All posts by Count Belisarius

And we’re back!

After many weeks of faffing and disillusionment with the whole blogging thing I seem finally to be back after the blog getting hacked last year. I’m still unsure on the actual cause. I suspect that while working on my website I tried to link to data in the blog and possibly left something vulnerable there. Either way some hacker from Turkey managed to inject loads of malware throughout the blog. Every post, page, media item was infected and despite numerous attempts to clean things it just wouldn’t go away. This kind of put me off blogging for a while as I really thought I’d lost 11 years of recording my hobby!

However, after a bit of research I finally sat down a few days ago to sort it all out. The basic process was…

  1. Export ALL posts and pages and use a decent text editor to remove all the spam links from the generated XML file
  2. Wipe the entire subdomain the blog sat in and recreate the subdomain as a separate website to the main one.
  3. Install a clean copy of WordPress and all the assorted plugins I need to keep it clean.
  4. Import the old blog.
  5. Scan the hell out of it both locally and remotely – it seems to come up clean

There are still a few issues with the media library but that is only related to old posts so I’m not too bothered and may fix it later… And some of the pages that used a multi-column formatting plugin no longer work so they will either need reformatting or moving to the new website when I get round to it…

In the meantime, to get my mojo moving again, I’ve been sorting through my Cold War microarmour and using a lot of the older WarPac kit to start off a small Polish force. I posted this on Facebook before Christmas but thought I’d drop the images in here just for completeness!

I’ve got a load more done and ready to upload but they can sit in their own new post. I’m also working on various bits of Soviet kit: ferries, bridging, dozers etc. and a pile more tanks as you can never have too many!

Fingers crossed this stays clean

And Happy New Year!

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Shilka Publishing – a little review

I’ve picked up a few books from Shilka Publishing in the past: THE BEAR MARCHES WEST: 12 SCENARIOS FOR 1980S NATO VS WARSAW PACT WARGAMES provided some interesting scenarios for the Cold War turning hot; THE SOTCW WORLD WAR I COMPENDIUM contains a wealth of resources gleaned from the pages of the SOTCW Journal. And as part of my various Cold War gaming activities I picked up RED STEEL: SOVIET TANKS AND COMBAT VEHICLES OF THE COLD WAR as a nice little summary of Soviet tanks and AFVs. This book is no longer available and its replacement(s) is what leads to this post.

Quite a few weeks ago I entered a little competition announced by Russell Phillips of Shilka to win a copy of his latest books covering the same topic of Warsaw Pact combat vehicles. The single Red Steel volume is to be replaced by up to four new volumes covering the assorted combat vehicles of the Warsaw Pact in more depth. The first volume was already available: TANKS AND COMBAT VEHICLES OF THE WARSAW PACT 

And the next volume was almost ready for release: COMBAT ENGINEERING EQUIPMENT OF THE WARSAW PACT 

The competition was to win a copy of the first Volume and an early release copy of the new one (it is due for publication on 7th November). I was lucky enough to win the competition and a week later Russell sent me the two books. I must apologise for the delay in posting about this as it has been close to six weeks! However, having started to return to my Cold War gaming I’ve finally been dipping into these books so a little review is in order.

Print quality is good. They are softback, well bound, and the ‘feel’ of the covers is of good quality. The bulk of the book is printed on what I would describe as paperback type paper but is clear and well printed and as all photos are black and white is fine for the purpose. Vol. 1 covers the following vehicles: 

TR-77-580 (Romania)
TR-85 (Romania)

Infantry Fighting Vehicles
BMP-23 (Bulgaria)
MLI-84 (Romania)

Armoured Personnel Carriers
OT-810 (Czechoslovakia)
OT-62 (Czechoslovakia/Poland)
OT-64/SKOT (Czechoslovakia/Poland)
PSZH-IV (Hungary)
TAB-71 (Romania)
TAB-77 (Romania)
MLVM Mountaineers Combat Vehicle (Romania)

Anti-Tank Vehicles

Reconnaissance Vehicles
BRM-23 (Bulgaria)
FÚG (Hungary)

Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Weapons
BTR-40A & BTR-152A
ZSU-23-4 Shilka
SA-4 Ganef
SA-6 Gainful
SA-8 Gecko
SA-9 Gaskin
SA-10 Grumble
SA-11 Gadfly
SA-12 Gladiator
SA-13 Gopher
M53/59 (Czechoslovakia)

Self-Propelled Guns, Howitzers, and Mortars
2S1 Gvozdika
2S3 Akatsiya
2S4 Tyulpan
2S5 Giatsint-S
2S7 Pion
2S9 Nona
2S19 Msta
vzor 77 Dana (Czechoslovakia)

