28 December 2010

Waffen-SS Tyrannosaur Division

Not many people are aware of carnage caused by Hitler's prized Waffen-SS Tyrannosaur Division. Hitler was well aware that the Allies were working on cloning dinosaurs to be used in combat, so he vowed to get their first. Using a special mix of newly emerging science and black magic the Nazi's crafted one of their deadliest weapons. The first division was ready by late 1943 in time for the Battle of Stalingrad where they proved to be highly effective but insufficient in numbers to give the Germans any real advantage.


And if there was any doubt of the menace posed...

26 December 2010

Hetzer WIP 2

Now that everyone has departed (and I'm sitting here eating fantastic leftover sandwiches) I can progress my Hetzer!
Here is the next set of WIPs with some weathering and rust effects - going for the "used but functional" look.  The special addition on the top deck is an anti-infantry 'soundkannone' with a rubberised vibration cone - based on an experimental weapon (game-wise it also stands in as an improved sight or IR system).

I also just discovered that my decal box got damp at some point so I now need to replace my decals  :-(  Apart from that (and the Tank Crew figure in progress) this vehicle is pretty much done I think.

Comments welcome as always!

25 December 2010

Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas!

And if you are wondering where the big fellah comes from, here it is Classic Traveller style! 
From: http://www.facebook.com/zhodani

And if you are still waiting (like our Friends on the other side of the international date line) you can utilise NORAD to track the sleigh's journey (thanks for the link Steve): http://www.noradsanta.org/en/index.html

Have a great and safe one everybody, 
and wishing you a gaming filled 2011!

24 December 2010

Spearpoint Stout

Man Cave Brewery is now the official beer sponsor for Collins Epic Wargames!
This is the first release, based on their Spearpoint 1943 game's box art.

You can find Collins Epic Wargames, and their online store, here http://www.frontlinegeneral.com/

Nayk Spider Mech Tank

Review and construction notes, by Martin of Little Soldiers
A KS1 Nayk Mecha advances cautiously through a village during the 1948 invasion of Hokkaido.
Copied from Martin's Blog here:

The Ultimate Eight-Legged Freak

Welcome Comrades, to this exclusive look at the Motherland's latest and greatest weapon in the Great Patriotic War against the Fascist Hitlerites: The mighty Nayk Spider Tank!

The Nayk is one of the latest additions to the amazing collection of weird and wonderful models from Westwind Productions. The biggest Allied vehicle yet released for wargaming in the Secrets of the Third Reich setting, I picked up mine from Westwind's Australian distributor, Little Soldiers. (Which should come as no surprise, seeing I own the company!!!) 

Right then, disclaimer out of the way, let's see what comes in this big box...

Thousands of Parts! No, hang on...

I won't deny that I had expected to open my Nayk kit, and discover the scaled-down equivalent to a warehouse at Tankograd waiting inside. Instead, I found a small bag of while metal detail parts, and a grand total of just four resin castings. My first reaction? "Where's the rest of this thing!?!" 

But, once I'd gotten used to the idea, I realised the relative lack of components is an absolute blessing. True, the eight legs are, essentially, 'fixed' in their poses, and damned tricky to re-position, (involving a lot of cutting, sawing, filing, bleeding and cursing, I'm sure,) but they are as sturdy as you could possibly want. My suspicion is that if the legs were done as separate castings, to be glued together at the joints, the model would have some real issues with the weight loading on each joint; but by casting the legs on each side as a single piece, the model is 'braced' and the load is carried effortlessly. 

The resin castings themselves are very clean and sharp. I think I found a total of three small air bubbles throughout, and none larger than about 0.5mm. Joy!

I left the castings out in the sun for a few hours, on a moderately warm day, to ensure any uncured resin or catalyst 'boiled' off. If you live in a country where the sun has been banished from your skies, you may need to put in a few minutes with a hairdryer to achieve a similar result. The castings were then vigorously scrubbed with hot water and detergent to ensure any mould release agent was removed.

One think I didn't like about the castings is this dirty great lump of resin poking out the bottom of the hull. I'm not sure if its there because of the need to get a substantial weight of resin to force the material all the way down to the knees, or if its to give the finished model something extra to sit on, but I decided to remove it from mine, which did require a lot of cutting, sawing, filing, bleeding and cursing. You have been warned!

