Saturday 31 December 2011

2011 -thank goodness that's over. Looking forward to 2012

It would be fair to say 2011 hasn't been the best of years on the hobby front "real" life has found away of making sure that it has intruded on my hobby several times this year.

Putting my back out, financial wobbles with the family budget, risk of redundancy (luckily averted but stressful at the time), my motorbike going to the great scrap yard in the sky, being knocked off my new motorbike by a new driver and the my kids seeming to have endless social functions and clubs to attend.

Have all combined to make for a very poor hobby output this year either enforced, like trying to paint with a bad back, or just plain sapping my enthusiasm for doing anything.

So drawing a blue line under 2011 I'm looking forward to trying to get more hobby time in 2012

I have projects I really should finish off which include

* a few extras for my new AK-47 army (a couple of armoured cars and some air power)

* a soviet Fow infantry battalion (half done just need to finish painting all those pesky infantry)

* a Fow US tank company (half done again more infantry to paint and some tanks)

* Darkest Africa Arabs (mostly done just 24 Askaris and some baggage and one offs like attendants to go)

Projects for which I have all the miniatures but are yet to be assembled or see a lick of paint include

* GWs Dreadfleet game basically I need to assemble and paint the whole thing

* a US taskforce for Rapid Fire to go against my German Kampfgruppe

* an entire Mantic Elf army that I got cheap last year

Projects for which I have nothing but take my fancy at the moment include

* more Darkest Africa Ngoni, Ila, Lozi/Kokolo and British lakes company all looking tempting

* to branch out my Darkest Africa stuff into VSF with steam tanks, dirigibles and fantastic troop types.

* post Apocalyptic skirmish games road warriors, zombies, mutants, survivors and gangs of guys in SM gear (well maybe not the last ones) - talking to my 10 year old about this other day and he reckons this is what I should go for.

So plenty to have a go at in 2012 just got to get stuck in and see how I go.

Cheers and happy new year everyone.


Sunday 25 December 2011

Christmas goodies

Well Christmas day is gone the kids have come down from a code 10 mega - hyper to a slightly more controllable code 9 very- hyper. Boxing day is when we traditionally go to my wife's parents for a few days and re-live Christmas day all over again.

Before I find myself cut off from the Internet for a few days I thought I list this years hobby Christmas prezzies. Not a lot this year, due to the financial climate, cuts have been made and like most parents the kids came first. The wife and I stuck mainly to sensible presents like clothes. However I did get a couple of hobby things.

A copy of Chris Peers in the Heart of Africa rules and the accompanying Army list book. Which were needed in light of my plans to do more African colonial stuff in 2012

A couple of Warhammer Ancients Army books El Cid and Spartacus. I don't really play WAB any more but I like the army books which are always a good read and these ones where going cheap as GW had a sale on Warhammer historical stuff before Christmas.

My mum and dad give me a few quid which has been ring fenced for a hobby purchase not sure what yet though as there are so many things I'd like and so little cash these days.

The big present though is a copy of GW Dreadfleet from my in-laws ( I haven't actually had yet but I should get it today). I'm not normally a fan of modern GW but this game called out to me both because I loved Man'O'war back in the day and because it is a one off game with everything in the box (so I won't need to by anything else).

Right I'm off to get ready to spend a few days with the in-laws eating and drinking and watching lots of sub standard christmas telly.

Cheers Jon

Saturday 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas everyone

Merry Christmas everyone. Hope you all get lots of nice hobby related Christmas presents.


Thursday 15 December 2011

News flash- First sightings of M.O.B.

NBC news reporter Randy Love reports from Eastham northern Zumata

That large numbers of men and vehicles have been spotted leaving Zumatan army barracks just south of the town of Eastham heading towards the Mbote border. Reports suggest these troops are not Zumatan army but CIA backed Mbote exiles seeking to over throw the communist regime in Mbote and restore former president Bon T'luse to power.

More to follow.........

