In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Snowy terrain!

About three years ago, Pasha Dan picked me up several bags of post-holiday discounted winter trees. Well, on Christmas Eve Day this year, while downtown and getting Mrs. Rabbitman's last minute list checked off, I stopped by the local chain fabric store.
They had a sale on fleece.
So I found a nice bolt that had 2 m wide white fabric on it, marked down from $14 to $10/m.
"I'd like three meters please."
The sales person doesn't think that it has 3 m on the bolt but she checks. As she's measuring, we notice some dirt marks.
"Oh dear" she says.
"Hmmm," I say pretending to think hard about it. "I think I can work around that." But really thinking that snow isn't normally pristine and white anyway.
So I took the whole bolt, 2.9 m and got it for $18 and change.

Time for a photo op to see how it looks with the trees. As you can see I've done up some bare Woodland Scenic tree armatures and Dan also gifted me a resin pond from the Christmas Village stuff he grabs on discount.

The Typhoo division is still marching about seeking Wierdy-Beardy's monks.

Swiss march to Nancy.

Frederick won't let his army go into winter quarters quite yet. Notice that I've taken out the huge trees!

The pink and blue insulating foam hills do show through a bit, so I'll have to get an old white sheet to go under the fleece, as recommended by Pasha Dan.

Of course by the time of the Rhine battles in February '45, the snow had melted, so I just need lots of barren trees and muddy ground for those, but I am thinking still someday of the Peter Pig Germans and Russians in great coats and camo smocks with properly snow flocked bases for wintery East Front battles. But that will be a project for another year.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Day with the Mad Padre

Yesterday, after I got home from seeing Five Armies, the Mad Padre came over for some trifle, turkey sandwiches and gaming.

We started things off playing a fun little board game from Victory Point Games called Leuthen. It is, obviously, a refight of Frederick the Great's historic victory. I got the Prussians and pretty much followed Frederick's historic maneuver, deploying all my army on the Austrian left while fixing his front with an equal number of dummy counters. Happily, the Padre thought I might do something clever and have some other forces on his center and right, so I was able to pile into his flank and smash him piecemeal. I played "Contagious Rout" on the first piece I defeated and it's rout threw several other units into disarray assisting my attack considerably. The production quality is splendid with nice laser cut MDF counters. Mike gives a review of it here.

After dinner it was the main event. Mike's spanking new 15mm heroic defenders of the Peasant's and Worker's Socialist Revolution versus my Kitten-Eating Fascist Invaders (although my troops are all Heer, so they deny being involved in any kitten-eating and were studiously looking the other way at the time). This was the first outing for all of Mike's kit and since most of my games end up being 1944 on, it was the first time using my more mid-war PzIVG, Marder and 2 of my mid-war StuG models.

Mike toasts his heroic Soviet hordes with some Russian Gun Imperial Stout, which actually sounds rather counter-revolutionary come to think of it...
It was a pretty simple game, a village (officially called "People's Agricultural Collective 132" but known as "Turnipograd" to it's inhabitants) in the middle surrounded by orchards, copses of trees and fields. We both had 3 platoons of infantry and 10 AFVs in a meeting engagement.

Turnipograd. Soviet tanks came around the left and Mike pushed his infantry through the town and around the right.
I sent my panzers to the left and infantry to the right to attack the town. Mike, assisted by the other Mike, sent his T34s to his right and his infantry into the town and the fields on his left. By overhearing their pregame chatter (signal intercepts) I surmised where all the Soviet armour was and had to quick reshuffle the StuGs with the Marders so they could engage the T34s. The StuGs got sent to the right to support the grenadiers.

So Panzer IVs started engaging T34s.

Initial shooting went badly, by forgetting to apply some positive modifiers. Wierdy-Beardy's return fire put some damage and shock on me.

Fortunately the Marders showed up and added their guns to the shoot out, brewing up a few T34s.

Another platoon of T34s rolled out of the orchard and opened up on the Marders, brewing one and knocking out the gun on another.
But then my Panzer IVs switched their fire to the new threat and earned their beer by brewing two and causing the third to bail out. This left the Soviets with 2 running tanks.

