Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Call of Duty Zombies?

 I think I have mentioned in the past that I am not a Call of Duty (CoD) fan, I am more of a Battlefield fanboy (although that is not such a thing these days as the latest Battlefields have become little more than a team CoD). However, CoD does do a nice Zombie game mode in it's games and it seems like the latest iteration of the franchise is no exception.

One of my favourite vloggers is Glock9 who usually does 7 Days to Die recordings, but today he did something a little surprising, he uploaded a game recording entitled:  Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies - Round 11 Exfil!

Now, I had no intention of buying the latest CoD, but after watching this video I find myself kinda tempted...

The only thing holding me back is that I have been saving up to buy Zombie Army Dead War 4 (by the guys who did the excellent Sniper Elite series). Decisions, decisions!

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Lest we forget...

 Yeah, I know, the irony...I forgot to post this up yesterday!

In remembrance of my father's friend Bobby Moore, died in service and buried in Derna in 1942. My farther wrote as a caption to this photo:

"Bobby Moore; accidentally killed at Derna, 31st December 1942. Far from the Scotland he loved."

Initials: R H
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Royal Army Service Corps
Unit Text: 39 Detail Issue Depot
Age: 29
Date of Death: 31/12/1942
Service No: S/10541813
Additional information: Son of Adam and Mary Hanvidge Moore; husband of Janet Moore, of Larkhall, Lanarkshire.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: 8. D. 24.


Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Spooky War Movies

It's maybe a tiny bit late for a Halloween post, but my Celtic ancestry means that Winter as a whole is a time for ghost stories and spooky goings on, so I was glad to find a couple of  spooky war movies on Netflix.

The first is based on one of my guilt pleasures - a Nazi Zombie movie! The second is more of a 'jump scare' supernatural horror.

Sadly - for me at least - the hay day of Nazi Zombie flicks is kinda been and gone. Movies like 'Outpost', 'Dead Snow', 'Frankensteins Army', and 'Bloodstorm' were a long way short of Oscar material but they had their own particular charm (if you are the sort of person that like 'bad' movies)! πŸ˜†

'Overlord' (2018)

'Ghosts of War' (2020)

Sunday, 1 November 2020

'Triple Frontier' - Modern War Movie Thoughts

I used to love 'war movies', but as I've gotten older and time moved on things have changed. I come from a different time and have different ideas about what makes a good 'war movie' - films like 'A Bridge Too Far', 'The Longest Day', 'Bridge Over The River Kwai' and 'Dam Busters', to name but a few.

But as new generations came along they wanted to watch movies about war which reflected their values and ideals... You kinda know where this is going with this, suffice to say that the war movies I grew up with are - mostly - a bygone thing.

Link: Timeout - The 50 best war movies of all time

Not that there aren't modern war movies I cannot relate to, Guy Richie's 'Dunkirk' and Sam Mendes's '1917' are examples of contemporary films which echo the narrative style and feel of earlier movies. More importantly there was a new unembarrassed willingness to accept that there is an heroic and patriotic side to warfare that should be acknowledge (while, through the late 1960s and up until the 80s or 90s the weight of younger societal morality - perhaps influenced by the experience of the Vietnam War - considered that there was little glory in war).

Anyway, short story - it seems that - from the 1990s - the 'war movie' became fashionable again.

So you would think I would be happy and enjoying a new crop of war movies? Well, not really, and perhaps it's because my attitude has matured and I realised that war should not simply be viewed as 'entertainment'. We all grow up eventually.

Now, it's all about the story and not just the action. I like war movies with a message that gives a nod to the realities of war so that the audience can understand that real heroics are the actions that are undertaken despite conflict and not because of it. 

Last night I watched a modern take on the war movie called 'Triple Frontier' that seems to be 'our' new attitude to making war movies - an acceptance that as a commercial endeavour it should entertain (which in this case means action and violence) in order to make a profit, but also at the same time have some sort of moral so that audiences can feel that they have not sullied themselves by finding too much pleasure in war.


