Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 - A Review

The year started off promisingly enough, kinda tailed off a lot and then re-ignited at the end. Which was nice.

Ten posts. Two about a Mexican Revolution game and the rest were Pulps: figures and buildings.

Five posts. One post about my birthday the balance about Pulps.

Five posts. A book review; a trip to a wargames show; three Pulps including an actual game!

Nine posts. A trip to Salute; Pulps including The Lighthouse of Horror & new blog members.

May - November
Pretty much this:

To be fair I did do some painting, modelling and wargaming during this period but the CBA was strong in me.

The return of The Mojo!

Six posts (including this one). Two about Iraqi forces in 1941; a book 'review' and two Pulps.

I'm glad I came back, the welcome has been 100% positive. Also flattered that my 81 followers stayed loyal during the hiatus plus views of the blog continued to go up despite lack of new content.


Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Sisters Before Misters (The Old Instonians) #3

Bit of a Pulp offering today. I'm really pleased I got these toys finished at all given the complete loss of wargamey mojo for most of 2015. Anyways they're done!

What we have here is The Old Instonians (St. Wilfreda's Institute For Girls) or, their preferred moniker, Sisters Before Misters. A sort of Pulp-era incarnation of Charlie's Angels without Charlie and much, much harder. Nails in fact. They don't hate men, they rather like them, they just don't need them to get things done.

I covered two of the SBM in an earlier post but now we see the whole gang assembled. Twice! I've gone down the route of producing two figures for each character. One is in normalish clothing that could be used about town. The second is in outdoors-adventuring kit.

The SBM comprises:
1. Blaze O'Halloran - Archaeologist & Adventurer
2. Phyl Martindel - Geologist & Adventurer
3. 'Red' Mary Quintile - Doctor & Adventurer
4. Wanda 'Wheels-Up' Williams - Pilot & Adventurer
5. 'Dead-Eye-Des' Desdemona Desmond - Scientist & Adventurer

The photos might make this a bit clearer.

 SBM assembled in the Oriental-style town house of 'Wheels-Up'
Shanghai, New York, London? Who knows? ;-)
LtoR: Dead-Eye-Des, Red Mary, Wheels-Up, Blaze, Phyl

 SBM doing the adventure thing in Oasis el-Khazi
LtoR: Wheels-Up, Blaze, Phyl, Red Mary, Dead Eye Des.
 Wheels Up in flight mode & sophisti-chic

Red Mary about town & about adventuring

Dead Eye Des deadly in town or in the field

Happy New Year!

Saturday, 26 December 2015

A New Book At Christmas Time

I received this book as part of of my Christmas box this year. It's the only wargaming/history based item I ws given as well. I'm not ungrateful, in fact the other stuff is fab it's just not wargamey.

This isn't a review, I got it only yesterday, merely my first impressions. It's hardback with dust jacket, 1st edition and 393 pages not including the bibliography and index. It's also very heavy. The book is divided into seven chapters starting in 1894 with the Sino-Japanese War and ending in 1949 with the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War. Maybe there's Volume 2 on the way? The book appears to be full of illustrations: colour and BW. A quick flick through shows dozens of photographs I have never seen before. I have one other book by the author: Osprey's 'The Mexican Revolution 1910-1920' in which he makes a pretty good fist of explaining that kaleidoscopic war. I am very much looking forward to reading 'China's Wars 1894-1949' by Philip Jowett.

Front Cover

Contents Page

Back Cover

All the best!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Charity Shops Are Goldmines #2

As should be obvious by now if you aren't checking your local charity/thrift/£/$ stores for loot you really should be. Yesterday I found this pair of resin buildings and at £3.99 each it would have been rude to say no. They are pretty heavy lumps and, I think, are some form of incense burner. Or something.