All the metal components except the commander half-figure were superglued in place, while the legs were attached with 5-minute epoxy. I then thoughtfully left the model alone for 24 hours for the glue to cure completely. (Actually, I was distracted by something shiny, and forgot about it...)

Right then, out with the airbrush!

Rather than try to explain all the details of how I painted the Nayk, I would like to suggest, dear reader, that you follow this link to the lair of modelling arch-genius Fichtenfoo. Here you will find the details of a technique I had never tried before, but looking at the results he achieves, well, how could I not have a go myself? Scroll down to "12.12.08 >> Time for another blog article!" and follow the simple instructions. Brilliant, that's what it is!

All the colours you see me using here are from the Vallejo range. I have mostly used the Game Colour selection, which I find more than adequate for just about anything I need. I have, however, deliberately lightened the colours slightly, with a touch of Dead White (regulars will know how I love that colour,) to help it look a little faded.

Something else I love is Mr. Hobby Spray UV Cut Super Clear Gloss. Once I was satisfied with my Nayk's overall green, I shot the whole thing with this gloss varnish. Now I had the perfect surface for some 1/48 scale Russian armour decals, donated by an unsuspecting plastic kit. More Super Clear Gloss to seal the decals, and back to Fichtenfoo's, hairspray and salt technique before the whitewash was sprayed on.

Seriously, I don't think its possible to hand-paint a finish like this. The sheer randomness that is dictated by the salt crystals makes this a real joy, and if you think you've gone too heavy-handed at any step, just wash the whole model off, and you're back to the stage before you last applied the hairspray! It's like having a command-Z function for modelling!!!

Once I was satisfied with the overall finish, I shot more Super Clear Gloss, followed by good ol' Testors' Dullcote. The commander was painted up using the usual figure painting techniques, and glued to the cupola. (Unfortunately, he sits on top of the cupola, not inside, but I think he still looks pretty good up there.)

Citadel snow was added to the legs' bases, (its not Russian unless there's snow, right?) and, even if I do say so myself, job's a good 'un.

I'm working on a second Nayk right now, but I'm still searching for a colour scheme... straight factory red undercoat? Obscure Russian camouflage scheme? Or maybe a captured German Nayk, in Hinterhalt-Tarnung (ambush scheme) ?


And finally some basing notes from Heresy Brush

23 December 2010

Hetzer WIP

No new eye-candy for my WWW2 Germans for awhile - trying to fix that by finishing my long WIP Hetzer.

I am making an IR/improved sight being to go on the top deck above the gun, and ditched my initial idea to make track skirts and a heavy missile launcher (the missile I had will make a much better SAM launcher!)

Got the basic cam job done now, awaiting weathering and some detailing.  I tried to do something a little different than classic Ambush scheme cam to reflect the later time period, but fear I may have gone a bit far and it doesnt seem very German anymore (though I used a West German style as its basis) - I think it needs something more before I start the weathering process.  I did try some ambush style dots in the brown waves but it looked more like Australian Aboriginal artwork than camo!

Any ideas?  Thanks!

How effective is a Panzerfaust against a Troll Heinz?

Want to pull something different on your players with a REAL element of surprise? 
I remember reading thsi about 20 years agao in a magazine actually (note the original author!)