I enjoyed 'Triple Frontier' and while not the best movie - as you might say it rather too cynically trod the careful path between titillation and edification - but overall I was left feeling that there was enough of a moral to the tale to make the violence an acceptable vehicle.

I rate it 6.5/10. 

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Phasmophobia Beginner's Guide

 For those of you who saw our attempt to play 'Phasmophobia' - the PC ghost hunting game - and couldn't tell what was happening because WE didn't have a clue what we were doing, here's a good intro to playing the beginner's level game...

Honestly, while we did have a laugh I wish we had of watched this video first as it was clear that we weren't using what equipment we had properly. 

We are going to have another go and I really hope we can make a better job of it this time! :)

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Bletchley Park’s contribution to WW2 'over-rated'?

The above title is a direct quote from a BBC article and it certainly is a nice piece of click-bait by whomever wrote it (kudos) as it was bound to raise the hackles of many of the BBC's core viewership. 

While professional historians seem to relish 'reformist' history as lazy way of making their pet projects sound more interesting than they actually are to the general public - by deliberately offering contrary and controversial hypothesises that fly in the face of perceived and established (or should that be 'establishment') history - they completely forget that as a culture 'we' tend to build our interpretation of history on how we prefer to believe it took place. Apologies for that very long sentence.

The 'Bletchley Park Problem' is one of those issues.

We think we all know the story, of how a group of nerds - er, sorry, mathematicians - were brought together to crack one of World War Two's greatest secrets and in doing so making one of the greatest contributions to the Allied victory. At least that's how the 2014 film 'The Imitation Game', staring Benedict Cumberbatch and Skeletor (Keira Knightley), tells the story...

My wife and I recently watched this movie as it seemed to combine both our interests in one of those 'for couples' narratives, as she is a science teacher and I like war movies! But it wasn't long into the story before my 'spidey senses' were jangling at some of the claims about the importance of the work were being pronounced by the ever tenable Mr. Cumberbatch. I mean how could Sherlock Holmes not be telling us the exact facts about, well, anything!

The crux of the problem for me was the premise that knowing the enemy's secret plans by cracking their most important code was - in effect - 'game over' and was THE event which precipitated the winning of the war.

MR. Cumberbatch's character - he was playing the tortured Alan Turin - was almost dismissive of the part played by the soldiers, sailors and airmen (and women) who put their lives on the line in direct physical combat! In an attitude which was so reminiscent of Sheldon from 'Big Bang Theory' the implication was that it was intellect that won WW2 and not the martial toil of the 'ordinary man' (or women)!

This irked me (as indeed the character Sheldon does).

Fast forward to this morning's online BBC News and this article caught my eye...

"Bletchley is not the war winner that a lot of Brits think it is," the author, Professor John Ferris of the University of Calgary, told the BBC.

Link to the BBC article: Bletchley Park’s contribution to WW2 'over-rated' By Gordon Corera

It seems that the idea that intellect is the infallible superior to 'animistic' endeavour - to put it in turn of phrase that both Sheldon and Spock would expound - is NOT the full story.

The article is definitely worth a read as it seeks to re-calibrate the strongly held notion that Britain's Intelligence (with a big 'I') was instrumental in the Allies winning the war, an idea that makes a good plot for a weird romantic movie between two weird actors doesn't quite add up in reality.

What annoyed me was how the idea that a 'bunch of boffins in a wooden hut' single-handedly brought down the Third Reich under valued and underplayed the role played by the combined arms of the Allied military forces on the beaches of Normandy, the jungles of Asia, the Steppes of Russia and the Islands of the Pacific (in the air, on the sea and on the ground)!

This expounding of the notion of technology over manual toil - to me - smacks of the old Audi moto 'Vorsprung Durch Technik' with all it's vaguely Nazi implications! And seems just as arrogant an idea as was the Nazi's desperate plan for it's 'super weapons' to win a war they had already lost.

OK, I may overstate the comparison slightly BUT while I totally admire the important contribution our boffins made to the war effort, no secret weapon or technology ever took a foot of actual enemy territory on it's own, they merely helped our forces job a little less risky.