Anyway they are very well detailed: nice thatch, good door detail and leaded windows.They also scale perfectly with 28mm figures. I'm going to repaint them, well paint them, and add a door to the opening you can see in picture 1. Sadly there's no way to access the interiors but they are a valuable addition to my Pulp Universe. They will go well with The Lighthouse Of Horror should a suitable adventure ignite!

 RH Cottage showing smoke hole, windows and thatch
LH cottage showing back door and window detail

 LH Cottage side elevation window detail


Monday, 7 December 2015

Iraq 1941 - Iraqi 1st Infantry Division

Yesterday we had what could be described as the army's elite, remembering everything is relative. Today the noble footsloggers. They very much are leg infantry because despite being trained by the British the equipping only went so far. Thus they have no integral transport for the infantry, unlike their erstwhile trainers.

The typical Iraqi infantry division was modelled upon the British infantry of that period. So it has 3 brigades of infantry each of 3 battalions. 3 regiments of artillery with horse-drawn limbers. 1 squadron or regiment of cavalry which also fulfills a recce function. 1 horse-drawn LOG column and a motorised combined HQ, staff & signals unit.

The sources mentioned yesterday proved valuable again. Especially the Morval Earth site. The artillery is a ix of HAT WW1 German and Airfix RHA. HQ & LOG are diecasts. The cavalry is Zvezda Soviet cavalry with new heads. The infantry is HAT WW1 Turks straight from the box.

 Arty, HQ, LOG, Cav, Inf

 Aerial shot

PS The matt varnish I used was Humbrol Acrylic. I followed the directions given on the can and I got the super-dusty-been-in-the-desert-forever look you can see in the photos. Any help, tips or advice to avoid this is welcome! 

All the best!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Iraq 1941 - Iraqi Mechanized Troops

Hello all,
As you will remember I'm keen on the campaigns of the early part of WW2 and the one in Iraq fits the job description nicely. At first I was bereft of ideas on how to proceed. I knew it was going to be a Megablitz battle and that was it until I remembered my Grandfather has given me a copy of 'The Road Past Mandalay' by John Masters. In the book Masters details his involvement in the Iraq 1941 campaign. This was a good start.

I then purchased the Osprey campaign book 'Iraq 1941' by Robert Lyman. A good reference book; well illustrated with copious photographs, colour plates and maps. Spoilt in parts by Mr Lyman's rather confusing writing style and his anti-Iraqi bias. I feel a more even-handed editor could have eliminated some of the more glaring errors. I like the book a lot.

Finally I stumbled across this web page Morval Earth which is a fantastic resource for all manner of the esoteric including this huge section o Iraq 1941. Lots of fun, chock full of good gen. A real diamond of a web page.

I thought the siege of RAF Habbaniya was ideally suited to a small game: relief columns battling the desert and Iraqi defenders; RAF aircraft of various types defending and attacking; besieging Iraqi mechanized troops; aerial support from Fliegerfuhrer Irak. It's got it all. I already have sufficient figures and vehicles in the WDF boxes but had no Iraqis. I decided to created Iraqi 1st Mechanized Brigade and Iraqi 1st Infantry Division. The Iraqis had been trained and equipped by the British so their organisation follows that of their instructors.

So, for 1st Mech Bde I used HAT WW1 Turkish Infantry with some head swaps onto Revell 8th Army for the infantry. Trucks are all diecasts. The artillery is supposed to be 18lbrs but I used what I had which is HAT WW1 German Artillery. The Iraqi kit is described as olive green which I tried to recreate the colour on the vehicles and equipment followed by a heavy dry brushing with buff. The matt varnish added an unasked for further heavy dusting. Oh well, it is the desert after all. The photos aren't the best either!

Iraqi 1st Mechanized Brigade for Megablitz

 Left to right: POL & LOG Columns, Tankette & A/C Battalions, 
HQ/Staff & Signals, Mechanised Artillery Regiment, Motor MG Company, Motor Infantry
Note the Capacity Markers in the back of the MG & Infantry transports

 Close-up of the armoured units and the POL & LOG columns

 Close-up of the HQ, Artillery and Infantry units

All the best!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

New Blog Members

I've just noticed that several people have joined the blog in the last week or so. Many thanks for joining and I'll be sure to return the compliment by following yours too!

