The Old Giant

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End of the Line!

Yes, it’s happened – this blog has run out of space.

I am using a new blog, it’s in the links at the top left.

So if you want to continue to follow me then please go to…

Thanks to all who have kept with me and keep doing so.

Saga – Franks

Here’s a link to the post on the recently…. it has a Frankish theme.

UK Games Expo 2015

This years weekend at UKGE saw a VERY busy Hilton Hotel at the NEC with masses of folks navigating the Trade Halls.

Must have been the busiest day ever for this event. I didn’t get any Saturday pics as it was hard enough to walk around the venue (Trade and Family Zone areas).  The Bring and Buy queue was mad too. Sunday seemed much quiter by comparison.

I got some FoW Tournament pics on Sunday morning (round 1) and a few others, like the big DZC Frigate.

Hopefully next year with the NEC Hall for the Trade I hear then the gaming areas should be bigger (and the Family Zone guys!)

Here are the pics I have…. from Sunday. Quieter (and rainier). It’s a tiring event for me to manouevre around (being a bit of an old Hulk) but you can try to grab somewhere to sit down and play a game – a lot of people were doing that all round the Hotel.

Sunday Flames of War… (about an hour into the first game)…

… and mainly “Dropzone Commander” DZC…. such beautiful models…. (some joker got in on the act too, the Dalek took care of him…)

The Model Assault Frigate is a small ship (!) just some 560 metres long apparently and only 100 (I counted 48 on one side…) Condor Dropships…. plus a very large triple barrelled cannon jobbie and what look like missile pods all around. Very nice model. As it is in 10mm scale I guess you can work out the model length – use the lego models on the rear engine section for scale if you are lazy.

Red Dawn 3- building the US Tanks for “All Quiet on the Martian Front”

I decided to start by building 10 tanks…

There would be one “command tank” with one main gun and a HMG and then three lots of three MkIII Steam tanks each with three 4 inch guns – a nice little tank company.

The tanks were easy to remove from the sprues and assemble. Cleanup is very little indeed. Gluing was straightforward – the tank base and body are held in place by “snapping on” the two side pieces that have the track moulded on so that bit is easy to “dry fit”.

Hopefully painting will be straightforward too, just like Tigers in 15mm scale for ‘Flames of War’!

Next I hope to build one more command tank and try my hand at converting one more tank into a “clamp tank”.

That will leave six tanks, probably to make into MkII Steamer tanks – they just look cool even without the heavy firepower.

Red Dawn 2- building the Martians for “All Quiet on the Martian Front”

I decided to build six of the Assault Tripods for the Martian force (then go on to build some US tanks to play against them) in a phased approach.

Here are some of the things I tried to do….

1) I am not keen on the Green Gas throwing model – I converted two Black Dust Launchers and two “Gas Bomb” holders into two “powered” launchers – one for each arm of the Tripod.

2) I converted an Assault Tripod and two Black Dust Launchers into a plastic “Grenadier Tripod”. I just used three of the “variable” legs from three of the Tripod sprues to make short legs (by not adding in the middle section). Then missed out the rectangular body piece and added the newly converted “rocket launcher” doohickeys.

3) I made three classic Heat Ray Tripods and then one traditional Black Dust Launcher.

4) I now have some spare parts especially leg sections so I may try to make one of the taller Tripod models (some plasticard is on its way).

5) Some of the plasticard can be used to make armour plates (I hope) to make a Veteran Tripod model.

I undercoated the plastic with white spray Primer, then Silver paint from Vallejo Game Color. A 50/50 black ink wash was used to give some texture and solidity to the model. Next will be a little paint to give a three colour effect (Keep it Simple!)

Basing – I have some various “red” accessories to try out and look forward to giving a real Martian feel to the Tripod bases!

Red Dawn – getting into “All Quiet on the Martian Front” – box opening

Having failed to be engaged completely by the “Star Wars Armada” game, I decided to take advantage of an offer from Wayland Games for what worked out to be 25% off and free postage for “AQMF” All Quiet on the Martian Front.

I bought three of the Starter sets as they represent very good value – a total of 9 Martian Assault Tripods, 18 US Steam Tanks, 9 Rough Riders and 9 HMG teams, plus mini rule books, plastic tokens and templates.

Here are some pics of what came out of the box…. the game turns out to be something like and 18 or 19 mm scale game, closer to HO/OO model railway than 15mm, and therefore another scale to add to the list of those I have become acquainted with.

The plastic used for the sprues is a slightly softer than usual light grey and seems easy to work with. Cutting a few pieces off to try some builds with showed that cleanup was pretty fast and easy. The only pieces that seemed in any way brittle were the fine tendrils for the front of the Assault Tripods. As long as you clip or cut them carefully off the sprue there should be no problems. The sprues have a number of pieces that look useful for conversion work as each sprue allows more than one “build type” of Tripod or Tank. Nice indeed.

My only disappointments were:

1) The cut down 48 page mini rulebook. The A5 size rulebook is in black and white so you will need to go to the internet to find some colour pictures of Tripods if you don’t want to buy the full rulebook. There is a piece of folded black and white printed paper that gives some build instructions and a starter scenario. Other than that you need to buy the full rulebook and download the various PDF’s that have been added to the game in the last year or so.