Science and technology undoubtedly saved many, many lives during World War 2 - and beyond - but let's not forget that science and technology also ended many lives as well.

The spirit of British victory in WW2 was not the intellectual superiority of a minority of elite, but the way in which we overcame the threat of Nazism as a national whole. An idea we should perhaps remember as we try to overcome the current threat to our society of Corvid 19.

...I await a movie in a few years time when Mr. Cumberbatch dons a white coat and peers enigmatically down a microscope with nurse Keira Knightley moping his tortured brow! πŸ˜›

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Pulp Sky Adventures - 1930s Fighter Aircraft

I've just completed my latest 'peg aeroplane', a little wooden toy plane made in a cartoon style. This time I went for a historical design as the bases for my model, the classic 1930s Being P.29 'Peashooter'...

This project reminded me just how much I loved the Pulp fiction genre - sometimes called 'Diesel Punk'. Dieselpunk is a genre of Speculative Fiction based on the 1920s-1950s period, spiced up with retro-futuristic innovations and occult elements. The air adventure element of the genre fascinates me - as a fan of 'Biggles' and 'Buck Danny' - and I loved the 2004 movie 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow' (who didn't)!

Anyway, this all left me keen to try some more early 1930s vintage fighters, of which there are several novel designs. Here's a few of my favourite examples...

The Dewoitine D.500 (France): To me this embodies the Art Deco spirit of the 1930s and must have inspired many a travel poster of the time! Amazingly, these planes were still in the French Air Forces inventory when the Germans invaded in WW2! How beautiful is this plane?

Grigorovich I-Z (USSR): Yes, before you say anything, there is definitely a certain similarity of design going on as with these early 30s fighter aircraft, but there again I believe that this sort of convergence of design goes on to this day (just look at today's fighter aircraft). However, what makes this typical early monoplane design stand out was it's coupling with another Soviet aircraft - the Vakhmistrov Zveno Aircraft Carrier! (I kid you not!) ---->

You can't get much more DieselPunk than that! 😊

PZL P.11 (Poland): And finally, here is one of my favourite aircraft, the distinctive P.11. I love underdogs stories and the PZL P. 11 is one of the greats - when the brave pilots of the Polish Airforce met the Luftwaffe's Me109s in their obsolete aircraft who would have imagined that they would surprise the Germans with their determination and aggression. ['A total of 285 German aircraft were lost according to Luftwaffe records, with at least 110 victories credited to the P.11 for the loss of about 100 of their own.' Wikipedia.]

If you want to read about how I went about making my little wooden P.26 then follow this lonk over to my 'Molatero' blog: Peg Monoplane (Boeing P.26) Complete

Friday, 16 October 2020

Dad & DAUGHTERS Game night! Phasmophobia.

 Had a terrific Dand'n'Daughter(s) game night this week as my older daughter - Kayleigh - joined Stacy and myself in a session of Borderlands 3 and then Phasmophobia.

Phasmophobia is a new co-operative ghost hunting game by indie company Kinetic and is available on STEAM for just £10.99. Since it's release it has become something of a phenomenon and is the darling of game vloggers at the moment, despite it's early access status.

It's not very complicated and when you read the description you might be a little sceptical about how such a - apparently - shallow game is such a buzz among the gaming community. But believe me, if you get some friends together and give it a go it become immediately apparent just how hilarious playing it can be...

Now, I'm a middle-aged bloke and 'don't believe in no ghosts' (double negative) but sitting in my man cave with the lights out and getting caught up in the shenanigans with my team really did start to get to me! The growing nervousness was palpable, and even I started getting all high-pitched and jumpy! πŸ˜‚

I highly recommend this as a terrific 'party game' and although it has it's flaws I'd still say it was definitely worth the money for the amount of laughs and scares we had on the night.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

What I'm Watching on YouTube - September 2020

 While I sit doing hobby stuff - like military model making - I usually have YouTube playing away on my laptop for some background entertainment (who says men can't multi-task)! πŸ˜„

I have featured some of my favourite military themed YouTube channels in the past, but I have (many) other interest and my 'watch list' is pretty eclectic. So I thought I'd share with you some of the stuff that amuses and entertains me...

