Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Burning Empires: Compagnie de Tirailleurs Seneglais (Part 1)

This new year my resolution is to paint up every single platoon in all of the forces from the second part of Burning Empires. Simple enough!

To kick things off I've began with the Compagnie de Tirailleurs Senegalais (Senegalese Light Rifle Company), but nowhere in my resolution does it say I have to stay with one force until its done, owing to my fluttering attention span! This way I can tackle new and different things found in the book along the way.

I have to admit I've cheated somewhat by having a pile of things already painted, but even though I have many platoons done, I can't actually make a complete force with any of them! So, hence my resolution. I have a massive passion for the Sahara campaign, and I'm counting on that to see this thing through!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

LeClerc's Trucks

One of LeClerc's many Bedford trucks 
An interesting post in the Flames Of War forum has prompted me to write this article on the crazy world of LeClerc's trucks during the Sahara campaign and how to field them in Flames Of War.

When I was writing Burning Empires, the most difficult of the raiding forces for me to get a handle on was the Free French in Chad. A lot of this has to do with the language barrier, but really it comes down to available reference material. The Italians and British kept excellent records of the fight in the Sahara, but the French seem to have been more concerned with victory than keeping inventory, fair enough too. But the nature of the desert campaign was that of expedience and thrift, so getting a grip on what exactly LeClerc had in his Free French column is something of a shot in the dark with at least a pale moonlight.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


A few days ago I scored a copy of Gripping Beast's SAGA ruleset, a Dark Ages skirmish game. I've always had an interest in the Dark Ages since I was little, especially Vikings and Normans. I've never had a try with ancient or medieval miniatures, as I've not wanted to invest a lot of time and effort into getting started. This is where Saga is perfect for me.

I've finished reading through the rules and my first impression is that the system is very simple and gets people playing very fast. It features four 'factions' including the Vikings, Normans, Anglo-Danish, and Welsh. Each has their own battle board with all sorts of special Saga abilities. I read a review of Saga in a recent Wargames Illustrated article and I remember hearing something about the designer's card game background. As a cardflopper myself, I can certainly see the correlations and I can see a lot of crossover from the two backgrounds.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Y'all Watch This ...

Here's something to get you in the mood for today's post:

All good? Thought so.

Anyway, I've been getting into Malifaux in a big way lately. If you're not familiar with Malifaux, its a skirmish scale game. Its set in the world of Malifaux, which has an old west theme to it, full of gunslingers and grave robbers. Its a really cool aesthetic. The game's 'hook' is that it has no dice. It is played entirely with a normal deck of playing cards. Instead of rolling dice you draw a card or two off the top of your deck. You can then can 'cheat' the results with cards from your hand.

The other thing that is awesome is the mission generator system. You choose schemes, which are secret. Once you've completed these you get victory points. You can announce your secret schemes and get twice the points too!

In a world mostly of humans and the undead, I dug the gremlin faction for their humor in both the game and in their figures. The coolest thing about these 'lil fellas is their Deliverance vibe. Thanks to my little bro, I've got a fully painted Gremlin army. He painted them for my birthday and they look great. With his permission I brought his color palette up one level to brighten the models and added some details to the basing, like flocking and the reeds. Otherwise, I cannot take any more credit for these guys!

Anyway, after several games, I've decided these guys are the most fun I have had in skirmish wargaming in manya years! I usually kill more of my own gremlins than my opponent, which will surely get worse when I start fielding the bayou pigs!

So, let me introduce you to the gang!
My troops are from the bayou. They are a part of Ophelia LaCroix's kin, which are essentially locked in an eternal, if satirical, feud with the Ortegas.

Ophelia LaCroix
The LaCroix clan
Raphael LaCroix
Francois LaCroix (my personal favorite mini, probably of all time!)
Pere Ravagé (Andrew did some great forced lighting!)
Pere Ravagé and his piglet bomb
Rami LaCroix
The Gremlins
Y'all git off our land!
I thinks my boomstick is stucked up!
banjos & moonshine
I sees 'em yonder place
Ophelia and crowd
Ophelia LaCroix, Gremlin Gunslinger.

Next up, working on my Bayou table.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hello everyone! I've given the old Caveman vs. Mammoth game a bit of an overhaul and put together some basic rules. Have fun, and don't forget to leave some feedback!



