Welcome to my blog, the story of my continuing journey into the World of Zombie Wargames.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Ship's Ahoy !

My three ships
So, following on from my regained piratical interest, I've dug out the three ships that were intended for my  first foray into 'pirate' wargaming. Bear in mind that these ships were all modelled about sixteen years ago and haven't really seen the light of day since then, save for a quick 'filler' post on this blog that can be seen here "Pirates-versus-zombies?"
 They're pictured from left to right in ascending order of completeness, the one on the right featuring in the above-mentioned post.
Time hasn't been that unkind to them and other than gathering dust, they've faired pretty well in their forgotten state.
The unfinished one - obviously
The first model shows the very crude building technique I used. The base is polystyrene foam, carved and filed to shape even if a little too pointy for the time  (period (1700's). The main hull sides being very thick (but softish) cardboard that would have planking inscribed into it.
All the other bits for the sides, back  and front-end decoration (I know all the technical terms) were added using a slightly thinker card. The base of the ships was covered
Still covered in sixteen year old dust
in wall filled and filed flat, so they are a little heavier than expected, but they are solid! Deck planking was achieved using the then equivalent of coffee stirrers (tapers), cut to size and glued in place directly onto the polystyrene (if memory serves). The deck hatches are all 'plastic canvas' and  edged with stirrer scraps, as are the windows in the back end (the blunt end for those technically minded). The ladders are scraps of plastic and masts and spars are all dowels of various sizes.firmly embedded into the base, I used some bbq skewers for railings and other 'trim'
I did wonder where my stock of cannon for this vessel had been , but all was revealed when I 'opened up' the cabin at the back, as can be seen in the picture.
The windows for the back cabin were the grating we all use for fences, from auto-repair work.
Doors, iirc were simply etched onto the card with coffee stirrer frames, unlike the first model where I'd left the doors as merely holes.
On this model the front cabin-space bit was left as a solid piece and the roof doesn't come off!
The blunt end.
My attempt at some form of decoration on the blunt end can be seen in the photograph, as can the card-framing of the windows in the rear cabin. 
The second vessel
The second model was in a far more advance state than I'd recalled (a pleasant surprise) and has a few more bits of detail worth pointing out.
There a few extra side railings, a balustrade (of sorts) embedded in the rear  and another balustrade-type thing on the upper rear deck. These were all made, more or less,using the same technique of cutting bbq skewers to a length, then filing the top to make a peg that fitted into previously drilled holes and glued into place. The protruding bit of peg was then cut off and filed to shape.
With top deck removed
Masts,  as said previously were solidly glued into place using filler and pva.
The rear cabin was left as one large space for ease and you can just make out that in this case I used plastic canvas once more, this time for the windows, as can be seen in the next photograph of the back end.
The etched planking can just about be made out on the rear-end photograph too, as can my feeble attempt at some decoration - prominent on nearly all ships, from what now I gather
The blunt end (rear of the ship)

Showing the top deck removed
The third ship (and the one most nearly in usable state) has three decks in the rear of the ships, all of which can be accessed.
No doors have been added to this model and I can't remember whether this was done on purpose or that it was yet again something that needed to be done.
The most awkward part of this build was the placing of the rearmost mast, as this would have to come down though the bottom cabin roof.
Bottom deck cabin
The 'problem was solved by a small part of the upper mast protruding beyond the deck bottom and a sleeve into which the upper part of the mast would fit, making a very solid 'join'
Most of which should be fairly obvious from the photograph, I hope.
 The separated three decks can all be seen on the photograph to the left and the assembled rear of the ship can be seen in the photograph below (again with a little attempt made at adding some decorative detail.
The rear end.
Pointy end cabin.
The front end cabin and deck grating can be easily made out, as can the very steep stairs to the upper front deck - made purposely so as to accommodate more figure space on the main decks.
Whenever I've made models I've always thought to accommodate figures first before the aesthetic look of the model (and yes I know it shows).  Therefore you won't find many of the normal fixtures and fitting associated with, in this case, ships. So, no capstans, anchors or the like (and I wouldn't know where to fit them in case), though I do have a steering wheel on each vessel as I did think that this was a fairly important addition.

