Wednesday, April 3, 2019

GPS Survey, Round 3

Hey gang,
 It's nice to have loyal readers, and I do love writing for you guys. It's nice to be part of the Twilight: 2000 blogosphere, with such sites as The Savant's Rants out there. I do like getting the pulse of the readership from time to time, so hence, this GPS Survey!

 I promise, it will be mostly painless.

Or at least less painful than the poor guy on the ground got...

Please answer this thread in the comments, as it will allow me to track answers.

So, here's the questions?

1. Do you think the focus of the blog is too wide, too narrow, or just right?

2. If you answered too wide or too narrow, what can I do to improve that?

3. Any miniatures/rules we're overlooking that we shouldn't?

4. Any other kinds of articles you'd like to see?

5. We're thinking of doing interviews with whomever we can track down from say, GDW or Grenadier or even just prominent modelers/wargamers who have an interest in the milleu. Anyone you think we ought to talk to?

6. Finally, any other articles/ideas YOU'D like to see?

PS: The sci-fi anthology with my short story is now out. Please if you haven't already? Pick up a copy, the other stories are damn good too, and for $2.99, you cannot go wrong! 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Kit bash Airfix 1/76 RAF Recovery Set (03305): PART 1

Our kit in it's natural form
Welcome gentle reader to another installment of "It's 500 Miles to the German Border". As our local Twilight:2000 campaign takes place in the US, I've been focusing my model making more to reflect that.

This time around I'll be sharing my (mis)adventures in kit bashing/converting the Airfix 1/76 RAF Recovery Set (03305). This one from what I have read is a reproduction of the 1970s kit (of a WW2 subject).. Now currently, Airfix has let this kit go OOP. I was able to get it pretty cheap considering all of the goodies it came with: The kit has a few figures, as well as 2 motorcycles, 1 crane/truck and a tractor-trailer, plenty of Post-Apocalyptic conversion fodder goodness!

Normally I wouldn't have bought this as its a WW2 kit. But as my son and others have pointed out that it will still run in a post-EMP world.  That's good enough for me! My apologies to the WW2 sticklers out there.

The kit itself is worth the price I paid, as it was cheaper than I would have spent on a regular Trumpeter or Revell kit with just a single model in it. And, as my full intention was to "Mad Max" this kit, I am not too upset in case something goes wrong, as I might be with a more expensive kit. I also bought a bunch of die cast cars that I'll be modding in another article.

Outside of the usual modelling tools, I also wanted to use a wire mesh (to make windows look mean and really "Mad Max"). Normally an innocuous purchase for whatever reason, the stars really misaligned and nobody in my immediate area carried that stuff. So, I had to improvise and bought a plumbing supply part. Adapt and overcome!

I did pick up some snips which I thought would work well for the mesh but they turned out to be crap and the old standard side cutters (for models, sprue, etc.) actually did a better job cutting the wire mesh! Not so sure I'd want to use em all the time as I'm sure they're dulling out.

And thus, there went the first phase with the tractor-trailer:

The kit itself had pretty simple and well sculpted parts, the instructions were a bit wonky with circled numbers referring to the part numbers and other numbers representing paint shades. It was all a bit of information overload and at times, got quite confusing.

The sprues were easy to to cut and the parts needed minimal filing for very small amounts of flash as well as to assist in fitting.

This time I followed my own advice and dry fitted all the parts before assembly and priming (It was a painful lesson to learn, I assure you). I raided the spare parts bin on this build which is good for getting that post-apocalypse "junk yard" look.

I then finished the assembly and primed the kit in black. I personally like to do a "white wash" over the model, really just a dry brush in white to highlight all of the details then start adding color, by building up layers on the paints. I use washes to highlight different features and this time I used some chalk to help in making rusty effects.

I've added the remaining photos below for your consideration. Thanks for tuning in, till next time!

-Evil von Scary

Monday, March 4, 2019

Some Random Thoughts and Ideas

Some of this might be a bit OT, but I do need to get it off my chest somewhere I suppose.

First, I am being published as a sci-fi author! Granted, it's a short story in an anthology, but I am being published for a work of fiction!

Taken from Canon Publishing

Yeah, I know, not at all on-topic, but please forgive the indulgence. It's a big deal and I do hope many of you go out and grab a copy come April 1. No, it's not a joke.

Also, I wanted to pass this bit of news to local folks:

Important Announcement: We are closing shop to reconfigure the business.

by John Denton


Today the team at The Games Tavern has made the challenging decision to close the doors to the shop to reconfigure the business in a way to continue to support you all – the most amazing gamer patrons in the world!

Without you none of this adventure would have been possible, and with your continued support we hope to provide continued content and service. We care about all of you and want to see the community grow and flourish.

If you have miniatures/models in the cases, or personal items in the shop please stop by to retrieve them. We want to make sure everyone gets a chance to pick their things up before we start the work over here moving things around. Please call over the shop to schedule and we will gladly help you secure your items.

If you have special orders we have contacted you about please come pick them up this week! We have some items which we have called, emailed, or more to put them into your hands for at least a week now. Those items want to go home with you.

For any special orders we were unable to acquire because our suppliers were out of stock, which were pre-paid we will be issuing refunds shortly because we will be unable to make the orders while we reconfigure and do not want you to have to wait to receive your items.

I want to thank the amazing team and staff at The Games Tavern for the amazing job they do every day.

Keylon’s management of the shop has been outstanding and I cannot think of a better person to continue to work with in the future as we chart a new path. Thanks to Keylon we have grown far better than we expected. His ability to help each and every customer has been wonderful.

Ed’s general management and straight talk is legendary, and his ability to step in and offer the right guidance to the The Games Tavern as we grow continues to astound me, and I thank him for our chats.

To all staff past and present I am thankful because each of you add something to the mix, and continue to enrich our knowledge of the hobby.

For specific requests related to picking up your items or reserved orders which arrived, refunds of pre-orders mentioned above email:



I am really unsure as to what it means for the ultimate fate of The Games Tavern. I know I appreciated having them around and they were a quality shop. Let's hope this is temporary and they come back bigger and better than ever! Not much else to report, but we'll see where this goes!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

A Couple of Rules Reviews - A View of the Disunited Kingdom and The Zone

The Zone
Taken from the Miniatures Page

Skirmish Wargaming in the Late C20th Century
Written by Wayne Bollands
ISBN: 978-1-85818-758-7
56 pages
$29.00 from On Military Matters

A new "Cold War Gone Hot" rules set has hit the market, and I've gotten an chance to take a look at it. The only reference to the novel series is that shares the name, and something of the premise, but no hovercraft or hard as nails snipers to be found here! It's a shame, because that series was very, very gameable, both from a RPG and wargaming perspective. The production quality was fairly good, and I was pretty chuffed with it when I first got it, but there were some issues. 

First, I wasn't too happy that some of the gear mentioned in the squad organizations was not stated out in the game. Granted, an M113 is probably very much like an FV-432 in game terms, but it's really kind of phoned in IMO, or one size fits all ATGM?!

You can tell it's descended from "Living on the Frontline", which is a plus, (with some minor but needed changes to activation) and the game's system is very, very similar, if not identical, especially when the game mentions you can even resolve thrown bricks! (Something tells me the Soviet and East German views on suppressing rioting West Germans would be very different from, oh , say, the British in Northern Ireland). Again, my issues are more with what is missing, than what is present.

All in all, I got the feeling they took "Living on the Frontline", ported some elements over to make it more "Cold War Gone Hot" and then printed it. Like that recipe you taste and say, "it's good, but it just needs something." That said, the production values are nice, with gorgeous photos and readable text throughout. The system is solid, and very easy in execution, one wishes there was a bit more here.

Sorry gang, but I have to give this one 3 out of 5 Mushroom clouds. It's not bad, but it could be a lot better.

Authors Note: Wayne Bollands reached out on Facebook and pointed out some cogent points that I may not have elucidated enough on in my initial review. His comparison to Force On Force and derived rules is fair, and I would certainly take that under advisement. As a point being made that there are future supplements coming. I do look forward to seeing those.

We do try to be fair in our reviews at "500 Miles.." and we hope this note of clarification helps better explain the rating "The Zone" got.

Taken from the Miniatures Page

Living on the Frontline – Winter of 79: A View of the Disunited Kingdom
Wayne Bollands
ISBN: 978-1-85818-715-0
48 pages
$29.00 from On Military Matters

This is a supplement for "Living on the Frontline" that thrashes out a potential scenario for a "Winter of '79" style "British Civil War". I really liked this book. For a Twilight: 2000 head like me, this is a really good alternate campaign idea and you can use this for a variety of ideas to set a campaign in a post-apocalyptic UK. It's certainly better than SGUK turned out to be, eh?

The book is in full color, and it's got a lot of nice one paragraph writeups of all of the various factions, including flags (which I suppose you could make flags for the various factions if you were so inclined?). I thought the product was solid, and it comes with additional rules for cavalry (riot cops on horseback anyone, or perhaps something more...basic, armed TA on horseback?)