D&D is a game of many facets, and occasionally we cook up a few little surprises for the boys planning to play a "straight" battle. In this case one team was carefully primed for an upcoming WWII miniatures game, while the other team was instructed regarding a fantasy battle to be fought on the tabletop. How could we mix moderns with swords & sorcery? The structure of D&D is such that it easily lends itself to such adaptation, and brief rules will be given at the end of the article. The orders of battle, situation analyses, and objectives given to the opponents were:
AC w. 20 mm cannon
Hftk w 2 Lt. MG
Hftk w 1 Lt. MG
V W Kubelwagen
1 Hauptmann (SS equivalent), MP
3 Feldwebels (SS equivalent), SMG
3 drivers, MP
1 driver, SMG
3 crew MP
20 men
40 hand grenades
14 Rifles
2 Assault Rifles
2 Pistols
3 Pzfsts.
1 60 mm. mtr. w 20 rounds HE
I Flamethrower
There has been unusual resistance activity in this area, and in the last few days a squad of Security troops were wiped out in a battle with them. Only one old man, bearded, and with no weapons, was found at the scene of the battle. Front his dress and general appearance it would seem that he was a Russian clergyman - probably there to incite the troops to greater bravery as the Communist commissars hate failed in this respect.
The hiding place of the guerrillas is probably in a remote and wild area which is accessible only by means of a very old and rough cart track. You must proceed to this area, surround their camp, and wipe them out to a than. The suspected camp site is undoubtedly well-camouflaged, for aerial recon has found only very occasional signs of movement there.
12th Level EHP with +2 Armor & Shield. Snake Staff
1 Hero (4th Lvl), + 1 A & Sh. + 3 Swd
1 Hero (4th Lvl), + 1 A & Sh. + 1 Spear
1 Magician (6th lvl)
2 Mummies
3 Ogres
3 Ghouls
4 Trolls
19 Orcs
4 with axes
6 with swords
6 with spears
3 with bows (51 regular 9 magic arrows)
1 Insectoid pet of the EH P (equal to Giant Scorpion)
Your able lieutenants Grustiven the Warlock and the Lama Goocz have failed to return from an exploration of an area of unusual nature ? just west of your castle a thick fog sprang up and has been obscuring vision since then. Dispell Magic failed to affect the area, and your henchmen were ordered to investigate, for it is possible that some Lawful enemy is at work, using the mist to screen gathering troops. Unfortunately, your strongest fighters and 200 orcs are elsewhere warring with a Neutral Lord who insulted you, so you will have to make do with the forces on hand. An orc detailed to patrol the edge of the fog area has just reported that unusual sounds have been issuing from the area - he described them as: "low growls, the clanking of chains, and a deep humming," but who can trust a stupid orc?
Considering the state your forces are currently in, it is up to you what the best course to follow is. You can attempt to ambush the enemy before they reach your stronghold, or you can hole up in your castle and prepare to withstand a siege, but if the attackers are strong and not molested until they reach the castle walls, your forces might not be able to prevent an escalade, and you cannot lose your castle!
Light played an important part in setting up this action. The first turn of movement was done on paper by both sides, for the referee stated it was still dark. Two ten minute moves during false dawn were likewise conducted. During this phase the Germans penetrated the screen of mist, and orc scouts were sent out by the Servants’. There were three maps used for preparation and preliminary moves, the players having incomplete ones, the referee having the correct one. The maps are shown below:
The SS patrol had moved westwards parallel to the woods (and misty area) at the south end of the area. There was one 'track and a few men near the road to radio information to the advancing body in case "partisans" should appear from the trees. As the main group passed through the mist radio communications were suddenly lost. Then they were through the fog, the stream was crossed, and careful observations were made on the two astounding features which shouldn't be there! The boulders weren't shown on the headquarters map of the area, nor was an in tact castle! HALTE! came the command from the Hauptmann. The armored car 'track, and VW formed a lager. Time to reassess plans? 'The glasses revealed yellowish faces of unusual ugliness peering at the patrol from the nearby patch of rocks, and in the other too! And what was that tall shape in the far distance striding into the mists. At this moment the orcs broke cover, hoping to continue their luck; after all they had not yet been fired upon. Six automatic weapons opened up and cut the lot to bits.
