Brickmania: German Panzer III Review     Military Custom LEGO has really taken off and is...

Brickmania: Panzer III Review Brickmania: Panzer III Review

A blog for your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


Brickmania: German Panzer III Review
 


 Military Custom LEGO has really taken off and is getting more and more popular by the day it seems. If I'm typical of the person who has fallen for this, then it's the mix of nostalgia coupled with an obsessive interest in WWI and WWII that makes it such a potent mix. Brickmania are at the forefront of this hobby, making the top range connoisseur kits. They cover WWI right up to the present day.

Brickmania started all the way in 1999 by designer Daniel Siskind. Then in 2000 he was introduced to the small but well connected adult LEGO community when he released his first creation (one of the first people to do so) using LEGO blocks. The kit was a medieval blacksmith shop and was an instant success. He followed it up then with a whole line of medieval village kits. As the word got out and his fans grew he started getting inundated with requests for military and train themed kits. Then with more than a dozen successful kits released including one that was taken on by LEGO officially in 2002 Dan announced he was leaving the custom LEGO scene to follow other interests. As a goodbye present he released a magazine with all the instructions for his released kits. That seemed to be it....

Until in 2008 when a publisher contacted Dan to see if he wanted to author a book about military modelling and LEGO. That is when he found out his previous kits had gained a massive following, alongside a booming market for military custom LEGO! So by 2009 Brickmania was again alive and well. A year and a thousand kits later Brickmania was booming and has continued at a meteoric pace ever since. They have even opened two shops, one just recently opened. I wonder if we will see Brickmania shops across the globe at some point. I'd love to see them open over here in the UK!



First I shall come clean. I was offered the new Apache Longbow for review. However I so wanted a WWII tank as the first kit to review so asked for the Panzer III instead, to which they agreed. To those who would have preferred me to have reviewed the Apache I apologise whole heartedly. It does look an awesome kit, and pretty darn big one aswell! If I get the chance to review more Brickmania kits I will not interfere and take what is offered.





  

So now the introduction is over lets move on to the kit, a WWII German Panzer III, that has blitzkrieg across the Atlantic (yes I know, seems abit unrealistic, just go with it) and then invaded my flat, pushing on deep into living room territory, until finally I have it locked in my sites! OK, OK..Brickmania Panzer III kit is here to be reviewed, just trying to add abit of flair to the review, I shall get on with it. Anyway it couldn't have done all that as it needs to be built. Sorry, OK, alright,  yes I shall get on with it..
  




The Panzer III medium tank started the War as Germany's main medium tank. This tank was supposed to take on all tanks from all nations. It was the tank Germany relied on in an anti tank role supporting the short barrel Panzer IV designed with an anti infantry role. During the War against Poland and then France it held it's own, though training plus all tanks having radio comms helped them along the way. However not far into the invasion of Russia it came up against the formidable KV-1 heavy tank and the T34 (many say the best tank of the war). The Germans soon realised the Panzer III gun couldn't match either of those tanks and it took superior tactics and skill to be able to manoeuvre and then take these Russian tanks from the side or rear. Soon the Panzer IV was given a long barrel gun and became the main medium tank but the Panzer III carried on, constantly upgraded, each new version given a letter at the end. The last Panzer III version the Panzer III N was made in 1942 and was given a short barrel and moved into an anti infantry role. Though Panzer III's continued to fight across the battlefields of Europe right until the end of the War. Around five thousand seven hundred where built from '39-'43.

 
 
The kit comes in the now standard Brickmania white box with the kit name and picture on the front and side. There is also a five star system for skill level needed to build the kit. The Panzer III is classed as Intermediate and has three stars. This is also shown on the front of the box. Nothing to fancy here. Does the job. When opened you are presented with three zip lock bags filled with LEGO bricks, one large zip lock and two small to medium size. The kit has 501 bricks in total. You also have a 30 page gloss finished instruction book which is well illustrated, I found it easy to follow, a major plus obviously. The one thing that did disappoint was the lack of any detail sheet, esp. considering the price I'd have thought a decal sheet wouldn't be to much to expect. Again though, this was the only minus point I came across, and something I think should be considered by Brickmania for possible future kits. I will go buy some though:)
 