1. 7 Days To Die - Cabin In The Woods: Glock9
I really got heavily into the zombie survival/crafting PC game and although I've since moved onto other games I still like to keep up to date with how the game is evolving (up to version Alpha 19 now) and enjoy seeing what's new.

Now, there are many 7D2D vloggers by I have found that Glock9's amiable commentary to be among the most listenable and entertaining. I like his selection of personal challenges that he sets himself for his series, the current - 'Cabin in the Woods' - being to upgrade and defend a single small dwelling against a game setting of a horde every night! Sit back and enjoy... 

2. Gta 5 Challenge - Survive The Hunt #27: FailRace
While I really enjoyed GTA 5 as a single player experience I never really got into the lively online multiplayer version of the game. That said, if there would be one GTA game format that would get me to have a try it would be 'Survive the Hunt', a modded online version of hide and seek!

If this doesn't sound very exciting I would beg to differ and suggest you take a look at one of FailRace's game recordings. I personally find this very watchable eSport and would rather watch a session of this than a televised game of football or other sport! Each to their own I suppose...

3. Matchbox Maserati 4CLT Custom: Paul Youdelis
Diecast toy restoration isn't a hobby bug that I have caught - for once - but I do find the process absolutely fascinating. Paul Youdelis is one of a growing community of hobbiests who get a kick out of taking an old bashed up and neglected classic diecast vehicle and restoring it to something like it's former glory.

As a kid I myself had a collection of Matchbox, Dinky and Corgi diecast vehicles - mostly military - that will played with to destruction, so I love seeing some of these toys being given a second life and bringing joy to another owner. This story is typical and heartwarming...

4. The Search for the Real Necronomicon: Mysterious Middle East
As a fan of the horror author H. P. Lovecraft I am intrigued by the origins of his fictional Mythos and so am always on the lookout for videos concerning ancient mythology, religious pantheons and the occult.

However, my world view is very much that of a Westerner and it's history so I was intrigued when I came across the Mysterious Middle East YouTube channel as I know practically nothing about Eastern and Oriental mythology and religious origin stories. Who knew that there really was a Necronomocon?

5. The Tingler | Welcome To The Basement: BlameSociety
I'm a big movie geek and I'm particularly fond of 'classics' and 'cult' movies - good and bad - so it should come as no surprise I watch a lot of YouTube movie reviews. I particularly like film deconstructions, where the YouTuber/s attempt to interpret the meaning/s behind particular movies - it's always interesting to hear other views and perhaps disagree with them or have my own theories endorsed!

'Welcome to the Basement' is a delightfully witty - mainly of the 'Dad humour ' type πŸ˜‰ - watch party where a couple of movie geeks view a selected 'classic' and give a running commentary of  stuff that you were probably thinking when you watched it or will think when you get around to watching it. Sometimes their 'review' is enough to tell you whether it's perhaps a movie that you should maybe skip! πŸ˜„

At any rate, there is enough good cinematic facts peppered throughout the shenanigans to make this series of videos well worth a watch...Welcome to the basement!

Well, that's it for now, though I will probably update this selection every so often. Hope you find something here that you might find enetertaining!

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Where Eagles Derped?

 You can't be a military movies fan and not have seen the classic 1968 WW2 adventure 'Where Eagles Dare', aside from it being a much admired war story written by Alistair MacLean it also has the less admirable reputation as being somewhat 'fanciful' (to put it kindly)! 😏

Over the years this movie has racked up a sort of cult-like urban mythology surrounding some of it scenes where credibility is stretched to the upmost limits. That said, as long as you watch this movie in 'the right spirit' - understanding that it is in the same story-telling ilk as James Bond ('men's adventure') - then you can relax and simply enjoy some of the more ludicrous moments and chuckle. Moments like the now infamous 'Nazi Death Count' videos... πŸ˜†

Now, I'm not going to run through all of the movie's congruities but rather I will focus on one well-know 'blooper' that is obvious to anyone with even a passing interest in historic military machines. Can you spot what is out of place in this scene, bearing in mind that this is set in the Bavarian alps of 1943...

