Saturday, 25 July 2020

Making Peg Soldiers Update

Just a heads-up from one of my other blogs - I've just completed a new batch of my peg soldiers and they are on display over on my 'Molatero' blog, in case you are interested! Here's a sample, you might recognise this character from a classic British TV show...

You can see the others - there's a mix of themes - I created over on my 'Funny Little Wars - Molatero' blog:

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Up & Running Again!

This weekend was a busy one - aside from several hobby projects I got my PC back up and running again! πŸ‘

In the end I plumped for the GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER VENTUS OC graphics card to replace my defunct GTX 1080. I'm still gutted that I had to spend this money as I have other things I would have preferred to have done with the cash (I am already starting to think about Christmas) but as they say 'shit happens'! πŸ˜•


So, Whatcha Playin'?
Anyway, I will have to put this behind me now and get on with things. Luckily there's to to keep me occupied as I can now look forward to some new games. Top of the bill is - finally - the acquisition of BORDERLANDS 3 which I had been putting off until I got my rig sorted (I didn't want to try this title on my Asus laptop as - although it would have run, just - I would have felt cramped playing a big title like this on a a small format machine.

Now, I used to be a huge Borderlands fan, but that was mainly because of the games excellent co-op feature where me and my mates could have a big blast together. It just worked and was very smooth and on the whole lag-free - much fun was had by all. However, I kinda went solo for the past few years and so my interest in co-op and multiplayer games waned and I returned to single player epics like Fallout and GTA (yes, I know GTA is now big into the whole online thing but at it's heart it is still a wonderful single player story driven experience)... Yadda, yadda, yadda...

The gang, back in the day with Borderlands 2.
But now... I'm kinda swinging back towards co-op again thanks to my 'Dad & Daughter Game Night' sessions, where Stacey-Fefe and I have some not altogether serious shoot'em up fun with the classic 'Left4Dead2'. And this is what led my back to being interested in the Borderland franchise!

Fefe and I have nearly finished our run-through of L4D2 (boy, I wish they had done a 3 and a 4) so we were looking for something that would be along the same lines for our game nights, with the possibility of my eldest daughter joining us or some team co-op. Despite being a relatively new title Borderlands 3 shares the same ability as it's predecessors for being able to run on less powerful systems (with reduced settings, of course) so it's great for a team of disparate PC players with rigs of varying age.

With One Eye On the Future...
This all said, I do have a bit of a long term strategy for my PC gaming set-up and it all hinges - fingers crossed - on what's happening in September of this year...

With any luck we should be seeing the release of Cyberpunk 2077 the back half of this year and that's a single player game that I could really lose myself in...

It does looks a bit like GTA5 meets Bladerunner although - to be fair as the Bladerunner comparison is a bit lazy - Cyberpunk 2077 borrows it's aesthetics from several techno-neon-punk movies of the 80s and 90s. Dare I say that I get more of a 'Johnny Mnemonic' (Keanu Reeves, Dolph Lundgren, 1995) crossed with 'Total Recall' (Schwarzenegger, 1990) vibe going by the latest trailers that I do a deep and dark dystopian feel?

...So that what I'm looking forward to, but there are lots of games I fancy having a go at in the meantime. We'll finish up L4D2 and start on Borderlands 3 for co-op action, but I also fancy a zombie survival crafting game (I've kinda burnt out on '7 Days to Die'). My brother suggested I look at a game called Subsistence (which seems to be along the lines of 'Rust')...

However, as it happens I've just been reading a very exciting article on PC Gamer regarding the much hypes science-fiction/horror game 'Death Stranding' and the decision to implement DLSS 2.0 in it...

...It seems I chose a good time to buy a RTX 2060 graphics card! 😁

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Silver Linings - Computer problems!

The past few weeks have been a bit of a of a nightmare and I'm not just talking about the whole Corvid 19 thing either!

My main work/gaming desktop computer went 'BANG!'... Or at least the graphics card element of it did, my GTX 1080 is dead! This is sorta 'good' AND bad timing, bad because your gaming PC dying in the middle of a pandemic lock-down is NOT what you want...BUT... It was also good timing in the sense that if it had to go, going when I had just bought a new laptop that's 'game capable' was a lucky happenstance!

My new Asus TUF FX505DY 'gaming laptop'.
My venerable Apple MacBook Pro was creaking under the strain of newer design and video software projects and I had to bite the bullet and decided to finally jump ship and go over to the dark side by buying a Windows machine. I was gutted, but I couldn't justify the cost of a new Apple machine as I no longer have a job as a designer (and work paid for all my gear).

Funnily enough, I didn't go out deliberately to buy a gaming laptop as a replacement for my Mac, that was just the by-product of my wanting something with a bit of graphics oomph. Also, I only had a very restricted budget, but as it happened PC World had a sale deal going for the  Asus TUF FX505DY - an 'entry level' gaming laptop.

This, as it turned out, was a lucky purchase as a month later my desktop PC gave up the ghost!

Phew, I can't imagine how frustrating things might have been had my only means of gaming crapped out just as we went into isolation! I would have been a gibbering wreck!

Anyway, despite my laptop having to fill in as a part-time gaming machine and it only being of mediocre power for doing so I have to say that I've been very pleased with it. No, I can't rock triple-A games in the way that my desktop rig with it's monster GTX 1080 could, but the little Asus is keeping me sane with it's ability to run a lot of my favourite indy titles.

Back to Plan A...
Ok, so the laptop got me out of a tight spot but I needed to think ahead and decide what to do about my desktop rig. At the back of my mind is September's release of CD Projekt's Cyberpunk 2077, a triple-A blockbuster that I've been looking forward to for a very long time. I had to solve my graphic card issue.

The trouble is, I no longer bring in the same salary that I used to get as a designer - I can't just blow big bucks on a whim anymore. I am on a minimum wage job and only do part-time hours...Money is very tight!

I had to do some really hard thinking and not a little maths just to work out what exactly I could do to get my desktop PC back up and running. Buying a GTX 1080 even second hand was out of my price range and it's modern equivalent - a GTX 2080 series - was just pie in the sky! (I should note that I decided early on that whatever I bought it would be NVIDIA based as I love their Shadow Play recording feature.)

So, what were the options given my meagre finances? πŸ˜’

After a lot of research and watching a host of YouTube videos the shortlist turned out to be very short! In fact, because I limited myself to Nvidia cards it turned out that there were only two candidates for a replacement GPU...