Though I was abit nervous with regards to building the Panzer III I actually really enjoyed the process. I felt far more invested in the end product than if I'd just gone and bought a pre built one or say a die cast model of a tank. There are some fiddly aspects but nothing that caused any major headaches. Plus as the tank slowly came together I could see how much thought must have gone into it's design. Having to use LEGO pieces already made and not actually making the pieces from scratch for the specific purpose of building a Panzer III it started to dawn on me why the kits don't come cheap. By the end of the build, as I marvelled at it's details and how historically correct it looked I fully understood the reasons behind their price tags. To be able to design these kits and be restricted to LEGO bricks that have already been made for most likely totally different type of builds must take an awful amount of time and I resume frustrations. Plus then having to try and find the bricks and source enough of each type to be able to create a line lets say the Panzer III must take many man hours, and so as I said you can see why these kits cost as much as they do. Also it seems it's not just me that can justify the price as the sets seem to sell out fast, and with many kits now passed into the archives people aren't afraid to spend on them, and why not? They look fantastic! I do have to warn you though. Each kit is limited in how many are made. The Panzer III was limited to just 100. Some kits are limited to just 50. So you can't hang about if you want one. It also means they become collector pieces. As for the price I can't remember how much this Panzer III cost as it is sold out and no longer has a webpage, however I remember it being roughly around $290.

The finished model stands proudly on the shelf I put all my favourite miniatures etc. It has a rotatable turret and you can elevate the gun. The Panzer III comes with a German Panzer commander all kitted out in the uniform and proudly sporting an Iron Cross. The print work on the MiniFig is excellent. The commander can stand in the commanders hatch, as he stares  into the distance across the never ending Russian Steppe.. I believe Brickmania are using new tracks, I can't comment on what came before but the ones here look superb, time consuming to link together, but well worth it! The Tank uses all grey bricks on the whole which is perfect for the German Panzers esp. the first half of the War when they were all grey before they started using that yellow colour. I believe the Allied tanks do suffer in the colour respect though as LEGO haven't made any green LEGO pieces that could be used to build them. So those to are grey in colour. Though the WWII desert kits do come in yellow (see Panzer II kit below), as LEGO as we know have made lots of yellow bricks, which is perfect for Brickmania!

 
 
Sadly I have to end the review with bad news. It seems the Panzer III has now sold out (see I told you they sell like hot cakes). There is currently a DAK Panzer II for sale though. Also expect to see a Panzer III return at some point in the future along with all the German and Allied tanks of WWII.


 
I do hope we can continue to review Brickmanias excellent kits. They are a flagship company in the world of military custom LEGO. If we do get to review more kits in the future, then I can't wait:) So fingers crossed I get to chat to you again about another Brickmania release!



 GUNN WINGS OF WAR AUGUST 2016 RELEASE         Dear All This month we have two a...

Thomas Gunn Newsletter Thomas Gunn Newsletter

A blog for your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


GUNN WINGS OF WAR AUGUST 2016 RELEASE
 
 
 
 

Dear All

This month we have two all new iconic 1/30 scale wooden aircraft models from
WW2 that were considered the backbone of the Luftwaffe bomber force and saw
action throughout the war in every theatre. With production normally taking
60 hours to make each model, these really are one off master pieces with
full interior detail and authentic markings as standard.



The Heinkel 111 was designed by Siegfried and Walter Gunter in 1934
ostensibly as a civilian passenger liner, but in reality the aircraft was
intended to provide the Luftwaffe with a fast medium bomber.  The mainly
glazed Plexiglas nose of the HE 111 gave it a very distinctive and easily
recognised look, almost akin to a giant wasp or bee.  During the early
stages of the war the HE111 performed well but like many German aircraft its
weak defensive armament was exploited by the RAF during the battle of
Britain. Casualties amongst bomber crews were particularly high but with no
suitable replacement the HE 111 soldiered on until the end of the war as a
strategic bomber, transport aircraft, glider tug and was even used as an
experimental variant to launch the V1 flying bomb whilst airborne. Various
airforces operated the HE 111 including the Spanish, Romania, Turkey and
China amongst others. The last ones were retired by the Spanish in the
1970's who made a licence built variant, with some of these featuring in the
1969 film 'The Battle of Britain' directed by Guy Hamilton. 
The HE 111 was over 59ft in length with a wingspan of 74ft, this makes for a
very impressive looking model in 1/30 scale as the attached photos will
testify. 