Some have more than one blog but you can find them quite easily by clicking on the links. Except for M. le Duc who doesn't seem to have a working link :-)

All the best!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Swing Dancing In North Brum

As many of you know I'm a big fan of Swing Dance and the Big Band music that goes with it. Tonight a new dance class started in Sutton Coldfield. This is great because, at the moment, all teaching and most social dancing takes place in South Birmingham. I don't have a problem with this but I do feel that a city-wide Swing Dance scene in a place the size of Birmingham is a must. Tonight was definitely a step in the right direction to achieve this!

The teachers are called Paul Neary and Sarah McHugh and their dance school is called Swing Express. They taught us in a relaxed, friendly and accessible way. There were a number of absolute beginners in the class and they all seemed to get to grips with the moves and enjoy themselves at the same time. I felt the more experienced dancers also had a great time too.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

My Favourite Games At Salute 2015

As promised here are some pictures I took of games which caught my eye at Salute. I appreciate everyone has their own standouts but these were mine. Hope you enjoy the images and understand just how much work goes into producing games of this quality.

RAF attacks German Zeppelin
Based upon a real incident in August 1918
The RAF being 5 months old at this point

This is 7TV's game of paranormal investigators battling troublesome spooks in NYC. So, it's definitely NOT Ghostbusters.....except, well...yeah ;) A really great looking game which reminded me a lot of the film; which was the idea.
(not) Ghostbusters 1

 (not) Ghostbusters 2

(not) Ghostbusters 3

Next is the incredible participation game of the Empire's assault upon Hoth at the start of The Empire Strikes Back. Fantastic terrain, models, figures, all 20mm scale, and presentation. From what I could see everyone involved was having a great time.

Hoth Assault 1

Hoth Assault 2

Hoth Assault 3

Hoth Assault 4

Hoth Assault 5

The picture shows a typical Western Front battlefield except this time it's medical. The players' job is to maneuver a stretcher bearer team, with casualty, across the board to the Advanced Dressing Station. From your right to your left in this picture. Great fun and very unusual theme.
Stretcher bearers!

This game is the US's attack on Fort George in 1779 during the AWI This game was my absolute favourite of the show. There are ten, TEN, fully rigged sailing ships on the table. The fort, terrain and figures were all beautifully painted and constructed in 28mm scale. Fantastic stuff!

Fort George 1

Fort George 2

 Fort George 3

Fort George 4

More when I have it!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

A Grand Day Out In That London

An early start with General Charles, Wargamer A & Wargamer G saw us near Edgehill battlefield where we picked up the fifth member of the expedition: Mr Duncan. We reached the venue very quickly; we were chatting a lot and I believe this helps one warp time and space to one's advantage.

 A monument to what once was

As usual the venue was right at the end of The Long March tunnel of Excel. This year, as well as the London Marathoners booking in there was some kind of clinical exhibition. There was also The Sherlock exhibition. This was overrun with fans, many of whom were sporting Deerstalkers. Apparently HE was there and it cost £50 to get a BC autograph. Or so I was told..

Anyways onto the main event. We got in very quickly and, as usual, the event space was like a furnace. I also thought that there were fewer traders there this year. Maybe not but that was the impression I got. That said the traders who were there were all doing good business; all were cheerful and friendly and the quality of the stuff on sale was high. Especially the MDF creations. Absolutely incredible and all at excellent prices.

I bought all the things I had on my shopping list. And several things that weren't. As you do ;-)


Yes, that is an MDF steam launch in the style of The African Queen! I also bought an MDF saloon car which is an incredible model. Pictured LtoR Pulp figures (Swaggering Nazis and Helpless Captives). A load of movement trays; a Cthulhu pyramid; tents and camping stuff; the steam launch. I also took photos of some awe-inspiring games at Salute which will form another post.

