Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Another Book - Patton's Vanguard

Well the library continues to grow. I got this book to further my research on the US 4th Armored Division. Its Huge, 470 pages of historic goodness. I have two more books coming on the 4th Armored and that should take care of my research needs...maybe.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


There is nothing like getting home after work and having not one but two boxes to open. Inside one was a new book (for me) on the US 70th Tank Battalion, one of the independent tank battalions typically assigned to infantry divisions. I flipped through it and there are some amazing pictures inside this some dating all the way back to the formation of the battalion before the war. I'm going to enjoy this one, should be a great reference book for the 1/56th scale Shermans that are beginning to accumulate.

Box #2 is from Warlord Games. Inside this was more Germans. Since my Artizan Design Germans seem to have completely disappeared I decided to replace them with plastic ones from Warlord. While going through the lists I stumbled on a build your army option. This option includes; 1 HQ pack, 1 Team pack (I picked a panzerschreck/flamethrower pack), 2 Infantry box sets (Mine were the Panzer Grenadier and Pioneer boxes), one SdKfz 251/1 and one tank (PzKfw IVH for me). Total cost for the army option is $120 total value of what I selected $167. I might even do this again.

I bought the Pioneers because I needed a unit of 10 as a support choice in Chain of Command and like the American Rangers, there are a some metal head options to add some variety to my Panzer Grenadier force. I have found that the weapon selection on the Warlord sprues backs it difficult to do actual historical weapon selection with, its definitely geared more towards Bolt Action's custom built squad mentality.

At this point I'm pretty close to having all the infantry needs for Normandy complete. Of course that's still a lot of minis to paint and there are definitely some gaps in the armor coverage. To make things a little easier I'm going to pick out specific units to so that I can keep the unit markings consistent. For the American it will be the 4th Armored Division and the 101st Airborne, for the Germans the 21st Panzer Division, and I haven't decided about the British or the German Fallshirmjagers yet.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Clue - Game of Thrones

Really, you just can't have enough Clue games. This is the Game of Thrones edition which offers a couple of variations to the standard themes we have been seeing lately. The first difference is the board. This is a two sided board allowing you to play in the Red Keep or a second location called Meereen. I'm not a Game of Thrones fan so I don't know the significance of these two locations. I don't watch the HBO show and I don't read the books. But now there is a Clue game so I had to add it to the collection.

The Meereen side is closer to a standard clue game with 9 rooms, 6 characters and 6 weapons. The Red Keep side is a little different, it has 11 rooms, 6 characters and 6 weapons. This is a similar to the old Master Detective Clue variation from the 80's. In addition to having the two board sides the characters are different for each location so there are 12 characters in the game, six for each local. Like many of the current variants each of the characters has a "power" that they can use once per game. This is almost becoming a standard in games published by USAopoly. The only thing that remains the same between the two sides are the murder weapons. You end up with two decks of cards, with each card having a symbol on it so you know which side of the board it belongs to with a common set of weapon cards.

On top of that it includes the other more or less standard variation; the intrigue cards. Like the other variants (except Star Wars, which requires you draw whenever you end your movement in a corridor) if you end up on the marked spaces on the board you draw an intrigue card. Typically they are good, but you need to watch out for the White Walkers (at least in this game). If you are the unlucky player to draw the 8th White Walker then your character is killed!

Apparently an alternative set of weapons were released as a Comic Con exclusive. Although I would like to have them, just to be complete, I'll probably skip them for now. I don't know if they are selling but the few that I have seen come up on eBay have started bids of $75 plus. That's just a bit much for me. Someone asked about how many Clue games I actually have in the collection and it lies somewhere between 36 and 40. They are scattered in a couple of different places in the house which is not the best way to maintain an inventory.

A try full of the basic pieces and materials,

Unlike some of the other editions, these are printed on a thick cardboard and are inserted into slots on the columns (see below). Most of the current variants print these on thin cardstock and you slide them into the movement markers

The movement markers, pretty slick

I seem to be missing the picture from the other set of rooms. Hopefully I'll remember to update this when I run across the picture again.

Add caption

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Perry Miniatures - WWII Fallshirmjager

I have been going back and forth between the various Fallshirmjagers that are available in 28mm. I finally decided on the ones from Perry Miniatures. The final decision really came down to be able to put together the, more or less, correct historical organization with out ending up with a bunch of extra minis. I realize that these are really meant to go with their North Africa forces but since the uniform didn't really go through any significant changes, I'll be using these for Normandy. They are way down the list to be painted but at least I can cross them off the list of troops I need to acquire for Normandy.