Armament consisted of 7 x 7.92mm machine guns with a 2000 Kilo bomb load
carried internally, further ordnance could be carried externally. Our model
features markings of a Luftwaffe aircraft from Kg53 as it would have
appeared during the battle of Britain 1940 with an initial batch of 5
aircraft being available at a cost of $1200 each plus postage and packing.
Comes free with Luftwaffe pilot and lady with umbrella as per the photos.
We will make another batch of aircraft where payment can be made over 6
months if the demand is there, please contact us by email for details. 





WOW089 Dornier 17 also known as the flying pencil was a twin engined light
bomber designed to be able to outrun enemy fighters. Making its combat debut
in the Spanish Civil War, the Dornier was liked by its crews but was
considered inferior in performance to the HE 111. The DO 17 usually had a
crew of 4 all housed in the same compartment and comprised of a pilot,
bombardier and 2 gunners to help defend the aircraft. Production ended in
1940 with the DO 217 replacing the DO 17, however surviving examples carried
on serving until the end of the war in various guises.  Our model is one of
the most well known Dornier 17's that took part in the Battle of Britain. On
26 August 1940 5K+AR was taking part in a raid on RAF bases at Debden and
Hornchurch when it became separated from other unit members. A Boulton Paul
Defiant is thought to have intercepted it with one of the engines being
disabled, forcing the pilot Willi Effmert to make a crash landing on the
Goodwin Sands. Two of the crew survived and were imprisoned for the duration
of the war. 5K+AR lay underneath the waves for nearly 60 years before it was
discovered. In 2010 it was raised from the sea bed and is now being restored
by the RAF Museum and will be the only complete example in the world once
restoration is complete. The DO 17 was nearly 60ft in length and with a
wingspan of 59ft and once again makes this a very distinctive  looking model
in 1/30 scale. We have an initial batch of 5 aircraft being available now at
a cost of $899 plus postage and packing, a further batch will be made
available with payment over 6 months if the demand warrants.  Please note
FJ029 policeman or LUFT021 pilot with fox will be supplied free depending on
availability and preference. 





That's all for this month folks, we may have some British WW1 aircraft at
the end of the month and will advertise these as and when we can. If you no
longer wish to subscribe to our newsletter please reply typing 'UNSUBSCRIBE'
in the header title and we will remove you from our mailing list.

Best wishes
The Gunn Team

Tradition of London: French Grenadiers of the Guard, Head of Column Napoleonic Wars Review   ...

Tradition of London: French Grenadier Napoleonic Review Tradition of London: French Grenadier Napoleonic Review

A blog for your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


Tradition of London: French Grenadiers of the Guard, Head of Column Napoleonic Wars Review
 
 
 

This is the first set sent to me for review by Tradition of London. Tradition of London have been trading for over 50 years and though there have been ups and downs including in 2012 the closing of the London shop they are still going strong. Their soldiers are still made in Nottingham, England but they have a base in Stockholm, Sweden where all the soldiers are dispatched from.
 
Over the years Tradition have supplied many museums as well as special editions including Carlton Television for the Sharpe Series. Other notable customers have been The Tower of London, Mary Rose and the National Army Museum.  
 
Tradition of London sell a wide range of Toy Soldiers in various scales. They also sell white metal kits for those brave enough to build and paint their own. The Kits come at a very reasonable price, for those with the skills (or those wanted to gain the skills) they excellent value for money. They also sell Del Prado, King and Country, Steadfast, W Britain, Bravo Delta and CBG mignot figures plus miniatures for wargames and other items like paint and books\magazines. They also have the envious claim to the largest stock of Toy Soldiers you'll find. So pretty much something for everyone.
 