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Some background History of the Zumata-Mbote war of 1974

While ficking through some old reference books I came across this piece on the Zumatan-Mbote war in the 70s

(above President Bon T'luse)

History of the Zumatan-Mbote war 1974 - Part 1 background - by the Cambridge university press

The area of land that constitutes the present day countries of Zumata, Lumata and Mbote was incorporated in to the British empire in the 1880s and formed into the Npungweland protectorate. The protectorate was split into three provinces based on loosely related tribal groups and roughly conforming to the three countries present day borders. However the borders between the provinces were poorly defined and in many cases resulted in ethnic groups being isolated from their homelands. While under British ruled this wasn't a major issue however, as we will discover, it stored up problems for the future.

After the end of world war two the peoples of Npungweland agitated for independence. The people of Zumata and Lumata through peaceful protest and civil disobedience while in Mbote this agitation took the form of armed insurrection under a man called Bon T'luse. In 1950 the British government agreed to independence in principal and proposed a staged withdraw to put infrastructure and government into place in three provinces before full Independence in 1960. This offer was readily excepted by the peoples of Zumata and Lumata in M'bote however things were different.

Bon T'luse and his followers demanded an immediate withdraw by the British and stepped uptheir insurgence. The British brought in extra troops and for six months a bloody guerrilla war took place before the two sides meet for ceasefire talks. The British didn't have the political will to fight a war in Mbote so despite winning the military struggle they gave into Bon T'luse's demands and withdrew from Mbote six months latter. In Mbotes first free elections Bon T'luse became Mbote's first president.

It didn't take President T'luse long to realise that his policy to drive out the British had backfired. While in Zumata and Lumata the British built roads, dams, airports and other infrastructure in preparation to independence Mbote got nothing from it's former colonial masters. Worse the majority of British and Asian settlers in Mbote, those that had most of the wealth and ran most of the economy, fled to Zumata and Lumata as the British pulled out leaving Mbote in a serious economic mess.

Having burnt his bridges with the British President T'luse looked around for new friends. At this time he came into contact with an organization run by a number of wealthy German businessmen who for various reasons had to leave Germany after the war. These men had money and contacts which soon saw new white settlers coming to Mbote mostly Germans but also some Italians and men from eastern Europe. President T'luse's new friends helped to build up Mbote's economy, train a new army and set up internal state security forces.

By 1961 Mbote, from the outside at least, looked like the success story of Africa. Prosperous, well run, with several modern cities. The truth was somewhat different outside of the cities, where the political elite lived an idyllic life style, many country dwelling people lived a life of near servitude forced to work on large estates of government officials or for European run mining companies. Those Mboten's that spoke out found themselves targets of the state secret police and interned in camps that President T'luse's German friends had help him set up.

Slowly but surely resistance to the government of Mbote grew first in civil disobedience and then to armed conflict. Among the largest of the armed resistance groups was the Mbote Marxist party and it was this group that with help from the soviet union (via North Korea) that opened conventional warfare against the M'bote government in 1965. within two years with the aid of other armed resistance groups the communist forces had overrun most of the countryside and the government was reduced to holding major population centres . The end came swiftly in early 1966 an offensive by communists saw the forces of President T'luse collapse in a matter of weeks. President T'luse, many members of his government and several hundred of his security personnel fled north into Zumata where they were interned.

Meanwhile in Mbote the various resistance groups found themselves in charge of the country. Sadly the only thing that had brought these groups together was a desire to remove President T'luse with that objective achieved the alliance fell apart and two years of bloody civil war ensued. In 1968 the Communists emerged victorious and started rebuilding the shattered country of M'bote with soviet help.

Independence had gone much more smoothly in both Zumata and Lumata with Britain presiding over free elections in both countries before withdrawing. In both Zumata and Lumata Britain had left constitutional monarchies, it must be pointed out though that the Royalty of both countries was far more influential on government policy than that of the British royal family, based on the British model.

