Tuesday, 17 April 2018

642 - Kirton Games - Super Hobby Store

Last post, I went through the fun I had recently at Kirton Games in Crediton, and I said I'd write a few words about the venue, so here goes...

The place is amazing!
Okay, this photo is from their website.
The rest, below, were hastily snapped by Yours Truly.
Mostly funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign a short while ago, the new shop is in a fantastic location in Crediton [link here] and is staffed by a very friendly, welcoming and affable bunch. They run all sorts of special and themed events, and they cater to a wide (and increasing) variety of games and gamers. 
This is the 'live-stream' table [see below] set up for their
Bolt Action day a fortnight ago.
There are two main gaming rooms: the front one, which is what you walk in to from the street entrance (and which has all the toys for sale), and the 'gaming loft' itself, upstairs. All-in-all they have over a dozen 6x4' purpose-built gaming tables, and by purpose-built, I mean that you don't break your back whilst using them, nor do you have to worry about cracks and ledges between trestles. They even have lower tables for card games like Magic: The Gathering. 
Front of House...
...and Loft
There are comfy sofas upstairs, and downstairs a kitchenette with teas and coffees available for purchase (free for members) and a range of other splendid snacks on offer for sale. I have it on first-hand evidence that there's a rather good chip shop nearby too! 
Beside the kitchenette is a brilliant space: a hobby bar!
As I understand it, the range of paints available is again a free bonus for members, and the lamps and painting/modelling stations are evidently installed by someone who knows their stuff. Genius.
Talking of genius, one of the staff's strengths is in IT, and I was really impressed by the combination of well-equipped podcast/recording studio and a 6x4 gaming board permanently set-up for live-streaming. What a great opportunity! The studio can be rented for podcasting too: clever stuff.
This is actually a whacking-great widescreen monitor for the
livestream cam... it just looks tiny in my crummy picture. D'oh!
Elsewhere, the astonishing building is as convoluted and higglety-pigglety as one would expect from one found in an old market town (for any US readers, just imagine something out of Diagon Alley from Harry Potter), and there are at least three or four other usable spaces with plans afoot for a roleplaying room and a cosy boardgaming room, amongst other possibilities. What joy! What potential!
All of the above. 
The store is still a work-in-progress, and I guess the local community there (it's 70 minutes' drive for me, sadly) has put in a lot of person-hours to help get the place up and running, but by gum it really is an amazing store: if you're anywhere within an hour-and-a-half of Crediton or Exeter, I'd absolutely urge you to get down there and visit them.

Here's wishing them the very best in hobbying success - cheers, Kirton Games!

- Drax. 

Friday, 13 April 2018

641 - Kirton Games: Bolt Action Gaming Day!

I had a fun time last weekend at Kirton Games in Crediton [link here], run by the entirely splendid Rob (once known round these parts as Col. Gravis), and there's quite a bit to report! I'll do the job in tow parts, as it happens: firstly the games; after that I'll cover the venue itself, because it's all kinds of awesome. 
But first the games.

I got three games in (partially because there weren't too many of the regulars who could make the day, sadly) and - joy of joys! - I got to use all three of my main forces! here's the brief overview...and interestingly, the first two were even live-streamed!
The big-ass live-stream monitor

Game 1: Oliver's US Vs my Late-War Heer (1200 pts)

Four objectives and a hard-fought battle. This was a real thrill from start to finish, and Oliver was an absolute gent to play against!
A lovely board, courtesy of Kirton!
Like all the best Bolt Action games, fortune kept swinging from one of us to t'other: a brave opening gambit from the US Rangers found them storming a house, right into the deadly weaponry of my assault engineers who'd just nipped in first. Ouch. Still, his artillery spotter righted this by blasting the house to smithereens with HE. Double ouch!
Ouch and double-ouch.
My regulars on the right just cannot hold back the US veterans.
Elsewhere, my Hanomags had fun dotting around a gunning at things, and once both of the bazooka gunners had been neutralised they had the run of the table...but it was too little too late. The second US airstrike had caused me problems (and blown up another of my units in another house!) and my right flank had all but collapsed in the face of the Veteran Americans. 
The sniper has to jump in on the right flank - not ideal.
In the end, the game went to a cinematic draw, with two objectives apiece and two contested. The joke was on me, because had I but thought for a split-second I could've contested a third...still, it was close. Oliver had more men still standing, but he'd lost a lot, whereas I still had three fighting halftracks with nothing that could touch them and roads to zoom around on.
A bloody good game, and all the better thanks to my worthy opponent - his combat engineers were hands-down the best unit on the table!
Oliver's Air Observer observes the US Engineers engineering the demise
of my own Assault Engineers. Very cool moment.
Game 2: Rob's LW Germans Vs my British 4KSLI (1000 pts)