The set I received for review I couldn't have chosen better myself. They show off the different styles of Toy Soldier on the market when you compare them to my previous Thomas Gunn reviews. Thomas Gunn soldiers are your perfect example of the modern toy soldier, where as the set I received from Tradition of London show of the high gloss traditional toy soldier, little changed since Victorian times. Which considering they are Napoleonic suits them perfectly. The set is 54mm French Grenadiers of the Guard, Head of Column.

 
Example of presentation box. Not this actual set though.

 
The set comes in a lovely red presentation box with Tradition of London's motif in gold on the front. Straight away it struck me as the perfect present for anyone into Toy Soldier or the Napoleonic Wars. On the side of the box is a label saying "Hand Made Traditional Style Toy Soldiers Made in England. French Grenadiers of the Guard. Napoleonic Wars - Toy Set 768". Lifting the lid and then removing a layer of padding you then finally lay eyes on your collection. Quality hits you instantly. You know you have a special set here and something to show off as often as possible. Set into a layer of padding are eight soldiers, their gloss paint shining out. You instantly have a fantastic set to create a diorama of marching French grenadiers.  The set consists of one Officer with sword drawn, one Standard bearer, two Sapeurs, two Sergeants and finally two Drummers. Only the most physically powerful soldiers were chosen to become a Grenadier and would lead assaults on the field of battle, even leading the way through breaches during siege warfare. So you are looking at the best France can offer and all kitted out they do look like fine specimens!
 
This set in all it's finery
 

 
The Officer  is leading the troops with his Infantry Saber (Briquetes) drawn and held upright. The Grenadiers had be a formidable sight so they wore tall bearskin helmets with a red plume to give them a taller appearance. Though the Officer here is clean shaven many wore moustaches or beards, again to give them a more war like appearance. The Officer doesn't carry any back pack. He does appear to be wearing some sort of medal. He is wearing black boots, white breaches, white vest, white gloves, blue coat with dark blue collar, white lapels, red cuffs with white cuff flaps, red  turnbacks and pocket piping. He is also wearing white gloves. He is marching and stands on a green base. He is painted in Gloss and really does have an authentic Toy Soldier appearance, perfect for the era he represents.
 
The Standard bearer again is marching and stands on a green base. He is wearing a similar uniform to the Officer expect this time he isn't wearing black boots with tan tops. Wears bearksin cap with red plume. His coat is dark blue with dark blue collar, white lapels and red turnbacks and pocket piping. He is wearing black boots and white gaiters. He also has a red shoulder belt designed for the end of the standard pole to fit into so he can march with just one hand holding onto the Standard. The standard has a bronze eagle on the top and a blue pole. Cravet Red, white and blue with gold embroidery and fringe. Like the Officer he has gold epaulettes. Again he is clean shave, however you can see the end of some glorious side burns sticking out the bottom of his bearskin helmet. The actual standard has been hand painted it looks fantastic.  Again he really oozes the era he is from. The Gloss finish is perfect for this line.
 
Next come the two Sapeurs (Sappers). First thing you notice is that these two sport a fine beard. It was compulsory for all Sappers to grow a beard in the French Army (for a long time you had to have a moustache in the British Army). Plus Sappers wore the grenadier uniform. On both upper sleeves they have the crossed axe and grenade badge, the symbol of the Sapeur. These strong men with fine facial hair marched together and close to the band and Standard bearer. A corporal and four privates where chosen from a Grenadier battalion to become Sapeurs. Here they are marching with their Axe (issued to all Sapeurs) over their right shoulder and their Charleville Musket over their left shoulder. Wear bearskin cap with red plume.  The coat is dark blue with dark blue collar, white lapels and red turnbacks. They also wear white gauntlets that reach their elbows plus a long white apron that goes from their waist to half way down their shins. They wear red and gold epaulettes. On their backs they carry a calfskin knapsack with a rolled great coat on the top. They also carry an ammunition pouch as well as their infantry Saber and bayonet scabbard. A Bicorn is folded and tied to the Knapsack. They have white cross belts with brass grenades and buckles. They also wear black boots with white gaiters. Again the gloss finish is perfect and look very authentic.