In 1965 Zumata elected a new prime minster Dr Kenko Gold young and ambitious he was the toast of Zumatan politics. Dr Gold's political capital rose to new levels after he was forced to deal with the aftermath of a tragic accident in 1968 when the entire Zumatan royal family where wiped save for infant prince Ina l'toftruble. Prime minster Gold lead the country in mourning before selfless declaring himself regent for the baby prince vowing to rule Zumata until the young prince was old enough to rule himself.

During the two years of civil war in Mbote following the over throw of President T'luse Zumata had taken the opportunity to occupy several disputed areas on the Zumatan-Mbote border. After the communists in Mbote had finally established themselves in power and felt secure enough they lobbed the UN for the return of these areas. The UN was unable to resolve these issues which weren't helped by several colonial era British maps and treaties none of which agreed on the correct boundaries between the two countries. in 1970 several armed clashes took place along the border resulting in the deployment of UN peace keepers to the area.

In 1972 a communist inspired uprising took place in Lumata resulting a bloody civil war (one that the communists would finally win in 1976). Prime minister Gold of Zumata was concerned about the communist threat to his country as well as the on going border disputes with Mbote decided to act. His first act was to appeal to Britain, with whom Zumata had continued to enjoy a good relationship with post independence, for military aid in the form of modern military hardware and training.

Secondly he visited former president T'luse who had been under house arrest in Zumata since 1968 and struck a deal. Zumata would help to reinstate Bon T'luse as President of Mbote in exchange for recognition of Zumata's rights to the disputed border regions. The two men also agreed to the raising of a Mboten military force The Mbote Occupation Brigade (M.O.B.).

Due to the history between Bon T'luse and the British Britain refused to supply training and equipment for M.O.B. so Prime minister Gold turned to the USA. Fresh from their failed intervention in Vietnam the US weren't keen on getting directly involved in Mbote but desperate to get some sort of victory against communism the CIA were given the go head to give clandestine support to Bon T'luse. Within weeks a large amount of old US military kit (much of it WWII vintage) plus modern small arms were finding it's way to M.O.B. followed shortly there after by a number of mercenaries in the pay of the CIA to act as instructors. A new company called Air Mbote also started trading in Zumata and included several Huey helicopters and DC10 aircraft crewed by pilots with strangely American accents.

Early in 1974 Mbote found large natural gas supplies in disputed region of Mjuba bay this was the final catalyst for war. A war of words between Mbote and Zumata soon developed in to armed skirmishers, air strikes and artillery bombardments. In November of 74 Zumatan armed forces launched a full scale invasion across the Mbote border. While the main Zumatan attack was down the west side of Mbote with the intention of securing Mjuba bay and port Tchumba.

Bon T'luse's M.O.B. attacked from Zumata down the east side of the country to capture Mpongoville and then move west to link up with Zumatan forces around Zambuzi.

For a Map of the region see here

Basically all the above waffle is my way of saying I'm building a new army for AK-47 hopefully to be revealed on this Blog very soon.

Cheers Jon

Wednesday 23 November 2011

News Flash - Zumatan forces sieze border post of S'mosa

Reports are coming in from the conflict zone of Zumata/Mbote of a daring attack by Zumatan forces to sieze the river crossing of S'mosa. A Zumatan force code named force Jumbo and consisting of fast moving light armour supported by naval forces and helicopter borne Zumatan SAS seized the crossing after heavy fighting.

A helicopter coup de main to sieze the river crossing was quickly relieved by armoured cars and infantry in APCs. At the height of the battle an attempted attack by lorry mounted Mbote militia was stopped (see picture above) by accurate artillery strikes called in by a forward artillery spotter attached to SAS forces.

Despite the success of the operation Zumatan forces were forced to retire after Zumatan heavy armour, sent to relieve them, was delayed in fighting with M'bote armed forces further south.

