Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Star Wars Campaign

I am going to start a small Star Wars Campaign!

I am basing it loosely on the old WEG Games Brak Sector book.

Initially, the rebels will have a small fleet to attack disrupt the Imperials with.

Rebel Forces

Assault Frigate - Orion                                          X-Wing Squadrons - 3                                           
Nebulon B Frigate - Lost Horizon                        Y-Wing Squadrons - 6
Nebulon B Frigate - Deep Impact                         Z95 Squadrons - 4
3 Corellian Corvettes                                            Assault Shuttles - 6
8 Tramp Freighters                                               Rebel Transports - 3                                                                    

Imperial Forces

The Imperial Forces are quite large, and are impossible to take on head-to-head.  The core of their fleet are 10 Imperial I&II Star Destroyers.  They have 6 Victory Star Destroyers, and 3 Interdictor Star Destroyers.  They have a large number of other ships to attack.


The Rebel mission is to disrupt the Imperial presence here.  Initially, the rebels will have to attack convoys and transports.  If they have some successes then more forces may come from the rebel command.


The rebels have 4 bases to start with.  De'nel, Intran, Jinet, and Tel
The main Imperial bases are at Bacrana, Rehn, Skone, and Garia.  


I'm doing this as a solo game.  I am using Victory By Any Means to determine some of the items.  Intel is the most important thing.  The rebels have a decent inetl network to start with.  They have 12 points per turn to spend.  The Imperials aren't doing quite so well themselves, and they only have 10, however, there will always be 2 points spent on each of their home bases to defend against enemy intel, so they only have 2 points to try and ferret out the location of the rebel forces.

Also, each system has a loyalty number to the Empire.  The events that happen each turn can have an impact on that, which in turn can increase or decrease the intel available to each side.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Review


If you are worried about finding out something that you didn't know, then don't read any more!

I can remember in the late 1990s hearing the news that someone was making The Lord of The Rings into a movie.  I was so excited!  Then as we rolled into the turn of the new century, more and more news came out including many pictures and clips.  In April of 2000, the first trailer rolled out, and then in 2001 I charged to the theater to see this long anticipated movie.

The first movie was great, but the second was very frustrating if you liked the books.  The third was better.  Overall the movies were enjoyable, though they didn't follow the books as well as I liked.

Then they announced that The Hobbit would be made.  Rumors started flying.  They would do a movie, then 2 movies, and finally 3 movies.  Three movies from a single book!

The first movie was very good, and I enjoyed it for the most part.  It wasn't perfect though. The combat was over-the-top, and was a little annoying.  Also, I hated the bunny rabbit sled!.

The second movie came out and it was even more over the top at times.  The barrel riding fight scene was ridiculous.

Now, The Battle of The Five Armies

This movie had the usual great effects.  I saw the 3D version, which was well done.  You really feel immersed in the movie because of the well done 3D effects.  It's worth a couple of extra dollars to see the 3D version if you can.

The movie starts off quickly.  The first few minutes deal with Smaug's attack on Laketown.  It deviates from the book some, but catches the spirit of the battle.  I do think it might have lost something since it was in a separate movie.  Unless you watch the second movie right before this, there is a little disconnect with the battle scene.  Still, overall, this part was pretty well done.

Gandalf and the White Council

Next, we cut to Gandalf at Dol Guldur.  Gandalf is there alone until Galadriel, Saruman and Elrond show up.  They do battle with the Nazgul and eventually the Necromancer himself.  This is exciting and it does a good job of  foreshadowing Saruman's fall to Sauron.  This took place behind the scenes in the book, but it makes a good addition for the whole overall storyline between the two sets of movies.

The Battle of The Five Armies

As the movie titles implies, this is the central element of the entire movie, however, for a movie named after this battle, most of the major storyline happens AWAY from the battle.  The battle strays farther and farther from Tolkien's story.  Once again fighting is way over the top with almost everyone being a bit of a ninja.

One of the things which made the battle so good in the books is that you never realized that they were about to fight the battle.  No one had a clue that the orcs were coming until Gandalf showed up and said that they were there.

In the movie that was different.  They kept telling us all through the beginning that an army was coming.  There was no surprise, and yet the forces of good still weren't ready when the evil armies showed up.  

Bard and all of the people from Laketown set up in the ruins of Dale, and there the orcs and trolls went about massacring a massive number of the civilians.  Bard and his folks fight in here, which gets a good amount of coverage.

