Monday, November 21, 2011

Mondays Mirthful Meandering - 21.11.11

Caution: This includes naughty words!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dressed to Kill - Book Review

Dressed to Kill by charlotte Madison
"My fingers close around the trigger. I pause for a split second to think about the bullets I am about to spray across the ground. After today, I'll no longer be the new girl" Captain Charlotte Madison is a typical 26 year old woman. She looks forward to her weekly instalment of gossip magazines, worries she is developing bingo wings and is planning her fairytale wedding. She also flies Apache gunships for a living. Britain's first ever female Apache pilot, Charlotte knows exactly what it's like to fight on the frontline in the Army's deadliest machine. During the daring Jugroom Fort rescue, Charlotte became the first British pilot since WWII to use all her ammunition in one mission. She has not only mastered the skills required to fly an Apache and shoot from the air, but also earned the respect and admiration of her male colleagues, proving that whatever they could do, she could do just as well.From her intensive training to her tours of duty in Afghanistan, Charlotte shares all the dramatic details: The exhaustion of being confined in an airless cockpit for up to eleven hours The adrenalin rush of lethal, full-scale mid-air assault What it is like to kill in the name of duty Her female perspective on what being at war is really like DRESSED TO KILL is the extraordinary, gritty and exhilarating story of a young woman at war in a dangerous, mostly male, world.
Having read Ed Macy's Apache and Hellfire, and already knowing a little of the complexities of the Apache, it's target acquisition capabilities, and the weapon systems, made this book a very readable addition, showing as it does the varying human elements which go to make up our superlative AH Regiments, and the incomparable personnel who fly and fight these awesome machines.

The book gives a good insight into the training of Apache crews, particularly the aspects of the few but incredibly effective female pilots who have mastered both the technology, and the intrusion into a male dominated profession.

This is the story of "Charlotte Madison” from her time at an English boarding school through to her army service. She is obviously a determined and talented young lady and this is reflected in her success in joining the elite group of Apache pilots, and being the first woman to do so.

The life of an Apache pilot has already been told through two exceptional books by Ed Macy (and I do recall his account of Charlotte) so this is not new ground, with the obvious exception of the female perspective. And the female perspective is an interesting one and there is a distinct difference between Charlotte as a military pilot and as an off duty 'girlie' looking at Cosmo and worrying about the smell of 'the boys feet'.

Her perspective is perhaps less technical then Ed Macy's but gives a wider view of camp life in Afghanistan, the sights, the smells and the atmosphere. There is some sexist resentment of her during her training, but it was good to note that once she arrived in theatre, she was very much part of a team, and a very effective team at that. As mentioned before, the Apache is an attack helicopter, so the pilot's job is to provide air cover to ground troops and to use the vast array of offensive weaponry to take the fight to the enemy and, let us not forget, to kill them. So we are reminded that this may be one of the most exciting flying roles, it is also a deadly one and, I think I am correct in saying, the only role in the Army when a woman can have front line operational duties.

So we read about how she always wants to pee when out on a mission and how uncomfortable it is, and then we read about her putting a hellfire missile into a building, obliterating it and the insurgents inside and being the first UK Apache pilot to use up every bit of ammunition in a mission and to return to base 'guns dry'. She also recounts very well the difficulty of 'normal life' when away from the intensity of the war, hard to go for a party with your friends in London when the week before you were mowing down bad guys having not slept for 18 hours....Her leaving the Army is rather abrupt and she does not share much background into this.

You end up thinking you would like Charlotte if you met her, but also thinking you would want her above you in a helicopter if you were a member of our armed forces. So while the thunder might have been taken by the Ed Macy books, this remains a worthwhile and interesting book and reflects the intense and courageous service of our Apache pilots.

Charlotte puts clearly, in a very readable way, all of the pressures under which she, and all of the others operate the British Apache, and how she coped with them. I found myself becoming so immersed that I read her book form cover to cover. Charlotte also comes across as a very focussed woman, who with all the skill she gained dealt with formidable scenarios on a daily basis, and fulfilled her role admirably. This skill and focus is reflected in the layout of the book, there are no conventional chapter breaks just short sharp sections detailing a new aspect of her life and the mission, rather like the experience of flying she’s talking about. A great book and a must have alongside Ed Macys books. A solid 4 and a half stars from me.