The two Sergeants wear a very similar uniform as the Standard bearer. However they sport a fine moustache. They also carry their Charleville musket but this time they have their left arm folded across it and it is in an upright position with bayonet attached. They have their Sergeant stripes on their left upper sleeve. They wear red and gold epaulettes. Wear bearskin cap with red plume. They are wearing dark blue coat with dark blue collar, white lapels, red cuffs with white flaps, red turnbacks and pocket piping. White waist coat with brass buttons and white breaches. White crossbelts. On their backs is the standard issue calfskin Knapsack with a rolled up great coat on top. Below the Knapsack is an ammunition pouch\box. Their Bicorn het is also folded flat against the Knapsack. Again they have the Infantry Saber and bayonet scabbard attached to their belt. Black boots and white gaiters. Two fine French grenadier sergeants you'll be proud to own.

Finally we have the two drummers. These two wear the standard Bearskin cap with red plume. They also sport a well groomed moustache. The coat is dark blue with dark blue collar, white lapels, red cuffs with white cuff flaps, red turnbacks. Mixed red and gold epaulettes. White waistcoat with gilt buttons. They have black boots and white gaiters. On their backs is a calf skin Knapsack with rolled great coat on top, white straps. Bicorn folded and tied to knapsack. White crossbelt. Infantry Saber scabbard attached to belt. The drum is brass with blue hoops bearing white grenades. White cords and sling. White drum carriage with brass stick holder and grenade. White apron.  Black boots with white gaiters. Black drum sticks. Two fine drummers and round of this set beautifully.

More examples of superb sets.
 

I'll admit that I'd probably never have bought this set as old style gloss finish soldiers didn't appeal to me. However I'm now a convert. They appeal in a different way to the modern looking matt finish soldiers out there. They arouse a nostalgic feeling the others don't and in away when in their presentation box give them an authentic look, like you're looking at a set of toy soldiers from a hundred years ago or more. This makes them special and as I said appeal in a different way to the highly detailed, perfectly sculptured modern figures. That's not to say these don't look great and they are very well sculpted. Never thought I'd feel this way to be honest. So this set has added a whole new area for me to get excited about! I said at the start I couldn't have picked a better set to review after the two Thomas Gunn reviews. A set that shows off the brilliance of the gloss finish toy soldiers, in all their old fashioned glory. I can't think of any Toy Soldier collector or anyone interested in the Napoleonic Wars that wouldn't beam from ear to ear if they received this set as a birthday or Christmas present! The set retails at £129.76. Worth every penny!

I hope we can continue to review Tradition of London excellent range in the future. If so I can't wait for the next parcel to arrive from Tradition of London!
 
 



                                                                                   Sulla           ...

Sulla: A Dictator Reconsidered by Lynda Telford Sulla: A Dictator Reconsidered  by Lynda Telford

A blog for your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

                                                                                   Sulla
                
                                      A Dictator Reconsidered

                                          By Lynda Telford 







                     

 Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix; his self written epitaph reads "no friend ever served me, and no enemy ever wronged me, whom I have not repaid in full".

  The truth about Sulla's life and exploits has always been there to be seen. It took a brave person like Lynda Telford to put it all down in writing. Swimming against the stream is hard enough. Fighting your way through two thousand years of history is quite another adventure, although the author's membership in the Richard III society may have helped her prepare for this struggle.

 Sulla: the name exudes anathema to most historians. All stories have to have a villain, and to most he fits the bill admirably. But does he? A soldier and general of the highest caliber, he was a dictator of Rome, the first dictator in Rome's long history not to have a time limit on his authority. He killed, outlawed, and even murdered. So he must be the demon we have read about. As I said, every story needs a villain and a hero. History has chosen the hero in our play, Julius Caesar, a man who refused to bow down to Sulla's will and divorce his wife. Technically true, but there is more to the story. Only two men bearded the old lion that was Sulla. Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus and Caesar. Of the two, Pompey stayed in Rome, whilst Caesar ran to the edge of the Roman world after his slight tug on Sulla's mane.