The main battle though gets very little.  Dain and his dwarves along with Thranduil and his elves are seen fighting the first wave of orcs, but then that fight is only glimpsed a few times after that.  Dain apparently had to leave his castle in Scotland and take his beloved pig with him.  He has an awful accent and rides a pig into battle!

What they cover instead is Thorin and a couple of other dwarves go after Azog(who shouldn't even be there).  Then Legolas and Tauriel follow to help.  This leads to some of the most over the top scenes in the whole series.  There is one where Legolas is fighting Bolg on a tower that is crumbling under his feet.  He runs up rocks that are falling to the ground below.  It is something from a cartoon!

You barely catch a glimpse of Beorn, and he doesn't get to kill Bolg, Legolas gets that honor here.  You also never get to find out about what happened to the armies AFTER the battle.  Thorin kills Azog, and then dies, and the battle is over.  What happened to Dain?  What happened to Bard?  Did Beorn help at all?  

The end of the movie just seems to be overedited and I would assume that some of those things will be resolved in the extended edition of the movie.


If you don't care if the movie follows the book, and you don't mind cartoonish action, then you will probably enjoy this movie because it is full of action, and flows together rather well.  If you are a fan of Tolkien, then you will realize that this movie has very little similarities to the books, and at times is so over the top, that you may find yourself saying(as I did) at times, "This is stupid!"

Sunday, December 7, 2014

More Star Wars ships from Utar's Ships

I have recently acquired a few more ships for my Star Wars line.  I had the good fortune of finding Utar Ships and buying a few from him.  He is a hobbyist and made some ships for his games and he has made them available to others to buy.  He was pleasant and easy to deal with, and I would recommend buying from him!

On to the ships...

He has originally created ships for the WOTC game, and so many of his ships vary in scale as do the
WOTC ships.  Recently though, he has started doing a line of 1:4222 ships, which I thought might work with my fighters.  I wanted some shuttles and small freighters so I thought I would give it a shot.

I ordered a small group of ships.  I ordered the bulk freighter, which if you ever played X-Wing video games, you will be familiar with, GR-75 Medium Transport, Gama Class Assault Transport, and Shuttle, Lamda Class Shuttle, and I meant to order the Delta Class DX-9 Stormtrooper Transport, but I got something that I am not quite sure what it is.  I'll have to find out because I like it.

General Impression.

The sculpting quality is very good.  I am not sure if they were 3D print models or hand made, but either way, I found them very well done.  The level of detail isn't quite as high as Odyssey Slipways, but it is as good or better than most other manufacturers that I have seen.  I am very pleased with the quality of the designs.  Utar offers ships that are cleaned of release agents and have flash removed.  I ordered the ones that didn't have this done in order to save a few dollars.  I fond them to be very clean overall.  They had only a minor amount of flash and each one had the casing sprue.  The plastic is relatively soft and easy to clean.  Most ships had the sprue on the bottom, so that it wasn't an issue anyway.  The only ship I had any problem with was the Lamda Shuttle.
This is after cleaning the flash.  If you look closely, you can see the line near the back of the wing.  I don't think you will notice once it's painted.

You can see the flash at the bottom.
This is the bottom.  Sprues can be seen on the end at the right, and the top left corner.

Sprues on the bottom of the wings

Sprue on the nose

The big question though is do they fit with my fleet?

Here are some comparison pictures.  The ships that they are pictured with are my Odyssey Slipways Nebulon B Frigate, and my Hallmark Star Destroyer, and then finally X-Wings from Studio Bergstrom.  
The Rebel Transport made famous in Empire Strikes Back

I will use these for my Rebel Assault Shuttles

These Assault Shuttles were from the WEG Star Wars RPG

I blew up many of these in X-Wing video game!

Now, for the actual sizes of the ships.

This guy was hard to stand up for a picture!

In Conclusion

I will be ordering more ships from Utar, and I hope that he continues to increase his production!  With the soon to be released Star Wars Armada from Fantasy Flight Games, I can see a big future for ships from the Extended Universe being used.

Battle of Resaca Reenactment

Resaca was a battle that happened during the Atlanta campaign on 13-15 May, 1864.  It featured about 90,000 Union and 60,000 Confederate troops.  The battle was a bit of a stalemate until Sherman's forces moved around the Confederates threatening to cut them from the railroad.

The reenactment was on a somewhat gloomy and chilly Saturday.  There were about 3,000 reenactors at the battle, so it was a small fraction of the actual battle.  One of the nice things about this reenactment is that they have it set so that most of the fighting is right in front of you, so you have a good view of the show.

The casualties at the end of the day