Monday, 24 June 2019

RCW Vehicles 

As a break from endless pictures of our China trip, here are the three Matchbox Yesteryear models I converted to Bolshevik use back at the beginning of June.

I have experimented with using my Sony Camcorder on photo mode, rather than the camera in my Samsung phone. They certainly are much clearer images - but perhaps TOO clear - no hiding any of the faults with this level of detail - ah well!

One armoured car and two trucks completed. I have two more open backed trucks, both based on Ford Model T chassis, ready for a spray undercoat, plus the staff car

Above and below, the two turreted Armoured Car, based on the Talbot truck chassis

Below, Model T Ford truck exactly as manufactured, just with a new paint job


Above and below, the Crossley coal truck with sacks and cab roof removed.


Friday, 21 June 2019

China Visit - Phase Two

After three days in Beijing, we spent most of the next day travelling from there to Wuxi, arriving mid afternoon. We had the night in this smallish (by Chinese standards) city, visiting a shopping area and grabbing some dinner in the evening, before visiting the second largest fresh water lake in China next morning. We were then subjected to another hard sell visit to a pearl factory before making the one hour bus trip to our next stop, Suzhou

Wuxi, pop 6 million, a city near Shanghai in eastern China, sits on the banks of Taihu, one of China's largest freshwater lakes. Surrounding Taihu are walking trails, a 115m-tall Ferris wheel and parks such as Yuantouzhu (Turtle Head Isle). Another major park is Lingshan, whose notable Buddhist sites include the bronze Grand Buddha statue, which is more than 80m high


Taihu Lake, Wuxi - allegedly if you hold hands with your partner as you walk over this bridge, you will spend all this life with them PLUS your next two reincarnated lives....

Park on the banks of Taihu Lake, Wuxi



Old shopping area at dusk, Wuxi


There were 29 fresh water pearls in this one shell. Anything under 8mm diameter, they grind up and use in medicines or cosmetics. Pearl factory, Wuxi.


Street views in Wuxi. There were a lot of trees and also shrubbery etc everywhere we went, even along the motorway verges. The tress are painted at the bottom to prevent wood boring insects getting into them



Suzhou, pop 5 million, a city west of Shanghai, is known for its canals, bridges and classical gardens. The Humble Administrator’s Garden, dating to 1513, contains zigzag bridges over connected pools and islands. The Lingering Garden features ornate viewing pavilions and the Crown of Clouds Peak, a striking limestone rockery. Tiger Hill is home to the 7-story, leaning Cloud Rock Pagoda at its summit.


The above and following images are of the Lingering Garden, where we spent about two hours. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and very impressive. Fun fact - the entrance gate in the surrounding wall is quite small and unprepossessing - because if it was too showy and attracted attention, the emperor might realise how grand the garden was and be jealous of or annoyed at its owner!






Suzhou is also known as the Venice of the East although it is not sinking, as all the canals here are man made and fed by fresh water as it is an inland city, unlike its counterpart in Italy.


Bridges over canal, Suzhou


The next several photos are of the canal trip we did, which lasted about an hour









After the cruise, we had about ninety minutes to find lunch in the adjacent historical streets - below





I am sure that is enough photos for today - loading them via the blog site I use takes AGES! This post has probably taken me over an hour to create, so I hope its of interest :)









Thursday, 20 June 2019

Wednesday Night Game - Fantasy with House Rules

To give you a break from pictures of China, here are some of a game I had with my friend Andrew last night at his place. The rules used were created by Andrew and are a version of ones we used many years ago.

Basically, units activate one at a time, back and forth between players. They can activate once, twice or more, but each time, they do so with one less D6.

To activate, standard units roll 4 D6, heroes or specials 5 D6. A one is a "fail" and a 5 or 6 a "success" - it was quite simple to get a hang of but may be complicated to explain - lets try!

A unit rolls 4 D6b to activate.

If it rolls 1 3 4 and 6, it can move because 1 cancels out the 6 but does not exceed it. All dice count to a total of 14 inches - if cavalry, dragon etc, it can move 14 but infantry have a max move of 12

If the roll is 1 1 5 and 6 - the two 1 cancel out the 2 success, so its a failed move and the unit goes nowhere

If its 1 1 4 6 - there is one more fail than success - unit does not move AND takes a shock marker - when unit gets to total of 4 (or 5 for those rolling 5 D6), its removed from play

Combat works similarly although getting more 1's does not add any damage, they just counter any successes - so 1 1 5 6 would be no hits.