All the best!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Lighthouse of Horror

So, there I am in a charity shop in Mere Green (Birmingham) and I spot a plastic lighthouse. It's a novelty light, this is probably why it ended up in a charity shop. I picked it up, had a look, thought naaah and put it back on the shelf. Fortunately my friend was with me and he said 'What are you doing? That'll be great for your Pulp games!' He was right.

It had seen better days. I think it must have been thrown outside at some point given the amount of mud clogging the battery compartment. I cleaned it up, and drained off the rain water that had gotten inside. After a soapy wash and rinse it didn't look too bad. Sadly the battery compartment had been damaged beyond economical repair so no light action.

I masked off the main light panels and the windows. I then sprayed it matt black overall. Once that was dry I got the white emulsion tester pots out and started painting. I tried to avoid completely filling in the gaps between the building stones. Mostly successful, I wanted to suggest a building that is slightly seedy and not quite what it seems. I painted the roof, front door and railing with Vallejo Red 70926 and then highlighted with Vallejo Red 70947. The windows I painted with a very watery Vallejo 70947 to get a 'House That Dripped Blood' vibe going. Sort of.

The rock base was dry brushed with a grey emulsion and then a lighter grey Vallejo London Grey mixed with a bit of white. The marine plants were painted with a variety of Vallejo Greens and then highlighted with Vallejo Yellow. I dry-brushed my way through this to maintain the black undercoat in the fronds and recessed areas of the plants. I also stippled the base with various greens to suggest sea plant growth.
The steps were dry brushed white, then grey then stippled with greens to suggest marine growths as per the rest of the rock.

 As bought, post wash

Matt black undercoat


Finished item with ranting Cultist for scale

So what's the plan? Well, a team of right-thinking do-gooders will almost certainly investigate this place before too long. What will they discover there? Cultists performing their foul rites? Captives held in durance vile? Who knows but I'm certain we'll find out!


Update 1: I managed to remove the battery compartment gubbins without damaging the model! Following a test with a tea-light (it was a brief test) the lights will be back on. Maybe one of those flickering flame ones people use on wargames tables inside black cotton wool to suggest burning. 

Update 2: I decided the building's paint job looked too fresh and new. To calm it down, and up the seedy, I used a large brush to apply generously watered down Army Painter Dark Tone over the white. I also glued some bunches of moss to the building to imply lack of maintenance. 


Friday, 17 April 2015

The Cult Of CuYuHu

The dreadful puns continue with this latest Pulp faction. Dedicated to the overthrow of humanity and the reign of A Dreadful Being From Another Dimension. They are completely bonkers. There is, however, one thing they have that keeps them strong. They believe and belief is enough to sustain them in their numerous failures and subsequent plotting.

In An Underground Lair With Obligatory Altar

 Cult Leader Frank
The Keeper Of Secrets

 Cult Number Two Pierre
The Giver Of Orders

Henchman Oleg
The Doer Of Biddings

 Henchman Phil
The Sprayer Of Death

Henchman Ringenstingen
The Keeper Of The Purifying Flame

Coming to a Pulp adventure near you soon!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Citizens Of Pulpville

Bought the Swell Dolls set from Copplestone Castings the other day. They are a group of five figures all standing in neutral poses but all are individuals. Some are dressed in general day wear others are for a night out. Being a bit rubbish at this sort of thing I decided to stick to a simple palette with each figure being painted in just two main colours. I've also included a sinister male figure to add some balance to the scene.

None of them are part of a faction or gang being instead Expendable Extras. They'll also help to flesh out games by being innocent bystanders. And, as we all know, that usually means being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 Main Street

 Waiting For Their Friend

Swanks On The Town

 Some bins

All the best!