Option No. 1 - GEFORCE GTX 1660 SUPER OC EDITION(£260)

Option No. 2 - GEFORCE RTX 2060 VENTUS XS (£310)

I was so tempted by the GTX 1660 Super, it was the right price and had excellent reviews. Obviously, I would have to turn down the graphic quality options in any of the horse-power hungry titles I play, but I'd still get very good frame rates playing at 1080p. However...

Being as I got so used to playing games at 1440 with my big widescreen monitor I kinda felt like this was a real backwards step. So when I came across the RTX 2070 at just fifty quid more I felt I really had to stretch my budget to it's absolute limit (and a bit more). I justified this by saying to myself that I was kinda 'future proofing' my rig a bit by buying this newer technology.

Ironically, the biggest feature of the RTX class of GPU is the one that I'm not actually interested in. Nvidia's RTX card's VR rendering and real-time ray tracing is not something that really excites me, instead I want the card's additional horse-power - as I said - to allow me to continue enjoying my big screen gaming at high resolutions. But, of course, buying on a budget is always a game of compromises, so I just spent the most I could on the best technology I could...

Many of you will be screaming 'why didn't you jump ship to AMD cards then?' A good question, but I am a 'Shadow Cast' devotee - I love this Nvidia technology.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Dad & Daughter Game Night - L4D2 'The Bridge'

This weeks Dad & Daughter gaming is the continuation o our play-through of Left 4 Dead 2. I particularly enjoyed this level - 'The Parish' - even though the game seemed to be throwing everything at us including the kitchen sink. Both of us suddenly discovered the joys of using the machete, even though I have never been much of a fan of the melee weapons in the past.

In the following clip we try to make our escape at the end of the chapter, the end seemed to be so tantalisingly close as we made away across the final bridge...

[Note: Just to confuse you, Stacey and I have exchanged genders with Stacey playing The Coach and me playing Rochelle!]

I was a bit gutted that I died with the end o level nearly in sight, but it was a fun fight and at least one of the team made it to the helicopter on our first attempt.

Recording Our Games...
I am still having issues recording footage when playing on my laptop (as my main machine is in the repair shop) - the ASUS TUF Gaming FX505DY. It's AMD based graphics card does not support - it seems - AMD's version of Nvidia's Shadow Cast recording software so I had to go looking for a third-party recording app.

In the 'olden days' - before I got my Nvida equiped desktop rig - I'd use things like FRAPS (nostalgia eh?)  and I think OBS had just started to make a name for itself. But 'Shadow Cast' kinda spoilt me and I loved Nvidias 'everything in one place' approach.

Anyway - so I've found a tidy little app called 'Bandicam' and also - surprisingly - rediscovered the overlooked Window's 'Xbox Game Bar' with it's built in screen recording.

Out of these, I like Bandicam as it's uncomplicated and compact and the quality of the tests I have done so far have been really good with little noticeable impact on my gaming. The downside is that this is not a free app, so there's a case for my looking at OBS but I just haven't got one with that app when I'm tried it in the past. πŸ˜’

I think that if you find an piece of software that you just get on with then it is worth forking out some money for it. Free is great, but then if the software is frustrating or difficult to use then 'free' isn't so attractive.

Other Things...
While there is plenty going on to keep me busy at the moment I still enjoy trawling around YouTube to see what's going on in the world of computer gaming, technology and cute dog videos of course! 😁

I posted up a short video about 'Joint Operations' recently. It was an old time gaming favourite of mine and in a similar nostalgic vein I came across a walk-through video of the classic 'Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon'...

It was wonderful to see footage from this 2001 tactical shooter, particularly in this walk-trough format as I can remember vividly trying to work out how I would approach this mission. 😊

Inevitably, I will most likely end up reinstalling this game - which is in my STEAM library - and having a go at the at this fantastic game again.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Sunday House Work!

OK, this doesn't sound a very interesting subject for a blog post, BUT I am sure many scale modellers and gaming miniature hobbiests have had t do this at one time or another (and maybe more than once)!

I'm finally making some real progress in the clearing out of my 'man cave', so much so that I'm finally willing to post up a photograph. I have to say, first, that it's a bit of a pity that I didn't take a 'before' photo to show just how stuffed with junk our attic room was - it was, genuinely, floor to ceiling with crap - but I was just too embarrassed to do that! πŸ˜‚

Yep, it's still a bit of a tip BUT look! I can see some carpet AND I can actually get to my crafting desk at the back. OK, I can't quite use it yet - there's still stuff to move/chuck out - but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.

Now, the reason I am adding this to the blog is that this rather mundane operation has to be done before I can get back to posting up some of my more interesting activities. With complete access to my desks I will be able to get back to documenting my scale model making, toy solder creation and my computer gaming on a regular and organised basis. So, this blog will benefit.

...One of the funny things about doing this is that I am finding LOTS of half completed projects. I really do not need to buy any new kits for a long, long time and I am determined to work though the unfinished projects before I move on.

...The downside, though, is that I still haven't found all my hobby tools - they may be in the boxes I still haven't opened - so my actual modelling progress is still a bit stop and start. 😐

Friday, 5 June 2020

Dad & Daughter Game Night - 'The Plantation'

This week's Dad & Daughter game night continues our play-through of Left4Dead 2 as we take on  Chapter 3, Act 4 - 'The Plantation'.

This finale to the chapter was another tricky tactical puzzle which took several attempts to crack. Once again Team Beaty found that we were somewhat handicapped by our AI teammates, but even so we have found that keeping them alive did more good than harm in the long run. So, thanks Coach and Rochelle...

I'm not sure how big the L4D2 game base is these days but I would to see if Stacey and I can get a full co-op game going,I think we would do a lot better with a team of four real players. We may try that next.

...On a lighter note, I only set fire to Stacey once this week! πŸ˜‚

Thursday, 4 June 2020

'Man Cave' Update, June 2020

After nearly three years of neglect I have actually started making a little progress in removing the accumulated junk and household detritus from my attic 'man cave'!

Broken electrical appliances, Christmas decorations, the wife's spare shoe collection and her archived school work, old clothes and general crap had slowly piled up to the point where I could not get to my computer desk easily and my crafting desk not at all!

Anyways, this morning I finally made some real progress and managed to clear a path all the way to the back of the attic and to my modelling desk! (This hasn't seen the light of day for three years!)

I tunnelled through the crap in my attic... It went further than I thought!
Obviously, the desk is completely covered in crap! (That goes without saying. LOL.) But, the fact I can now actually get to the desk mean I could clear this and get down to some real modelling AND carry out a plan I had to set up a top-down video rig!

Now, I had already done some video tests in order to help me plan how I might Vlog my model builds...