  He was one of only eight Romans to win the coveted Grass Crown before it was sullied with Octavian's honorary one.

 To me, Lynda Telford's book is a milestone. It brings to life a principled man who should have had the acclaim of the Roman world in which he lived. Instead he was, and is, vilified for his choice of friends and lovers. He was principled, and he did have a reason for what he planned and carried out. He was a patriot who saw Rome falling from a republic to chaos in front of him. He was born just before the upheaval of the Gracchus brothers. The Gracchus brothers also had a plan, a good and true one. Their problem was that they were willing to flaunt all of Rome's laws to see it through. From their lives and deaths you see the fall of the Roman republic. Demagogues, money, and violence became the way of  politics in Rome. Sulla was trying to put an end to this, and to strengthen the senate, and return Rome to a land of its laws.

 The author has picked an incredible man for her work. She has also picked a huge fight with history. If Caesar is a hero, then Sulla must be a villain.

  Sulla is not only vilified for his actions, but also for his way of life. He is the only openly bisexual person in all of the famous men of Rome's historical record before the empire. I say openly because he himself stated that the male actor Metrobius was the love of his life. I think it is high time (as does the author) we look at his life without the blinders of previous centuries prejudices. 

 That I agree with the author's premise is very much a given. To me, Gaius Marius and Caesar were both heading Rome so that it might be ruled as a personal empire, naturally with them or their family as emperors. Sulla tried to put a stop to the violence and chaos of the last forty years. He wanted the republic back in all of its glory, and strong within its laws. The author shows Sulla warts and all. She does not make excuses for him, but tries to explain his actions. There are many people who disagree with her portrait. Caesar finally conquered in the end. His own plaudits of his career have been used to teach Latin for two thousand years. While Sulla, who became a dictator and then voluntarily gave up that power, is reviled instead of being praised as another Cincinnatus. Readers, please try and keep an open mind about the author's portrait of the life of the colossus that was Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix.

 The author brings his life and times to us in it's full panoply. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who has even the slightest interest in the history of the later Roman republic. Hopefully, she is hard at work on a biography of Pompey. In the meantime join me on every Ides of March, and raise a toast to Sulla and Pompey.

 Robert


Book: Sulla: a Dictator Reconsidered
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Distributor: Casemate Publishing
Author: Lynda Telford
Review Date: 8/21/16

Old School Tactical by Flying Pig Games Review     While I own a fair number of board gam...

Old School Tactical by Flying Pig Games Review Old School Tactical by Flying Pig Games Review

A blog for your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Old School Tactical by Flying Pig Games Review 
 



 While I own a fair number of board games, I have never done an unboxing, let alone a review of one. My reviews up until now have been of digital wargames. So in a sense this is like coming home. My purchases of boxed wargames have mostly been of older games with a few newer ones here and there.

 I have not really been that much of a fan of tactical games, since in my youth we played a lot of what I call 'squad argument'. I don't remember that much playing, but I do remember a lot of arguing. Give a man with a pocket protector a set of wargame rules, and he turns into an armored warrior on the side of right. I am, however, an equal opportunity gamer. I'll give pretty much any game a try. I will do the unboxing etc. with the game components and also use a very well done vassal port of the game.

  Flying Pig Games is the board game company that has brought us Old School tactical. They also publish, among others, 'Night of Man' a tactical futuristic game, and '65' a game about the early battles in Vietnam. Yaah! magazine that is up to issue six now, is also published by them. It contains a game in every issue. They are also doing a kickstarter right now for Old School Tactical: volume II West Front.

 The game is (guess what) a tactical one about the eastern front battles in 1941 and 1942. It is important to remember that this is before Tigers and Panthers were around. In most scenarios with tanks playing as the German you will be undergunned, and under armored. The German antitank guns are woefully under powered and undersized. The PAK 36 that you will use in some scenarios was nicknamed the door knocker by German troops.