Around Turnipograd the Padre charged my advanced platoon of grenadiers with one rifle platoon and no support. My landsers were positioned among a few barns and got defensive bonuses, so I thrashed him badly but the survivors just hunkered down. On the far right I had a platoon in a bean field waiting for the StuGs to show up to support them, but Mike brought a platoon with a maxim gun through a wheat field to engage them. We engaged each other in a desultory fire fight. Mike was going to charge me with the rifle platoon and a SMG platoon which would have trashed me I think, but we were out of time.

So fairly even honours. I did a little better in the armour fight, but the Padre had a better grip on the town and was in a better position in the infantry fight. Plus we both knocked the "new unit" curse off a few models!

Today was an outing to visit some other gaming friends and have a quick game of In Her Majesty's Name on Dave's really nice terrain board. The messenger penguin eluded me, falling into the clutches of the nefarious Illuminati.

P.S. the view from the Padre's side of the table can be read here.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies

Daughter number two took me to this today. We caught one of the 2D showings.

Since I was prepared by the first two instalments I managed to have fun this time. "Five Armies" picks up right where "Desolation" leaves off and it's a lot of action until the credits, except for the middle bit with Thorin glowering from behind his wall and everyone argues about the gold.

Galadriel's smack-down of Sauron is pretty cool. The portrayal of Dain Ironfoot is also a lot of fun. The giant worms giving the goblins of Gundabad a hidden route of approach to the battle space was fairly weird though. The battle was well done even if it didn't follow the novel and at least Beorn shows up to thrash goblins. The tie in with LOTR was a bit heavy handed. Peter Jackson still got all the important bits to happen though, even including Bilbo returning mid-auction.

So it was silly good fun and not as distressing as the first two.

Friday, December 26, 2014


The Christmas yummies keep rolling on!
Today Mrs. Rabbitman made her Christmas Trifle.
Soaked with sherry of course.
It was meant for yesterday, but we ran out of steam so it got postponed.

I think this, along with her traditional Christmas Eve tourtiere (a French Canadian meat pie made with ground pork and mashed potatoes), are the foods I most think of as being special for Christmas. Even more so than the usual roast turkey.

Tomorrow the Mad Padre is coming over to eat some trifle and play some games, so I'll stop talking about food and get back to gaming posts shortly.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Mrs. Rabbitman agrees that no matter how old you are, one should get something fun for Christmas, not utilitarian socks and toiletries.
Her idea of fun is pretty broad, so things like nice baking gear and specialty food (the 5 year old cheddar a few years back was pretty yummy!) are part of that. This year I got her some handmade scissors for her quilting from Earnest Wright & Son in Sheffield. Hopefully they'll arrive sometime this year. But she is pleased nonetheless.

Whereas I got the above, the newest cracking read from Mark Zuehlke and a new mug for my favourite reading accompaniment. As you can see the mug has been played with already. The girls have also paid for snow removal for the winter, so now I am hoping it will snow so I can stay inside enjoying the new mug without fretting about clearing the driveway!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Assembling LAVs

Spent an hour or so putting the first two S and S LAVs together tonight.
The resin and metal kits aren't bad. Some were worse for flash than others. Almost impossible to clamp anything, so I had to use gel superglue.
But here they are with an Elheim figure for comparison.
The smoke dischargers were a bit of a puzzler, but a search of Google Images helped.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Mess Dinner

Had to post this pic of my friend and myself after the annual Cadet Christmas Mess Dinner. It's held at the Legion. The local Air Cadet Squadron, with whose officers we have become very friendly, and our Corps take turns playing host each year. Since it's for the cadets, it is a dry event and we had to toast the Queen, the Regiment and the RCAF with some appalling fruit punch.

But after the cadets were dismissed we adults retired to a local tavern, which has become our unofficial Mess, for something more refreshing. Although sadly that is only a Pepsi in my hand, as I had a long drive home.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

In Which Rabbitman Gets a Lift....

A bit over a month ago I applied for, and got a job transfer, to the Warehouse. The assembly cell was getting a bit boring, plus the Warehouse job is another $1/hour. As an added bonus I am now doing 4 weeks of day shift, then one week each of nights and afternoons, instead of switching every week. Most of the overtime is voluntary as well, which is quite nice. So more time, I hope, for cadets and gaming.

I actually had to interview for the position which surprised me. I'm used to either a Union environment, where the highest seniority applicant gets the posting or just being told by your Group Leader "You're getting moved to another department, go over there now." My five years driving a reach truck at Cooper-Standard

and couple of weeks (maybe a month?) driving a tugger at FIO came in rather handy.
It pulls carts loaded with components, like a train
Schaeffler wants to go with Kanbans and tuggers delivering components regularly to the assembly cells rather than lift trucks dumping skids of parts off a couple of times a week. So they wanted my prior experience.

I had only minimal experience on an actual lift truck getting into this,

but I got some good training at FIO and more at Schaeffler plus now I've had the chance to actually practice and develop my confidence. Reach trucks and lift trucks steer differently, so switching back and forth takes some thought.

The racking at Cooper wasn't nearly so high, nor as close together as the racks I'm now putting pallets on as well. It can be a little challenging when you're trying to put up, or get down, a pallet from 20 feet up and things are tight, or crooked, or both.
Our aisles are actually a bit tighter than this...
We've got a new Yale reach truck.
It's controls and handling are quite a bit different from the Raymonds everyone is used too.
Operator's station and controls
Plus it is very responsive, going from 0 to Ohcrap! in a split second. I put the first scratch in the paint and managed to bash in a couple of racks during it's first week. But I'm taking a perverse pleasure in learning the new control set up, plus everyone else avoids it, so it is often free to use.

Some days are actually quite mentally exhausting, as I'm really quite busy putting skids of finished goods away, picking orders for shipment and delivering components to the cells. My pockets are full of pens, markers, a note book, a knife and I've often got a radio clipped to me. I sometimes think I should wear a fishing vest for all the crap I find I need. It's a lot like working at the Buy Food sometimes, except the stock room is better organized.

Other side benefits are a better work out slugging boxes around and I'm getting a pretty good feel for the plant as a whole instead of my one little cell. Everybody seems to know my name now and I'm meeting more of my co-workers.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


I realized last night while washing the dishes that Mrs. Rabbitman hadn't been playing any of her many and varied (we discovered No Doubt with this song) Christmas CDs. We're two weeks into December and we haven't heard Madonna's Santa Baby, or Merry Christmas From the Family, let alone Bing Crosby or Tony Bennett.

"Christmas music stresses out our daughter."

Six years of toiling in the Buy Food deli have taken their toll. The holidays for retail workers are really awful; longer hours, stressed out grouchy customers and having to work while everyone else is enjoying the holidays. Even having been out of retail for a year, she still finds Christmas music puts her on edge. Especially Jingle Bells.... but I find most versions of Jingle Bells annoying anyway.

"I have deli PTSD dad. Even after a year I can still smell the squelchy ham."

I managed to escape without any holiday Post Retail Stress Disorder (PRSD) fortunately. I'm looking forward to a good 10 plus days off and I'm hoping for some of Mrs. Rabbitman's pies, more hobby time (painting and some 4Ground buildings) and getting some games in with the Mad Padre.

So this year, plan for the lines, be a little more patient and spread the Christmas (or whatever is appropriate to your beliefs) love by not being a dick to those who have to work while we're not.

Friday, December 12, 2014

LAVs Arrive

A week or so ago, four of S and S Models LAV III Kodiak models arrived in the mail.

These were ordered in for me by that unrepentant curmudgeon, Don Cameron, operator of Five Arrows Figures and Books. His web presence is still being rebuilt, but he says you can email him at: He usually has a vendors booth at many of the Ontario gaming, modelling and re-enactment events. He's been a constant fixture at Hotlead since the first one and eagerly supports any other gaming convention he can get to. His main interest is WW2, so that is what he usually stocks, but he will order in the S and S Modern stuff for folks too.

I've been so stupidly busy or tired these past weeks I haven't really had time to fondle them, let alone get them cleaned up and assembled. But I got one out and got it to sit on the wheel sections so I could see how big it is.

An Elheim 1/72 scale figure is in front of it for scale. It seems pretty big. I wonder how it will compare to the Leopard!

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Trees Have Eyes!

Last Saturday, as the Mad Padre and I watched Patrick advance the big, nasty troll towards our quivering militia to open a big can of doomy-doom on them, I observed, "We need some Ents."
"I'd love to get some Ents" replied the Padre with an air of mild despair.
"I used to have one. Did a pretty nice job on him too. Sold it with my elves a few years back."
The Padre just sighed and watched the Troll get closer.

