Archive for January, 2012

Anzio beach 68 years after

In exactly the same days and the same beach of the landing but 68 years after. It was a two day revocation, during the 21th and 22th. Me and other chaps of the historical group of ANPdI (the national association of military paratroopers) made a display during the public commemoration of the event, showing that even Italian paratroopers were in combat for their country.

Trenches on the seaside.

German equipment in trench.

German cars.

Czechs dressed like Scottish? I don’t know, because one guy (not present in this photo) was wearing his original clan tartan.

The amphibious star of the event. It was sailing back and forth on water and sand. The man with the coat in the front of the vehicle is a Austrian paratrooper war veteran. He told us some personal war histories. He is even a choirmaster, so some people improvised with him some traditional German song. There was another war veteran, from Battaglione Guastatori Alpini “Valanga” X^ MAS. When we made him the military honours shouting the battle cry some tears spilled from his eyes.

Here we are on the south side of the beach. The harbour is at the end of the photo. Nowadays the pier is longer. On the seaside you can see the encampment for the display. During the summer here there are seaside resorts. Another display was in Nettuno, but only with reenactors in American dresses.

We made our Italian paratroopers display here. This is the casino. It still maintain his vintage luxury style. Some trainees from local Hotel School prepared and served the lunch for us. A strange situation: served from livered people at a table with an Austrian war veteran while I was with machine gun loaders on my chest and a dagger in my belt.

Royal Navy flag and a display of Allied materials, as this Bren gun.

The German display and a view on the photographic exhibit on the landing.

German steel.

Anti-tank weapons.

Our display with only materials made in Italy. And among them our MAB machine guns, Breda machine gun, helmets, all immersed in our old national camouflage pattern. We spoke about the Italian presence on this front. Some people wanted to tell us about their childhood years, remembering the bombed house at the port where they lived, or their relatives died in the conflict. Obviously people often didn’t recognise our uniforms because all thinks this was an affair only between Americans and Germans. Some people stopped me because they don’t like so much our uniforms, other instead liked them too much for political reasons. I live this thing with a historical perspective and nothing more.

Our paratrooper war veteran, the immortal Santo who fought in El Alamein battle.

Some beautiful models for you.

Angry cats: Tiger und Panther.


More modest and compact Italian tank. You must had more courage if you fought in these little boxes.

And after the toys and people dressed like soldiers, a real aspect of war, the German war cemetery that we visited in the morning. People who died for the defence of another country, people sent to fight a war that they hadn’t declared, people who rest under pines and cypresses.


War chariots in SSS

One week ago Andrea came to my house to playtest some rules for new rulesets in development in the Ganesha Games factory. After a lot of time we put our minds again on Song of Spear and Shield. The last time we had some problems with chariots because this type of vehicles are a real challenge to the geometric standards that are in every game.

If you look at the gaming tables in another way, we can say that we don’t play with miniatures but with bases to find a common ground when we consider the space and the form that a man (or a lot of people represented with a single miniature at variable ratios) assumes on it. So the movement rules in games are the interaction among these bases. If we are dealing with infantry we simulate how infantry moves. But when we add cavalry all is more complicated, and sometimes we simplistically handle it as an upper men on a longer base, a rectangular one instead of the square or circular ones. When we consider chariots we have to rethink all. We have a platform, pulled by horses, with warriors that can leave it. You cannot turn easily a thing like this and you have speed inertia that don’t permit to stop the ride. And every element of the composite weapon that we call chariot can broke, die or leave. Another thing: what happens when a chariot is launched against men?

So we spent 5 hours to develop some general rules that must clear every situation with chariots. Are our solutions the right ones? Today I will be in Terni for another playtest for chariots, but this time inside a real game. A report will follow in the next days…


Flyton examples

If you can remember, I’m building a city for my 28mm soldiers, Flyton. Well, a city is a big prospective, I’m only thinking about a wargame table saturated by buildings for an urban set. I like the design of British cities, as I like Very British Civil War scenario, so I wish to reconstruct a part of them for my gaming goals. Since a couple of years I’m looking for the right terraced houses models in 1:56 (28mm) scale. I found cardboard designs for railway modelling, resin blocks, shaped MDF. But I haven’t reached a decision yet. In the meantime I started other projects, but I want to build this one once for all. Maybe in the following months I will take bricks and wood to start my city.

