This is what I've been working on for the last month, with additional delays due to new glasses and general life events getting in the way. I wanted to improve the fit of the torso by seating the magnets better.

However, the first delay was waiting for more magnets to arrive.

This model is one of a pair I originally built as reference for the artist I commissioned for the cover art for my novels. So this build served a dual purpose.

I also wanted to take the opportunity to refit and upgrade an earlier conversion with ball joints. Adding ball joints appeals to my inner nerd
Shock horror, it did not go well. There was much buggeration with the old two steps forward, one step back. But, challenging setbacks are an opportunity to improve.

The other part of the rebuild was changing the backpack and pop up missile pack using parts from a RAFM Kodiak I'd acquired.

 And here it is. Looking totally bad ass even if I say so myself.

But, another mishap occurred when drilling the attachment points for the ammo chute (not seen because, duh!), when the drill bit broke. So, still a work in progress.

It is what it is.

Saturday 19 August 2023

The Big Scopedog: Blogoversary too!

I've got my new glasses and can see to start work again, but everything on the table is still very much a work in progress, where progress can be defined as close to zero as to make no difference.

Sucks to be me.

Still, I got my big 1/12th scale Takara Scopedog down off the shelf to dust it off, and reassemble the cockpit that had come astray when showing the mech off to friends.

Now dusted, and photographic proof to boot.

NB: Added as I just realised this is the same date as my first blog post that was 14 years ago. Doesn't time fly?

Tuesday 25 July 2023

OMWB: CASE-2X Version 3

Above is my third CASE-2X Mod 1 variant standing pose mostly completed. I say mostly because I need to restore detail lost from the conversion. Delayed by illness impacting my ability to work due to the pain in my wrists.

It's a bitch.

Again, the model is poseable. So the torso twists, the arms and head can move using magnetized ball joints. 

Though I've yet to assemble the missile pack the model is largely complete.

Friday 14 July 2023

OMWB: CASE-2X Kneeling

Still feeling a bit rough from Covid, so this is just a compilation of pictures taken so far with this project, which by comparison, made the conversion I did for the Hunter running pose seem like a piece of cake.

There was just so much fettling to make the pose work.

When one cuts a casting apart to rebuild it, what one finds is how much is wonky with the sculpt. Nothing is truly square or symmetrical, and well this just makes everything more difficult.

Nowadays, with digital sculpting this would not be a problem

However, digital sculpts can end up looking lifeless, which takes a really good artist to add life back into the finished product.

Also, for this conversion I wanted to mount a gauss rifle, as described in Bad Dog.

So, I assembled some parts to make a nice chunky, but not too oversized model. I used a Rapid Fire Bazooka from the Dream Pod 9 1/144th range as the base on which to mount  a combination of original RAFM weapon parts.

As before, there's still some detailing work to finish this conversion, which is delayed by my ongoing infection leaving me a bit ragged around the edges.

Still, I'm pretty pleased with the repose.

Monday 10 July 2023

OMWB: CAS-3-Mod 1 Kneeling

After gathering a bunch of a parts I eventually got around to assembling my kneeling CAS-3-Mod 1 Ape. I changed out the yellow part in the picture above for another for this conversion.

After drilling to magnetize the torso, I found that the body couldn't turn because it interfered with the raised plates on legs. Hence the photo on the right showing how I rebuilt the parts so that the torso would clear the plates, which I really shouldn't have had to do because this was sculpted as a kneeling Gear.

So, I bit the bullet and re-sculpted the lower torso top, and corrected the mismolded lower torso.

Finally, with that corrected, I could finish the conversion. As you can see I've added some stowage.

I have some old RAFM weapons, quite a few in fact, but some of the weapons are ridiculously large. Hence the substitution of the new Heavy Grenade Launcher from the current Dream Pod 9 1/144th range.

I decided to make the torso on this version a recon specialist variant inspired by the Ape suits that in my novel Strike Dog.I used a part from the current Kodiak from Dream Pod 9.

My plan is to make six mechs given that each half of the detachment was a mirror of the other. So, this model represents either Sergeant Mary Lewis, communications, or Sergeant Miguel Sanchez, communications from my novel Strike Dog.

Combat Armor Suit Detachment Alpha 5136

    Captain Anthony Downey, detachment commander
    Master Sergeant Campbell, operations and team sergeant
    Staff Sergeant Morales, combat engineer
    Sergeant Mary Lewis, communications
    Sergeant Schmidt, medical
    Sergeant First Class Frank Radoslovich, weapons

    Chief WO1 Andrew McAdams, assistant detachment commander
    Sergeant First Class Thomas Nguyen, assistant operations and intelligence
    Staff Sergeant Julia King, combat engineer
    Sergeant Miguel Sanchez, communications
    Sergeant Daniel Robinson, medical
    Staff Sergeant Juan Espera, weapons

And yes, this means I working on three more CAS-3 Ape conversions.

Still some final detailing to finish, which is going be delayed because after three and a half years of avoiding catching COVID19 I've tested positive. To say I feel ill only scratches the surface, and I can't remember being this ill in over forty years.

Guess it sucks to be me.

Wednesday 5 July 2023

Girls und Panzer

We've seen some of these Girls und Panzer episodes and they're all a hoot to watch.

For those who like to play wargames then TooFatLardies What a Tanker would be perfect for recreating a Girls und Panzer campaign.

Saturday 17 June 2023

KINO NO ANIME: Memories of Britain's Anime Boom | Documentary

It has been a honour to share a love of anime and mecha with Carlo.

Saturday 10 June 2023

WIP: Still Rebuilding and Magnetizing

Back here I started work on magnetizing models with ball joints. The extra flexibility for poses and alternative weapon loadouts from magnetizing is very alluring for someone like me. 

It allows me to have lots variations with only a handful of models.

Useful when one is converting long out of production miniatures, like the old Heavy Gear models from RAFM. But, it can be quite time consuming too. As is the case when the rotation magnets for the ball joints on my large Buster conversion turned out too wimpy to hold the arms firmly enough.

So, I ended up ordering some medium sized X-Wing rotation magnets from Green Stuff World. Hence the lack of progress while waiting for the items to arrive.

Then when they arrive one has to remove the old small magnets, and then re-drill larger holes for the new magnets etc., etc. It's a thing. A process that involved a lot of cursing.

Now moving forward. Catch you all on the bounce.

Thursday 1 June 2023

Big Little Wars: Post 11 - First World Infantry Formations

Continuing on from my last post, let's look at First World Militaries; though as one of my readers said, should we be using first, second, and third world anymore? One alternative term in use is Global North versus the Global South to differentiate between.  

The answer is I don't know. Feel free to argue the case for retaining or changing the nomenclature.

Armored Exoskeleton Infantry

First World and upcoming nations have access to powered armor exoskeleton that enhances mobility for their infantry. This also enables them to carry a full load of ammunition, and grenades with ease.

Often considered to be another form of mechanized infantry.

They also have the advantage of not being so easily disabled or killed, but when they are, it affects the perception of the battle's success. The standard weapons include a grenade launcher, which are treated like regular infantry light specialist weapons.

Creating Armored Exoskeleton Forces

Teams are the building blocks for a squad. And those squads are the building blocks for a platoon.

When a players' force takes casualties, the results are assigned to the team that has been attacked, according to how it is organized.

Therefore, squads with two or more teams have the option to spread the results across them all. And then players add leaders as follows:


Armored exoskeleton infantry can be be upgraded with

RAV stands for Robotic Attack Vehicles; think Boston Dynamic BigDogs and their ilk. These will be covered next, as they require a separate post.


Armored Exoskeleton Infantry Options

1. Sniper. Attached to the  platoon as a specialist team of two (spotter and shooter) included in the base cost of 30. Veterans can upgrade a team for 10 points, limited to one per squad.

2. ATGM. Embedded with the squad with one team member carrying the weapon, with reloads spread amongst the rest of the team. A team with an ATGM can choose to as normal or fire the ATGM.

3. Heavy machine guns are tripod mounted weapons with two crew. Can be attached to the squad or a platoon and deployed on a RAV. The crew allows the weapon to be dismounted, which then becomes emplaced. It can be left as a remote controlled sentry gun.

4. M252 81mm mortars are mounted on bipod with three crew and costs 30 points. Can be attached to the squad or a platoon and deployed on a RAV. The crew allows the weapon to be dismounted, which then becomes emplaced.

5. M121A: 120 mm mortars require a crew of five and costs 70 points. It's too large to be mounted on a RAV, but can be mounted on a vehicle. The mortar can be dismounted from the vehicle, but then becomes emplaced. Once emplaced cannot move and fire. Large 120 mm mortars are always attached to a platoon.

6. Robotic Attack Vehicles are assigned to teams and squads to allow them to carry extra ammo or supplies. Weapons and electronic counter measures can be fitted instead.

Let me know what you all think?

NB: Big Little Wars posts to date.

Wednesday 24 May 2023

Big Little Wars: Post 10 - Third World Infantry Formations

One of the problems with writing a set of SF rules is how players create forces. One can create specific army formations, or have players choose from lists, or give them the tools to create any force they want.

The first option is too rigid for my tastes and leads to endless Codex's or whatever. The second I think is great for historical games, but fails for SF because, see option one. And, the third option, which is my favourite, requires more work so ,I've broken it down into chunks to run past you, my readers.

Third World Militaries field infantry with a wide range between the quality of troops and their weapons. They are broken down into two broad categories: 

Insurgent Forces

Insurgents are civilians taking up arms against their own governments or occupying forces. Insurgents fall broadly into three categories.

  1. Civilian irregulars are lightly armed troops with personal weapons. They can carry a grenade/improvised explosive device, or field expedient bomb. They can only create smoke by starting a fire with Molotov cocktails.

  2. Civilian fighters are well armed, and carry blast/fragmentation grenades as standard. They too can only create smoke using Molotov cocktails.

  3. Civilian militia are heavily armed infantry. Command level one militia carry blast/fragmentation grenades only. Command level two militia carry blast/fragmentation and smoke grenades as standard.