 First let's start with the box itself. The box measures roughly 11"x16". I do not have my postage scale handy, but I believe the weight is roughly 7-8 pounds plus or minus. It is certainly hefty enough for someone to start weight training with. It is also a piece of art all by itself. Just looking at, and feeling it you would believe that you have something special in your hands, and you wouldn't be wrong. The first thing you notice when opening the box is the size of the maps. It comes with two mounted maps. One depicts spring, summer, fall and the other winter. They are 30"x41" with one inch hexes. There was also a Stalingrad map for some of the tiers of the kick starter campaign, and it can be purchased as an expansion. It also comes with four six sided die. There are four counter sheets some 3/4" and others 7/8". The tanks, and artillery are shown top down with the infantry etc. being shown from the side. There are 18 'luck' cards, and 54 unit data cards. The tank and gun cards have a table that is used in deciding combat. The other unit cards are a great addition in having all of the info which is on the counters also in your hand, and easier to squint at. The rule book is well done and in full color, as is the scenario booklet. Two player aid cards are also included. All of the components are top notch. I have never seen a board game with this detail and craftsmanship.  



 Okay, so the game components are first rate. The next part up is the game play and the rules. I cannot stress enough on the actual game pieces, but if it sits on the shelf because the game play is terrible and the rules are unintelligible, what is it worth? Does the game play like a tactical east front game? Is there any immersion factor? 

  The manual is only twenty one pages long and is well written and easily understandable. It has color shots of the units and some illustration of game play inside.

 In the scenario briefing you will be given map coordinates. These are used for you to setup the four map edge markers that cordon off the field of battle that you will play in. The next listing is control  hexes; these are given a victory point amount to asses at the end of the game. Then comes the scenario turn length, special rules, and off board assets, air strikes and artillery. Next will be the victory conditions for the scenario and the setup for your and the enemy's forces on the map. Mostly that is listed as map edge or near this unit etc. There is a lot of leeway in most scenarios for the players setup. You aren't handcuffed into putting X unit into hex 41Y for the most part. The victory conditions are mostly in controlling certain hexes on the map. It is a large scenario book with 27 scenarios. The scenario booklet is well displayed with clear and concise info for the player to use. There is no ambiguity here. 



  The infantry counters have their stats displayed across the top of the counter. From left to right they are firepower, range, defense, and movement. The range is in white with all the others in black, with movement being the larger of the three in black. Crewed weapons counters show, starting in the left lower corner, that they are not allowed to move and fire. Next, in a clockwise manner, is the Maximum AP firepower. Across the top next comes HE firepower. Next in white is the maximum range, followed by defense and last is foot movement. Both crewed weapons and vehicles have a red triangle in the upper left corner to denote facing. Vehicles have more info than either of the other counters, and you also need the corresponding unit data card to decide combat. At the lower left corner in black is their secondary firepower followed in white by its range. Next in a clockwise manner is the maximum AP firepower. In line across the top is HE firepower followed in white with its range. In the upper right hand corner is the unit's movement allowance, and whether it is tracked or not. Right underneath movement is the unit's front defense, and its flank defense. Leader counters have no firepower (except in melee combat), and have their command range in a white circle.  The counters also show the attention to detail in this game's construction. The counters simply pop out easily, and I have not had to deal with chunks of cardboard stuck to them or use a razor knife at all. 



 The Player aid cards have the usual board game info. There is the terrain chart, turn sequence, artillery, air strike, bogged down, and rally info on one side of them. The other side has the infantry combat, and vehicle combat tables. 