Now, although the above contraption worked as a proof of concept there is no way I could set up something similar above my hobby desk because that is up against the back wall of my man-cave. So, I spent some time looking for alternative ways to rig a frame of sort over my desk and eventually I managed to find a custom solution for over-head videoing...

Unfortunately, and predictably, the specialist overhead video platform system is rather expensive and would have to be shipped from the USA (estimated total cost £230). All in all this was way out of my budget so that's where I had to leave things three years ago as priorities suddenly changed.

>>FF>> to 2020... Re-discovering my hobby desk reminded me of my fancy plans and I wondered if I could find a cheaper alternative that might have come along during the intervening years. Ten minutes of Googling proved very productive and I found a bit of kit that would do the job at a fraction of the cost...

Duronic DM453 80cm Monitor Desk Mount Pole
What I found was a monitor desk mount pole (£23) which can clamp firmly to my desktop. Additionally I found a studio double 'C' clamp for joining two intersecting poles...

With these two pieced of equipment, plus an additional pole, I can put together an inverted 'L' frame off which I can attach my camera and lighting. This clamp was £8 and I bought a short (solid) pole for another £10, so far then this setup has cost £41. A bit better than £230!

All the parts are extremely well built and very strong and so, despite not being a full two legged frame like the overhead platform, they will easily support the weight of my Fuji XT-2 (1 pound 3 ounces) camera and also some LED lighting or a microphone or both!

Now the good thing about this setup - aside from the price - is that it can be added to to make a full overhead frame simply by adding a second monitor mounting pole and another double 'C' clamp. This would turn my £41 'L' frame into a £72 'H' frame like the overhead platform...

So, this setup is quite modular and I can add bits as I can afford them. But, in the meantime, the 'L' frame will suffice me to begin with and will allow me to do some video tests to see how best to setup my camera and my lighting.

Hopefully I can get some short video clips out soon of my doing some model making.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Classic Insurgency - Again!

Insurgency is like a good wine or cheese... Wait, that's a crap analogy, in actuality the 2014 game INSURGENCY is more like pizza - it's comfort food that you never get tired of.

I've been playing quite a bit over the current lock-down, mainly because it's a very undemanding game that neither taxes my laptop or my WiFi! (Internet contention has been an issue of late as everyone is at home bingeing on Netflix!) πŸ˜‘

A good reason to be playing older online multiplayer games at the moment. My broadband speed has crashed since the pandemic lock-down came into being and I'm only getting about half my original speed. Of course, the fact that my wife is 'working from home' at the moment has an impact as she video conferences while watching 'True Blood' re-runs on our streaming service! 😣

So, for the foreseeable future, I'm avoiding any newer Triple-A titles.

...Let's have another slice of pizza!

Friday, 29 May 2020

Joint Operations Nostalgia!

A wee bit of gaming nostalgia this morning as I came across a bit of footage on YouTube that show some Joint Operations play from seven years ago (or more).

I've been looking for a video of JO for ages but it's been a bit harder to find than, say, Battlefield 2. Maybe it's because the whole posting of game footage wasn't so easy or such a big thing back in 2003, but there isn't much about.

You might ask what the big deal was or you may have never heard of Joint Ops. Well, it's actually quite an important game as it was the one of the first big online multiplayer 'battlefield' games that gave you the chance to experience joint warfare  (land, air and sea) all together in one first person team shooter.

In many ways, it was the template for Battlefield 2. But it's still amazing to think that while BF2 is the big name everyone remembers and waxes lyrically about, Joint Operation was hosting huge 150 player server matches which put BF2's 64 player games to shame.

JO was my introduction to squad based online battlefield play alongside The University of Hull's BIG clan boys. Until then I had been playing Ghost Recon online, but with the addition of vehicles, ginormous maps and 150 player battles Joint Ops really blew my mind. The graphics look a little hockey now, but that doesn't matter, I remember this game very fondly...

Sadly, after the release of the follow up - Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising (which added motorcycles!!!) word started circulating about a new Battlefield game that EA/DICE was working on and, ominously, it seemed to have some of JO's issues resolved (like the horrendous spawning mechanics). Once BF2 released a large portion of JO's player base - including BIG clan and me - jumped ship and Novalogic - inexplicably - never fought back with an improved JO.

I - and many others - could never understand just why Novalogic didn't make a Joint Ops 2. There were issues that they could have solved relatively easily that would have made it a BF killer. But it was never to be and it remains one of FPS gaming's biggest mysteries and missed opportunities.

Ask anyone who played Joint Operations back in the day and they will tell you what an amazing game it was.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Planning the BIG game - Part 1

With Gale Force 9's 'TANKS!' tabletop game I finally discovered a war game that even my thick head could understand! It really is a game that you could pick up after fifteen minutes flicking though the very thin 'manual'. OK, so you might not understand every nuance of the game's mechanic, but fundamentals are very straight forward.

Between a rock and a hard place for this Sherman! One of the solo games
of 'TANKS!' I enjoyed back in 2017. Simple to run with an emphasis on
excitement over technical accuracy, I loved this game!

Back in 2017 it was very much THE game to play and it looked like it had a very bright future. Everyone seemed to be playing it and it looked like it was going to be a big hit with clubs as a tournament game. Sadly, things never quite worked out and fast-forward to 2020 and 'TANKS!' is more or less a 'dead' game. 😒

This was all very sad news for me as I'm just getting back into the miniatures hobby again. Doubly so as just before I put my modelling and miniatures hobby on hold I had come up with the idea of putting together a BIG game of 'TANKS!' based on the historic WW2 Battle of Kursk.

The idea was an exciting one and one that I was looking forward to carrying on now I have came back to the hobby. So, boy, was I surprised to find that 'TANKS!' had floundered and is now no longer supported by Gale Force 9.

...But that isn't going to stop me completing my grand idea of war-gaming what is known as the 'biggest tank battle ever fought'!* --- (*I know this is a bit of a contentious statement now as historians - as usual - are divided about this description. See link to article at foot of page.)

Planning a Game - The Diary...
Because official support of the game has evaporated and many of those in the game's community have moved on, planning an ambitious game that pushes the envelope of what 'TANKS!' was initially intended to be is going to be a little tricky. [There is still a vestigial community of players with some social media forums, and they seem determined to continue playing the game. But without official backing and marketing it's hard to see how new players will be brought into the hobby.]

A sad sight! in 2020! The GF9 'TANKS!' store is now vacant.

This is why I will be documenting my game planning as there are several things that I may just have to 'make up' as I go along or I will have to rely on fan created 'home-brew' rules. There will be a reasonable amount of detective work and research into solving game mechanics that may not have - and now may never be - resolved.