I also remembered that I do have a commercially model, bought back when I could afford to do so.
It's a resin model (very brittle) I think I may have bought from the now defunct 'Village Green', but is likely available from other sources.
From the photograph you can see it is dwarfed when compared to my own scratch-build vessel, but is nevertheless usable and even in its current state is what's known as a fixer-upper.

The box of all things nautical bits
 The very small boat-like object may be familiar to some - it's a pontoon from the Airfix pontoon bridge set, sadly a little too narrow to fit any figure with a 20mm or large base, but could (at a pinch) be used for scenery.
The resin model came with a hoard of metal bits and pieces (no guns), which will take time and research to find out what they are and what they do.
That's it then for this week, I'll be looking unearth and dust off my pirate collection to post about next time.
Thanks for taking the time to visit, whilst I indulge myself in some nostalgia and of course your comments are always welcomed and appreciated.

Monday, 16 May 2016

A History of Pirates

Pyrates by Captain Charles Johnson - ahem
Whilst I haven't managed to generate any motivation for anything directly game related for the last couple of
weeks (and not just because of my tediously long "Factory" build), my enthusiasm for gaming and the related things associated with our hobby is unabated. I always gleaned my enjoyment in wargaming from the interaction with others, the discussion of rules, campaigns and such like as well as the bragging rights after a game well fought (whether won or lost). I've tried solo gaming, but my overall feeling afterwards was "What was the point?". Since coming back to wargaming some five years ago after a similar absence, I've had only a mere 5 participants in my games of whom only one I thought would be a long term prospect as a regular player (not #1 son), sadly though this wasn't to be as all contact with him was lost over a year ago.
It does seem that I just can't compete with the attraction of elves and orcs in the Warhammer world of Games Workshop.

Is there really a need for a caption here ?
So, whilst I may not have willing participants, I have been reading a lot and attempting to resurrect my piratical interests, with the aim of once more having another attempt to play solo.
If you're wondering "why pirates" then I'm afraid I have no hope of explaining the attraction to you!
I already have a large collection of pirates (I'm guessing about three hundred) all painted and based and three pirate ships in various stages of being finished, so I do have a head start in this fanciful idea.
As a way of easing myself into this idea, a little reading was in order, requiring a lot less effort  on my part and at little cost.
My first port of call was the Kindle store to see if there were any piratical books available cheaply. The first was the one illustrated at the top of the page "Captain Johnson's History of the Pyrates", actually written by Daniel Defoe and one that I already have a physical copy of . My version was bought over fifteen years ago (18/11/00) for the princely sum of £14.99, the Kindle version costs £0.00 (including vat) and was delivered to me in 10 seconds (approximately).
Another great find
I "purchased" the Kindle version and discovered other books at a similar price, viz: "Captain Singleton" by Defoe (see above) and "Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates", both of which I've yet to read.
These latter two books were, once more, well within my allotted budget of £0.00
The Time Life book "The Pirates"

My only other pirate reference book is the beautifully illustrated Time Life "The Pirates" and I'm now regretting not buying "The Spanish Main" in the series too, all those years ago, when I bought the original.

THW Pirate rules
On the wargames front, I'm still enthused by THW's rules "Rum"; they answer a lot of questions and thoughts I've had about other THW rules (namely their various zombie rule sets) and are a very 'clean' system, elegantly combining sea and land rules together.
They are just about everything I've been wanting from a set of pirate rules and can easily be amended to suit my own needs (namely making them more role-play light and overhauling the land-based shooting rules).
My own attempt at pirate rules (named Roger Jollie's Pirate Rules - not that you're interested) pale into comparison as do the other commercially available pirate rules that I've looked at over the years. To be fair though, there are a number of newer sets of (glossy) rules available, but I doubt I'll ever be able to see them, let alone be able to afford to purchase them!
Z-man's pirate game.

