Unboxing Mordheim

Mordheim Box Cover

When the Mordheim boxed set was released I didn’t buy it. I was never a completist that went and  bought every boxed set that Games Workshop released. I bought things I liked and things I would actually paint and game with.

There were various reasons I didn’t buy Mordheim, it was partly the focus of the game, a fantasy skirmish. This was something that I did enjoy as a concept, Flintloque (even though Napoleonic in setting) was very much a fantasy skirmish game. So there had to be more to Mordheim then just the core concept. The background didn’t really appeal, a destroyed town to fight over.

The game is set in the Empire city of Mordheim 500 years before the present day in the Warhammer Fantasy time line (pre Age of Sigmar). The game is set during a time of chaos and civil war in the Empire after a comet struck the city of Mordheim destroying it and scattering a material called wyrdstone throughout the ruins. Mercenary warbands from all over the Warhammer world battle with one another for the wyrdstone.

I also didn’t think much of the hybrid scenery either, part plastic and part cardboard. I was a fan of cardboard buildings, I really liked Blood on the Streets. I quite like plastic building kits as well. However the hybrid mix that was available in the boxed set didn’t really rock my boat.

So after glancing at the set at the time, I left it on the shelf.

Here we are twenty odd years later and I did however quite enjoy this retro unboxing of a shrink-wrapped copy of Mordheim.

What I did like was some of the models in the box. It actually got me thinking once more about fantasy skirmish games….

Land Rover Centaurs in Wessex

The Laird Centaur was the brainchild of Laird (Angelsey) Limited and was the result of intensive engineering development combining the Land Rover and the Alvis designed tracks of the FV101 Scorpion light tank. 

Many years ago I wrote and had published an article in Wargames Illustrated called Wessex: The Second English Civil War.

Wessex: The Second English Civil War

On March 17th, 1998, Royalists rose up in defiance and took control of key government buildings, airfields and broadcasting stations in the West Country and Cornwall. Supported by army units and Sea Harriers from what used to be the Royal Navy, there was little bloodshed. People came out onto the streets and cheered. The King who had been in exile in Canada flew back and landed at Bristol airport. The Kingdom of Wessex and Duchy of Cornwall was born. The Republican Prime Minister was, of course, very angry at what had happened. He mobilised his Democratic Guards and ordered them to defeat the Royalist rebellion. The Second English Civil War had started. Three hundred and thirteen years after the last pitched battle to take place on English soil, there were going to be more.

My recent blog post on the Laird Centaur Half Track and their proposed different versions got me thinking about what if the Laird Centaur Half Track was a commercial and military success and was used extensively by both sides in the Wessex Civil War.

In the marketing materials they did advertise an armoured version. This got me thinking about scenarios involving an Armoured Laird Centaur Half Track in Wessex.

A Democratic Guard patrol on the M4 near Reading, comprising three Armoured Laird Centaur Half Tracks and a Scorpion Light Tank is ambushed by Royalist Special Forces. The objective of the ambush is to disable the vehicles and then withdraw.

Royal Marines Armoured Laird Centaur Half Tracks are guarding the entrance to the 40 Commando Royal Marines base at Norton Manor Camp. There then follows an assault by Republican paratroopers to rescue POWs being held at the camp.

A Royalist convoy, with Laird Centaur Half Tracks is approaching Gloucester when it is ambushed by a force of Democratic Guards using light scout vehicles, motorbikes and a single Armoured Laird Centaur Half Track.

Democratic Guards using Laird Centaur Half Tracks are landed on the beaches of North Somerset by landing craft, to sabotage the nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. Local royalist forces rush to defend the power station and push the Democratic Guards back into the Bristol Channel.

I’ve not found any models of the Laird Centaur, but I do remember once an article in a magazine about how to convert a 1/76th version using the (then) JB Models Land Rover and Scorpion models. Both kits are now available from Airfix.

Thinking about some Grey Knights Knights!

Back in the day at a Games Day someone had scratch built (out of cardboard) a Grey Knight Titan.

