Sunday, 30 September 2012

A Review of 1/144 Battle of Mukden (IJA Heavy Artillery)

I'm currently painting armies for the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. The figures are mainly from Pendraken's 10mm RJW range with help from their Russo-Turkish War, WW1 and Russian Civil War ranges.

The artillery in the RJW range is limited to the Putilov 76mm m02 and the Krupp 75mm m95 although the WW1 range has a few usable guns. I should warn you that I am pretty clueless about artillery pieces so if you spot any mistakes please let me know

I was browsing Hobby Link Japans website and saw a box of guns by Fairy Kikaku entitled 1/144 Battle of Mukden (IJA Heavy Artillery). This contains kits for 4 pieces of artillery - 120mm Cannon, Krupp Howitzer, Krupp 105mm Cannon, and 107mm M77.
I ordered a box from HLJ even though they were out of stock. HLJ takes your order but doesn't bill you until they have the item which took about a month. At that point they sent me a paypal invoice for ¥1904, which I found amusing, plus ¥580 postage to the UK which worked out at just under £20. The parcel arrived in under 2 weeks.

Each gun kit comes in a separate bag. The 105mm Cannon contained 1 kit whilst the other 3 bags each had 2 kits - so 7 guns in total.

All the pieces are resin and each gun also has 2 recoil wedges. There was a fair bit of flash in some places especially between the wheel spokes.

I'm happy mixing 1/144th with 10mm - as you will see from the pictures the guns and figures go together reasonably well

First we have the 120mm Cannon.- there were two of these in the box - the barrel, the wheels and the wheel pins all had flash. A nice model that would look good defending Port Arthur

Next is the 150mm Kruppe Howitzer - again there were two models. This is a tiny model with probably as much flash has there is gun. I had trouble fitting the barrel but that was probably more my fault. I could not find any pictures of this piece on the net so I'm not sure if it is what it is. This gun would work well for both the Russians and Japanese

The third piece is the Kruppe 105mm Cannon - there was only one of these in the box. I haven't assembled it yet. Have I mentioned the flash?

Finally there is the 107mm M77 - there are two of these beauties and I couldn't careless about the flash. This is a lovely model  that is just cries out to have half a dozen of them on the table bombarding the Russian trenches.  I am tempted to ask HLJ if they will split a box so I can have another 2 or 4

They do need washing in warm soapy water. Being resin they are very light models. When I came to spray varnish them the spray blew them off the board and into the grass. A frantic search ensued as I hoped I would find them before my son's football did

So we have 4 interesting artillery pieces that I don't think are available elsewhere in 10mm. Apart from the flash and my inability to glue small things together I had no problem with them. I would say that they were well worth the money especially the 107mm. The fact that they can be used by both sides is very useful.

I would recommend HLJ as a good trader - they do loads of other interesting models - check them out

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Frondulans at HOTT Berkeley 2012

I've played HOTT for several years but I'm not a big fan of fantasy or warfare with pointy-sticks in general. I think the closest I've come to a fantasy army was a Pirate Arr-arrmy.

My HOTT armies include 1920s Chinese Warlords,a 1890's British Expedition to Mars, Airfix Robogear Sci-Fi army with poseable figures and real shooting guns and, my favourite, a French in North Africa army.

I had taken the French army to HOTT Berkeley for the last couple of years where it did quite well so I fancied a change but couldn't be bothered to paint anything

I've always had a hankering to do a HOTT army containing just hordes. Various ideas had wandered through my mind but nothing stuck. I had recently done some Future War Commander games using an alien race that was just tentacles. I still had several of these balls and thought why not use them

So here it is - based upon those loveable sentient plants found on Frondula VI - the Frondulans

After two days of playing with 21 hordes and a sneaker I have most definitely had a hankering to do a HOTT army containing just hordes totally eradicated from my psyche.

I played 7 games and lost all 7 coming second from last. However it wasn't the fact that I lost the games that got hordes out of my system, it was the realisation that for me an army with 21 hordes doesn't suit my style of play

I hope my opponents - Chris, Tony, Steve  Amy,  James, Jamie and Colin - enjoyed carving their way through the Frondulans.

I probably won't use them as a HOTT army again but the will definitely be making an appearance in a Future War Commander game - watch this space.

Thanks to Steve for putting on another HOTT - I will be using the memento as my stronghold next year.