This was intolerable to the EHP, and he visited a swarm of insects upon the offending Germans. The insects nearly drove the soldiers mad, and in haste they tried their best to drive them away using smoke. That and the wind relieved the situation, but only momentarily. Before the patrol could move their vehicles a man in a pointed hat and long gown appeared amongst the boulders farthest from the Germans, pointed his finger, and a great explosion ripped the VW to shreds, also destroying several of the tires on the AC. Stunned, the troopers returned fire too late to do other than wound this new enemy. Men piled into the halftrack and made haste to go somewhere - anywhere. Al this point an even closer approach to the castle seemed advisable. As the vehicle drew near the walls a rain of arrows seemed to pour upon the 'track, but the men plying the bows upon the walls were meat on the table for MG 34's, and both fell dead with a few bursts. The Germans made a complete circuit of the fortress, lobbing a few mortar shells into the place once they attained the dirt road to the east of it. More insects swarmed upon them from skies which had but moments before been clear. Time to move on again quickly, for the distraction had allowed their fellows with the AC to replace the damaged tires. They could be seen climbing back into the car and it was time to withdraw before taking worse losses.
As the halftrack roared down the road away from the castle the AC began to cross the intervening terrain to join them. Suddenly a bright flash of light (a phantasmal fireball) burst before the carrier, and the driver thought himself blinded. Luckily his co-driver slowed the vehicle sufficiently, so that it simply rolled off the road and came up against the clump of trees to the northeast of the bridge with a slight jar. The passengers were not dazed - they could see the great troll and three ghastly greenish ghouls rush forth upon them from the monsters' brushy lurking place. Near panic, the SS men blazed away with their weapons. Bullets smacked into the ghouls, and one dropped, but the other two clambered into the halftrack. The troll was also nearly into the vehicle when a desperate soldier fired point blank with his Panzerfaust; the projectile took the creature full in the chest, exploded, and sent burning chunks of troll in all directions. While this was hap pening still another monster attacked - a giant insect-like creature which somewhat resembled an impossibly large scorpion. It clambered up the front of the 'track, and from this position began attacking the men in the rear of the vehicle.
All was chaos there. The SS troopers were fighting a melee with the two ghouls, and had not one of them been particularly alert the scorpion?like monster would have wiped them out. A burst of fire from a machine pistol ? the driver had finally recovered his vision ? finished the thing. Only four Germans remained in the rear of the vehicle when the driver backed out of the trees and sent the halftrack back towards the safety of the everyday world of the Eastern Front. The armored car was awaiting them, its weapon trained down the path to cover their companions from any further attack of the nature just undergone. Nobody would believe it, had not the halftrack carried the remains of a ghoul as well as the insectoid creature draped over its hood!
Above flew an invisible magic-user, and he quickly put an end to the escape attempt of the halftrack. A sleep spell caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle, and it crashed. The occupants of the armored car knew something was wrong, but they did not know what ? nor where to look. The magician was in clear view overhead, but no soldier looked up and his next sleep spell told for the AC as well. The remaining 'track waited a short time and then hastened back to headquarters. What had happened? They could not say for certain, but what little they had observed was too fantastic for belief. The survivors of the foray were sent to rest camps, adjudged as suffering from battle fatigue.
Game Analysis:  
The transition from dunking in terms of WWII tactics to fantasy is difficult, while the modern enemies of the fantasy force were not all that different from any other opponents as far as tactics were concerned - that is to say they were not in the battle reported. However, if the SS were given a rematch it could be a far different story, for the long range potential and the rapid fire ability of the small arms would surely take a terrible toll. Magic and melee would generally weigh heavily against the Germans (or any similar soldiers from the modern period), but the match would be a near thing. While it would take something like radar to spot invisible opponents, the large caliber weapons would be irresistible most of the time. In this case there was no doubt that the Servants of the Gatherer won handily.