Multiple Rocket Launchers
BM-21 Grad
BM-27 Uragan
BM-30 Smerch
BM 9A51 Prima
RM-51 (Czechoslovakia)
RM-70 (Czechoslovakia)

Tactical Ballistic Missiles
SS-1 Scud
SS-12 Scaleboard
SS-21 Scarab
SS-23 Spider

and Vol. 2 covers:

River Crossing
Vehicle-Launched Bridges
MT-34 (Czechoslovakia)
BLG-60 (Poland/DDR)
MT-55A (Czechoslovakia)
AM-50 (Czechoslovakia)
SMT-1 (Poland)

Pontoon Bridges
PP-64 (Poland)
LMS (Czechoslovakia)
SMS (Czechoslovakia)
PR-60 (Romania)

Amphibians and Ferries

Bridging Boats
BMK-70 and BMK-90
BB-120 (DDR)
KH-200 (Poland)
Mo-108, Mo-111, Mo-930 (Czechoslovakia)

Line of Communication Bridges
PVM, LVM, TVM Suspension Bridges
SP-19 Self-Propelled Pontoon Bridge
TMS (Czechoslovakia)
MS-1 (Czechoslovakia)
DMS-65 (Poland)
ESB-16 (DDR)
SBG-66 (DDR)
SB-30 and SB-45 (DDR)

Mine Warfare
Helicopter Minelaying Equipment
GMZ and GMZ-2
PMR-2, PMR-3, and PMZ-4
MLG-60 (DDR)

Mine Detection
VIM-625 and VIM-695 Portable Mine Detectors
VIM-203M Metallic Mine Detector
UMIV-1 Portable Mine Detector
IMP Portable Mine Detector
DIM Vehicle-Mounted Mine Detector
VISF Model 1946 Portable Mine Detector (Bulgaria)
M62 Portable Mine Detector (Bulgaria)
M-10 and M-11 Portable Mine Detectors (Czechoslovakia)
MSG 64 Portable Mine Detector (DDR)

Mine Clearance
PT-54, PT-54M, and PT-55 Mine Rollers
KMT-4 Mine Plough
KMT-5 Mine Plough and Rollers
KMT-6 Mine Plough
KMT-7 Mine Plough and Rollers
KMT-8 Mine Plough
KMT-10 Mine Plough
MTK Armoured Mine-Clearing Vehicle
MTK-2 Armoured Mine-Clearing Vehicle
ITB-2, SPZ-2, and SPZ-4
UZ-1 and UZ-2 Bangalore Torpedoes
PW-LWD (Poland)
Tank-Mounted Rollers and Ploughs (Czechoslovakia)
Trailer-based system (Czechoslovakia)

Armoured Engineer Vehicles
IMR Combat Engineer Vehicle
IMR-2 Combat Engineer Vehicle
IRM Engineer Reconnaissance Vehicle
ADZM Engineer Vehicle
MT-LB Engineer Vehicles

Recovery and Repair Vehicles
T-34 ARVs
T-54 (A) and T-54 (B) (DDR)
MTP-1 (Bulgaria)
AD-090 Wheeled Recovery Vehicle (Czechoslovakia)
VT-34 (Czechoslovakia)
VT-55A (Czechoslovakia)
VT-72B (Czechoslovakia)
VPV (Czechoslovakia)
SU-76 Armoured Workshop Vehicle (DDR)
WPT-TOPAS (Poland)
WZT-1 (Poland)
WZT-2 (Poland)
WZT-3 (Poland)

Earth-Moving Equipment
BAT Digger
BAT-2 Digger
BTM and BTM-TMG Digger and Ditcher
PZM and PZM-2 Digger and Ditcher
MDK-2 and MDK-3 Excavator
E-305V Single-Bucket Crane Shovel
DOK Dozer (Czechoslovakia)

So there is a lot covered in both volumes! Each entry gives a good summary of the service of the vehicle, main variants, stats and most entries include a photo. I have other books on the same subject matter. Lots of Ospreys as well. Some go into extensive detail, some less so but these two volumes give a really good overview of the subject with lots of quite obscure vehicles getting an entry. I’ve dipped into them many times over the last few weeks. Lots of info and handy to have on the desk as they are not bulky books. Yes, there are more photos on the internet. Yes, you can find more detail on the internet. But for a good handy overview I would recommend them. And if you buy the paper copy then you can also download a copy of the eBook as well.

The following two volumes are currently being worked on. The first, Artillery, will encompass mortars, RCLs, multiple rocket launchers, etc. After that it’ll probably be anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons. There will be some crossover with earlier books, but altogether they will provide a tidy reference. Recommended.