Sunday, October 9, 2011


10.5cm Howitzer Battery
Well, I've built an artillery park! I started working on the 105cm howitzers and got a little carried away. I got out my Nebelwerfers I did for Cassino and have rebased them to match. Then I magnetized the 15cm rockets and dug out six 21cm guns out of my backlog of German blisters. I magnetized those as well so I can do a simple swap-out for the different weapons, easy peasy!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Seems like all I do these days is make lists. I guess that's part of the hobby. I like putting together forces and playing FoW theory in my head. I'll readily admit, given the weight of evidence on this blog, that its distracting, and maybe I should just embrace it and carry on talking about lists without actually following up on them with painting. After all I've got a stupid full painting queue, as I'm sure many of my readers fully understand.

But today is not one of those days! I've actually been painting German infantry at a blindingly fast pace. Since my last blog entry (which was actually about British, if you recall) I've painted the following:

Stuff I've painted or rebased in the last few days
2x Pioneer Platoons (10x Rifle/MG teams each)
1x PaK40 Platoon (w/ 3 guns)
1x 7.5cm Infantry Gun Platoon

And I've rebased the following to match the above:
2x Panzergrenadier Platoons (7x MG/faust teams)
1x Heavy Platoon (2x HMG teams, 2x 8cm Mortar teams, 2x Command stands)
1x Panzergrenadier HQ (2x SMG and 1x Panzerschreck team)

All of that I did on a whim, I have no idea why I did it. Since doing my MW Strelkovy horde, I've had nothing but the infantry bug for painting, and again I find that weird! Anyway, I've been capitalizing on that as much as I can.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back to North Africa!

It seems like ages ago I was putting together my first Flames of War army, a British Motor Company from old Desert Rats book. It was also my first miniature game. I was (and to an extent still am) a card-flopper, playing the excellent games by Decipher Games (Star Trek, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings).

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Zerzura Club

Hey all,
Well, life has been busy, but I've managed to get back on track and return to do some blogging. I wrote the following piece as a part of another article. I found myself going down another path with the original article, but this bit kept nagging at my imagination. It is the story of the Zerzura Club, a band of explorers in the 1930s that were hunting the legendary lost city of Zerzura. So, without further ado, here's the story.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stories that Make the World

In 2004 I took some courses at the University of Idaho that changed my view on life. Before then, I wasn't in a good place. I had bombed out of school in a big way, going from a 4.0 GPA to a .02 GPA in one glorious flame-out of a semester. While my story didn't hit the rock bottom you see on television or in the movies, it nevertheless sucked and I knew it wasn't me. But in 2004 my life turned around. I got back into school and met some very great people who saw me through to the other side. It was good times...

Anyway, I'm sure you're not terribly interested in my past so I'll get back to the topic. In 2004 I took a course from Dr. Rodney Frey, an anthropologist who has worked closely with the Coeur d'Alene Native American tribe to preserve their native language and to record the oral traditions of the tribe's elders. Required reading was a book called Stories that Make the World, which delved into the origins of the world as told since the beginning of time. Whether you believe the stories or not isn't the point. The compelling aspect of the whole book is that you get to glimpse how this tribe ties the landscape into their oral tradition. These stories are told as the listeners actively or retrospectively look upon the landscape. The land itself is how these stories are stored and recounted for generation after generation.

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
The truly remarkable thing of the oral tradition being tied into the landscape is that it gives a people a real sense of position in the story. They are there and living history through the story, so that they might tell their children and continue the tradition. Thinking back, I have done much the same thing, as I'm sure you have as well. Some examples are when you drive by a house you used to live in and suddenly all these memories come rushing back. Or perhaps you feel much the same connection when you visit a historical site that is well preserved. But, at least for me, this had always been a secondary sense to me. After taking this class and learning about the area I had lived in for years through the memories and landscape of the Coeur d'Alene people really opened my mind. I'll be the first to admit that I am no expert on this sort of thinking, but it really made an impact on how I am tied to the land in which I live.

Wow, so theres an unqualified philosophy lesson for you! Anyway....

I remember several years ago when Microsoft activated its "terrasever". It was a one terabyte (!) hard drive filled with satellite imagery of the world. I thought that was the bee's knees, until Google Earth came out. Since then GE has been developing into an information giant. You can flick across the digital globe as easily as you could a physical one, yet not have it take up nearly as much space on your desktop! Then something uncanny occurred a few years back, you could upload photos and website links and tie them to a geographical spot. Suddenly, the globe could tell you stories.