We only had time for a quick game, sadly, but I like games at this size, and Rob's always a gracious opponent - in this case with a very pretty German force. 
My plucky Brits did very well for themselves in this game, and I'm almost sorry to say that after a strong start by the Germans (their SdKfz.222 blew up my lorry and the PIAT team in it, the bastards!), pretty much all else went my way!
Dead truck and PIAT. Note German armour on the hills, left.
Time for revenge, eh?
My artillery strike arrived on time, and pinned the hell out of everything, and my Cromwell CS blew up the house with Rob's biggest unit inside, whilst my infantry kept the Marder pinned out of usefulness and my faithful Staghound scooted round the back of his lines to destroy transports and vehicles alike.
The Staghound does its thing...
...with extreme prejudice.
We called it when the clock ran out, but the field was decidedly the British. Poor Rob had had a rough time of it, but again, he was gracious in defeat and it was a thoroughly enjoyable game: cheers, Rob!
Game 3: Kenny's Japanese Vs my Sikhs (800 pts)

We had an hour to kill at the end of the day, so I got the chance to roll out my Desert Sikhs to fight Kenny's Japanese...and I don't remember the last time I had so funny a game, as Kenny's avowed sole tactic was to charge blindly at my lines, and the danger of this was compounded by the fact that I was defending some solid buildings as he crossed the open ground.
Deployment. The terrain was kept from the previous game.
Some very clear lines of fire. Time for 'FIRE' and 'AMBUSH' orders, methinks!
The Japanese cause was made more forlorn yet by the fact that whilst Kenny's preliminary bombardment merely shook my lines a little, mine destroyed two of his units outright (his air observer and medic) - leaving him with only six order dice and me with even more chance of cutting him down.
Which I did. 
In droves. 
Whatever they are. 
True to his word, Kenny's brave veteran Japanese charged my lines - all except the MMG, which was too pinned to be of any use before it was mortared and 25pdr'd into oblivion. Literally only one man reached my troops, and he managed to kill just one Indian soldier before meeting his ancestors. Brutal - absolutely brutal - but a real laugh.

Thank you, Kenny: keep fighting the good fight, and here's to you discovering the joy of tactical finesse, eh?

Next post, then, will be about Kirton Games itself. What a place!


- Drax.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

640 - Bolt Action 28mm Heer Showcase (Part III: Support Units)

It's been a while since I showcased my toys, and I've never really done it with my newer ones, so here are the Late-War Germans. You'll find parts 1 and  (infantry and vehicles) immediately prior to this post - I'd love for you to take a look at them if you've time enough...

Part 3 of 3 - Support Units:

(N.B: As with the infantry squads in part 1, the static grass looks far less bright in real life!)

I love this unit, and I really love the characterful models: great fun all round. 
Yes, I know that the fellow sharing his base with the 'werfer could never stand there whilst it was firing - it's a little creative licence on my part! It serves not only to balance out the base, but also to give me something with which to carefully pick up the launcher itself!
I think these (and some of my other
Support teams) are technically
Fallschirmjäger models, but they're
Heer now!
Generic Officer:
Okay, so I've recently discovered that
he's actually supposed to be Joachim
Pieper...but as I (a) need an OC and
(b) won't go near SS, he's Heer now too.
81mm Medium Mortar and Spotter:
I love my mortars!
Obviously, the spotter is REVIEWING
HIS FIREPLAN - not "reading a novel"
as one of my erstwhile opponents suggested!
My Flammenwerfer team should also be
Fallschirmjäger, I think. Either way, they
isually operate as members of my crack
Assault Engineer team...and in two games
so far they've been utterly useless.

This fellow is sometimes useful, but
let's not pin too many of the Reich's
hopes on him, eh?!
Also Fallschirmjäger.

So there you have it!

In the German pipeline we have the following projects a-bubbling:

  • My E-50 and second Panther to finish,
  • More Early-War/Blitzkrieg infantry,
  • My captured Bren Carrier with PaK 36, and
  • Three more EW vehicles...eventually!

Thanks so much for swinging by - I should have some interesting news, soon...

- Drax.

Friday, 6 April 2018

639 - Bolt Action 28mm Heer Showcase (Part II: Vehicles)


It's been a while since I showcased my toys, and I've never really done it with my newer ones, so here are the Late-War Germans. You'll find parts 1 and 3 (infantry and support units) both before and after this post - I'd love for you to take a look at them if you've time enough...

Part 2 of 3 - Vehicles:

(N.B: The Rotbraun on these is far more muted in real life.)

Panzer V - Panther Ausf. D:

What a beauty.
 Panzer IV Ausf. H:
My workhorse. The side Schurzen are
painted with just two colours - as if theyd
been salvaged from another vehicle.
Hanomags -
Sd.Kfz 251/10 Ausf. C & 251/1 Ausf. D:
The Boss's ride. The number '36'
helps to remind me that it's armed
with a PaK 36!
All my Hanomags have the rear MMG
modelled in a 'stowed' position, as I
sometimes like to use them (especially
when facing US airstrikes) but don't
want them to break off.
My three Hanomags together.
 Transporting Transport:

As with all of my German models, I'm using cheap-ass Tesco pencil cases. The two Panzers have their own box each, but these halftracks have to share. Luckily, we can make it work...
...with a bit of careful planning and labelling!

More in a couple of days,


- Drax.