To charge, its a combination of both - so - roll 1 4 5 6 - unit can move because 2 success v 1 fail. The max move is 16 (or 12 for infantry) Assuming target is within range, the charger reaches them and causes 2 shock markers (from the 5 and 6) The unit attacked can take it and the owning player can choose to activate a different unit OR the attacked unit can attempt to resist - to do so roll 4 (or 5) D6 - any success cancels out the attacker - so if defender rolled 3 5 5 6, two of the success would cancel the attackers 5 and 6, and the third one would inflict a shock on the attacker!

The fact that you can choose the same unit three times in a row, then take break, then go back to it again on the fifth activation, often means some units sit around doing nothing half the game. Each time you activate consecutively, you go down a D6 PLUS you drop another D6 for each shock. So in the example above, the unit that originally charged, if it wanted to continue the melee, would be -1 D6 because it took an action in the previous turn plus -1 D6 for the shock - it would roll 2 D6 to continue the melee whereas the defender would roll 3 D6 - original 4 -1 for the first round of action.

Those are almost all the rules - if you rolled two or more 3's, it produced a Random Event generated by rolling 2 D6 and consulting a chart Andrew has created - attacking unit removes one shock, nearest hero retires 2 D6 inches etc. Rough ground hills etc you roll 1 less D6 for movement.

We played for close to three hours and Andrew came out on top. My force was trying to get units off Andrews table edge - one point for each that succeeded - Andrew gained points for any unit he destroyed. I think he ended up 2 or 3 ahead - I got thre units off but lost about 6 :(

Here are the images, all the figures are Andrews, painted by him - God knows what they all are, they are from a multitude of sources - kick starter board games etc!

First blood - my dragon dealt to a unit of winged something or others!

More weird creatures from Andrews force move forwards

Dragon in combat with two heroes, who combined to destroy it - boo!

Is this a Gruffalo???

The leading cavalry unit close to destruction (three shock markers) after combat with one of Andrews heroes

Two more strange looking creatures

Two units of undead infantry plus a giant spider

Andrews magic maker and side kick

My army looked a bit more conventional - apart from the deceased dragon!

This was where most of the action occurred

After I dispatched the magic maker, his side kick engaged a unit of cavalry to prevent them exiting Andrews table edge


Giant spider attacking a poor defenceless girl - ok she was magic maker and had already killed two or three of Andrews units - but she is still a girl!

The same position as the image three above - I got three units of infantry off I think but Andrew had killed the cavalry and the spider is just about to finish off my sorceress.




All good fun and really nice to play with rules that are so simple, you don't even need a quick reference sheet - of course, they could never be produced commercially, because they could not be stretched out to thirty or forty pages to justify paying $30 or $40!

More Chinese photos next time probably!

Monday, 17 June 2019

China Trip - Part Two

OK I think three days is long enough to get as many visitors/comments as I am likely to get, so tonight I will load Part Two of our Great Chinese Experience!


This will cover days Three and Four in Beijing and then our trip by High Speed Train from Beijing to the city of Wuxi.

Chinese Medicine College body map figure

Male Lion at the Summer Palace - male is always on the right as you look at the building and always has a ball under its paw, representing power - the female always has a cub under her paw

The Marble Boat, also known as the Boat of Purity and Ease, at the Summer Palace in Beijing

Summer Palace of the Dragon Lady (Dowager Empress)

Central area of the Summer Palace

Beijing Traffic sign with happy motorcycle cop!

Chinese soldiers changing guard - at the Zoo! Not quite sure why, the only other place we saw soldiers on  formal guard was Tiananmen Square...and at both places they were completely unarmed, as were all the police officers we saw...and in 9 days I heard an emergency vehicle siren ONCE - didn't hear one at all during the four days we spend in Beijing, a city of 24 million and 6 million vehicles!

A grumpy panda who had been pushed outside to entertain the visitors - every minute or so he went back to the locked door to the inside enclosure and tried to get in!

View from a pedal rickshaw in the Hulong district

Bell tower in Hulong district 

Police vehicles at the zoo


Chinese supermarket - 1 yuan = about NZ 22 cents, so the bottled water to the right was about NZ $1.40 for a dozen bottles! And don't ask me what "scattered food" is - I don't know either - maybe a mistranslation of loose!

Beijing Nan (South) Station 

Ticket on the train from Beijing South to Wuxi East. The number in bottom left -505xxx - is my passport number - our passports were checked at Tiananmen Square when the guide bought tickets as well as by the ladies in uniform in the picture below before we were allowed on the platform...we also had to go through airport like security at the railway station entrance, several people had aerosol cans etc removed by the police/security officers there!



The full route of the train we took

Train not quite at full speed - which is 331 km/h

Three views from the window of Chinese countryside



That's all for tonight - will leave it till Wednesday and post the next exciting instalment!