13 November 2019

Wargaming Wednesday: Blood Cross Chapter

Well, I'm a month behind already. ~sigh~ I'll just have to get better. As usual, Amazon affiliate links at the end.

A Tactical Battle Brother of the Blood Cross
This Wednesday we're looking back in time to my DIY Space Marine Chapter for Warhammer 40K, the Blood Cross. After not playing a game of 40K since 1995 or so, I finally sallied forth once more due to a local "slow grow" campaign that started two weeks ago. We started at 350 points and are currently in Cycle Two (the cycles advance every two weeks culminating in a mega-fight after Cycle 5 ends). We're currently in Cycle two at 500 points.

Task Force Habbyana (350 points):

Chapter Master Farad'n Corrino &  Eternal Brother Ramuel (Assault on Black Reach Dreadnought with a Templar Banner added and a AOBR Terminator Sgt.)

Chapter Master Farad'n Corrino. Captain in Terminator Armor. Relic Blade, Storm Bolter, Stratagem: Chapter Master, 106 pts.

Tactical Space Marine Squad. 1st Squad, 3rd Company "The Ridge-Runners," 140 pts.
   --Sgt. Monterey Gordon. SM Sargent. Boltgun, Power Sword,  frag & krak grenades, 16 pts.
   --Space Marine with Heavy Weapon. Heavy bolter, bolt pistol, frag & krak grenades, 22 pts.
   --Space Marine with Special Weapon. Flamer, bolt pistol, frag & krak grenades, 18 pts.

Eternal Brother Samuel. Dreadnought. Dreadnought combat weapon with storm bolter, multi-melta, 104 pts.

That's puts us right at 350 pts. For Cycle Two, I added:

Brother Librarian Harq al-Ada Corrino. Primaris Librarian in Phobos Armor.  Bolt pistol, power sword, camo cloak, frag & krak grenades, smite, mind raid, tenebrous curse, 101 points.

Brother Librarian Harq al-Ada Corrino

Brother-Medico Antoninus. Apothecary. Bolt pistol, chainsword, frag & krak grenades, 50 points.

Brother-Medico Antoninus

And that puts us at 501 points exactly for Cycle Two.

Our first two games went well. I won the first game and lost the second by 1 Victory Point; my opponent broke the plane for linebreaker by about 1/16th of an inch. Stupid Eldar!

If you need some rule books and accessories:
Warhammer 40K, 8th Ed. Rulebook: https://amzn.to/2XaQVaO
Space Marine Codex: https://amzn.to/2NKxYbV
Space Marine Datacards: https://amzn.to/2qawLBM

If you want to build up a similar space marine force, I suggest the following selections:

Start Collecting! Space Marines: https://amzn.to/2QfSeDT

This set will actually put you over about 20 points depending on the tactical squad load-out since the included Dreadnought is a Venerable model.

Space Marine Primaris Librarian in Phobos Armor: https://amzn.to/33Lbg9f

Space Marine Command Squad: https://amzn.to/2NHn32C

This box will give you the sprues to build 5 models: Space Marine Veteran Sergeant, Company Champion, Apothecary, Standard Bearer, and a Space Marine with assault weapon.

If you live in (North) East Texas (that's the Longview-Tyler area), check us out on FaceBook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WaaaghNET/

Until Fantasy Friday, may all your brushes stay pointy and your colors not dry out!

16 October 2019

Wargaming Wednesday: We're Back (for the Motherland!)

Well...it's been a loooooong time since we've posted on the old blog. Too long, in fact. Something like almost three years since a serious post, not merely a book review reposted from Goodreads. So, due to one of those "life events," I find some spare time on my hands so I'm going to resurrect this bad boy. I'm also considering starting up a real YouTube channel, but we'll see.

Therefore, this blog will begin to have regular posts again. Yay. The format is a minimum of three posts a week. Monday is Media Monday; I will discuss books, movies, shows, whatever happens to catch my interest over the previous week.

Wednesday is Wargaming Wednesday. Today, I'm discussing my miniature table top hobby and anything pertaining to it.

Friday is Fantasy Friday, a day on which I will talk mostly about tabletop RPGs. This might also include computer gaming as well. This is fantasy in the broad sense of fantastical fiction, not just elves and wizards. 

Also, I'm monetizing the blog with Amazon links, so if you see something you like, please feel free to click-and-buy! :)

On to today.

Let's look at Bolt Action, a WW2 skirmish game, which I've been neglecting for the past month. Life. Sigh.

I picked up 2 more boxes of Soviet assault engineers to round out my force. Once they're finished, I'll be able to field up to 3 full squads of engineers or tank riders in body armor. Just have to leave the flamethrower at home for the танковый десант. There are two offerings from Warlord for these. Both are metal and all wear body armor. One box retails for $24.95 and consists of 10 figures: 8 SMG gunners, 1 DP-28 LMG gunner, and one chap with a couple of panzerfausts. One fellow is also carrying a land mine, and another is throwing a grenade. These are one-piece figures.

This Week's Haul

The second box retails for $19.25 and consists of 8 soldiers, several in the same poses as box #1: 5 SMG gunners, 1 DP-28 LMG gunner, the guy with the panzerfausts, and a flamethrower operator. These are castings with separate heads so you have to glue on the heads. Normally, this is minor, but their poses are such that's it's hard to get a good angle on them.  On the plus side, I was able to use a female head from another Warlord kit to add a female engineer. One of the joys of the RKKA (the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army) is that there were women in the ranks as well. 