A few years ago I started using Google Earth as my notepad. When writing a book, I use Google Earth to record all of my notes into one place. You can save folders, create layers, and color the location pins to help keep your story straight. The first time I did this was while I was writing Hell's Highway and A Bridge Too Far. I found it difficult to remember where certain units were positioned and how they moved. So I set up a Google Earth file with all of the individual pins and notes.

Since then I have used Google Earth to map out most of my history and topics of interest. I thought that perhaps people might find them useful too for either wargaming or academic projects. So, as I complete these files, I will post them here for people to download and use. Feel free to let me know of any inaccuracies and I'll see to getting them fixed.

So here's my first one on the Oosterbeek Perimeter during Operation Market Garden, September 1944. I have not touched this file in years, and I apologize that its not as complete as it could be. I'm currently working on one for 'ghost planes' of the Sahara, as I've recently been inspired by the sands of the deep desert! Hopefully this one will be a bit more comprehensive and interesting!

Thanks for reading and go download Google Earth!

Also, you really should read Dr. Frey's Stories that Make the World if you are interested!

Download Google Earth here ...
Download Oosterbeek Perimeter (Operation Market Garden, 1944) ...

Instructions: Download and install Google Earth. Then click the Oosterbeek link to download the .KMZ file. Google Earth should automatically read the KMZ file as soon as you have clicked on it and take you to Oosterbeek!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Bit of FoW Nostalgia

I've been busy painting up my Early War German army for my Blitzing Blitzkrieg project, a Liechte (Light) Panzerkompanie. I've got most of the tanks done, its just down to the infantry, motorcycles and guns. I figured that I would use my old pioneers for the infantry since the uniforms were the same. Or so I thought... When I pulled them out to have a look I noticed they have a lot of Mid-war characteristics, chief among them the splinter helmet covers. Oh well!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Warmachine Update

Well, the truth is that I play all sorts of miniature games. I'm a big fan of small skirmish-sized games like Warmachine and Malifaux. I've also got into Dystopian Wars in a small way (done some painting, but no games yet).

But recent excitement among friends has been focused (no pun intended) on Warmachine. I've got both Cryx (undead) and Pirate mercenaries. My Cryx collection is pretty limited so I thought revisit my Pirates instead because I've got a lot more of that, giving me more flexibility in games.

This weekend I've been doing some repainting and touch ups (these were among my first 28mm models, after Confrontation). While my camera skills are lacking and I'll have to wait until next week to borrow a better camera and a light table, I thought I'd post up some pictures of some of my older models to get you caught up on my Pirates.

First off is Shae, my warcaster. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with WM, a warcaster is the general of your army. He possesses archane abilities which allow him to control warjacks, large steam-powered robots. Shae is a tidy pirate, meaning he keeps up appearances. So I've given him a jacket based on 19th Century British Royal Navy colors. The rest of the army's color scheme is loosely based on Shae's.

Press Ganger
Beyond Shae I've got a motley collection of dubious pyrates. This one is from a press ganger unit, which can club enemy troops over the head and recruit them to join your sea swabs. I like this unit a lot for its humor, and I'll be touching these guys up soon so hopefully I'll have some more pictures for you to look at.

Thanks to some friends back stateside, I've given all of these figures planking bases to represent them fighting on or near a ship. I've got plans to eventually make a 4'x 4' seaside port table just for my Pyrates. I've been collecting all the pieces and soon I'll start working on that massive project!

The Marine
Next up is the Marine. I've a substantial amount of modification work on this model. One disadvantage of Privateer Press (makers of WM) is that they usually don't offer variant models, and if they do its for all of the other major factions, as I'm not aware of a good alteration kit for this model.

Privateer Press' Buccaneer
Anyway, the Marine is a Buccaneer Light Warjack. Its realitively light and is therefore cheap in terms of points. So you can have a few in your army if you want. I really like this warjack as it has a lot of character and really looks like the sort of warjack that would be found on a ship.