Which Tanks To Include?
I guess the first place to start - at least by my logic - is deciding just what tanks I would be fielding in a game based on The Battle of Kursk. And after a wee bit of research I have whittled down a long list of possible tank candidates to the following list...

Believe me when I say this was not an easy list to make, particularly when my original idea from two years ago was far more ambitious in scale and scope. I had originally imagined a multi-part campaign with dozens of tank models taking part and with special custom rules to replicate historical aspects relevant to that particular battle, such as the heavy use of Soviet ant-tank artillery and the reliability problems that the German Panthers suffered from, etc.

I've now rationalised my cumbersome ideas and settled for a single game table with a limited number of tanks - though still more than a typical 'TANKS!' game - which would be perhaps representative or a compressed version of the real battle.

'Let's recreate the Battle of Kursk!'....Er, maybe not all of it, eh?'
Map credit: From the very interesting online article...
'The Battle that Wasn’t Necessary: Kursk 1943' by Padre Steve.

'Kursk Lite'!
Tanks that I have omitted are a number of less capable or obsolete types from both sides, like - for example - the German's Panzer IIIs or the Soviet's Lend-Lease Churchill IVs. Yes, I know, it would have been cool to have had some Churchills on the table and I also regret not being able to stick on a StuG or two but there were just so many different types involved in the battle that I just had to draw the line somewhere.

Lend-Lease M3 Lee tanks on thier way to the Kursk Front. Both sides threw
everything, including the kitchen sink, into this mighty battle but there was a
lot of 'filler' with obsolete tanks filling the 'cracks'.
In deciding which tank types to include in my game I'll also try to take into consideration the historic stratagems employed by the protagonists (albeit simplified). The Soviet's more defensive stance will mean a greater dependence on assault guns of 'tank destroyers' firing from prepared positions. Whilst the German force will be a more mobile and aggressive one which relies on the 'shock and awe' of their cutting edge 'Big Cats'.

I've nearly collected all the models I require for my game already, I'm just adding a couple of Soviet KV-1S heavies and I need to get some later model Panzer IV G or H models. I'll probably buy the PSC 1/100 scale models as they can make up into the later model IVs with the added armour (SchΓΌrzen spaced armour sheets) BUT without the Zimmerit coating that became a feature of German armour from the start of 1944. Sadly, the Zvesda 1/100 Panzer IV H comes with Zimmerit texture, a pity as I really prefer Zvezda over PSC models.47

Box artwork for the 1/100 Zvesda Panzer IV Ausf H model. The right quality
and price for my needs but, unfortunately, it's the '1944' Zimmerit variant.
The PSC Panzer IV 'Reinforcement' Sprue, this can be made up into any
Panzer IV variant from A to H. It has the advantage of having no Zimmerit
texture coating, so is ideal for my Kursk project.

And with those models that should conclude my model collection for this project aside from any scenic models or battlefield 'scatter' (I'd like to model some knocked out tanks and vehicles to add some atmosphere and additional cover on the table).

Next: Designing the game table and scenery.

Another intriguing article that is worth a read if the Battle of Kursk interests you is 'Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright: Why Kursk is the Most Overhyped Battle in History'.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Currently Reading: 'Regular Army O!'

I have two levels of comprehension about any subject: 'A little knowledge' where it's something I'm interested enough in to actually 'research' the topic* and 'what I saw in a movie once'! πŸ˜‰

* (by 'research'  mean that I turn to Google or Wikipedia.) 

One subject where what I know is totally based on movies is American soldiers of the Old West. From John Wayne in 'She Wore a Yellow Ribbon' (1941) to 2017's 'Hostiles' with Christian Bale I have a very stilted and narrow view of what life in the US cavalry was like and neither impression is probably close to what life in the US cavalry in the late 18th century was actually like.

Part of how people 'see' the US cavalry (presuming they have an opinion) is probably due to their  cultural and political stance. If your perspective is a 'popular culture' one then you probably have a romantic view of the US cavalry and I can almost guarantee this image sums it up...

If, on the other hand, you 'have a book and an agenda' you may have a very negative view of the US Army and it's exploits in the West... My father had the book 'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee' by Dee Brown and it was my first insight into the plight of the First Nation peoples. Until then, like many white kids of my generation, my prevailing ideal of what a 'Red Indian' would be like was Tonto from The Lone Ranger.

One of my 'peg soldier' models which illustrates a perhaps more
romantic view of the Western horse soldier I still have from my
younger days.

What an eye-opener Dee Brown's book was, and to help form my opinions about the US Army of the late 1800s my favourite movie of the 1970's was 'Little Big Man' with Dustin Hofman. Both Dee Brown's book and 'Little Big Man' were accused by some of being thinly veiled left-wing commentaries on America's involvement in the Vietnam War and indictments of the US Army's war crimes committed during that war. But I digress...

What I'm trying to say is that I did not have an informed view.

SO... In order to redress the balance a bit I just downloaded the audiobook 'Regular Army O!: Soldiering on the Western Frontier, 1865 - 1891' by Douglas C. McChristian. I much prefer audiobooks these days as my eyes tire or reading so quickly and it means I can listen to something other than music when I am on a shift where I am allowed to have an earphone in.

McChristian's book seems a very well researched and reference heavy history of the subject and even though I have just gotten through the first few chapters I have started to develop a little more empathy - I still won't go as far as saying sympathy - for the lowly Bluecoat. Perhaps that may change as I progress through the 26 hours (!) of listening. (Maybe?)

The main theme of the early stages is recruitment and immediately you get a sense of the type and 'quality' of men that made up the horse soldiery during this period. What is fascinating is the range of reasons given for joining the US Army and just how many immigrants - more or less - just got off a boat from Europe and ended up donning the uniform of their new home nation. One ironic example of this was the case of a young German who fled his country to avoid being drafted for service during the Franco-Prussian war only to find himself having to sign-up for the US Army due to him having no money or prospects on arriving in 'the land of opportunity'!

That said, the blatancy of the theft of the lands of the indigenous tribes somewhat tempers any feeling of understanding for the soldiers' conduct in that time of imperial expansion (for that's what it was). We tend not to consider the United States as having imperial or colonial aspirations in the same way as we take for-granted those of Britain, France or Spain. But this maybe simply because - for some strange reason - that we accept that America was conducting military operation to form America! An illogical point of view, I know.

Well, it's early days and - as I said - I hope that this book will allow me a greater understanding of the United States and it's perverse war to create itself. We shall see and I will definitely writing a follow-up post on this book and my conclusions once I have finished listening... Once I have done this, I should really try and get a book which covers the view-point of the First Nation peoples.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Fascinating Weapon Renovation - Winchester 1879

I mentioned in a post that one of my favourite weapon Vlogs is Mark Novak's 'Anvil' gunsmithing channel as I love seeing the intricacies of the working of vintage weapons. And this got me looking at other gun renovation videos on YouTube, like this one...