Grey Knights Titan

This was an impressive model and I really liked it.

I have for many (many) years being attempting to build a force of Inquisitorial forces and Grey Knights, but purposefully trying to to create Grey Knight versions of standard Space Marines, both infantry and vehicles.

I do like the concept of the Imperial Knights and looking over the range of models I did think that the Armiger Warglaive could be the basis of a Grey Knight version, complete with protective purity seals, additonal sheilds, even a new head, etc…

Armiger Warglaive

I really do need to though paint stuff, rather than buy stuff, so for the moment I am (just) thinking about this project, rather than doing anything concrete about it. However watch this space!

The Man in the High Castle Video Effects Breakdown

I am looking forward to the last season of The Man in the High Castle.

One of the highlights of the series so far has been the way in which the seres makers have created a world different, but eerily similar to our own.

The video effects are quite amazing, and when you see how it was done, you realise how much time and effort went into creating this alternate world.

Here are some more video effects shots from season 2.

And from season 3.

In a previous blog post I discussed the series, which I started watching having “splashed” out on the free trial of Amazon Prime to get some Christmas gifts delivered quickly. Having got Amazon Prime,  I took the opportunity to watch what was then the new Amazon series The Man in the High Castle.

Will it be the end of the worlds as we know it?

The Man in the High Castle Season 4 comes to Amazon Prime this Autumn.

The final season of The Man in the High Castle will be rocked by war and revolution. The Resistance becomes a full-blown rebellion, driven by Juliana Crain’s (Alexa Davalos) visions of a better world. A new Black insurgent movement emerges to fight the forces of Nazism and imperialism. As empires teeter, Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido (Joel De La Fuente) will find himself torn between his duty to his country and the bonds of family. Meanwhile, Reichsmarschall John Smith (Rufus Sewell) will be drawn towards the portal the Nazis have built to another universe, and the tantalizing possibility of stepping through a gateway to the path not taken.

I have enjoyed the first three seasons of The Man in the High Castle and I am looking forward to this final season.

You can get a free trial of Amazon Prime.

El Ministerio del Tiempo

El Ministerio del Tiempo

There is a new series on Netflix which I have been enjoying, called The Ministry of Time (El Ministerio del Tiempo), it is a Spanish series about a government department in Spain responsible for the looking after the “doors of time”.

In the first season there are three main characters.

El Ministerio del Tiempo Team

Amelia Folch is the leader of the protagonist patrol. She is a late 19th century pioneering university student a

Julián Martínez is a trained SAMUR paramedic from 21st century Madrid.

Alonso de Entrerríos is a highly experienced 16th century soldier from Seville,

I do enjoy TV series and films about time travel, even if they do sometimes give me a headache when it comes to paradoxes.
I enjoyed the first season of Timeless which had a similar concept and characters.

Unlike many of the UK and US series, the Ministry of Time does not feature a secret military unit or spy team, these are government bureaucrats who struggle with pay freezes and budget cuts as well as trying to maintain the timeline.

The premise is that in the heart of Madrid is a secret ministry that through doors provides access to the past. These doors cover a range of times and places across Spain. There are also other doors that “rebel” elements have access to and attempt to change the course of history.

The episodes I have seen have covered the Spanish Armada, the Civil War in the 1930s and various other aspects of Spanish history. I do find myself delving into Wikipedia to discover more about Spanish history.

There are some issues that I don’t get. People from the past can travel to the future (the present), however people from the present can only travel to the past and are unable to travel to the future. It would appear that the present is the only future you can travel to.

Another aspect I find troubling is that according to the initial episodes, the time behind each door travels forward at the same speed, so when two days pass in the present, two days pass in the past. Then in another episode they talk about a door which is stuck in a time loop, the day repeats itself. What troubled me was that the team went to that day five times, but never met themselves. If the day resets behind that door, then there was nothing they could do to change the timeline.

Despite the weird time travel problems that arise in a series like this, I do enjoy it.