Here I want to show you some real masterpieces, inspiring art for my Flyton. I found these images on two posts on two forums:
Pendraken Forum
Gentlemens Wargame Parlour

Taken from Smoggycon 2011. 28mm

The same convention. Irish Civil War by Border Reiver Club. 28mm

From Phalanx 2011. 20mm

Another game with almost the same buildings. 20mm


Pagoda show

Zen Garden, the smallest skirmish game in the world, is still under construction. I’m almost ready, but not ready yet. Here we have got the pagodas, a resin production by my old chap Narciso. They are painted black and red, the base colours of the game. The next thing will be numbers on samurai sashimonos. More work for my painting staff…


A red table cloth full of minis

We think of my home as the venue of our club. In the past times we were all strictly compressed in the larger room of the house, playing 3 games of DBA at the same time, and more people were watching them. Now we are separated and dispersed, so I organised for the past holidays a playing reunion. It was hard because of distances and events, so only four people were present. Some news about the core members of our circle of friends: Luca is living in London while the third child is on arrival; Maurizio is living in Rome but our city is so chaotic that is difficult to meet each other, and a second child is on arrival; Narciso is living in Canino, a small town two hours far from Rome; Paolo is living in Swiss now with a marriage waited for August and this evening was his farewell to us. Me and Diego are always the same instead.

What you can see here is an extravaganza in small format, a 15mm DBA classic fight Roma versus Carthage but with a variation: every base is composed of 4 regular DBA bases. The overall effect is great, more troops in combat, more army look for your miniatures. The effect on the rules is that when a base is destroyed only one of the 4 bases is destroyed, so the play continues. This simulate attrition better than the disappearance of an entire base and the sudden hole in the line-up. Why none thought it before???

Here Narciso and the making of the cheap big bases. As you can see we utilised a red table cloth to play, because my home was setted for the holidays! Red instead of green, a colour not so easy to tolerate, indeed.

Later in the day, after the lunch in a Muslim fast food based on fried chicken meat and before a dinner with pizza and beer, we played two games of HOTT, the new (!) sensation in our Italian DBA world. Narciso wants to organise some tournaments so he is pushing me to compose a HOTT army. I’m thinking about a simple mummies army, my friends are thinking for me about an army based on gladiators. Another project!? I have enough of them!!! Well, maybe I will do something. However a day that we will remember.


Armoured watch tower

Most of our 3D games are bi-dimensional. You play with miniatures, that you chose with attention and painted with skill, but at the end it results as some sort of boardgame without squares for the movement. Why? Because there isn’t an adequate scene, all is limited to a flat ground with some sparse ruins around. All the fight is horizontal, bounded to the flat ground. But this is not like the real world. If you have got miniatures in a 3D world you have to fight even in vertical. Yep, it is difficult, because we have rigid pieces of lead on a base and not flexible characters. Think only to stairs and how it is impossible to place a miniature on them. But we must to do something, develop our scenarios even with a vertical prospect.

I’m building my personal little town for my little boys, Flyton. I don’t want the same flat setting, I want something more creative. So, among other things, I bought this armoured watch tower from Quantum Gothic. It is thought to support a futuristic or better a WH40k scenario, but it fits good even to my intents, because it is designed as a steel bar with a metal sentry-box, a representation good for 20th or 21th century scenarios too.

The resin pieces are solid and well made. The price is reasonably, so now I have my armoured watch tower for Flyton. Painted by blue, a dark colour, good for Britain and urban construct, I suppose.

Take a look at Quantum Gothic range, it is very good. Oh, pity! Now the website is under re-construction!


Playmobil Arena

If you don’t have the time to build your personal arena, if you have the money to buy it, if you think that resin is a bad idea, you can always buy a ready made arena of coloured plastic. You can buy a Playmobil arena.

On this blog I find this arena used for 28mm gladiators. The aspect is good and the proportions are reasonable too. Its cross section dimension is 33 inches. And it comes from a garage sale, so it was more cheap to him. After its usage by children, now it can be used by children with an adult aspect.

It is sold at about 150 US$. You can looking for it on e-Bay, Amazon or you can buy direct from Playmobil. They have got an e-commerce website and this article is still available. I look on the UK localisation and this is the address for the item.


Playing cards: gladiators

I had got for the 2010 Christmas these playing cards based on gladiators. Well illustrated (even if retiarii didn’t fight against thraeces, and other inaccuracies), they are part of a series of publications by Lo Scarabeo. They are specialised in thematic playing cards for collectors and tarots. You can find their products here. So while I’m playing with traditional games with cards, I can say I’m playing with gladiators… Well, I don’t know poker, so it is better to play with miniatures instead. And with my Ferrum et Gloria indeed!
Under here you can recognise Charon, the Etruscan god of the underworld with his peculiar hammer (on the header of this blog there is my Charon miniature!), and the “game” with Phersu that I showed in another post.