I find stuff like this fascinating - others might think this is a little like watching paint dry, I don't know. But, I also find it very relaxing and a therapeutic - I'm a bit strange like that! 😏

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Dad & Daughter Game Night - A Dark Carnival Indeed!

Last night Stacey (my daughter) and I took on Chapter Three of Left 4 Dead 2 - The Dark Carnival in a friends only co-op. This meant we were lumbered with two AI teammates which has a tendency to make outcomes somewhat more tricky to predict.

Both Stacey and I are certain that the level of difficulty of the missions in this sequel to Left 4 Dead are greater. Despite having the game set to just 'normal' hardness I am really struggling and it has taken us a couple of attempts to complete the chapters.

The following little excerpts from our play will give you a pretty good idea just how we fared... It was a difficult night!

We did make it through to the chapter finale, but had to stop there. Hopefully we complete this last stage on our next game night.

Monday, 11 May 2020

Dad & Daughter Game Night - Left 4 Dead 2

My daughter Stacey and I have started up a 'Dad & Daughter Game Night', meeting up online for some family fun amidst the current lock-down 'social distancing'. Our first choice for a co-operative title is another 'oldie' - Left 4 Dead 2 (2009).

L4D2 - Dad & Daughter Game: The Passing

Again, this venerable title defies it age with some great game-play and yet, because of it's less demanding graphics it makes for a wonderfully smooth internet multiplayer shooter*. Though, both Stacey and I remarked how surprisingly fresh the graphics were for a ten year old title. Some old games are jarring in their graphical obsolescence, but not L4D2 (in our opinion).

* Edit: I should add that - with everyone being at home during the lock-down and binge-watching everything on Netflix - 'contention' (the density of internet usage in your immediate area) is a real issue at the moment. My internet speed has dropped drastically and so these older, less graphically demanding, games are seeing something of a revival.

Anyway...Sunday nights seem to have become our principal 'game night' and we've been working our way through the game's episodic missions. Last night we took on chapter 2 - The Passing.

L4D2 - Dad & Daughter Game: The Passing
Above: Sorry you can't see much - but this dark and dark level was completely brilliant! At times it was just the sound that gave away the presence of zombies.

This was a beautifully dark and semi-subterranean campaign which ends in a paper-chase finales where you have to collect 16 fuel cans to start a generator which powers your means of escape from the chapter! I particularly enjoyed this conclusion to the campaign, it involves some pretty frantic running about and forces you to play as a team, otherwise you have no chance of completion. Though... Playing as we did with two AI teammates put an additional burden on Stacey and I and at times our robotic comrades seemed like they were our own worst enemies!!!

L4D2 - Dad & Daughter Game: The Passing
Above: An unfortunate zombie get's caught in a Team Beaty sandwich - with extra jam! Watching each other's back is intrinsic to success in this game.

Still, in the end, we (just) managed to complete the mission (by the skin of our teeth) on the third attempt and it was hugely satisfying. Along the way we had freights and a lot of laughs - I managed to set Stacey on fire once and she took far too much pleasure in some 'accidental' friendly fire incidents. πŸ˜†

Here's a very short clip of the moments when we completed the mission quest and made good our escape...

...For one horrible moment I thought Stacey was gonna drive off without me!

L4D2 - Dad & Daughter Game: The Passing

Sunday, 10 May 2020

A Man's Inner Milgeek!

So...What is a Milgeek? Well, it's nothing sinister, I'm not a survivalist or a gun nut (in the hillbilly sense, I support the UK's gun laws) and funnily enough I don't actually like the idea of war!

Essentially, I'm a bloke who likes war-games, I'm also intrigued by the technology and history of weapons  and - most of all - a bit of a history buff. Like many fellas of my age I also like to 'tinker', I've numerous hobbies, including model making and crafting. If we had a garden big enough for a shed I guess I would be 'one of *those* guys'! 😏

In fact - here's a visual representation of what happens when Milgeekery is taken to it's fullest extreme...

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Dust off! Heliborne (PCP

I can't be the only PC gamer who - due to the pandemic lock-down - is rummaging through their STEAM library for old games with some replay-ability!

As it happens I came across a little gem I had totally forgotten about - Heliborne. It's a entertaining helicopter shooter in 3rd person view with aspects of War Thunder, except it has a stronger single player campaign mode to the game.

Keliborne - Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw

I sorta remember a friend trying to get me interested in playing this when it first came out (2017), but it didn't quite gel with me, plus we were heavily into Call of Duty: WWII (and I was playing a lot of Sniper Elite 4) so didn't have time for any new games. But now we do! Thanks Rona! πŸ˜‰

Anyhoo... As I'm playing War Thunder with the lads I thought to myself 'helicopters, hmmmm, that's different' and installed it (because I mistakenly thought that War Thunder didn't have choppers, but I was wrong)...

Much to my surprise, Heliborne is an entertaining - if not complected - game. The main goal is to keep up with the ever evolving operational situation with enemy action popping up around the map at an ever increasing rate. It literally becomes a frantic fire fight with you flying your helicopter from one flare-up to another with a limited amount of time to stamp out the attacks.

Best of all, the first set of US missions take place during the Vietnam (da da-da-da dahhh-da, da da-da-da dahhh-da!) conflict with some classic helicopters...

(Alternatively, you have the choice of Soviet missions for some Warsaw Pact era action.)


This time round I've taken to this game and have actually made it through the first mission - which I never did the first time around!

As I said, it's a great little offline, single player alternative to War Thunder, but it does have an online co-op and team match PvP element as well. Though, I struggling enough just trying to fly my helicopter and dealing with the AI adversaries never mind having to cope with people that would undoubtedly be much better pilots than I am! πŸ˜†

By the Way, On an Slightly Related Note...
The whole experience - particularly the Vietnam setting of the early game - got me thinking about a game from all the way back when I had a Sinclair Spectrum!

Gunboat was a 1990 game made for DOS, Amiga and Spectrum, it simulated operations by the 'Brown Water Navy' patrol boats which - like Heliborne's Vietnam missions - put you in mind of the movie 'Apocalypse Now'...

I really wish a developer would remake Gunboat, there's nothing like it at the moment and I really think that the idea of a patrol boat sim would be really exciting. I am put in mind of Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam and how much fun that was...

Boy! BFBC2: Vietnam was a great game!πŸ‘Œ

Thursday, 7 May 2020

War Thunder... Slowly Improving!