I picked up three boxes of these. They will become the crews for the various self - propelled ATGs and Howitzers of the 21st Panzer.

81mm Mortar with crew

MG42 on Tripod with crew

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Werner Kortenhaus - The Combat History of the 21. Panzer Division

I have been hemming and hawing over purchasing this book for a couple of months now. I had some unexpected funds show up in the bank account and I decided to splurge on this one. I do have the 21st Panzer Division by Jean-Claude Perrigault but I have always been disappointed with it. First its primarily in French which I was unaware of when I purchased it from Amazon. I'm pretty convinced that most of the French was not actually translated in the English sections. I don't read French so I can't prove it but the information when presented in English probably only takes up 25% of the book. This one by Kortenhaus is at least fully translated and it has a separate map book! What wargamer doesn't love a map book?

Unlike the Perrigault history Kortenhaus only writes about the division's history in Normandy. With my interest peaking again in WWII skirmish combat this suits me just fine. Plus I have plenty of information on the 21st in North Africa already. This book focuses on the 21st in Normandy but it does include information on supporting formations both directly and indirectly. While I have only begun to dig into this weighty tome, I'm very happy that I decided to add it to the library. It should prove to be an invaluable reference book for Normandy projects.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Renovations - Back Bedroom

Yet another in a long series of renovations that has slowed my painting and gaming down to a crawl. This is the smallest bedroom of the three in the house. I had tackled the front bedroom first simply because it was empty at the time. This bedroom occupies the southeast corner of the house and is one of the brightest rooms inside. Although I would still kill for some overhead lighting. For some reason builders just decided to dispense with overhead lights during the period when this house was built in the '80s. I think they should be forced to live in these houses after making such a decision!

It didn't occur to me to take any pictures till we were almost finished with the floor. At this point the walls and ceiling have been painted and we are getting to the end with the floor. This room measures about 12' x 14' with two small closets that bracket the only window. A window which has a magnificent view of the side of the house next door. Nothing quite like suburban tract housing!

The door will definitely be replaced, but that is something I'll probably put off for a while yet. The blue dresser is from my childhood. My mom bought it at an unfinished furniture store and painted it up for me. The stickers are all my work!

The unfinished corner. Note that nice view of my thumb.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Bill Mauldin - Willie and Joe The WWII Years

I finally found a copy of this two volume set at a reasonable price. Bill Mauldin is probably my favorite editorial cartoonist. I cut my teeth on his book Up Front and have loved his Willie and Joe characters ever since.

This particular set contains a bit of biographical information, and actual traces his cartoons from his early forays in the field up through the end of WWII. I have turned to his work for diorama ideas as well although most of his cartoons don't translate well since the punchline is what ties everything together.

If you can get your hands on these I highly recommend them. Vol I contains the bio stuff and early cartoons and really shows how Mauldin evolved during the period. Vol II is all WWII work and is probably my favorite, although you can see jokes sometimes returning from the early period into the later WWII period.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Lord of the Rings Chess Set

I was rummaging through boxes and I came across one filled with a chess set that was given to me by my Dad a long time ago, maybe upwards of 20 years. Its cast in a very light resin and it has a very definite hand carved look to it. I haven't looked really close but there are no obvious mold lines, but a single piece mold for some of the pieces doesn't make much sense. I'll have to take a better look and see what I'm missing there. I have done a little research through Google but I can't find anything quite like this one. I'm sure it was not an officially licensed product by any means. While I play chess it was never a big priority for me so this set languished, unpainted, in a box for years now. I'm going paint it but I'm unsure of the approach right now. Also if anyone has seen this before and knows who the manufacturer was I would love to know, there are no markings anywhere that I can find.

The Good Side (white). The Bishops are obviously Gandolf and of course the Knights are Eagles with some kind of rider. Not quite sure who the King and Queen are suppose to be, I suppose Aragorn and Arwen.

Hobbit pawns!

The Evil Side (Black). Again the bishops are definitely Saruman, and the knights are mounted Nazgul. It looks like the empty throne with the lidless eye is Sauron and the witchking is the queen.

Orcs for pawns. These remind me of the old Heritage "Snaga" Orcs