The final clincher of my renewed diversion was the present of a board game, "Merchants and Marauders". In the past I've always held off buying any boardgames before researching them thoroughly on various review sites(but mostly Boargamegeek) and have therefore none in my boardgame collection.
This game however I would probably have probably snapped as it has everything one cold want from a pirate themed game and it is so very well produced too.
There is one thing though that excites me more than even I could have wished for... it fits so well together with the campaign ideas from THW's "Rum" that you'd think they were made for each other.
I will of course be taking advantage of the obvious similarities of the two systems (board and wargame) to combine the best features of the two and may well post my thoughts in the future should there be any interest out there in cyber-space.
 In the meantime, my time is currently being spent wondering how to make terrain - houses, islands, palm trees etc. etc. - for next to nothing whilst still researching and "fine tuning" rules for a larger campaign in all things piratical.

That's it then for this week and although there's been nothing here even remotely related to Zombie wargaming, I do hope that there's been something here of interest to you.

Monday, 9 May 2016


A dear friend of many, many years recently passed away and as a friend of his wife, I have agreed to see if there is any interest in the books he collected.
I would gladly have bought all his collection of books save for the fact that I already have them all (save one) in my own collection.
All the books are from the 70's and 80's and are in what his spouse says are a "tatty" condition, though I'd say they were "well used".
He was both a semi-professional figure painter and model maker of some skill. The photograph on the right shows one of his buildings, recently photographed by his spouse.
Just to give you a little more eye-candy the photograph on the left shows one of his figures, which I suspect is a 54mm display figure, rather than a wargame figure.

But on to the books:
One of three Barnes's book I have
They're all self-explantory and I'd suggest if you wish to know more about them, then google for more info.
Good reference book 

A "Blandford book", many will be familiar with.
One of the pair of Wilikinson's books
The other 'Wilkinson' (both soft covers iirc)
 I've saved the best to last or at least what, in my opinion, is the 'cream of the crop', Eduard Wgner's Weapons and Warfare 1618-1628.
Just to clarify, the photograph on the right ('borrowed from the interweb) is of a pristine book.
Like my own copy, the one being shown is in not such a 'pristine' state but rather well worn and used, mainly to the dust cover.
This is a large hard cover book

The following photographs shows some of the 'damage' for this well worn book.

And here are some of the internal photographs of the large book (not quite A3 size), but large !

A couple of blemishs, but nothing serious.

So the question I pose to any and all that have managed to read through this far is "Is there still any worth in any of these books,; enough to make it worthwhile my friend selling them ?
I believe that they're now all out of print and fairly rare (other than Wagner's, which has had a soft-cover re-print)

If perchance you are actually interested in purchasing any of these yourself, or wish for more information on them please don't hesitate to get in touch with me via my email addy which can be found on my profile page. I'll put you in touch with the owner (and you'll probably have to have access to pay-pal if you're interested in purchasing any).

Thanks for taking the time to read through this and perhaps you can link this on your own blogs if you know of anyone else that may be interested.

That's all for ths week

Monday, 2 May 2016

Factory, (finally finished - ish)

Front view
Whilst I'm sure I could a lot more to this model, I'm declaring it 'finished'.
As far as I'm concerned it is fit for purpose though I'm stll uhappy with the roof and there is a perspex panel still missing from it (to allow me access).
There is also the internal gantry assembly to do and instal, but as that's another sixty or so pieces of MDF (and yes that's 60+)  to glue and paint, The gantry etc. is not essential and although I will be doing it at a future date I'm just too sick of this model atm to do any more of it.
Side view (spot the poster)
The only 'extra' detail I've added is a single poster to the outside wall, near the external gantry door, to cover the hole left from the excluded ventilation shaft.
Internally I did want to add more posters etc. and a bit of detritus - oil drums and so on.
Side view

The side with the 'annex' now fits tightly and the roof removes easily, though there's no photo showing the boringly bland empty interior!
The original intention of this 'annex' I presumed was as some sort of boiler-room - hnce the chimney. I've obviously omitted the chimney and intended to use the 'annex' as either an office or  maybe even a toilet (I'm pretty sure it'll be an office though).