  The turn sequence follows this format. The way your turns are counted is different from most games. If the scenario is for seven turns you start with the marker on seven, and count down. When you get to the number one for the turn marker and all of the impulse points are expended, then both players roll one die and add them up. If you get seven or greater, you both will get an extra turn. I like this, especially for the side that almost had a victory or captured that victory point hex. It gives you one more chance to complete your mission. Reinforcements are then added to the game map. You than can attach leaders and weapons. Then you get to roll for the various scenario rolls. These would be the chance for off board artillery etc. Then you have your rally and vehicle bog rolls. The players then both roll two dice for the initiative. High roll, as usual, wins. Then next part of the sequence is to roll for each side's impulse points. The number of die to roll is set by the rules of each scenario. Every action taken by your units costs impulse points. The game mechanic is to let one side use an impulse point and then to switch to the other player, unless there is a pass. The impulse point system in one way forces a player's hand. If you have less impulse points that your adversary you can choose to pass, and the other player continues with his turn. If you have the same or greater amount of impulse points, and don't want to use any on your units, you must expend one to pass. When both sides' impulse points are exhausted then that turn ends. A unit is allowed to move once and fire twice during a turn. The melee phase comes next. For melee to occur, a unit has to assault a hex containing an enemy counter. This costs one impulse point. You can choose to group move. This costs two impulse points, and you can also group assault for two impulse points. Unlike other games, you then just mark the hex and wait until all other movement and firing has taken place before deciding the effect of the assault. No terrain or fortification modifiers are used to resolve the melee. The melee results are usually bloody and quickly resolved. At times though, the melee can be unresolved and lock the combatants in the hex for the subsequent turns. During the following turns you are allowed to add other units to the melee. You are allowed to use opportunity fire against a unit the other player is moving. The opportunity fire rules add a tenseness to the game. Do you wait until the unit has completed its move, and possibly have a better chance at fire combat or miss your chance completely, due to line of sight? You announce it and then spend an impulse point for it. If there is no effect the enemy unit may continue its move. Then you add up the victory points from both sides. In some scenarios the victory points will not be tallied until the end of the game. You keep track of casualties for both sides on the casualty track. This is important, because for every five points a side loses to casualties, one impulse point will be deducted from the player's impulse point rolls.

  The game has an interesting 'gut check' rule. The  'gut check' number is listed in each scenario briefing. The player has to roll two die to check against any shaken/broken results on the combat tables. If the number rolled is the same or greater than the 'gut check' number then the shaken/broken result is ignored.



  Each scenario can also have hidden units added into the mix. These will not be found until an enemy unit tries to enter the hidden unit's hex. If a unit is in a structure hex, and it is attacked by heavy weapons ie. off board artillery or air strike etc., there is a check to see if there was a structure collapse. A light structure will collapse on a roll of a five or six, and a heavy structure will collapse on a roll of six. Line of sight is pretty straight forward, and can cause points to be deducted from the firing die roll.



  One luck card is drawn randomly at the start of the game. Unless the scenario rules state differently, the luck cards can be used during a players impulse, and do not cost any impulse points to play. Some cards can only be used for vehicles. If agreed to by the players, the manual states that in an infantry only scenario the vehicle cards can be kept out of the deck when choosing them. 



  The game is quick, easy, and relatively simple to play. It has a lot of nuances, but two players should be able to hash out the rules in no time and start playing. The play is relatively bloody, and resolved in a timely manner. You are going to be playing this game and thinking, not decoding the rule book.

  There is a free download available of the rules:

 https://www.dropbox.com/s/xn13k359aqrw2qt/OST-rules%20ver5.25%20.pdf?dl=0

  A print and play version is available also for download. It retails for $25.00, but the game itself is a steal right now for $75.00. You would also be missing out on the extremely well made components of the game.

  The game is certainly not a simple one, yet it is also not a game where you get bogged down in the rules, and stultifies game play. This game, while not really being 'old school' in a technical sense,  is a very good thing. It allows the players to play and have a good time destroying their cardboard enemies. This game will not sit on the shelf with all of the other 'might have beens'.

 Looking at all the different comments around the web most people, like me, are very happy if not ecstatic about the game. There are a few posts about rule questions etc., but what game doesn't have them. Sometimes it is the reader's and not the writer's fault (see above). I would like to see some more scenarios that use a larger part of the map. With small maps it can get stale because the defender and attacker both know where they are going to set up and move toward. Larger map usage would allow both sides to try out numerous combinations of play. One could make house rules and make some scenarios larger on the map, and just add more to the scenario length. It doesn't have the postage stamp size maps that some games have, so that is definitely a plus.

  Robert

 Game: Old School Tactical
 Publisher: Flying Pig Games
 Designer: Shayne Logan
 Date of Review: