Posts Tagged With: Review

Washington Slept Here

Some time ago I posted a review here, of some of the fine building kits I had purchased from Charlie Foxtrot Models.  For those of you unfamiliar with Charlie Foxtrot, they are a British company that produces several ranges of some very nice MDF kits.  Shortly after posting it, imagine my surprise to receive an email from Colin, owner of the company.

He asked me what games and genres I played, and if I had any ideas for further ranged or buildings he could provide.  I think that is some pretty impressive customer service, to reach out in such fashion to known loyal customers.

The truth is however, I didn’t know how I could help him.  The only thing that seemed obvious to me was American Colonial.  My job gives me a certain advantage there.  Charlie Foxtrot, however, is a British company as I mentioned.  I didn’t think there would be much interest in the American War for Independence over there. As to American interest, well there is certainly some here, but MDF can be pricey to ship.  I was afraid to suggest that Colin invest in hopes of American customers.  I have no idea how many of us purchase from him.  (I still don’t by the bye).  There, I let the matter drop.

 

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Me at Work…

 

Several months later came the new edition of Sharp Practice from Too Fat Lardies.  Like many others, I was swept up into the excitement.  Sharp Practice 2 makes it very clear that it is not intended just for the Napoleonic period, but rather for the Age of Muskets in general. I found myself drawn to the American revolution, a period I have most avoided as a gamer.  I also noticed a surprising interest in the period of the Too Fat Lardies list.  Maybe interest was greater in Britain than I thought.

I also noticed a dearth of good buildings for the period.  There are a handful of Very nice (and pricey) Grand Manner buildings, but most offerings far too modern, more suited to the American Civil War, or they are log cabins!  I know you Brits think we were completely rustic, but by the time of the war, most of the seaboard was pretty settled.  Log cabins are great for Guildford Courthouse or Kings Mountain, not so great for Yorktown or Boston. Maybe the interest would be there.

Enough of all that.  This is supposed to be a review of the first of Charlie Foxtrot’s New World range, not me bragging about my involvement which was really very minute.  All I did was send photos of buildings I thought would be good choices.  Two of those were the Richard Charleton House and the Grissel Hay house.

Both of these are original 18th-century houses still sitting on their original foundations and footprints.  Colin took these to inspire his “Tidewater Home”.

One of the first things you notice about this kit is it is large.  Far more pieces than most CFM I have (Only my Georgian House is larger).  Lots and lots of pieces.  Many of these are designed to combat the biggest failing of MDF which is it’s inherent flatness.  Colin has used many clever tricks to bring out the 3-dimensional nature of the prototype.  the columns and the portico, the window sills, and may favorite, the dentil work under the eave and the pediment.  This might very well have been neglected by a different manufacturer.

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Dentil Moulding on the upper floor

Of course, the footprint of the building is impressive as well.  Colin told me he saw the house as a focal point of a table and it certainly could be on the 6X4 I am used to.

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I apologize for my Napoleonic miniatures, my Queen’s Rangers aren’t ready yet!

The house is 25 x 14cms or almost 10 x 6 inches and stands about 6 1/2 inches tall to the peak of the roof.  As is typical of any CFM structure, the building comes apart into its separate floors so figures can be placed inside.

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Construction of the kit is easy, with only a few parts being fiddly.  Even the porch steps went together easily which hasn’t been my experience with most mdf kits!  The parts that appeared fiddly were the little pieces to build the tops and bottoms of the inner columns.  The instructions even mentioned to be careful cutting them out and my kit had extras.  Actually however they came out rather easy.

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The porch takes a bit of fiddling to get it all right, in fact, I see in this picture that the top of one of the columns needs work.  Care needs to be taken to keep those little squares, well squared, and to keep the columns at the right height (they can sink into the porch foundation).  The shutters are all separate pieces so they can be attached open or closed or perhaps in poor repair, and one set of the doors is seperated so they can be modeled ajar.

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This is a very useful kit.  While the prototype buildings are urban, there is nothing to distinguish it from several country houses all through the Colonial American South, or for that matter even into the mid-Atlantic.  Suitable for more developed areas in the FIW and obviously for the AWI, but also the ACW. These two witnessed both the Revolution and the Civil War. (or I suppose anything more modern in the Eastern United States as well).  It is probably also worth mentioning that the Hay house served for a time as a boarding house and the Charleton as a Tavern, so they can serve as more commercial establishments as well.  The second in the line which has already been released is a kitchen, and several other out buildings are planned which can really bring this house to life and turn it into a believable home.  A beautiful model, I am sure I will by another one or two to add to my village.

I also feel I should mention, even more so since I referenced the high price of shipping in the beginning of this article, that Charlie Foxtrot now offers service with a new courier.  This courier works with the United Postal Service for a delivery that is easy, convenient, and less expensive that it can be.  Good show!

Now to finish painting the house and shutters!

more later!

Ron

Categories: American Revolution, Charlie Foxtrot Models, Review, Sharp Practice, Terrain, Too Fat Lardies, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dead Men Tell No Tales

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So, on Wednesday I received the long-awaited Kickstarter from Firelock Games, Blood and Plunder.  This was a very successful Kickstarter, which in my opinion is a great example of what a Kickstarter campaign should be.

From the very start, the images on their page were beautiful and attractive.  The tabletop they made to display their models was just stunning.  The Caribbean waters of their little board attracted me to the game and it wasn’t available to me!

Furthermore, the folks at Firelock added interesting well-made videos showing not just their models but describing gameplay.  Their communication during the actual campaign and throughout their fulfillment has been very good and open.

I wish that I had the money to buy more when I joined, but the level I supported at provided me with the rules, all of the game aids for play, one faction, and one ship.  Fortunately, my pal Chris with the Williamsburg Legati was also participating in the Kickstarter and would purchase an opponent force.  I chose the Guarda Costa as my faction and the basic sloop as my vessel.  I am beginning to regret that I didn’t upgrade to the Frigate, and suspect I will be ordering one of those soon!  Chris went for the obvious British Buccaneers.

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So what was in my box?  I received a beautiful hardback copy of the rule book with a QRS sheet and some further clarifications of the artillery rules placed inside of it.  While there are templates printed in the back of the book it would have been nice to have a cardstock copy of that to simply cut out.  There were two little burlap bags that contained the game dice, several custom D10s and the marker dice (d6s marked to represent various game statuses).  A nationality specific deck of cards to activate the models (a regular playing deck can be used).  All the cards that describe the abilities of all the different models.  The Guarda Costra miniatures, 25 prebased figures to make up my force. Of course the plastic resin sloop. Addons I received included a number of different leader and hero miniatures, a second set of heavy guns for the sloop, and some detailing accessories for the boat.

All of the components are very well made, but the sloop deserves special notice.

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The casting is very clean, I just need to trim off a small amount of flash in the gun ports.  Having actually sailed late 16th century vessels, I was pleased to see how much of spars and masts are actually represented.

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In this scale it would not be to great a challenge to increase the detail if interested, by adding dead eyes and fife rails and such.  With the sloop being fore and aft rig, I don’t expect that this will clutter gameplay to much, that might be less true on the other vessels however,

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At least one of my friends participated in this Kickstarter at a lower lever just to gain ships for his Sharp Practice 2 game.  Not a bad idea, and I already know that this sloop will find itself in such a circumstance as well.  Have to decide how to keep my flags interchangeable!

If you missed this Kickstarter you are not out of luck.  I noticed that they are offering pre-ordered offers on their webpage already.  this is presently limited to U.S. costumers but I imagine that will change later.

Very well done Firelock Games!

 

Cheers,

Ron

Categories: Blood and Plunder, Firelock Games, Review, Sharp Practice, Uncategorized, Wargaming, Williamsburg Legati | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

7TV by Crooked Dice, a Review

 

-The Beat-

In For a Penny

  1. JAKE’S flat, interior. Jake is asleep in bed with some Bird. SKELTON and KENNEDY crash through the exterior door. Woman screams. JAKE starts to run.

SKELTON

Put on your trousers mate, you are nicked!

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       7TV 2d Edition is a skirmish miniatures wargame for playing the climatic fight scenes from adventure films and television of the 1960s and 70s,  It is created by Crooked Dice, a British Company and therefore it tends to lean towards British TV of the period but it could easily be altered to simulate similar shows of the period here in the United States.   The rules cover various genres like science fiction, detective shows, supernatural investigators or exterminators (there is even a Scooby Dooby Doo programme guide).  The new boxed set is geared towards Spy Fi, think  Avengers, Man From UNCLE, some of the James Bond films, Department S, or even Austin Powers.

          Unlike most games, 7TV makes no attempt at creating the reality of these shows.  Instead, it recognizes them to be just that, television shows.  The game has a meta-game concept which simply recognizes your games as Episodes of a television programme instead of a scenario or battle in a campaign.  The official programmes are all linked together as the programming of 7TV studios.  In a similar fashion, the sides are “casts”, you are “on screen” when it is your turn, your casts are not killed but “axed” and the points used for creating your casts are “Ratings”.

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      So I just received my copy of the boxed set.  The price is a little intimidating at £ 50.  Crooked Dice has made the game available for free as a PDF, which is pretty amazing.  This allows you to look at the rules and even to play if you like without buying anything!  I hope however that you wouldn’t be so churlish as to not send some money their way if you like what you see.

         Let me assure you, you get a lot with the box and it is all very nice quality.  There are the two rulebooks, a combination template for measuring two sizes of blasts as well as flamethrowers, plot point markers, various tokens, dice and all the useful cards.

        If like me you still thought this seemed a little pricey, they are now offering starter sets.  For an additional £ 10 you can choose two of their starter casts.  I chose the Crime and Law sets.

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      This gives me eight each for my starting casts,  and is a great deal.

       Open casting (which is building casts from the basic rules rather than one of the additional programme guides) consists of deciding which characters you want to support your side.  The characters are rated as Stars, Costars, and Extras and their abilities vary appropriately.  The characters are listed as heroic, villainous or neutral which restricts what casts they can be with,  Similarly, the are also listed as belonging to certain genres.  these are Law, Crime, Secret, Civilian, Science, Military, and unknown.  Most characters have two of these and one must match to join a cast.

       Play is Igo Ugo and plot points and special abilities are used to determine who you can activate.  these plot points are also used to enhance your attack and defense as well as to activate your Star qualities and gadgets, so it becomes important to use them wisely.

   A very clever feature of the rules are the countdown cards.  These cards are divided into Act one, Act Two and Finale, and cause certain random events.  The nature of these events escalates , the later in the episode they occur.

   The rules are quick to learn, fast and easy to play and most of the rules you need are right on the character cards or on the back of one of the rule books.  So far I have only played one practice game, but both of us were comfortable with the system very quickly and my opponent (who won) is not a very experienced wargamer.

     A very enjoyable and fun game with an interesting premise and several clever rules.

Cheers,

Ron

Categories: 7TV, Crooked dice, Pulp, Review, Spy Fi, The Beat, Uncategorized, Williamsburg Legati | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

French World War Two Vehicles from Mad Bob

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Recently I participated in the Mad Mob Miniatures Kickstarter for French or former French vehicles.  This was really a no-brainer for me since I really needed one of the elusive German 7.5cm PAK auf Somua conversions for Too Fat Lardies campaign supplement KAMPFGRUPPE VON LUCK.  I do regularly  run Fall of France games for Chain of Command so some pre-converted  half-tracks would prove useful as well.  (Besides those French half-tracks are just the thing for a desert based Pulp Game!)

I have done business with Mad Bob before, when I bought my German converted Lorraine Schlepper and had been pleased so no risk there.

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The Mad Bob piece is the one in the foreground.  The other is a Warlord Marder that has been standing in for the new Somua

The Kickstarter levels were arranged by the number of vehicles you wanted to buy with no need for a decision on what those would be until sometime after the conclusion.  The Kickstarter was very successful and many stretch goal vehicles were added.  That was very important to me as one of the vehicles I most wanted was itself a stretch goal.

Furthermore, when the Kickstarter finished, Mad Bob allowed us to add any of the other vehicles to or order at the Kickstarter rate which while I did not, in the end, do so,  I certainly considered it.  I think that was a great offer and pleased that it was available.

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So my order did arrive this week.  Three half-tracks.  two were the French models, a standard P19 and a Staff model.  The other was the aforementioned and longed for Somua conversion.  All three models have very little flash and very crisp details (much better than it appears in some of these photos).

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The P19 VDP is the basic French troop transport half track.  The model consists of three pieces, the body, the windscreen and the canvas roof.  Mine arrived broken, with the some of the pieces meant to support the roof gone.  In the picture, the remaining ones have been removed by myself.  I will either build it without the roof or scratch build replacements.  Not difficult but a shame that might have been prevented by better packaging.

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staff-car The next model is the Staff car version, P19 VLTT. This model consists of four pieces,  the body, roof, windscreen, and a spare tire.

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somua And lastly, the point of the exercise, the 7.5 cm PAK auf Somua.  This model is very nice.  Mine arrived with the barrel a little bent, but a simple soak in warm water allowed that to be repaired.  This model is composed of six parts, but none of them are very fiddly and it looks like it will all go together well.  It is going to be beautiful when all painted, decaled and weathered.  So now I am off to do that!