Here (left) is the original Privateer Press model so that you can compare. I've got another Buccaneer besides the Marine that I've pained up without any modifications, called Union 'Jack (he's got a British jack painted on the side). As you can see, the Buc is armed with a Gaff weapon and holds a net in his left arm. In the game he can toss this net to bind the target and then smack him with the gaff or let someone else have a crack.

I really like the concept of the model, but there is at least one aspect I really don't like. The net does not look natural at all and I find this very distracting. Granted that sculpting a realistic net might be a difficult task, but this is seriously a horrible attempt. So that had to go on my second Buc.

Second, I didn't want the Marine to look identical to Union 'Jack due to the overpowering nature of the gaff. While this works well for Union 'Jack, I don't want it on all of my Bucs, so like with the net  I had to think of what else to give the Marine that would perform the same function.

Finally, the color scheme had to be different to give the second Buc its unique flavor. I went to my books and had a look at 19th Century uniforms and found the Royal Marines'red coats interesting. So that's how this Buc got his name and color.

Furthermore it also gave me the answers to the weapons I should give him. Marines spent the duration of a naval battle in the crows nests and masts shooting down onto the decks of the enemy ship. Therefore the Marine's weapon would be a chunk of mast with torn sails. His 'net' would be a handful of heavy chain he presumably picked up when he boarded the enemy ship. Sorted!

Anyway, that's all I have a the moment. I hope to have more WM pics up soon! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Stalin's Europe Panthers!

So I've been doing a lot of secret squirrel painting for work, which as been dominating my hobby time lately. The unfortunate side effect is that I haven't had much to show off or write about lately. However, I found a moment in the schedule to crack out a company that I've been wanting to do for many years, ever since the original Ostfront: a Pantherkompanie!

Monday, June 6, 2011


Its no real secret that the Haught men are obsessed with aviation. So when Wings Of War exploded on the scene it was not surprising that it would be a hit with the guys of the family. Dad and my brother Andrew have been playing pretty full on and have even taken measures to up the ante!

Dad, ever the modeller, decided to make his own scale dirigibles for the game. Using a poster mailer, balsa wood stringers, and tissue paper, he has completed two zepplins, one German and one British. He sent me these photos yesterday once they were all finished. He's included some Wings Of War planes in the pictures for scale (1/144th). Anyway, I thought they were amazing and had to share them!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

MWGT Part 2

Writer's Note: Blogger has been acting up so it's taken me a while to get this portion posted, so some of the text may be a little dated.

Day two of the MWGT  finished up this afternoon. We had a Bye for the fourth game, allowing me to just take photos and watch, which was precisely what I needed.

The first order of business for me this morning was to judge painting, which gave me a chance to snap a shot of the armies. I apologize if I missed any and for crappy photos!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tournaments: A Decidedly Average Affair

Well, day one of the Mid-war GT is complete and I really have to say that it was an average experience. Last year I decided to retire from the tournament scene because they are simply not a fun experience for me. I'm not going to judge anyone for liking them or playing in them. Quite the contrary. I really enjoy seeing people having a good time, and there seemed to be plenty of that going on today. But I decided to play in the MWGT so that I could play alongside my brother. It was a perfect storm. Andrew was here in NZ for my wedding and a doubles tournament sounded like a good way to get some games in with him while he is here. So we brought our Soviets!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Soviet Update

All my Soviets so far...
and a strategically placed Dystopian Wars rulebook.
So the NZ Mid-War Grand Tournament is coming up next weekend and the final and furious phase of painting soviets is in full swing. It's a doubles tournament and I'll be attending with my brother Andrew. When I say 'doubles' I mean two players playing on the same team together on the same table against another pair, also playing on the same team. I say that because there seems to be some confusion between this and some other types of 'doubles' or 'teams' tournaments. Anyway, now that those confusions are cleared up, here's what I've been doing to get caught up on my half of the team's army. I apologize for the really crappy photos, but hey, I'm on vacation and I gotta use what I got, a 10-year old digital camera!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Well, a lot has happened since my last post. The big news is, of course, that I got married on 1 May, which was all sorts of awesome, despite the endless photos and the blustery rainy day. Thanks to everyone out there who kept us in their thoughts!

More on topic with this blog, however, was the bachelor's party. I decided early on that I really didn't want the traditional get drunk, get thrown out of strip clubs and vomitting all of the way home. Done that, been there. Instead my brother, as my best man, and I organized MikeCon, a gaming night will all my friends this side of the Pacific. I wish I had a million dollars to bring over all of my overseas friends!