2) Only three bases with each set of 30 infantry, not 6 as per the illustration on the back of the box (in each of the boxes). I emailed support at ‘aliendungeon’ but haven’t yet had a response…. 😦



Saga: Review of Gripping Beast plastic Arab cavalry

Here is a review I wrote for the website…

New Saga Spanish army – built and undercoated

Here is my recent post about the plastic SAGA Spanish army I am building.

It’s now undercoated ready for painting… LINK.

Star Wars Armada – box opening…

I recently bought the Fantasy Flight Games “Star Wars Armada” starter box set.

There have been a lot of other posts on the net about the game, so I will keep my thoughts short and sweet and add a few pics.

The box is not too big (abossa (3)ut the same size as the Lord of the Rings LCG starter box) but is a lot deeper. On opening I couldn’t see why it needed to be so deep. Half the box is empty air. The three painted ship models look good, but only take up the space at the front of the box in a clear packaging to help sell the game. Underneath them is just space to store more models I guess.

Other than this everything else apart from three sheets of card tokens came bagged (pre-prepared) which was a nice touch.  there are quite a few bits and pieces to snap together. Three ship bases need to be put together using the cards and card tokens to form shield dials and ship armament.

I liked the fact that there were snap close plastic bags for all the pieces.


It took a goossa (5)d hour to push out the tokens and figure out how to assemble the ship stands and the little plastic fighters. The most fiddly part was getting the base components for each fighter squadron together. You have to angle the clear rod that goes into the base just right as it is shaped (it’s not that obvious). Making the 10 stands of X-wings and TIE fighters was a bit of a pain and you need to be careful not to snap the stands or fighter wings.

Other than that the next most pain was assembling the plastic measuring tool. You need to make sure it snaps together so it can’t fall apart then add in some card counters on each section to denote the range. You use this tool to move your ships. Ships speed and navigation orders help determine what distance and turns you can make to your ship.

Once assembled, you get a “starter scenario” diagram and explanation which helps you set the game up ready to go.

Playing ssa (1)a couple of games solo soon showed me some strengths and weaknesses. The big Imperial Destroyer has three Command dials. You need to set each of these and stack them up, one is revealed each game turn. The smaller Rebel corvette only has one of these. Bottom line is that you can give a fresh order to the smaller ship each turn, but the bigger ships need to have their orders given two or three turns in advance.

This made for a nice tactic – the powerful ships need careful thought, the small ships are more reactive.

I used the smaller corvette to accelerate to full speed and go behind the big Imperial Destroyer. In the end, game 1 ended with the Rebel  Escort ship being killed by firepower from the front of the Destroyer.

The Fssa (6)ighter squadrons seemed to take each other out. The Corvette fired into the rear shield arc of the Destroyer for three turns and killed it, winning the game for the Rebels. Bottom line, keep away from the big Attack dice of the front of big ships and get into the rear arc to hit weaker shields if you can. If you can keep at long-range then you will suffer a lot less damage.

The game encourages you to think ahead as moves need to be planned out if you are to win.

I quite enjoyed the game, though didn’t get much enjoyment from the fighter squadrons which IMHO serve to slow the game down by taking the action away from the big ships.


Here are my reservations….

In the UK the game is selling at around £59 plus – about US 90 dollars. You only get three ships plus the fighters. That’s not really enough to keep the interest goingssa (11). For what you get n the box, the price of the game is at the top end of what I would want to pay for what you get. To get a good 300 point game would need two or possibly three starter boxes (you will be able to get all the ships separately but the price of each ship is high). The Imperial Victory Destroyer is about £25, the Rebel ships about £15. One solution is to get two starter sets between two mates and split the forces and components between each person.

It would have been nice to get a 3 foot square game mat to play the starter game on and for the price I was surprised there was no poster style mat.

Apparently it is something to do with the licensing of the game. You can buy game mats for about £27 (cough…)

The other thing I found silly was that you need four of the blue dice for Attack rolls sometimes. The starter set comes with only three of each colour (black, blue, red).  The black dice are only used if you choose the cheaper Victory I version of the Destroyer which lack the range of its later mark (73 points versus 85 points). Adding one more blue dice would not have broken the bank at this price point.

I am now a bssa (8)it on the fence with this game. For an “Armada” game you will need to spend a lot of money on expanding this game. I am not sure I want to do that. Also, the game components seem a little clunky. I don’t really like the plastic Command device. Having to use up to three of these per ship makes for a stack of plastic.

Other than this (!) the overall game mechanics are quite solid. There are only 6 turns in a game (so it seems) which means the game is over quickly, say no more than an hour. This seems to be par for modern games – a crosssa (15)s between a board game and a wargame and with less time required to reach a suitable outcome. You kill the enemy, you win….

I have yet to see how balanced the game is between the two forces. The command dial mechanic keeps the big “slow” ships on their toes while the smaller ones can dart about and change commands each turn.  For example, would you want to take 6 Rebel Corvette ‘A’ (264 points) or 3 Imperial Victory  Destroyers (255 points)…?

Will this game be a passing fad or turn into something still played in five years or more? Time will tell…



Saga – news I guess and a new army

I am making a 6 point Spanish army in plastic…

Also, there are some new Saga items coming soon for Gripping Beast… I am hoping to get the new plastic arab cavalry sprues to review soon.

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