Friday night seems to be the Raptor Clan's designated War Thunder night, so in order that I don't hold them back too much I have been trying to get some practise in and upgrade my aircraft.

I seem to be getting a little better but needed some ground attack experience as - so far - I had practically none. Here's the upshot of a session dedicated to some low level straffing...

I've also managed to get my aircraft tier up to level 2 - albeit non-upgraded- and have progressed onto 1940s vintage monoplane fighters. Though, I have to say, I still really enjoy the late-1930s era bi-planes.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

More Insurgency! ...But, On a Laptop!

Following on from yesterday's post about the merits of playing an older game like 2014's 'Insurgency', I thought I'd try a little experiment as a 'proof of concept'.

Now I don't usually play First Person Shooters on my laptop - it's better equipped to play more pedestrian casual and strategy games - but, just to see if my thoughts about older games demanding less horsepower bore out I gave it a go on my ASUS TUF FX505DY laptop...And it sorta worked!

Now, a few caveats here - this was played online on a German server (co-op with real players) over my crappy WiFi and without the game being optimised to get the best frame rates. I ran it 'out the box' as the game chose the level of graphics.

Overall it was a surprisingly enjoyable experience with one little fly in the ointment. Playing shooters on a compact laptop highlights just how cramped the keyboard layout is - especial for someone like me who has chubby sausage fingers! πŸ˜‚

Still, point proven, I think!

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Insurgency, An Oldie But A Goodie

One side-effect of the current pandemic lock-down is it's making anyone with a STEAM account dig though their library for any old games that might be worth revisiting! In my case I dusted off Insurgency by New World Interactive, in fact I have both the original version of the game and the latest title - Insurgency: Sandstorm.

Screenshot of a original Insurgency co-op session.

Insurgency is kinda like a more tactical and 'realistic' Counter Strike and has become very popular as a 'quick fix' tactical team (tacteam) competitive game.

It's full-on hardcore - unforgiving - action in a quick round format for the tactical junky who is too 'tweak' for long drawn-out games like Arma or Squad.

Anyway, here's a short movie I did comparing the looks of the original game (2014) to those of the latest 2018 incarnation...

As you can see the graphics have been improved markedly BUT the original Insurgency is still very playable and enjoyable thanks to the core game design being so good in the first place.

In fact, the older version has some distinct advantages over it's offspring. First of all, being an older game it doesn't demand a great deal of horse-power to run it and thus FPS count is high, this also mean that the game does not put too much of a burden on your broadband.

Additionally, the first game supported Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, which the newer game doesn't. This is great for me because it means my Mac using friends can join in games with we Windows gamers!

As to the quality of graphics, well they are passable. What is more important in these sort of online multiplayer games is quality and smoothness or performance and this is where the less complex nature of a six year old game bears fruit (and why Counter Strike still popular after all these years).

Yep....It's definitely an oldie but goodie!

Sunday, 3 May 2020

War Thunder Clan Session

Wow, it's been a long while since I participated in a proper clan session. Recently I've had my interest in online team gaming rekindled and have been playing some immensely fun games with my daughter in Left4Dead co-op. But last night I joined the Gentlemen Raptors for some aerial high-jinks in a War Thunder session.

Here's a quick taster video which demonstrates one of the co-op PvAI modes, we found this quite entertaining as it poses a story driven scenario rather than the usual PvP arena free-for-all...

I'm quite enjoyining the arcade version of War Thunder as it is nearly identical to World of Warplanes which I have played on and off over the past few years. The arcade controls are very simplified and geared towards mouse and keyboard players and you can see how this effects the flight of you aircraft in my videos - flight is quite jerky and precise at times, but usable.

Gaijin, the developers, were also responsible for 'Wings of Prey' which I played a lot last year and you can see the relationship between the two flight sims. I'm a bit disappointed that they never followed up WofP with a sequel - maybe set in the Pacific theatre - but, alas, it was never to be when they twigged to the money to me made by making a 'free' game.

A screenshot from 'Wings of Prey', Gaijin's single-player air combat sim which
I thoroughly enjoyed... War Thunder is it's offspring.

Still, as long as you don't get sucked in by the 'play to win' model which lurks behind such games - my World of Tanks experience still leaves me a little bitter - and are content to stick with the aircraft WT allows you without shelling out for premium items then it's a fine game. Even if you do get occasionally sick of the flaky matchmaking which leaves you at the mercy of the 'play to win' whores! (As I say, I'm not bitter much!)

Luckily the set of gents that I've teamed up with at the moment are far from the serious competitive types and are willing to overlook my amateurish aerial shenanigans!πŸ˜„

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

War Thunder Revisited

A few friends have started playing War Thunder and they have asked me to join them. Now I did try out this game some time ago but I was already heavily invested in's 'World of Tanks' and 'World of Warplanes' and I didn't find that War Thunder had anything uniquely different that could drag me away from the games I was already playing.

Russian I-15 bi-plane fighter
My current War Thunder fighter of choice - the Soviet Polikarpov I-15.

Anyway,  it seems that the general consensus is that War Thunder's flight combat element is superior to that of it's competitor, 'World of Warplanes'. I'd like to see if that's a fair comment and what are the differences between what look like very similar games.

World of Warplanes equivalent aircraft model - an early type I-5.

My first impressions weren't overly positive as right off the bat the War Thunder loading app repeatedly crashed when I attempted to start the game (apparently it's a known issue created by a recent update and hopefully it will be rectified with a patch soon). But, I eventually managed to get the game to run and here's some of my initial air combat training...

I have to familiarise myself with the flight controls and set-up my game-pad key layout but - so far - the mouse and key flight model (you can use a flight stick apparently) is a little jerky and sluggish. But I'll give it a chance and see I can customise it to make it more responsive.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

My Top 5 Military History & Weapon Vlog Channels

Being a military history buff means I spend a lot of time watching documentaries and YouTube videos. These days we are completely spoilt for choice when it comes to programming for milgeeks like myself, but on the swing side there is a whole lotta poor quality, low-res or factually dubious junk out there as well.

So, here's a little run down of five video channels that I find are very good sources of reliable information as well as being very entertaining...

1. Forgotten Weapons

This is essential 'milgeek' fodder! Ian McCollum is widely hailed by his followers as the 'gun Jesus' and every one of his videos is a delightfully informative sermon.

Forgotten Weapons - as the title suggests - features little known but historically influential (or just plain weird) firearms and reveals their origins and technical specifications. I find each episode wonderfully entertaining and insightful and I learn something new every time. Highly recommended.