When one door opens....
A peciluiar aspect of the design of this model is the two corner doors adjacent to one anothe and it doesn't matter how you assemble the model either, you always end up with a corenr with two adjacent doors ! - Strange.

Obligatory boring view
The roof (duh)
 The roof as has been said previously, still needs attention, but will wait in the queue of "Things still to do".  Nothing much has really changed in the last week save that the large blue-grey doors and the smaller red doors have all been added and glued in place in various states of open/closed.  I've also touched up the paint in some areas, added rust etc. but nothing major.
I now need to find it a home, which will require a bit of reorganising my shelves - this really does need a more secure storage space because of the fairly fragile stairs.

That's it for this week, next week I'll be giving some thoughts about MDF in general and this model in particular.

Thanks for taking the time to visit and as always all comments and criticisms are welcome

Monday, 25 April 2016

Factory Assembly

Well, what I thought would be a fairly easy exercise to assemble the basic four walls to the base turned out be something of a nightmare (I really should have known).
All the walls have a slight warp to them making them bow out a mm or so from the base.
Camping the base firmly to the table and using other clamps to force the walls to align with the base whilst glue dried was the answer, but took a very long time as I wished the glue to be really set before releasing the clamps - overnight for each wall was the time I'd set.
Before (left) and after (right)
In the meantime I covered and painted the corners of the annex with thin strips of folded cards, to hide the obvious MDF joins (one of the features I hate worst off all with MDF buildings.

Obligatory boring picture
I also made some thin card pieces to cover the three ventilation ducts for later, undercoating and  paint. I used a slightly different method than I did with my previous MDF build and the result was far more satisfactory.
In case you're wondering why and hadn't caught this the first time, the shafts are made from three pieces of MDF sandwiched together and imo look awful.
After the four main walls were glued in place and the roof added, it was obvious that although the clamps had cured the  warp-age at their base it had continued to the roof, consequently making a 1mm to 2mm gap (slightly exaggerated in the photograph).
Extra 'padding' to make the roof look 'better'.
This was yet another feature I  hadn't experienced before, but with the 2mm MDF, plus thin card, plus glue and paint I should really have anticipated this happening.
Three pieces of card were quickly employed to cover the gap, more or less successfully.
Once the roof was in place another problem reared its head.
Another reminder that these are not called 'precision' for nothing as the roof was a very tight fit. So much so that I poked a piece of the perspex out to enable me to get a grip on the roof to lift it off. This is a minor niggle but one I haven't sorted -yet.
The photograph shows the quick roof-fox in place though not entirely pressed down into place (for ease of removal).

The 'annex' showing the corners of the main building and central strip.

Other features went together really well, the annex/office glued into place (once more being held and pressed into place using clamps because of the slight warp), The four corners each had a thin piece of card added to them to hide the MDF joins and yet another piece of card was added half-way up the wall to reproduce the etched feature on the original model. This later detail had to be left until late in the build so as to fit the corner pieces too,
You can see from the photograph that I've also added the ventilation ducts.

Staircase side with single ventilation thing.
The ventilation ducts didn't want to fit where they were meant to either, though I can't pin it down why - it was probably through my own inadequacy. There are three ducts, each with two fittings and following the trend with this one of the fitting had mysteriously disappeared into some void or other.
Luckily (?) because of the configuration I'd chosen for the staircase, I'd need one ventilation shaft less (yay!) as the stairs covered the intended location. In the photograph you can just see the top fitting hole to the right of the door.
Front view (yawn)
Because of the way the walls sit atop the base, the base edges have no features on them, this wil be remedied with some filler to represent dirt and to fill in some gaps made by the walls lifting slightly during the time the glue dried on them . I have no-one to blame for this, save for my own tiredness and boredom in the length of time being taken trying to get this to the table.

Bits of filler can just about bee seen as can the missing roof perspex (top left)

I'm hoping to have this model finished in the next week, as I can't see what other problems it can throw at me.

So that's it then for this week, thanks for taking the trouble to visit and of course tyour comments and criticisms are always welcome.