22 December 2010

Panzer Proposals

E Series
In mid-1943 a programme for the development of a completely new series of AFV's was initiated by the German Weapons Department. The principal intention was to draw upon the potential of those firms in the automobile industry who were not yet engaged in AFV production. The vehicles were to be standardised within the shortest possible time and were to be capable of being used in a variety of rules with a maximum commonality of component parts.

The following types were planned: 

E-5 A light vehicle in the 5-ton class, intended to serve as a light armoured personnel carrier, small tank, radio-controlled tank or recce tank.

E-10 In the 10-ton class, intended as a personnel carrier, light tank destroyer or weapons carrier.


E-25 In the 25-ton class intended as a reconnaissance tank, medium tank destroyer or heavy weapon carrier. Development contracts went to Argus, though there was aPorsche design for a vehicle of this class.


E-50 In the 50 to 65-ton class as a light battle tank intended eventually to replace the Panther. Development contracts went to Adler, Argus and Auto-Union


E-75 In the 75 to 80-ton class this was a medium battle tank intended as a Tiger replacement. The development contract went to Adler. The E-50 and E-75 were to be equipped with the Maybach H 234 engine producing 1200hp at 3000rpm, and the Makrudo mechanical/hydrolic two-speed clutch steering gear. In appearance and size they were similar but the E-75 was to be more heavily armoured


E-100 In the 140-ton class this was to be the heaviest tank. Development was undertaken by Adler and a hull with suspension was produced, but it was scrapped in late 44.

The Landkreuzer P.1000 "Ratte" ("Rat") was a super-heavy tank designed by Krupp in 1942. Hitler gave the project his blessing and the program set about to create the most powerful tank ever devised. It was an ambitious undertaking to say the least and - should it have been built - would also have become the largest tank ever produced. Albert Speer, the German Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich, saw the fruitlessness of such an endeavor and cancelled the P.1000 in early 1943. As such, the Ratte never made it off of the drawing boards.

Overall Length: 114.83ft (35.00m)   Width: 45.93ft (14.00m)   Height: 36.09ft (11.00m)
Crew 20
Weight: 1,000.0 Tons 
Armour:     Maximum: 360 mm - Minimum: 150 mm Armament Suite:
PRIMARY:           2 x 280mm 54.5 SK C/34 naval guns
SECONDARY:    1 x 128mm KwK 44 L/55 anti-tank gun
                             8 x 20mm Flak 38 anti-aircraft cannons
                             2 x 15mm Mauser MG 151/15 autocannons


Engine(s): 8 x Daimler-Benz MB501 20-cylinder marine engines developing 16,000 horsepower OR 4 x MAN V12732/44 24-cylinder marine diesel engines developing 17,000 horsepower.
Maximum Speed: 25mph (40 km/h)Systems:

Obviously all of these were abandoned in the late war era, but what could have been by 1949....

Since researching this, I've found that Agis Neugebauer has done an amazing job writing his own wargaming supplmene tup for these Panzer Prototypes here:

More here at these sites:

21 December 2010


Storm Front

Just watched this 2 part episode of Enterprise, at the start of Series 4.  It really got my WWW2 juices flowing!  From a Swastika draped White House the Germans control the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.  It is  then revealed that an alien species has formed an alliance with the Germans and provided them with advanced technology.  Some of the cool screen grabs:

White House Kommand Post

 Alien Nazis: handy!

 Plasma Flak Unit

Super-Stuka with weapon upgrades!

 The German salient on Eastern coast of the US

Alien tech in a German factory

20 December 2010

Gone with the Blastwave

A great little web-comic updated periodically.  Give yourself a laugh and check it out.

Man Cave Calendar

Just in case you were wondering what to get me for the Cave for Christmas... its the "Tactical Girls of 2011" wall calendar!


Rotary Assault Tank

This WWW2 tank image was captured at the IPMS Scale Model World Show at Telford, from Dampf's modelling page.  Very cool! (regardless of its practicality)

19 December 2010

Sternkrieg:1949 - Update

You may recall that I blogged earlier this year (http://tasmancave.blogspot.com/2010/06/sternkrieg1949.html) regarding these goodies for orbital combat in late WW2.

Well as promised, Martin has now delivered more on the US Space Forces, who are determined to make sure those Nazi saucer-krauts dont have it all their own way!  Thanks Martin!


18 December 2010

2010 Reflections

The Christmas ground-rush is again in progress.  Last year I did a bit of review of what I'd done, so what has the Man Cave achieved this year?  Firstly I guess it got picked up and moved 800kms south at the start of the year (and inevitably some things remain in boxes) but what else?

I attended and hosted more gaming events than I ever have this year.  Went to Arcanancon with Owen in Jan, played some games at Little Wars later in the year, attended the NWA Open Day, and caught up with Comrade James for some gaming in Sydney.

The Man Cave hosted gaming events this year too, including HULKEX and GameFest.  So no regular weekly gaming as I'd hoped (darn that work thing) but a big step up which was great, and reconnecting with old buddies has been fantastic.  The social gaming aspect has definitely been my favourite part of the year.