Available from:

Charlotte Madison
Hardback • ISBN 9780755319602

Empire of the Clouds - Book Review

Empire of the Clouds: When Britain's Aircraft Ruled the World by James Hamilton-Paterson
In 1945, Britain was the world's leading designer and builder of aircraft - a world-class achievement that was not mere rhetoric. And what aircraft they were. The sleek Comet, the first jet airliner. The awesome delta-winged Vulcan, an intercontinental bomber that could be thrown about the sky like a fighter. The Hawker Hunter, the most beautiful fighter-jet ever built and the Lightning, which could zoom ten miles above the clouds in a couple of minutes and whose pilots rated flying it as better than sex. How did Britain so lose the plot that today there is not a single aircraft manufacturer of any significance in the country? And what was it like to be alive in that marvellous post-war moment when innovative new British aircraft made their debut, and pilots were the rock stars of the age? James Hamilton-Paterson captures that season of glory in a compelling book that fuses his own memories of being a schoolboy plane spotter with a ruefully realistic history of British decline - its loss of self confidence and power.It is the story of great and charismatic machines and the men who flew them: heroes such as Bill Waterton, Neville Duke, John Derry and Bill Beaumont who took inconceivable risks, so that we could fly without a second thought.

This is a most frustrating book - it's so 'hit and miss'. There's much of interest but you have to trawl through a lot of irritating dross to get to it, and by a lot I mean way too much!

I understand there's a tendency for books about such subjects to be over-flowing with description and data which can be off-putting to a casual reader. But Hamilton-Paterson goes too far the other way and lets vague nostalgia get in the way of fact. To be brutally honest, I don't care what his nan thought or how he fell out his pram when a jet passed low over his garden. At times this feels more like his memoirs than an account of the British aero-industry. And such expressions as 'the sky was full of jets' are just inaccuracies that make you doubt the validity of his other points - his referencing of Wikipedia doesn't help matters. I know this isn't the most serious of history books, but Wikipedia? Come on!

The book isn't a long one, only 270 pages, yet it feels fleshed-out by the author repeating how Bill Waterton was seen as a difficult person to get on with, how test pilots earned a pittance (though a pittance worth more than double that of an average worker), and how people at the time wrongly believed Britain was at the cutting-edge of aircraft design and production.

I think making Waterton one of the main focuses of the book is a good idea, but poorly executed. H-P clearly doesn't have enough information to make a full biography of Waterton - yet he has enough to detract from the stories of the other test pilots and the planes themselves. Do one or the other, not both half-heartedly.

When H-P isn't trying too hard to be a writer and isn't doing his 'it's not like it used to be' routine, the book can be very interesting, readable and informative. Such sections of the book usually occur when he lets the facts talk for themselves. The chapter on the V-Bombers is good and the part about the airliners is enlightening (H-P has no enthusiasm to cloud the details here - he admits airliners are the aircraft he is least interested in). In many places however the book concentrates too much on the politics of the business of post war flight and not enough on the amazing achievements and aircraft, and the politics is written in such a dry way that ti becomes tedious!

For me, this book has served as a useful starting point and it has certainly furthered my interest and knowledge. I just feel it could have been much more than that. All the ingredients are here for something fantastic - a fascinating subject, glamorous planes, colourful characters and a wider setting in the form of the general decline of British industry as a whole. But H-P really hasn't got the balance right. Too much opinion, too much nostalgia...just tell the stories of the planes and people, they're interesting enough - they don't need any embellishment from you! As a result the book rates a mere two stars from me and should be only considered if you cant get a good illustrated guide or don't mind large amounts of backbiting in your books.

Available from:
James Hamilton-Paterson
Hardback • ISBN 9780571247943

Forge World Newsletter #288 - Eldar Specacular!! Titan Weapons and Pheonix Lord!