It's also got nine scenarios, and I was very, very happy to see the variety of scenarios available, all of them easily adapted to the Twilight: 2000 milieu. The production values were solid, and I was happy with the ideas behind the scenario laid out in the book as a means to further putting troops on the table, or even role playing? All in all, this is a good purchase, and I would recommend it. 4 out of 5 mushroom clouds here. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

A New-ish Blog for T2K and Why It Deserves Your Attention!

Ok folks,
 Deep thought time. I found this new blog, The Savant's Rants, and some of the stuff on this site is phenomenal to say the least. I was especially taken by the articles on starvation and food in Twilight: 2000, as well as foraging..but one article is of great importance to miniatures players, at least from an army construction point of view. It's entitled "Crossrant: Feeding the Horde (Armies and Starvation in Twilight: 2000)"

 In short, the article is brilliant. and it explains well that there is an upper limit on the size of armies in Twilight: 2000, because well, you have to feed them. And worse, how much you're gonna short the locals to do just that.

  So what does that leave us? New fodder for scenarios of course! A couple that rapidly come to mind are:
  • An "organized" military force is travelling through a relatively fertile area relatively untouched by the war. The locals aren't too keen on having an extra few thousand mouths to feed and are willing to make life miserable for this force. (Campaign fodder if I ever saw it).
  • A force is sent by one side to raid another side's farms, and take as much as possible, and burn the rest.
  • An enemy force has had amazing crop yields, find out why, and either steal it..or destroy it and make sure they can't have it either?
And these are just a few ideas that come to mind at 8AM on a Monday. I am sure more will hit me as time goes on. But this is what I mean, food for thought is great scenario fodder, and this blog article is no exception. Give it a read, and see if you don't get your own ideas?

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Trumpeter 1/72 scale Russian BTR-80 (review)

Welcome again gentle reader to another post apocalyptic edition of "It's 500 Miles to the German border"

In this installment we will be looking at Trumpeter's 1/72 scale BTR-80 kit.

Trumpeter's quality so far has worked out very well,  with excellent detailing, and ease of assembly. Most of the parts in their kits fit very well with good overall sculpts. The instructions are pretty easy to follow with minor vagaries in comparison to say Revell (which feels more like Lego instructions).

This model I would say is "deceptively simple". As easy as it was, it was just as easy through my own ineptitude to frick it up.

Putting together the wheels:
The rubber tires and hubs easy- fitting the wheel assembly to the axles was a little trickier. Next time, I should try dry fitting not gluing then sticking on like I did. I wound up twisiting on of the wheels right off and it was a bit of a pain getting it filed and lined up right to go back on. Maybe a bit of work with a knife or pin vise to hollow out the inside before fitting might have helped with the fit.

Pro Tip- always dry fit before gluing. Another point on suspension- its a two parter on this model, avoid rushing through it. Make sure it fits together properly then glue with a "thin cement". Even though you could do this model in record time it helps to take the time to ensure it gets done well.
The instructions would have you add all of the components to the top of the hull after doing the undercarriage, and THEN putting both halves together. 

That's never worked out for my clumsy fingers in the past and wound up snapping off little pieces everywhere.

On this one I would recommend putting the hull together then going for all of the extra bits and bobs.

The light assemblies on the forward deck where a nice touch and came in three parts and was very detailed. Again dry fit then glue. The rest was pretty much straightforward. I would, of course, reference real life pics of the BTR-80 just to make sure I had it right.

Painting: I didn't go above and beyond in this one and pretty much stuck to the standard script- prime, dry brush white for details then pick a cam scheme and go for it. I did go back over the cam scheme with lighter shades of the same colours to make it stick out a bit more (the irony is not lost on me lol).

At this point I decided to use the decals from the kit as in this case I thought it would add to a model that doesn't really have a lot of room for stowage and modifications.

Other than that after decals placed and dried I went with inking and weathering using some mud and dust effects etc.

In the end, its a good model with good representation and ease of assembly and should be a fine edition to anyone's gaming table or display shelf.

Thanks for tuning in.

Sincerely, Evil von Scary 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Dressing For The Apocalypse - 28mm: more Soviets

Empress miniatures (as mentioned in a previous post) has a small range of figures for the Chechnya conflict. You do have to be careful, as the figures are a bit variable in size.

These three figures are from CWR007 "Russians Fighting".

Other figures by Empress, such as the Insurgents are useful. This is the PK GPMG figure from the INS03 set that is useable.
This figure is based on the illustration of a South Ossetian Irregular in the Osprey publication "Elite 197: Russian Security and Paramilitary Forces since 1991".

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