More details to follow.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

News Flash - Zumatan forces cross Mbote Border

BCC Correspondent Bob Beasley reports that Zumatan royal army forces crossed the Mbote border at 6.00hrs this morning. The Zumatan Royal Guard Division (pictured above) leading the way in their British made Centurion tanks. An hour before the Zumatans crossed the border targets on the Mbote side of the border were reported to have been subject to heavy artillery and air attacks.

Military analysts believe that Zumatan forces first objectives will be to secure the Npungwe river line and the town of Npungwe before striking south towards port Tchumba. Zumatan Naval force have also been reported to have been seen entering Mjuba bay and are expected to carry out naval landings south of port Tchumba.

General Henry "Big Buba" Chokwe (pictued above) who is in command of the Zumatan invasion forces held a press conference an hour ago. " Despite our best attempts at peace the left wing extremists of the Mbote goverment have forced us to act to protect both our country and our rights to the islands of Mjuba bay that belong to Zumata as set out in the 1896 treaty of London."

General Chokwe added "I have no doubt that highly trained personal of the Zumatan armed forces will bring about a swift and complete victory for Zumata."

More news to follow.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

News Flash - Zumatan Air force launches raid on Mbote

BBC correspondent Bob Beazely who is currently in the Zumatan capital of Westchester reports today that Zumatan forces have launched a series of air raids today in retaliation for yesterdays naval clash in Mjuba Bay.

While the Zumatan air force launched attacks on several key targets along the Zumatan Mbote border. Royal Zumatan navy fleet air arm A-1 skyraiders launched a devastating surprise attack on Mbote naval forces based at Port Tchumba (see pictures above). Unconfirmed reports suggest that several ships and dockyard buildings have been hit and smoke can be seen rising above the city.

Reports of Zumatan army divisions seen leaving their bases around Westchester and heading towards the border have yet to be confirmed.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

NEWSFLASH - Zumatan Navy launchs new battleship

Zumatan Minster of Defence Mr Dod'g Gezzer reported today that the Royal Zumatan Navy has launched a new battleship ZNS Big Buoy (pictured above) on to Lake Bagombo. Mr Gezzer said "ZNS Big Buoy is the first in a series of new ships to be launched on to Lake Bagombo in a effort to curb the aggressive stance of neighbouring Mbote" Mr Gezzer went onto say " This new vessel is a feat of Zumatan engineering and includes no less than thirty coffee machines as well as some bloody big guns"

Mr Gezzer refused to answer rumours that ZNS Big Buoy is so large that it has stay in the middle of Lake Bagambo for fear of running a ground.

In further news Mr Gezzer also revealed that in a further sign of the close ties between Zumata and it's once colonial master the UK members of 22 regiment the infamous SAS have been in Zumata trainng a new Zumatan SAS troop for the last six months.

Finally Mr Gezzer denied that the launching of combined Zumatan Army Navy maneuvers in the region of Lake Bagombo is in anyway linked to the discovery of large amounts of natural gas by Mbote in the same area in the last few days. Mr Gezzer said " We have had these military maneuvers planned for several days and will be practicing naval assaults in the Mjuba Bay area."

Members of the press in the area reported a large Zumatan naval flotilla leaving port this morning heading towards Mjuba bay.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Slavers Baggage - Darkest Africa

Well not a lot of painting since my bumper weekend a couple of weeks back. I have a unit of Askari half finished, just the highlighting and basing to do, and another unit of Askari under coated.

I have in the mean time managed to finish up a couple of baggage elements based on Rendera large oval bases. Made up of spare foundry Zanzibar characters and African porters. I need to make two more bases of baggage but I need to order some more porters from Foundry first.

