Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014 Year in Review - Books, Magazines, Articles, Movies, and TV!

Happy Candlenights! Yesterday we took a look at some of the best YouTube videos and Twitch channels I took in this last year. Today I'm going to go over some of the best written and filmed material I looked at this year.
I spent a TON of time this year reading up on WW2. I was pretty into it before but this year playing Bolt Action has definitely put me all in.

Osprey Books
I can't list these individually. There are so many of them and I have them. They make amazing references for uniform painting and tank painting. Even if you don't enjoy WW2, there are plenty of inspirations for other games included. They actually sell them on Kindle now if you prefer that route as well. The new "COMBAT" series are pretty amazing - they detail out a certain battle and talk about the experiences of each side during that battle. They still have the amazing illustrations that we have come to expect.

AK Interactive - D.A.K. Profile Guide
This softcover book details over 170 color profiles of different equipment used by the Deutsche Afrika Korps. The illustrations are beautiful and will certainly help when I start my DAK tank painting. They include the colors for each camo scheme so it makes it really easy.

This is a magazine, but I'd consider it a book. They are doing guides where they cover different time periods to show how to paint the uniforms. I have to say that this book has been amazing and helped me to really up my game when painting WW2 models. Heresybrush does a great job of going step by step and telling you how to paint everything - uniforms, camo, equipment, leathers, weapons, flesh, all of it. I can't emphasize how much this book has helped me.

Wargames, Soldiers, & Strategy
This is currently my favorite wargaming magazine. It comes out six times a year and routinely invites Rick Priestly of WH40k fame (also a writer on Bolt Action) to write columns. They theme their issues - so each issue will cover a certain time period, battle, etc. They still have other content for other time periods but it is really interesting to read about stuff I haven't touched yet. They have done extensive WW2 and SAGA (dark ages) theme issues.

Check it out! They have a coupon code you can hear on most WWPD podcast commercials.

The Weathering Magazine
Mig Jimenez is one of the best weathering and airbrushing experts out there. I have been trying to really weather the vehicles I've been painting lately so I've checked out quite a few of his weathering mags. He helps you to learn how to do everything, with step by step guides on how to do certain parts of the weathering. He also has swimsuit models in the magazine, heh, which is a weird connection to make with painting models but I'm ok with it!

With the Old Breed - E.B. Sledge
Eugene Sledge's account of his time in WW2 in the Pacific is one of the best books I've ever read. He does a great job of presenting how the troops felt, what went on, and what it was like. You really feel like you're right there in the foxhole with him. His story makes up half of the show The Pacific. I can't recommend this one enough, even if you're not gaming WW2, check this out as a way to better yourself and become more educated.

Jump Into Hell - Franz Kurowski
I've been really into my German Fallschirmjager for Bolt Action - learning how they fought, where they fought, all the uniforms and weapons they used, etc. This book goes in-depth into the battle and training history along with organization of the Fallschirmjager during WW2. It can be a bit dry at some points - I wish there were more personal accounts used - but there is no better source for information on the FJ during WW2.

Germany's First Ally - Armed Forces of the Slovak State 1939-1945 - Charles Kilment and Bretislav Nakladal
I actually haven't read this entire book. It is a HUGE book with lots of photos, camo diagrams, etc. I am just really pumped to start a Bolt Action force from a less-known country. I plan to start a Slovak Ostfront force that fought for the Germans, as well as a Slovak National Uprising force that fought against the Germans later on. There aren't many resources for research but this book is definitely the best source.

Fighting Men of World War II - David Miller
This series includes both the Allies and Axis. He has a huge collection of artifacts from the time period that shows the wargamer pretty much any uniform he'd like to paint. They're fairly cheap (and for huge hardcovers, too!) from Amazon.

The Pacific
This series is the Band of Brothers of the Pacific war. Many consider the Pacific war to be virtually unknown - we've all see BoB, Saving Private Ryan, Longest Day, etc. but the Pacific war was very underreported and less exposed in the media.

This series was something I had to put down the first time a few years ago. The first few episodes take place largely at night and the characters look very samey; it makes it very hard to watch sometimes. I picked it back up as inspiration for our Tarawa theme game - some extra experience with the Marines in the Pacific,

This show is a combination of two veterans' experiences - Eugene Sledge and Robert Leckie - so it can be very fragmented, and a little confusing at times, but I would definitely recommend it. I actually like it more than BoB now.

This high-production value show on the History Channel is great inspiration for SAGA, but I would recommend every wargamer watch it. Not just because it is great TV, but it does provide a lot of inspiration for other games tangentially. It is hyper-gory sometimes and the acting can be a bit overdone (Ragnar and Floki especially) but the history is there and the sets are amazing. If you aren't watching this then you're just wrong.

This one came out in theaters in late fall and I was pretty excited for it (it comes out in late January on Blu-Ray). I figured it'd be cheesy with Brad Pitt in it, and it was pretty cheesy at some points. The tank scenes seemed pretty accurate, with the last surviving Tiger tank brought in from Bovington Tank Museum for filming and the Easy Eight that portrays Fury being original as well.

I won't spoil the story, but there are some pretty crazy moments with the Tiger and other German forces. I thought some of the war crimes that Wardaddy and his crew perpetrate and the implied rape scene especially were out of line. I'd definitely recommend this as a rental at least.

Check back later this week for some podcast and blog links. Thanks for reading!

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