2. C&Rsenal

This is a bit of a two for one as the C&Rsenal channel has two playlists that are on my daily watchlist. The first is thier flagship production called 'WW1 Primer' and covers about every infantry weapon you can think of - and a good many you've never heard of - that were used during The Great War. I cannot say enough about the high quality and depth of the information this video series provides.

Additionally, their 'Anvil' series of videos allows you a peak behind the scenes and shows you how the weapons featured in their 'WW1 Primer' episodes are brought up to firing condition.

3. Jane's Defence

Feeding my inner milgeek! I'm not just into military history, I also like to keep up with the latest military innovations and news.

Jane's International Defence Review is one of the most influential and trusted publications in the world and has in one form or anther been keeping the world's military abreast of what's going on since 1898! Naturally, they are very active in the digital media arena and their YouTube channel hosts a great many videos which act as a virtual tour of all the principal international military technology shows (such as Farnborough).

4. Mark Felton Productions

Mark's channel is a little like a military history version of the 'X Files'! He is very good at highlighting little known and unusual military operations from history. You'll inevitably find yourself saying 'ohhhhh, I didn't know that'.

5. The Tank Museum Tank Chats

The Tank Museum - Bovington, Dorset, UK - is one of the foremost armoured fighting vehicle museums in the world. But it isn't just a place where historic vehicles go to gather dust, it's also dedicated to the renovation and preservation of unique tank examples and - where possible - it also tries to keep as many of it's tanks in full running order as it can.

Obviously, I could go on and add quite a few more but I reckon there is enough here to get anyone started that hasn't already discovered these channel.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Tank Mechanic Simulator Review

A game I've been tinkering with over the past couple of weeks is DeGenerals 'Tank Mechanic Simulator', a kind of 'pimp your tank' workshop for your computer.

TMS - Panzer III (Late) Renovation
A typical tank hulk - here a Panzer III 'M' - though the state of repair and missing parts vary, but
usually you start with a rust bucket!

Now, right off the bat, I'd have to say that the term 'simulator' - in this case - is used very loosely to describe the level of complexity and realism of the mechanical engineering involved in your tank repairs. In fact, this had been one of the persistent criticisms in player reviews.

TMS is - in my opinion - more of a casual game and you can think of if (at this stage in it's development) as being more of a digital jigsaw puzzle. Having said that, I'll be quick to add that it's a very relaxing and fun puzzle all the same.

It's important to note that - like so many games these days - TMS is an early access build and NOT finalised. By now, as a gamer, you should be fully conversant with the pros & cons of the whole 'early access' phenomena. It does mean you have to deal with a lot of 'missing features' and glitches BUT it does allow you to participate in the development direction of the game as you are to all intent and purposes a 'game tester'. Such is the case with Tank Mechanic Simulator.

Currently (April 2020) we are at Build Version 1.0.20 and there are several intermittent bugs and a quite a few missing or not fully integrated features. Even so this does not completely spoil the game experience so far and you can defiantly see the thinking of the developers and the direction that they might take as they flesh out the game play.

TankMechanicSimulator 04_04_2020 20_52_32
The engine of a Panzer III, compared to later tanks fairly simple (relatively speaking). TMS is also
relatively simple, but - hopefully - as time progresses it will become more detailed.

To back up this claim of TMS being a 'work in progress' there is a very lively player community who are making a lot of suggestions for improvements by way of the STEAM discussion boards AND there is a new patch about to be released that includes many of the asked for feature additions as well as some major bu fixes. So the developers are showing this good intentions and the game has a LOT of promise. Anyway...On with the real review...

(Apologies, that turned out to be sort of a long-winded caveat emptor!)

Tank Mechanic Lego?
The basis of the game is that YOU have inherited a fledgling tank museum with a little side 'business' of tank renovations and repairs. OK, so far so good...

What this mean is that you will be taking on various contracts to take some real junkers and turn them into museum quality display pieces. To do this you will disassemble, clean-up and repaint, replace missing parts and reassemble the vehicles in your workshop.

TMS (PC) - M4A3E8 Sherman 'Easy 8' Track Rebuild
The 'Assembly Mode' highlights components which are required for completion. These can either
be renovated from old parts, bought from the parts dealer or crafted in your workshop.

The crux of this is the level of complexity of this 'simulator'. As I have already mentions - at this point - I see TMS as being more of a casual game, something you can play while also watching Netflix. There isn't a lot of depth to the mechanical engineering of the tank models, everything is reasonably chunky and there aren't hundreds of components for you to work with. Think Lego rather than Meccano and you'll get the idea (if you are old enough to understand this analogy).

The realism of the engineering is a little janky at times but it's enough to be fun with a few frustrations here and there to challenge you a bit. For example, working out the best way to go about renovating your tank is the key to your experience - do you 'fake it' and bodge your way to a completed contract (just doing enough to get by) OR do you strip the tank right down to it's bare shell and work back up repairing or replacing EVERY component in the model? That's up to you.

TMS (PC) - M4A3E8 Sherman 'Easy 8' Hull Primed
The M4 Sherman hull stripped right back, rust removed and primed. Now I begin the process of
reassembly and re-painting...

The Game Process...
I've been playing the game for a couple of weeks now an enjoyed every minute of it. The learning curve is shallow - particularly if you have played other PlayWay games like 'House Flipper' or 'Car Mechanic Simulator' - and you get the gist of the mechanics quite quickly. These are eccentrically dictated by two things; the order in which it is best to disassemble and reassemble things and how to use the handful of tools that are at your disposal.

So, what tools do you have? To begin with, there's the Rust Removable tool, the Sandblaster and the Paint Spray Gun. This expands a little later, but these are your main go-to tools and they reflect the fundamentals of the renovation process, which is:  disassembly, rust removal or replacement, reassembly and paint. The nuance is the order in which you decide to do some of this work.

Here's a sped-up video of my work process making the monstrous KV-2...

I'm a 'strip right back' kinda guy but the format is open to shortcuts BUT 'cheating' (if you can call it that) not only kinda spoils the illustration of 'simulation' but also means you might not get those much desired '100% completion' scores on your summary sheet. And believe me when I say that there's nothing more frustration in this game that thinking you have finished a beautiful tank restoration only to find that you overlooked the repair of one small component and then you have to take apart large sections of your tank again to access the little bugger! :) (I love it!)

Game Areas & The Museum
A major part of the upgrading mechanics of the game is that you are awarded 'reputation' for each job you do. This currency is used to 'buy' new tools, abilities or work-space, you also get to open your museum section where you can display your finished vehicles.

The locations you spend your time in - once unlocked - are; the workshop/garage, the paint room, the crafting room, the museum area, the parking lot, junk yard and the great outdoors!