Cheers Jon

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Arabs and Baluchi - Darkest Africa

As promised here some pictures of the rest of the stuff I painted this weekend. First up (top four pictures) is my first Arab unit. Rated as Askari in the heart of Africa rules these guys, along with two similar units, will be the main stay of my army. Each unit will be a mix of Arabs proper plus a number of African slaves and retainers. As troops go these guys are pretty dire who probably work best behind some sort of fortification.

the last four pictures are some Baluchi. These where going cheap on e-bay and don't really fit with my theme of a 1880s Arab army in Nyasaland. However the bulk of my Arab army will ,once painted, work for Arabs all over Africa. As these miniatures were cheap I thought I'd buy them and use them if I want to morph my army into an earlier Zanzibar army in east Africa.

I read on the lead adventure forum an interesting thread about the Baluchi including that they liked to were saffron (IE orange/yellow) clothing I thought that sounded a bit funky so I went with it. I usually use a brown base coat when I paint yellow but this time I wanted the colour to really stand out and went with an orange base colour. The result is probably far to orange for Baluchi saffron in reality but I like the result. The guy in middle is actually an Arab and has no doubt paid good money for his Baluchi bodyguard.

In game terms these guys are counted as swordsmen and are a very hard hitting unit probably the best Arab armies have accesses to.

next up I have another 24 Arabs and askari to paint up.

Cheers Jon

Bemba - Central African slavers

As it's half term the wife took the children to see her mother for a couple of days giving me Sunday and sometime on Monday to paint. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity I painted like a man possessed and managed to churn out 24 Ruga-ruga, 6 more Arabs and 10 Baluchi.

First up some pictures of the 24 Ruga-ruga. As I'm starting with British central Africa these guys are going to represent Bemba allies for my Arab slavers. By all accounts the Bemba looked very much like proper east African Ruga-ruga so the foundry figures work well as Bemba.

It would seem that among tribes who liked to help the Arabs out in their slaving activities a certain slaver chic was the order of the day. This seems to have meant wearing a lot of gaudy clothes topped of with a load of bling. Unlike most musket armed tribes the Bemba liked to close for hand to hand combat after firing (a sort of African highland charge?) rather than skirmishing at a distance. As such the Ruga-ruga classification in the heart of Africa rules would seem the best way of classing these guys in the rules. hopefully they will give my otherwise pretty rubbish Arabs a bit of punch in close combat.

The miniatures are all Foundry (no surprise there) that I picked up in one of their clearance sales. Mostly Ruga-ruga but with a few tribesman in European clothes thrown in for some variety. I have no evidence that the Bemba wore any such clothing but they did come into violent contact with European missionaries and the British African lakes company. So a bit of looted European garb isn't out of the question (and more to the point the figures where going spare and looking for a home).

next up pictures of my Arabs and Baluchi

Cheers Jon.

Friday 21 October 2011

Pay dirt

I got a an email from foundry yesterday with Christmas deals and it turns out they had a limited number of Chris Peers east Africa book available so I grabbed one. Can't really afford it at the moment but who knows when I might get the chance to grab this OOP book again. If it is even half as good as the central Africa book it will be a great read.

Edit got an e-mail from foundry looks like someone got the last book while I was placing my order as such they can't send me a copy got a refund would rather have had the book ho-hum. I'll keep a look out on fleabay but looks like I'll be going without this book.

Sunday 16 October 2011

Slaver test pieces - Darkest africa

I managed to get a few of my new Arab slavers painted up as test pieces before I launch into the full army. I was a bit eager to get some paint on these guys and rushed them a bit so the paint jobs are a bit rough. I tried some longer grass (little bits of door mat) on the bases than I usually use but I quite like the look.

At the moment, using Chris Peers in the heart of Africa rules, I think the army will be

3 units of Arabs and armed slaves/retainers count as askari (a mix of askari and Zanzibar figures)

2 units of Bemba allies count as Ruga-ruga (mostly ruga-ruga miniatures plus a few tribal musket men)

1 leader (the Arab with the spear in the above pictures)

1 standard bearer

baggage train (porter and spare Zanzibar miniatures)

I also have a unit of swordsmen for early Arab armies.

Lots to paint....

Cheers Jon