All civilian militia and army personnel have soft armor jackets, with plates.

Government Armies 

Regular government militaries are divided by training.

    1.    Conscript troops are civilians drafted willingly or unwillingly into the army.

    2.    Green troops are trained volunteers.

    3.    Veteran troops are trained competent soldiers.

Army units of varying degrees of competence and or military equipment. With access to resources that may not be available to civilian fighters or militia, depending on the scenario. These infantry are assumed to carry enough grenades on them for one battle.

Regardless of whether or not the force are insurgents or government forces, all infantry teams and squads of the same class have the same defense value. Attacks are made against this value. The defense value of a team or squad doesn't drop due to casualties inflicted. 

Creating Infantry Forces

Teams are the building blocks for a squad. And those squads are the building blocks for a platoon.


When a players' force takes casualties, the results are assigned to the team that has been attacked, according to how it is organized.

Therefore, squads with two or more teams have the option to spread the results across them all. And then players add leaders as follows:

And because none of the above has considered support weapons, the stats for the weapons are below, here are the options for them:

Light Specialist Weapon Team Options

1. Upgrade. One member of the team carries a light machine gun, RPG, or grenade launcher, which allows the team to attack at that weapon’s value. A team with a light machine gun, RPG, or grenade launcher, can choose to fire with that weapon or fire with their normal weapons. Base cost 5.

Medium Specialist Weapon Team Options

1. Upgrade. One member of the team carries the ATGM, and reloads are spread amongst the rest of the team. A team with an ATGM can choose to fire the ATGM and fire as normal at a target. Base cost 10.

2a. Medium machine guns are mounted on either a bipod or tripod, this makes the team burdened. Therefore they cannot move and fire in the same turn.

2b. Medium machine gun teams can be mounted on a vehicle at the base cost for the weapon and crew. But then the cost of the vehicle has to be added, and the team counts as a platoon support asset. Platoon assets can sometimes be limited by specific scenario missions.

3. Light 60 mm mortars, once emplaced cannot move and fire. Mortars require a crew of two and they become a separate team when assigned a junior leader. The mortar can be mounted in a vehicle at the additional cost of the vehicle, allowing the mortar team to fire and move, but it then becomes a platoon asset, which may be limited by specific scenario missions.

Heavy Specialist Weapon Team Options

1. Snipers are a platoon asset. They come in teams of two (spotter and shooter) included in the base cost. Platoon assets can sometimes be limited by specific scenario missions. Veteran forces can upgrade a team for 7 points, limited to one per squad.

2. Heavy machine guns are tripod mounted and require a gunner and loader. They are always considered platoon-level assets. A heavy machine gun once emplaced cannot move and fire when deployed as infantry. If mounted on a vehicle, at the cost of the crew and the vehicle, then it can move and fire. But this option may be limited by specific scenario missions.

3a. M252A 81 mm mortars, once emplaced cannot move and fire. Mortars require a crew of two and they become a separate team when assigned a junior leader. The mortar can be mounted in a vehicle at the addition cost of the vehicle, allowing the mortar team to fire and move, but it then becomes a platoon asset, which may be limited by specific scenario missions.

3b. M121A heavy 120 mm mortars require a crew of five (a team with a junior leader). Once emplaced, heavy mortars cannot move and fire. These heavy mortars are classified as a platoon asset, which may be limited by specific scenario missions. The mortar can be mounted in a vehicle at the additional cost of the vehicle, allowing the mortar team to fire and move, but is then classed as a vehicle.

4. Miniguns are always mounted on vehicles because they require a power source to fire. Therefore the cost here is for the weapon, the cost of the vehicle is extra. Miniguns are always attached to platoons, and are subject to specific scenario mission limitations.

Notes: Specialist Weapon Teams

 •    Specialist weapon crew do not carry grenades.

•    Medium and heavy specialist crew only carry additional ammunition and or the tripod for the weapon. They carry a personal pistol for self-defense.

•    If the crew of a specialist weapon team are killed, reducing them to less than the minimum number to move and fire. Then the surviving crew may:

⁃    Only fire the weapon if already placed on overwatch during the player’s turn sequence. But they cannot move during the player’s next turn sequence.

⁃    Or they can abandon the weapon, and move and fire their personal weapons as ordinary infantry.

•    If available, players can transfer figures from one squad to the team. To do this, requires the player to spend one command initiative point. But the specialist weapon team cannot move until the turn sequence after the replacement crew arrive.

•    If all the crew were killed, then the specialist weapon team cannot be moved or fired during the player's next turn sequence

Let me know what you all think? 

NB: Big Little Wars posts to date.

Friday 5 May 2023

North American Combine Laser Towers

Don Hawthorne very kindly sent me this. I'm overjoyed to acquire thse, which brings me one step closer to completing my Ogre/GEV collection.*

One of my favourite wargames ever.

I shall get these painted as soon as I can clear my workbench of the current models I'm working on. I only now need to find an Vulcan cybertank to complete my Combine force.

*And with it total world domination.... muwhahahaha!