Probably my biggest modelling success this year has been my foray into WWW2 with my German Army.  Still lots to go but I really concentrated on making this a unique and well painted (well for me anyway) force - more to come with these guys.

Bought an PanO force for Infinity but despite my desire to get them into action I simply haven't had a a chance to get to them yet - darn it.  Same same for my Vikings, but the first have been assembled and I'll be doing a small force over the Christmas break to go raiding with!

As usual I bought some rulebooks but haven't done much with them...

Game wise I have bought a few different things this year, like Spearpoint 43 and Death Watch.  Playing DW over Skype with James was probably the most innovative thing I've done this year and I think it has some real potential for the future.  Most amusing purchase for the year:  Toe-to-Toe Nu’klr Combat with the Rooskies

All the stuff I bought this year is detailed here

Managed to stay both married and employed - don't take this for granted! 

I wrote a scenario book for the game Aeronef and had it published by Wessex Games.

I won a Gretel Von X figure (the first gaming prize I've ever won!)

This year this Blog has really grown in content and audience.  The frequent eye-candy and game reports by Comrade James have been fantastic and really added variety to my ramblings, thanks mate.  Overall, a few more posts than last year and in excess of 28k visitors - thank you all!

Finally, Man Cave Brewery has produced over 400 litres of beer this year!   Sadly though, there is some sort of evaporative problem with my bottles as I only have about 200 full bottles left...

So overall I have to say that was a pretty good year across a range of areas, and as usual it went to lots of different places I didn't expect.

Whats in store for 2011?  Frankly, I'm giving up try to guess as its never accurate anyway! (Apart from a scheduled relocation again at the end of 2011) I'll just assume it will be like every other year with many twists, turns and purchases with an overall aim of having FUN :-)

17 December 2010

Nuk'lr Mission Log

I've made up a handy mission log for your nuclear strikes into Soviet Russia.  You'll find it at BGG here: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/61997/b-52-mission-log

15 December 2010

Toe to Toe Review

First up, I can't believe this purchase arrived within 4 working days, including postage from the US to Australia and during the Christmas rush!  Champion service VPG, many thanks.

The "Big Board" - Toe to Toe map cleverly inserted into a Dr Strangelove still: Great work! (pic from BGG)
This game is a a A5 sized game, packed in a self sealing plastic bag and perfect for travel.  Its very much a home made product- all good stuff but not a glossy, professional finish.  No less playable, but a little less WOW factor that you might normally expect.  That said, I think its the best $15 I've ever spent on a game.  In comparison, less than a single GW character figure.
Its simple, disturbingly fun and the Dr Strangelove theme is enmeshed in everything right down to quotes on the game cards.  This is truly a labour of love. and it shows.
B-52 lined up ready for Ingress on the "Green Route" (pic from BGG)
How does it work?  Choose 1 of 4 targets and the associated ingress/egress routes on the "big board'.  Load up your B-52G with nukes (max payload of 60Mt) and take off.  Manage your height and fuel, and you have a selection of defensive systems from chaff, flares, the odd AIM-7 or a AGM-27 HOUND DOG.  Each sector may contain a threat (fixed SAM or MiG Defence) and a randomly selected Soviet Defence counter which could be more SAMs and MiGs, or random events via event cards.  SAMs have a varied to hit roll (d6) depending on threat level and altitude, but inflict fixed damage. MiGs have a fixed to Hit roll, but variable damage (all the roll targets are on the big board too, so no flicking back to the book at all - very neat design). Acquire 25 points of damage and you're toast.  Along the way present Uncle Sam's nuclear regards onto primary, secondary and tertiary targets for varying VPs, then get home (you'll need to manage your fuel for this) and tally up the VPs. 
B52 status board - easy tracking of your status with amrkers.  The Coybow hat is for VPs! (Pic from BGG)
Lots of fun (AARs to follow) and takes approx 10-20 min per sortie, or play a campaign with all four missions.  Nowhere near the die rolling of B-17, but only having four missions may be a bit of a replayability issue.  VPG have lots of other expansions for their games though, so I can see a new map and cards being available soon.  There is also lots of capacity for more Soviet/Warsaw Pact targets or perhaps even flying into China or North Korea to fry up other Commies - Ye-ha!

14 December 2010