One aspect of the series that may put you off is that it is in Spanish and is subtitled. I don’t mind this, but I know for some it’s a deal breaker.

From a gaming perspective, there are lots of ideas in the series which could be translated to the tabletop.

The 1919 British Revolution

Across Europe in the early part of the 20th Century many of the nation states were undergoing change or violent revolution. The governments of the time were so concerned about this that resources were diverted to focus on the perceived threat of revolutionaries and paramilitary forces.

The 1917 Russian Revolution eventually led to the Communist USSR as well as a Civil War that raged for years with plenty of intervention by the Western powers.

In Germany following their defeat in 1918 led to the creation of the Weimar Republic that was plagued by political extremism. In addition that time saw both left wing and right wing paramilitaries causing problems for the government.

The capitulation and break up of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire also saw rises in nationalism and revolution.

In Great Britain the government feared a bolshevik uprising and was quick to oppress any potential threat to the established order. One of the biggest areas for concern were the labour movements and trade unions. One strike in Glasgow in 1919 eventually resulted in a street battle between strikers and police, which was so bad, the army was called in.

The “Battle of George Square”, also known as “Bloody Friday” and “Black Friday”, was one of the most intense riots in the history of Glasgow; it took place on Friday, 31 January 1919.

Clashes between the City of Glasgow Police and protesters broke out, prompting the War Cabinet to make soldiers available to the civil power, to prevent the violence from escalating.

Medium Mark C tanks and soldiers at the Glasgow Cattle Market in the Gallowgate

With troops and tanks on the streets of Glasgow, peace was eventually restored, but there were concerns that some of the soldiers might go over to the side of the rioters, could that have been the spark that started a British Revolution?

The fear of the soldiers siding with the protestors was so much that the War Department didn’t want any Glaswegian troops sent to quell the violence, incase they changed sides. Though reports later implied that English troops were sent, more recent research has indicated that it was Scottish troops that were sent to Glasgow. However what if English troops were sent and the situation rather than be defused, escalated into a more violent conflict. Would the conflict bring in local paramilitary forces, some fighting for the establishment and some fighting for change? Another potential spark for a British Revolution?

British army tank in Dublin

In future blog posts I want to have a look at potential battles in the 1919 British Revolution and the forces involved.

Somerset Pillbox

Went for a walk along Sand Bay (near to Weston super Mare). I find it interesting that there is a pillbox on the beach, as you wouldn’t have thought that this coastline was under threat of German invasion back in 1940.

Somerset Pillbox

However doing some research about the pillbox, I came to realise that the British in 1940 did believe that invasion may come from the South West.

The Taunton Stop Line was a defensive line in south west England. It was designed “to stop an enemy’s advance from the west and in particular a rapid advance supported by armoured fighting vehicles (up to the size of a German medium tank) which may have broken through the forward defences.

The Taunton Stop Line ran north-south for nearly 50 miles through Somerset, Dorset and Devon, roughly from Axminster to Chard along the River Axe, then along the Great Western Railway to Ilminster, the railway and Chard Canal to Taunton, the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal to Bridgwater, and the River Parrett to the coast near Highbridge.

A beach battery at Portished, was built to protect the entrance to Avonmouth Docks. It was the first such installation to be become operational in the area, the battery containing two 6″ guns. Similarily the Severn Fixed Defences were designed to protect the Bristol Channel with batteries established at Brian Down and on Steep Holm and Flat Holm.

In October 1940 it was announced that the Severn Fixed Defences, a string of gun batteries, designed to protect the mouth of the Severn, would be established at Brean Down, on both Steep and Flat Holm, and on the Glamorgan coast at Lavernock Point.

Just like Brean Down further south along the coast, weapons were tested at Sand Point (next to Sand Bay) during the Second World War. Some were so strange that they were never seen after their initial trials.

Somerset Pillbox

With the release of the Bolt Action Sealion Campaign book it got me thinking about all the possibilities of a German invasion of Somerset… okay probably would have been impossible, but even so….