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A Modern Dilemma…

Well, not a dilemma as such, more a bit of a shock as I delved into the 1/300th lead pile…

The last week or so has seen lots of posts about the big Cold War Commander game in Grimsby. Andy M’s blog gives a good overview. I knew I had lots of unfinished stuff foir my Moderns in the attic and as I’ve been struggling on painting ANYTHING I thought I’d throw together some microarmour as it is usually quite quick to do. I have a couple of Scotia Lebeds so quite fancied doing some Soviet Naval Infantry. For this I’ll need some BTR60s and some T-55s. I’ve got some of the Skytrex T-55s but to be honest they are a bit basic. The chaps over the Cold War Commander forum pointed me some the recent T55 variants that Heroics and Ros have released. And very nice they are too! So I dug out the assorted boxes to see what I had…

First off is the half finished Brits from about two years ago:

I had just been tidying these up and basing them but the remaining ones seems to be from too many batches with different paint jobs so I may be tempted to strip and re-paint them. Sometime…

I also have the other remains of Belgian stuff and other odd NATO things…

But the bulk of everything is the WarPac stuff. Most of this came from SlugBalancer and there is more there than I remembered!

The bulk is standard Soviet stuff. Some more T-80s (I think) and lots of BMP-1s.

There are also a lot of OT types. I may not use these. There is also a chunk of BMP3s and similar which may be too ‘modern’ for what I am working on so I may pass them on as well. Lots and lots of support/engineering vehicles (a lot of which I still need to ID!) and a lot of river crossing kit that I am missing from my current Soviet forces.

I’d like to use the bulk of this for some East German or Polish units. I painted/based a lot of T-72s and T-62s ages ago and may move them to their proper WarPac place! I’d also like to paint them in a different green to the Soviets but not sure on what colour (Vallejo) to use?

And finally, in amongst all the bags of unpainted lead I found some of the recent H&R T-55AM2Bs so have a start for a Naval force!

And I might need some more MDF bases… 🙂


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A few more ACW…

I’ve been struggling to get back into painting etc. since the break imposed by the school holidays. Border Reiver, although am enjoyable day, didn’t provide me with the boost I needed so the painting brush has been idle…

However, the inestimable Essex Boy has recently been sorting through an acquired lead pile and ID’d a number of Minifigs 2nd Gen 15mm ACW figures. Some Union, some CSA, infantry and cavalry:

The paintjob was quite basic and as I’d implied that I was going to strip them EB just dropped them in bags to post. When they arrived quite a few were chipped but the CSA stuff actually still looked mostly OK. The Union stuff looked a little rougher and I wasn’t keen on the blue used… So I thought I’d touch up the CSA stuff. Most just needed a highlight adding to the chipped surfaces and I then applied a thinned GW Agrax Earthshade and based them up. Ten new stands.

It was nice to complete something but I’ve no idea what to do next. I quite liked the cavalry that EB sent as well:

These look to be Frontier Miniatures but are unfortunately lacking horses and as Frontier seem to have disappeared I think these figures will never get used. So…still no idea what to so next!

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Border Reiver 2017 – a late report…

2nd September. Border Reiver. My local show. Gateshead Stadium. I always like to go to this. Support the local show and traders and catch up with lots of people. I never seem to make it to local clubs at the moment. Kids and work. Never seems to work out. Anyway. The Show. To be honest I was a little bit disappointed this year. There seems a lot of ‘space’ in the hall and it didn’t seem that busy. There seemed fewer demo games this year and I know a couple of traders pulled out. Whether the extra space created by that gave the illusion of less busy I don’t know. A good spread of traders although someone pointed out there were a lot of people selling Warlord stuff at varying prices.

I got to chat with lots of people, some of which I hadn’t seen for a good while. The tabletop sale seemed busy for most of the show and there were one or two absolute bargains on there! None of which I took advantage of…

The games. Some nice ones on display (especially  the 30 Year War one) but taking pictures was a ‘mare as the yellow light ruined every shot. I’ve tried tweaking them but…

Rumbling Guns game
Battle of Newburn 1640
Battle of Newburn 1640
Harrogate Wargames Club – 30 Years War
Tyneside Wargames Club – Trojan Wars in 10mm
Whitby Wargames Club
Harrogate Wargames Club – 30 Years War
Section 8. Some good participation games
Redcar Ironbeards
Section 8 again
AP Wiley 28mm Wild West
Battlefield Design

I’ve not seen any official figures for the show but I hope the numbers were OK and that next year the missing traders return. It’s good to have a local show that attracts the bigger traders.

Did I buy anything? Well… I had nothing I REALLY wanted. The bargains on the tabletop sale were good but I don’t need another period or scale! So my only purchase was two pots of Vallejo paint! Bronze Green and Light Sky Grey. Not a huge purchase but all I needed and the day out was made by the social side with lots of good chats.

If you want to see more pics of the day then visit Herybird’s Nest for a full show report.



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