The premise behind MikeCon was simple, play games. We had no schedule, not set events or anything. Basically bring whatever games you wanted to play. Beer and pizza provided the biological logistics for the event. There was only one rule and that was absolutely no Games Workshop games were to be played. This is because A.) they are inferior games, B.) they include dragons, which suck, and C.) they are stupid. Granted, those three reasons are my opinions, but this was MikeCon, not GameWorkshopCon.

So aside from that, we had a pile of various games going on, including HeroClix, Zombies, Wings Of War, and Malifaux. It was a hell of a lot easier to play quick small games than the big ones, hence Flames Of War and Warmachine took the evening off. Malifaux was pretty tricky to learn having had a bit to drink at that point, and I'm sure I really don't remember a lot of it. Still I was just drunk enough to give it a try because it looked like a lot of fun, but more on that later!

So, MikeCon was an geekfest, fueled by pizza and beer. The night was fun and I really got involved in Wings Of War and Malifaux, but I regretted missing out on the other two games.

HeroClix figures
My friend Damian had a pile of Heroclix, and by a pile, I mean a shitload. I don't think he was missing a single hero or villain. He had several playing mats and there were several games played during the night. It sure looked like a lot of fun!

James brought along Zombies, any party's favorite geek game. I've seen the game played about a dozen times, but I have never been at the right place at the right time to get in on the action. MikeCon was no different, but I enjoyed seeing the guys try and reach the helicopter with the most amount of Zombie kills. Some were slower than others and got eaten, which resulted in many outbursts, usually followed by a run to the pizza table before rejoining the game.

Wings of War starter box
Wings Of War
My brother and dad have been playing this game a lot lately. Its funny that I hadn't played it because its one of those games I should have been on immediately when it hit the shelves, seeings how I'm a massive propeller head. About a month ago I purchased a starter box and a Sopwith Snipe, my favorite WWI fighter, but never played a game until MikeCon. Andrew brought his and dad's planes with him, about a half-dozen single seaters, and a half-dozen twin seaters. We had a massive 12-plane dogfight on the game table. I flew a small Fokker DrI triplane and attempted to fly as a wingman to a two-seater. I got some good shots off, but was ravaged by the return fire. I think that if I were to play a few more games, I'd definitely pick up on better tactics, but that is not to say I didn't have fun.

Wings Of War Plane Card

Wings of War is an excellent party game. I has two levels of play, basic and advanced, so you can choose one that best fits your group. Its easy to play and the best part is that you can just keep flying even after youve been shot down. Just grab a new plane or the same one and fly back into the fray.

The game's card system is quite neat as it removes the need for measuring and complex maneuver tables and templates. Simply place the plane in front of the card and move it in the direction the arrow on the card tells you. Easy stuff!

We played that for a good portion of the night. I failed to shoot anyone down, but I had a wicked fun time playing it. I'd highly recommend playing Wings Of War if you haven't already!

Learn more about Wings Of War here ...

I've been keen on this game for a while now, ever since my brother started getting involved in it. Its a weird game right from the start as it uses a deck of cards, called a fate deck, instead of dice. Malifaux has a sort of steam-punk old western feel to it, which opens the game up to a really interesting array of figures and armies. The army I play is gremlins. They have a lot of the usual orc-ish cliches built into them, but with a unique spin. They are hillbillies with banjos and wild pigs. They are retarded, often shooting themselves or their kin instead of the enemy, but they have some pretty hilarious special rules. Pig wrangling is their specialty, where they can use them to run amuck on the battlefield eating corpses and gremlins (known as the special rule: The Other White Meat). You can field a Hog Whisperer to help control the pigs to some extent, but usually a gremlin army embraces battlefield pandemonium laced with humor.

Deliverance Gremlins!
While I don't recommend learning Malifaux while tilted, indeed any other complex game, I certainly think that its a fun game and I look forward to trying it out on a more sober footing.

Learn more about Malifaux here...

Anyway, that pretty much sums up MikeCon. I had a lot of fun, and I hope everyone who attended did as well. I was excited to try out some new games and was very pleased with those I did. The cool thing is that there are always others to there to try out. Andrew currently has me looking at Dystopian Wars...
Dystopian Wars...