As always the important bits reproduced below:
Hi there, In this week’s newsletter we’ve got details of a new Phantom Titan weapon option and a new Eldar special character which are both now available to pre-order, as well as a reminder of our Christmas shipping deadlines – phew! Read on for more…

Eldar Phantom Titan Power Glaive
The Phantom Titan is the mightiest of all the war machines fielded by the ancient and advanced xenos Eldar. Towering above the battlefield, these cyclopean war machines are commanded by a single Steersman, yet this single crewman does not pilot his charge completely alone.
Assisted by the spirit stones of long-dead Steersmen, the living pilot is able to merge his consciousness with those of his predecessors, allowing the Phantom to react and manoeuvre with nearly the same preternatural swiftness as an Eldar infantryman.
For a Phantom to be deployed the threat must be dire indeed, and the weaponry of these mighty Titans varies depending on the nature of the foe they will face. When ranged against enemy super-heavy walkers a Steersman will commonly arm his Titan with a Phantom Power Glaive, a long and shimmering sword similar in appearance to those wielded by Eldar Aspect Warriors, using the Phantom’s speed and agility to close with and destroy their opponents.
Designed by Will Hayes, the Phantom Power Glaive is etched with Eldar runes to draw doom upon its hapless opponents, and also features a twin-linked Starcannon. This weapon, like our Phantom Pulsar and D-Cannon, can be mounted on either of the Phantom’s arms. This full resin weapon is available to pre-order now for despatch in the week commencing 28th November.

Irillyth, Phoenix Lord of the Shadow Spectres
Once a disciple of Asurmen, first of the Eldar Phoenix Lords, Irillyth the Shade of Twilight founded the Shrine of the Shadow Spectres on the Craftworld of Mymeara. Drawn to the small Craftworld in response to a vision of doom and horror, Irillyth gifted the skills of stealth, swiftness and all-consuming firepower to the warriors of Mymeara. After many years, the Phoenix Lord led a great war host to the legend-shrouded world of Bethalmae to destroy a race that would, many thousands of years later, arise to threaten Craftworld Mymeara. Neither he nor any of his warhost ever returned to the Craftworld, and with the loss of their Phoenix Lord the Shadow Spectre aspect fell into decline.
Irillyth, Phoenix Lord of the Shadow Spectres is a lavishly detailed resin character designed by the talented Simon Egan. Portrayed in a suitably commanding pose and armed with his ancient weapon, the Spear of Starlight, full background for this resurrected Phoenix Lord will be featured in Imperial Armour Volume 11: The Doom of Mymeara. As an exclusive preview, experimental rules for Irillyth can be downloaded from the Forge World website.
Irillyth the Shade of Twilight is available to pre-order now for despatch in the week commencing 28th November.

Christmas Order Deadlines
It’s getting to that time of year again. The nights are drawing in, shop windows are filling with tinsel and baubles, and here at Forge World we are busily processing orders and shipping kits so that they’ll reach you in time for Christmas.
As always the Customer Service team are standing by to assist with any and all enquiries you may have - from product availability and hobby advice to helping to explain the difference between a Titan and a Dreadnought to a confused relative. We can be reached on 0115 916 8177 within the UK, 011 44 115 916 8177 from the US and Canada, and 00 44 115 916 8177 from much of Europe.
It’s always best to place your order early to avoid disappointment, and with this in mind these are our last order dates for pre-Christmas delivery. As always, these dates are subject to change and stock availability so if in doubt, call us.

Standard Delivery:
Thursday 1st December – Australasia, Asia, Far East (including Japan), Africa, the Caribbean, South & Central America, APO addresses and static BFPOs
Monday 5th December – Eastern Europe, USA and Canada
Thursday 8th December – Western Europe
Tuesday 13th December – UK and Operational BFPOs

Express Delivery:
Tuesday 13th December – Worldwide
Thursday 15th December - UK

Thanks, Ead Brown, Customer Service Manager, Forge World


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Immediate Response - Book Review