TMC (PC) - M4A3E8 'Easy Eight' in Junk Yard
A small corner of the workshop's junk yard lies a incomplete M4A3E8 'Sherman' in need of some
love and attention! The park outside your garage has a parking lot and the junk yard proper. Here
you can store hulks until you are ready to work on them or new wrecks turn up randomly.

Yes, aside from your museum and your work-spaces you get the chance every so often to go out and seek buried tank wrecks. At this point in the games development this feature is perhaps the weakest and least engaging part of the game, despite how interesting it sounds. What you might think sounds like a buried treasure hunt is just a chore and there are no 'prizes' that cannot be had via the normal contracts process. Shame!

Tank Mechanic Simulator - The Workshop
View of the main workshop.

The game areas are some of the features of the game that show most promise but miss more than they hit when it comes to gaming satisfaction and actual interactive features.

TMS (PC) - Sd.Kfz. 251 Hanomag Excavation
BINGO! I unearthed a interesting vehicle...Unfortunately, the archaeological excavation aspect
of this game is the most uninspired, though it does have a lot of promise.

So, What Does the Future Hold for TMS?
Longevity is not a strong point of the game at the moment. After two weeks I have built every tank on offer bar one (which I have been saving). There are a total of ten tanks to build in the game just now; four German, three Soviet and three American but both the dev blog and some in-game menus hint at much more, including a British line of tanks to come.

The developers blog also outlines other up and coming improvements to game, such as increased complexity of tank features (for example, more detailed engines), and the update patches have been coming along at a very satisfyingly and encouraging regularity. Mush of what's being dealt with and added seems to relate directly to player feedback, which is also good.

That said, I personally have some niggles which I would like to see addressed. Like the lack of any real economic or commercial system behind your 'business'. As things stand - momentarily - just about everything is INCOME with piratically no OUTGOINGS. Basically your business cannot fail!

TMS (PC) - Tiger I Rebuild Complete
The highlight and conclusion of your renovation - displaying your finished tank. A infamous tank
like this German Tiger I would be a big draw for any real museum so it's a pity that it's rarity is
not reflected in the game by means of some sort of financial bonus system.

I'd like to see the addition of more expenses, like taxes, business expenses (wages perhaps), utility costs (electricity & water) and museum upkeep (insurance & marketing expenses). This would make your quest for profits more of a game challenge.

Obviously, I would like to see the addition of a greater variety of vehicles (including wheeled vehicles) but I'd also like to see a relation between the rarity of vehicles to the cost/profit aspect of running a business. For example, the rarer the vehicle the harder it should be to find, and the more costly to renovate (scarcity of parts) and the more of a draw it would be in your museum, increasing you profits. I also think there should be 'ace vehicles', historic vehicles which would be super-rare and in turn would add even more kudos to your museum (and profit)!

The paint shop area of the game needs a complete overhaul. The paint and decal customisation this facility adds is minimal at the moment with only a handful of camo schemes and a pitiful selection of decals you can add to your tanks. I'd like to see a freehand paint brush tool added so you can design your own camo designs - in this way you can replicate actual historic examples of tanks (again, increasing their drawing power in your museum).

TMS - The Paint Workshop
The Paint Shop - A bit limited and too rigid in it's implementation. Too few options, no 'freehand'
feature for custom paint jobs and, annoyingly, you cannot set decals over certain parts!

And finally, the outdoor excavation feature needs a complete rework as it is nearly useless at the moment. I'd like to see more of a RPG or 'detective' element to it to make it more of a worthy and interesting challenge. For a start the reward for this sort of work should be greater, you should be able to find rare and super-rare vehicles by doing all the work required by excavating a vehicle.

There should be documents accompanying the excavation that make it more of a puzzle to work out where the buried vehicle is, hints to exact location hidden in the documents. There should also be red-herrings - imagine your metal detector (one of the tools you have in the game) locate a promising reading and then discovering after a lengthy dig that all you have found is an old water tank of other piece of metal rubbish! :) Finding good tanks should NOT be so easy!

TMS - Panzer III Renovation
A Panzer III turret dismounted from the hull stands on the special maintenance stand. Here I have
completed most of the work, primed the turret and am spraying on the finishing coat.
TMS - Panzer III Engine Repair
Likewise, the engine is detached from it's hull compartment and sits on a spacial hoist making
all-round access to the engine possible.

Tank Mechanic Simulator is a fun game and I've really enjoyed my time with it, so far! As mentioned, I am now down to rebuilding the last tank - a beautiful Panzer V 'Panther' - and once that is done is kinda 'game over'! So everything now hangs on the developers getting out new features as soon a possible for this game to have any log-term entertainment factor.

Luckily, the future for the game does look quite rosy and, in fact, the next update - which will include some much requested items - will be release within the next two weeks of my writing this review. So I will have to make my Panther renovation a methodical and slow one! LOL

TMS (PC) -Pz. Kpfw. V 'Panther' Wreck
The last tank, but is a great one! This was a lucky random find in the junk yard area, usually
you only find - obviously - junk there, but this was a keeper!

Milgeek Rating: Note: The score is for the current state of the game - 3/5 (could be higher if the additional features materialise)!

Tanks Featured in Tank Mechanic Simulator:

TMS - Range of vehicles

- Developers Site: DeGenerals Tank Mechanic Simulator.
- Tank Mechanic Simulator on the STEAM store.
- Facebook Official Group for Tank Mechanic Simulator.

- Sim UK 'Let's Play' TMS YouTube Play List.

TMS - StuG 40 G Renovation Complete
The first tank I completed - technically an assault gun - was the StuG 40G and therefore was the
first exibit in my tank museum!

TMC (PC) - Hellcat Renovation Complete
A favourite tank of mine - the M10  Wolverine tank destroyer. I was very happy with this one and
I hope the developers eventually add more tank destroyers.

TMS (PC) - M4A3E8 Sherman 'Easy 8' Complete
The Sherman M4A3E8 'East Eight' - a tank featured in the movie 'Fury'.

TMS - T34/85
The T34/85. Boy! There isn't a lot of space inside this one - you might say it was 'cozy'!

TMS - Pzkpfw. III Ausf. J
The Panzer IV - I was pleased with the camo scheme I did on this one.

TMS - SdKfw. 251/1 Ausf. D
The Hanomag is the only (semi) wheeled vehicle in the game, but I'm hoping they add more trucks.

TMS - M26 Pershing
Just making it into the final stages of WW2 - the M26 Pershing was the replacement for the
venerable M4 Sherman. Funnily, though, it's the easiest tank to rebuild in the game!