Yes, I used to have some old, first edition Warhammer plastic High Elves. I added a Games Workshop Ent, a few Old Glory High Elves and the Ral Partha "Scottish Archer Running" (long hair, flowing cloak, he looks a bit elvish). I sold them off however at a Hotlead Bring and Buy several years back, and returned the Ral Partha archers to my 11th/12th century Feudal army.

But it turns out I didn't sell the Ent. He's been quietly contemplating things on my book shelves under a display dome (thank goodness or he'd have a quarter inch of dust on him!) along with my attempt at an Elvish Queen/Sorceress.

As you can see he's a pretty old model. I think from before the Wood Elves were their own army list. When compared to the Elf babe he's not that tall by today's entish standards.

I think the Elven lady might be a Galadriel figure (aren't they all?). In an attempt to be original I gave her a blue dress to match the blue and silver theme of my army.

These were among my first attempts at shading with washes and dry brushing highlights. I thought her hair came out nicely (unless I'd meant her to be a blond). The braid with the jewel in the back is a nice detail.

I'm almost tempted to strip the paint off her and redo her in a white robe and golden tresses. But maybe just some Army Painter Meadow Flowers to pimp the bases is all that's needed.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Miniature Therapy

The Black Dog had been humping my leg all week, so the Mad Padre prescribed some miniature silliness and came over last night with his long neglected Lord of the Rings armies and some baklava from the Kitchener Farmer's Market.

Mike has some Uruk-hai from Isengard and Riders of Rohan, from when his kids were keen on playing. Due to youthful impatience and enthusiasm the armies were rushed to the table with minimum paint and he's been slowly finishing up a few figures at time over the past year.

We threw some trees on the table, the Padre and I took the Rohirrim (adding my one and only official LOTR figure to the Riders) and Patrick and Wierdy-Beardy took the forces of a Morally Alternative Lifestyle.

Our Doom approaches.
Eowyn tries to get a new hanging for the Great Hall. She would have succeeded too if somebody hadn't forgotten the 'Charge' rule!
Gah! It's getting closer!
Riders make a cinematic charge across the screen to Theoden's aid
Crappy picture towards the end of the big, complicated, multi-turn dust up in the middle that all GW games seem to result in 
Gamling goes for the Troll
My one LOTR figure (rider on the white horse) posing with some of Mike's rather nicely finished figures
'Twas a silly game. I was really disappointed in the ability of the cavalry and then Mike realized he'd forgotten the 'charge' rule. After that the Orcs started dropping with appropriate frequency, but by then it was too late to get Aragorn and his big shiny sword into combat with the Troll who had ground Gamling and the militia into Spam.

I had never tried LOTR before but wasn't terribly surprised. It is a GW game after all and there's a horrendous amount of dice rolling to remove a figure or two. Plus an awful lot of rules for what boils down to a high roll wins sort of combat system. I was always drawn to the LOTR minis and almost bought more than the single rider many times, but always held back thinking "they're expensive, the rules probably blow and what would I do with them?"

But my "Green Knight" did finally hit the table and charged about quite a bit. Plus the baklava was very good.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Game Out with the Mad Padre

I had a pleasant night playing I Ain't Been Shot, Mum at the Mad Padre's chapel of wargaming.

He invited a friend of his, a recently retired Combat Engineers Colonel to join us. Col. Rod had played staff wargames but this was his introduction to hobby wargaming.

The Padre set up a table with some plausible generic Normandy terrain on it. Before the Col. arrived we decided who would be the attacker and who the defender, which determined orders of battle. We decided the Canadians would be attacking with a squadron of Shermans supported by a company of infantry to secure the roads in the valley. My only other asset was a FOO. If I'd been the defender then the Shermans would have been replaced by the 6 pounder AT guns and Vickers MMG platoon. The Padre commanded his evil, kitten-eating, 12th SS and had two platoons of grenadiers, a platoon of panzer IVs (the Padre doesn't have an STuGs or tank destroyers yet), a pair of Pak 40s and then several panzerschrek teams and some MG42s from the company HQ.

The last time the Padre faced my Shermans (and the last time I had the full squadron out), he defeated them bloodily, with much the same forces. This time out, with Col. Rod's professional advice, we cleared the valley quite handily with the loss of only 3 tanks.

We started by sending two troops with Sqdn HQ, the FOO and two platoons of infantry up the center. Tank hunters in the woods on the left and a section of grenadiers in the wheat on the right fired rockets at us, knocking out one Sherman and putting a bit of shock on a second. This caused things to log jam and I brought the infantry up on either flank forcing the Germans to scoot.