Immediate Response by Mark Hammond
This is the gripping true story of a Royal Marine helicopter pilot at war in Afghanistan. Major Mark Hammond was awarded the DFC, which ranks third after the VC, for remarkable feats in Afghanistan in his Chinook helicopter. Like the other Chinook pilots and crews, and the surgical teams who travelled with them, Major Hammond regularly put his own life in danger to save the lives of others. Three times on the night of 6 September 2006 he flew into hostile zones to pick up injured soldiers. During an attempt to land at the Para outpost in Musa Qala two rocket-propelled grenades passed within 10ft of his helicopter and four rounds hit it. He aborted the mission. On returning to Camp Bastion he found a new Chinook and made another trip, rescuing a soldier while still under heavy fire. "Immediate Response" is Major Mark Hammond's highly personal account of combat and provides readers with a vivid account of the brutal realities of war.

This book is a brilliant, real life story about one aspect of the violent and brutal conflict in Afghanistan. The story is told by Major Mark Hammond DFC, a Royal Marine aviator serving as a pilot with the RAF in the Chinook Helicopter Forces based at RAF Odiham. Through the clarity of his writing and his open and honest account of events of which he has personally experienced, he has been able to describe the environment in which the Chinooks helicopters have been operating in such a manner that the reader can feel the tension, the fear, and the sheer terror felt by all those involved.

The book highlights the major contribution the Chinook Force is making providing not only a means of access and the delivery of vital logistic support across Helmand Province, but perhaps more importantly getting casualties out of the immediate battle area and into the hands of the medical teams during the all important `golden hour'. To achieve this the author describes the terrifying experience of landing his helicopter while under fire to collect the injured, and the luck required to avoid what should have been certain death for all on board his aircraft on more than one occasion.

He also graphically describes the frustration when such missions are cancelled or postponed due to the unserviceability of the Apache Attack helicopters, which provide the essential close air support needed when the Chinooks go into a hostile area. This appears to happen all too often and just highlights the anger of many at the lack the necessary equipment and spare parts for the British armed forces in theatre. The reality is there are not enough helicopter airframes in theatre to provide cover as a backup, and a shortage of spares for one piece of equipment can have a snowball effect on other capabilities and impact on operations. The book indirectly highlights the impact of these shortages on our fighting troops on the ground.

This book has managed to capture the torment and serious challenges faced by our soldiers and aviators who have been called to serve in the Afghan War. Many aspects of this tragic conflict have gone unreported for too long, but this book is a `must read' for those who want to know what it must be like for our men and women deployed into that most inhospitable theatre of operations.

This is a different take in the current vein of 'what its like' books coming out of the conflict in Afghanistan 'Immediate Response' stands well up there alongside other previous books. For me its a nice solid 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Available from:
Mark Hammond
softback • ISBN 9780141039046

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Lord Inquisitor Trailer!

I seriously cannot say how cool this is for a fan project, suffice to say it is way better than the Ultramarines movie!!! Defiantely this is the way the film should have looked.
Check it out then please check out his links below the video.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Tale of Some Gamers - A Quick Round-up

Hi Folks
Rather then bore you all with lots of pics of undercoated models I thought it best to give a quick run down of whats been happening.

The past two weeks has seen Dan cracking on with undercoating and deciding to play with army list alternatives. The lists have been interesting and have resulted in some extra models for him to get done, best of all he now has a contemptor :-)

For me my models have been undercoated too, despite a lack of brass etch and having to order loads. I too have played with my lists and have ended up going from a tank and 25 models to paint all the way up to a tank, several turret options, a sentinel and total of 55 infantry!!! Still the FW models are here and all being well more progress this week.

Hopefully next week it will be time for some pics for you all.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Forge World Newsletter #287 - Space MarineRH1NO, Predator Armour and Minatours Doors

As always the important bits reproduced below:

Hi there, This week’s newsletter has a plethora of exciting Space Marine Rhino-related releases: the MkIc Deimos Pattern Rhino, first available at Games Day UK, Rhino and Land Raider door sets for the Minotaurs Chapter, and our redesigned Rhino/Predator Reinforced Armour set. As well as all this there’s a snippet of events news for you too.

MkIc Deimos Pattern Rhino The ubiquitous Rhino Armoured Personnel Carrier is a mainstay of the Space Marine Chapters, and has been in continuous use for over ten thousand years. Its true origins are more distant still, and ancient records mention the RH1-N-0 Tracked Exploration and Multi-purpose Defence Vehicle accompanying explorator missions during Mankind’s Golden Age. Later, as the armies of the Imperium marched across the galaxy, the Rhino was re-armed and re-purposed for military use, and remains a mainstay of its might to this day.

There are many patterns and designs of this robust vehicle, and the MkIc Deimos Pattern Rhino is amongst one of the oldest variants, first issued en-masse to the Space Marine Legions of the Great Crusade. This pattern is armed with two turret-mounted bolters, slaved to the target-logis systems of the Rhino’s machine spirit, rather than the pintle-mounted storm bolter seen on the later MkIIc design that was more readily adopted after the Horus Heresy.

The MkIc Deimos Pattern Rhino, designed by Daren Parrwood, is a complete resin and plastic kit that contains a standard Games Workshop Rhino kit as well as sufficient resin conversion components to construct the MkIc Deimos Pattern variant. This detailed and evocative kit is available to pre-order now for despatch in the week commencing 28th November.

 Minotaurs Land Raider and Rhino Door Sets
A mysterious and darkly famed Chapter, the Minotaurs played a major part in the prosecution of the Badab War. Adding their full strength to the Loyalist cause, they were most lauded for their brutal and unrelenting near-destruction of the Secessionist Lamenters during the Battle of Optera.

Designed by
Simon Egan, this set of detailed Minotaurs Land Raider Doors and Minotaurs Rhino Doors will be despatched in the week commencing 28th November. Both of these accessory kits are compatible with the full range of Space Marine vehicles available both from Forge World and Games Workshop, except for the MkIc Deimos Pattern Rhino which they are not compatible with.

Rhino/Predator Reinforced Armour
Our final release to be announced this week is a set of Rhino/Predator Reinforced Armour. This popular kit has been remodelled by Will Hayes, and now features different details and optional turret armour plates so that it can also be used on the plastic Predator kit.

Designed to fit the full range of Rhino-based plastic kits, the Rhino/Predator Reinforced Armour is perfect for both adding detail and variety to a Space Marine force and also for representing the Extra Armour upgrade option.
This kit is available to pre-order now for despatch in the week commencing 28th November.

Forge World Events News

Warhammer 40,000 Titanicus: Liberation of Forge World Orestes
Warhammer World – 5th November

The Forge World Sales team, and Forge World designer Simon Egan, will be joining the Warhammer World Events team and Black Library for this exciting event based upon Dan Abnett’s Sabbat Worlds novel Titanicus.

We’ll have our Event Only Space Marine Boarding Captain and Chaos Dwarf Hellsmith available to buy, and Simon Egan will be on hand to explain the finer points of designing the amazing interiors of our Titans. We hope to see you there!

IPMS Scale ModelWorld: The International Centre, Telford, 12th – 13th November 2011
Forge World will soon be trekking to Telford’s International Centre for the IPMS Scale ModelWorld 2011 event. We’ll be bringing you more news about our presence at this show in the coming weeks, but can announce that we are now accepting reservation orders for this event.

As with our other UK shows this year, we’ll be taking payment in advance for reservation orders so that it’s quicker and easier for you to collect them at the sales stand at your leisure, at any point throughout the weekend.

A reservation order is the best way of ensuring that we have exactly what you want, including our Show Only figures, so please call the Forge World Customer Service team on 0115 900 4995 to place your reservation. We’ll need your name and a contact e-mail address, and you’ll need your credit card or debit card to hand as well. Remember that the cut-off date for IPMS Scale ModelWorld reservation orders is 7th November. After this we can’t guarantee that we’ll have everything available for you.
Thanks, Ead Brown, Customer Service Manager, Forge World

DAMMIT!!!! So many tasty marine releases recently and no marine force for me til next year! Still might have to pick up one of those RH1NOs for my DW or =I=. Overall a good newsletter and some sweeeet models!
Also would be very interested to know more about the commander in the predator and where the bits are from.
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