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If you do early war, or might need some of the odd French conversions, I certainly suggest you take a look at Mad Bob Miniatures.  He does good work and a number of his offerings are unusual and hard to find models.

Cheers,

Ron

Categories: Chain of Command, Fall of France, Mad Bob Minatures, pulp alley, Review, Too Fat Lardies, Uncategorized, Wargaming, World War II | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Few Terrain Reviews

Due to a number of matters outside of our control, my usual group of gamers has been very inactive recently, and this has been reflected here on these pages.  I though as a change I might post a few little reviews of some terrain I have in most cases recently received. Even more so because I enjoy sharing excellent products and traders with others!

At this year’s Guns of August I decided that I was no longer satisfied with my scenery.  A few years ago I purchased a couple of yards of a green felt that I had intended to paint up as a ground cloth for Wings of War.  I never actually completed that painting, and instead, the cloth became destined for other purposes.  While it is no inexpensive craft store felt and a far better color than most felts it is still a large expanse of green with little variation.  With a lot of terrain feature placed upon it this is not such a problem, but at Guns I had a table mostly free of such things, and I was very disappointed with the result.

So, the first thing I looked at to improve matters was that cloth.  I could have broken the featureless expanse by airbrushing varies colors but I didn’t trust my artistic abilities.  Instead, I looked to two commercial sources.  These were Cigar Box Battle Store and Game Matz.

The club uses some of both of these fine products.  The Cigar  Box mats are beautifully painted cloth whereas the Game Matz are printed on heavyweight vinyl and many are photo realistic.  For various reasons I decided to purchase the Game Matz  Grassy Battlefield mat, though I do intend to purchase some Cigar Box Mats in the future.

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These mats are beautiful.  Some of you may have seen the Dark Forest mat by the same producer in many of my Pulp Alley posts.  Chris also owns a sea mat.  All of these are excellent quality, durable and waterproof.  They are too stiff to drape over terrain, so any hills or mountains have to be fully flocked and placed on top.

I have been relying on roads by Ricks Scenics and am very pleased with them, but recently need double the amount I had available.  This became a challenge because the company is no more.  Flying Pig Terrain took over production but they now are on hiatus!

I needed a lot of roads, wanted them to look good but didn’t want to spend a lot of money since I have already a good deal of rather expensive Ric Scenic Cobblestones!  Fleabay and War World Scenics to the rescue.

These roads were a very good price even with shipping from England.  They are not all a perfect match to each other color wise but they are far closer looking in person than the above pictures would suggest.  The appear to be a material very similar to roofing tiles but much thinner (at least thinner to those in the United States) with nicely flocked edges.  I bought two sets, one was simply straights and the other a bunch of useful pieces (smaller straights, turns, intersections, etc.).  These are very flexible, nice looking and will play the part of any metalled or asphalt roads I need, leaving my Ric Scenics for cobblestone and dirt roads.  I will be buying some more of these as I need a slip the other direction and I would like to cut some of the turns and straights to give me more choices.

While looking for these roads I stumbled on some beautiful hedges.  I wasn’t in the market for these, but hedges are always useful.

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These also were on Fleabay, sold by Treefella1.  For about $4o USD I received over 200 inches of hedges! I have no idea what material is giving these their bulk, but they are flocked and based upon cardstock.  The gates are very nice.

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Very pleased with these.  They did take a while to get here, and I am concerned about how durable they might be (the box it filled with flocking that has already come off) but I am far from disappointed.  These were far less money than equal quality products I have seen elsewhere, well worth the wait and I can reflock them if they ever need it!  i don’t see how I will ever need any more hedges!

The next items are NOT new, but I decided to add them as I am so very pleased with them

First, Hotz Mats fields.

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These are made in two different scale sizes, mine are the 20mm to 30mm set.  They are just felt with flocking in rows but make some of the sweetest plowed fields I have ever seen.  His sets in this scale come with four in various sizes and they are available in two different “seasons”.  His delivery times can sometimes be slow, but the product is inexpensive and worth the wait. $13 USD for a set at the time of posting.

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They do only come in squares and rectangles but one could easily purchase an extra set to cut up to form triangular pieces to make the squares fit into odd shaped areas.  These are completely flexible and lay flat.

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Just a few shots with some vehicles and a Charlie Foxtrot house to show all of these elements together.

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Cheers untill next time,

Ron

 

 

Categories: Charlie Foxtrot Models, Game Matz, Hotz Mats, Review, Terrain, Uncategorized, War World Scenics, Wargaming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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