Now, the less informed will immediately jump to the conclusion that this scene is wrong because it shows a helicopter in a Second World War movie, but that's not the issue. In fact, as many of you will know helicopters were actually first used in WW2, by both the Germans and the Americans, and that the Germans were - yet again - leaders in this new fangled technology.

So, what's the gripe? Well, obviously the helicopter used in the scene was American Bell Model 47, which did not see use until 1946. However, given that original German WW2 vintage helicopters no longer exist in an operational state the substitution of an early helicopter of nearly the correct period seems forgivable (particularly as CGI was not even invented when the movie was shot).

It's a funny case where 'movie buffs' rightly point out an error, but at the same time they are most likely pointing out an error for the wrong reasons! (In that they erroneously believe that helicopters were not a 'thing' in 1943!)

Here's a video that explains what probably should have been in the scene instead, had one been available that is! ------->

I myself was unaware of this fact for many years and admit the idea of a helicopter in the movie jarred with me. It took many years before I was enlightened on the subject and I could then watch 'Where Eagles Dare' without having a good rant about the Bell's inclusion! πŸ˜†

HOWEVER... This still left plenty of other blunders that I could take pleasure in and it's - in part - these well known goofs that help make the movie so enjoyable. It's like we are all privy to a inside joke which is enjoyed by a community of like-minded war-movie enthusiasts. Incidentally, Where Eagles Dare is still  one of the top rated war-movies and is Stephen Spielberg's favourite war adventure (understandable when you consider some of the cavalier moments in the first Indiana Jones movie ... Remember that super advanced Nazi bomber that Indi had his fist fight with the Goliath German soldier?)!

Friday, 25 September 2020

It's September - WTF! I Better Post!!!

 OK, my lack of posts is NOT all my fault. My wife and I are both key workers and this whole pandemic thing has been a bit stressful (she's a teacher and I work as a Theater Domestic in the local hospital). So, for once, I have a reasonable excuse for neglecting my blog. πŸ˜‡

So, I guess I better tell you what's been going on - well, it's been work, sleep, work, sleep, work, sleep! I never thought I'd be in what you might call an 'enviable job', but as lowly as my position is in the NHS I am at least working. Sadly, others have not been and my heart goes out to those who have either lost their jobs due to the lock-down or are struggling to make ends meet.

Anyway, back to Milgeek related things. I have had time to get some hobbying down, in the main I have been doing a lot of toys soldier modelling - the results of which you can read about over on my Molatero blog - and a bit of computer gaming. The gaming has been just fun and relaxing stuff which I have been playing with my youngest daughter - Stacey - and hasn't been anything that has required too my concentration.

We've been meeting online on a regular basis to have what I have dubbed 'Dad'n'Daughter' game nights and it has really helped me let off some steam throughout this difficult summer. Games included the classic survival co-op game 'Left4Dead2' and we've more recently been caining 'Borderlands 3'! And there have certainly been plenty of moments which kept us laughing...

Later on this month we are hoping my eldest daughter - Kayleigh - will be joining us online as we as we have another go at the recently updated 'Dead By Daylight' (another survival co-op game where your team has to survive being hunted by a psycopathic serial killer or monster)! Here's a clip from one of our 'family games' recorded back in 2017...πŸ˜†

We might be able to field a full 'family team' of four this time as the developers recently added cross-platform play which means Stacey's boyfriend can join us via his Xbox! 😊

So, that's my life at the moment, long bouts of routine interspersed by some model making and computer gaming to relief the stress! I'm going to regularly schedule Milgeek posting - at least bi-weekly - from now on just so I can persuade myself that I do do interesting stuff in my spare time and I'm not just working and sleeping all the time! LOL

I'll leave you with this clip from lat night's 'Dad'n'Daughter' session where Stacey and I took on the Pain & Terror level boss in Borderlands 3. It was a doozy! πŸ˜…

...Oh, and the moral of the day is: The family that slays together stays together!

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: https://molatero.blogspot.com/

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.