German trip wire
The Padre then made a big mistake and brought his Panzer IV platoon out from behind the bocage to start a duel down the road in the open. Weight of numbers on the Canadian side, plus some good shooting from the Fireflies soon had two panzers in flames and after some more rounds of firing the third was so damaged the crew bailed out. There is a Pak40 in the woods beside the Panzer IVs. It was quickly shut down by the Canadian FOO bringing in some 25 pdr fire onto him.

Tank duel, the number chits are identifying Big Men
Things were fairly exciting and I was busy explaining the rule mechanics to my team mate so I didn't take more pictures. The picture below is pretty close to the end of play. More Germans have revealed themselves lining the hedge rows. I have infantry platoons up on the left and right ready to be shot in by the Shermans firing HE. Over by Rod's elbow in the distance you can see our flanking force of two troops of Shermans (less one immobilized by a panzerfaust) moving around the wooded hill and making things untenable for the grenadiers there who had no AT support.

End game
The second Pak 40, which the Padre had forgotten about, revealed itself off camera to the right. It took a shot at the leading Sherman, missed and then limbered up and scooted away before the very surprised infantry could assault it.

Game over. Allied victory.

I had been worried about AT fire from the hedge on my right, but it never materialized so I concentrated on the threats to our front. In the post action critique, we thought that if the Padre had put his Paks behind the hedge on my right and the Panzer IVs hull down on the wooded hill he could have caught my troops in a nice killing zone around the open cross road and had more fire to deal with any force coming on the second road through the town on the Canadian left.

The Colonel liked the friction introduced by the cards and randomization of the dice. Staff games are IGOUGO, everything does what it is supposed to and the results are determined by tables of probability. They don't experience friction until they get out on maneuvers. I'm looking forward to playing with Col. Rod some more. He was quite intrigued by the Padre's weird war figures!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Poof! Instant Strongpoints! (?)

While digging out some of my Colonial buildings to use as background for the shots of my first 1/72nd scale fire team, I found some 28mm blockhouses I had made for ventures into the Boer War (which haven't happened yet, I've got 30 Boers painted and almost as many primed plus some guns...).

I thought they didn't look too bad with my 20mm Canadians.

The doors are perhaps a bit large, but not too bad. The roofs all come off. I could easily replace the tin roof on the smaller block house with a sand bagged parapet. Or just add a sandbag parapet to the roof as it is, and maybe a nice sun awning.

All set to guard Route Summit or the highway to Kandahar?

First Fire Team

As a bit of a Remembrance Day project I've done up the first fire team of Elheim's 1/72nd scale Modern Canadians.

Trying to paint arid pattern Cadpat was interesting to say the least. Google Image has been my friend, as seen here. I started with khaki tan, then gave that a wash to accentuate the details, then decided that was too dark. But it did match the mid-tone on the arid cadpat nicely (at least on some of the pictures I was holding my figures up too). I then dug about in my baskets of paints and found the Americana "Cool Neutral" was a nice match for the lighter tone. I splashed that over the khaki with blocky, right angled strokes (trying to make the mind think digital, instead of my usual splotchy approach to camouflage) to cover about 50% of the area. There is a mid-brown in the cadpat, but it's so infrequent, and in photographs it seems to disappear into the layer of dust covering the soldiers, so I opted to not bother. Odd blotches of brown at this scale would just make my riflemen look like some kind of dalmatian!

Making sure my 28mm Colonial terrain is clear of Taliban 
I also used the "Cool Neutral"  for much of the straps and webbing. Although I did vary that with some pale olive drab and some black to give a bit of variety. Boots should be a medium brown, but they are so covered in dust in the pictures I used as reference that I gave them a heavy dry brushing of "Cool Neutral" as well.

Back view
Weapons are black with Tamiya "Olive Drab" for the scopes and stocks, then highlighted. Ballistic eye wear was done with "dove grey" then a black ink wash and "cool neutral" reflective spots. The tactical green and black Canadian flag was done with a small rectangle of Americana "Leaf Green".

The base is fine sand, painted khaki and then dry brushed more "cool neutral".

For the second fire team I'm going to go back to my burnt umber base coat with khaki tan dry brushed over top and then blocking on the cool neutral for the camo.

And now some close ups. My macro skills aren't so good. I got in as close as I could.