In a Soviet Army Army List, a full squad of fully decked out assault engineers consists of:

NCO with SMG
Infantry with SMG
Infantry with Light Machine gun (requires loader)
Flamethrower (infantry) team
Entire squad equipped with body armour
Entire squad equipped with anti-tank grenades
Entire squad equipped with mine clearing gear
men have Panzerfaust in addition to other weapons

....for a grand total of 308 points. Ouch! On the flip side, veterans with body armor, so they die on a 6. Keep a medic nearby for more sustainability!

A full tank riders squad with body armor consists of:

NCO with SMG
Infantry with SMG
Infantry with Light Machine Gun (requires loader)
Tank Riders
Entire squad equipped with body armour
Entire squad equipped with anti-tank grenades

....for a grand total of 240 points regular or 273 points for vets. I recommend a T-34 for the host vehicle or, for more punch, a KV-2 early war, IS-2 late war.

Here are the affiliate links to Amazon for the squads for your collection:

What about tanks?
KV-2: https://amzn.to/2MN6pNy  (This kit has two turrets so you can have a KV-1 or a KV-2 depending on your list and/or whim.)

If you want a medic, you'll need the command group consisting of 1 medic and 2 officers: https://amzn.to/35FJ6he

Well, I guess this is a good place to wrap it up for today. I'll have a longer post next time. Until then remember:

За Родину! За Сталина!

Your baby-faced blogger as a Soviet Guardsman!

25 January 2019

Book Review -- Mechwarrior Dark Age: Pandora's Gambit

Pandora's GambitPandora's Gambit by Randall N. Bills
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A short review of this one. Like a lot of genre fiction, this one just goes through its paces. It's pretty pedantic and even boring. It does give some insight into the power struggles going on in the Dark Age between the different Marik factions, but that's not enough to recommend. What little action there is is tedious and not exciting. I do give it three stars, because it's not that bad and the information is useful to some extent; it's just not great.

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Book Review: Lustrum by Robert Harris (Cicero #2)

Lustrum (Cicero, #2)Lustrum by Robert   Harris

Lustrum is the second novel in Robert Harris's Cicero trilogy. Please see my previous review of Imperium for some details on my thoughts concerning Cicero and Caesar.

This novel literally picks up where the first leaves off: it is the morning of the day that Cicero is to sworn in as consul and it starts with a bang: a mutilated corpse part of some ritual sacrifice and ceremony! Bad omen!

This novels highlights the fact that there are some pretty unpleasant people in Ancient Rome. Once again, the narrator is Tiro, Cicero's scribe and slave. Even Cicero is not immune to the miasma that is the politics of Late Republican Rome. Seen as the savior of Rome in a tumultuous time, he is awarded the title pater patriae, father of his country; this was the first time in Roman history that it was awarded for a non-military action. This goes straight to his head, and sets him up for the inevitable fall. Cicero manages to bumble around and make an enemy of Pompey, Caesar, and Crassus, just before the First Triumvirate is formed.This leads to his exile from Rome during to political maneuvering by his enemies and that's where this one leads off.

Part of the novel's message is the fact that there are truly few close, trustworthy friends in the political arena. Everything is about the pursuit of power, advantage, and expediency. It is very difficult to remain true to one's belief system in the face of such adversity, but it can be done. Cicero learns this, but a little late in the series, as it were. If I were to use theatrical standards for this trilogy, Lustrum is obviously Act II; the hero has peaked and pummeled down to his lowest point. I can presume that the next novel in the trilogy, Dictator, will conclude on a heroic note for Cicero. As a historian, I'm pretty sure of that fact.

As an aside, a lustrum in Ancient Rome was a five year period, half of a decade and the period of a census. At the end of the lustrum, one of the two censors would sacrifice on behalf of the Roman people and state to purify them. So, while the novel covers a space of five years of Cicero's life, the title is also endemic of his purification by fire that ends in his exile, but also to him realizing the truth and returning to his noble path.

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Book Review: Imperium by Robert Harris (Cicero #1)

Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Cicero, #1)Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome by Robert   Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Imperium is the first novel in the Cicero series by Robert Harris of Fatherland fame. But before I discuss it,I must backtrack and make a statement.

I love Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series. That being said, as a citizen of a democratic republic, I really don't like Caesar much anymore, and four of the seven novels really focus on Caesar and glamorize him. When I was younger, I was guilty of that as well. However, I am older and Marcus Tullius Cicero is more of hero to me now since he was a man who tried to save the Republic. In On Law he wrote "Salus populi suprema lex esto, (the safety of the people shall be the highest law)." That was the moral standard he lived by.

In his novel, Harris uses the affectation of speaking through Cierco's scibe, a slave named Tiro. Tiro actually existed and was a close confidante of Cierco; Tiro was very intelligent and created the first real shorthand system for taking notes and abbreviations and symbol that are still in use today, such as "ibid"and the ampersand (&). He was known to have authored a biography of his master Cicero, but that tome is lost to use in the mists of Antiquity on the other side of the Dark Ages.

Imperium follows Cicero's cursus honorem, or path of honor, that is, his journey to achieve the Consulship, the highest elected office in Ancient Rome; former consuls had tremendous prestige, moving to the front of the Senate benches and speaking first in the Senate during debates. It also made one's family premiere in the City. I will not spoil this for those who know little of Ancient History. I will say that this is the literary equivalent of a drama and not a blockbuster action movie. If political intrigue is your thing, this is most assuredly your book.

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