Friday, 17 December 2010

Pig Wars

I heard about this game a while ago at this year's Newcastle show but didn't pay it any attention at the time. I stumbled accross it while surfing the wargames boards recently then descovered that this was the skirmish game that Norman will be putting on at the Ayton show at Easter. I obtained a copy of the rules by joining their yahoo group and paypaling the writer who very promptly sent me the very lovingly made rule set, which is 40 pages of background history along with the game mechanics. The game is played with groups of around 20 28mm figures representing warbands of Vikings, Saxons, Normans or really anything from ancient to dark age history. I'm still reading them but will update on how our games go at a later date. It seems a really fun game!

I bought a box of Wargames Factory Viking Huscarl's from an ebay seller, I think they were about £16 with free postage which seemed good value for what you get. The poses are really nice and other than Valliant Miniatures 20mm WW2 figures these have been the first 28mm plastic 'kit' figures I have ever bought with a serious intention to use in a game and I am now a convert, they glue better that expected and unlike metal figures with spears and shields arn't as easily broken when dropped.

I'm not the best painter by any means but was quite pleased how quick and easy I managed this first one. They are undercoated in black and gun metal and silver paint is drybrushed over the mail to give it a bit of definaition and depth. The ground work on the base isn't finshed yet and there will be some static grass added. Really looking forward to getting the others done soon.

The only drawback with this box of figures is that they are all in chain mail and there are no standard bearers. The game requires more of a mix of armour and weapons, such as 8 mail armoured, 8 un-armoured, a leader, a standard and a couple of archers, though there are box and arrow options in this box. Luckily my mate has the Saxons of the same make, which do include unarmoured types, so we can swap about to make the right kind of warbands. In theory you could get three good warbands with figures to spare from just one box of Vikings and one box of Saxons.

* Update!

Got a few more of the angry little fellas done, they paint quite quickly even with having to hand paint the shields, which is quite satisfying to do. I've now ordered a box of Saxons and have my eye on some Norman cavalry from Warlord Games. Should very soon have two warbands ready for a ruck!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Western Desert Rapid Fire

I'm currenyly spending my enforced at home time (due to the snow) painting up some things for a Western Desert Rapid Fire game. I'm a huge fan of Rapid Fire and don't play it half as much as I should. Colin recently released the supplement with lots of army lists in the new computer graphics style, which are all very useful and interesting!

I've had a battlion of Braitannia Brits with an attached company of Punjabi's waiting to go into action for some time. Here are some heavy weapons, the rocks are cat litter and the sandbags were made from milliput. Metalic paint was added to helmets for a scratched look.

I unearthed from the lead mountain a battalion of German's made by Raventhorpe, there is about a company or so of Afrika Corps and a full battalion of regular infantry which can be painted as Afrika Corps as above. These are nice and simple figures with good poses, they paint up well and I have satin varnished them for a bit of extra strength to the paint work and to give them that retro Rapid Fire look like you see in the origional books. The Sdkfz is from the Ready to Roll range. I bought a whole load of these along with the Raventhorpe figures second hand many years ago, don't know why I waited so long to paint them. I'm hoping to order a few more. 
Ready to Roll Panzer III's (50mm gun) trundle past the Italian fort. These are some of the best models in the RTR range I think, good solid models and nice detail. There is a nice weight to these when you pick them up, better for gaming than fragile plastic kits.

Under the Bed enterprizes make some nice and cheap vehicles and have some quite origional subjects too. They are made from a light resin which is quite brittle and glueing would be best done with a 2 part expoxy resin, if you have it. I don't and have used super glue gel which works ok if you leave it to set a good while. Always a joy to chat to these guys at war games shows!

Vickers Mk IV Light Tank one of the Front Line models made by Under the Bed Enterprizes. This is my favourite model from their range, nice detail and paints up well.

Germans make use of Italian trucks left behind. The Afrika Corps was always short of transport and used whatever they could forage, including many British trucks. These are Ready to Roll Fiat Dovunque trucks. To see the Ready to Roll range click the Rapid Fire link above.

Britannia Daimler Dingo, great little models these!

I'll add more pics of Rapid Fire games and models when I can. I have another battalion of Kelly Hero's 8th army on order from Grubby Tanks and some more British vehicles SAS/LRDG jeeps & chevrolet's and a Crusader tank all Britannia. Also have some Fallshirmjager in the post to use for a Crete scenario, which I hope to use the 8th army for also, possibly mix in some standard uniformed Brits in for that 'Medierainian' look of the troops of that theatre.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Berdan's Sharpshooter

I am painting up a few of these at the minute, they are supposed to be Union 'Coloured' Infantry made by Call to Arms but the long frock coat lends itself very well to them being painted as Berdans Sharpshooters too. I need to get the Iron Brigade from Call to Arms too. These will be used in skirmish roles in the forthcoming horse and museket toy soldier rules.

Timpo 8th Army machine gunner

I had a couple of these from my youth lying about and managed to get some from ebay too. There is a good Bren gunner pose in the Timpo set too.

Afrika Corps

Finally got the first one done after about 3 boxes lying about primed and waiting for a painting for the last year. If can get enough done and also get some scenery made in time there might be a Western Desert toy soldier game at the next show!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Play testing the firing system

We used the marker chips from the origional Toy Soldier game that denote if a figure is 'walking wounded' or 'seriously wounded' this helps keep track of the damage to the formation. It worked really well and these markers are very useful when you have a number of figures on the table.

Rebel cavalry smashing through the Union line. At this point we realised we didn't know what we should be doing once through to the other side? Ended up turning back onto the rear lines but this proved fatal for the cavalry who suddenly foung themselves staring down a lot of unfired musket barrels.

Working on the Horse and Muskrat rules

Had a very good evening last night with Peeler, Richie and Dave trying to work out how to appropriate the Toy Soldier rules we have to be able to fight horse and musket era battles. It turned out to me more complicated than I thought it would be. The use of cavalry is going to need a lot of thought and play testing. There were quite a few issues with movement and melee but we tinkered about and have some ideas to try next time. We also had artillery and have some good game mechanisms for the use of shot and canister, these also need some more play testing. The most important element will be how bodies of troops move around in line formation, how many should be in formation and what effects will breaking up from formation and fighting as individuals would have on firepower. That probably needs to be the starting point and we can build everything else around that. We had a good game despite figuring things out as we went, I think this adds to the enjoyment sometimes. The day was won by the Confedaracy after making good use of massed infantry and a daring, if not slightly suicidal, cavalry charge into the main Union force at the start of the battle.
Extra hot jallypeenoes pizzas and pies were consumed. Peeler brought me some fantastic 1/32 WWII figures and some vehicle kits a Sherman and some Bren Carriers. The figures had in them the Italeri 75mm gun and the TSSD German Cavalry, which I didn't have! Also some Conte Germans that I haven't seen before. So lots of painting to do now. We will be at a couple of shows soon so hopefully will get the new figures done and ready for those.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Italeri 1/72 US Airborne

First four done. I'm hoping to put on an Airborne wargame in December so painting many Airborne, British/Polish and American. I have the Airfix Horsa glider on order from Airfix through cashing in my Airfix Flying Hours tokens. I'm torn between using Rapid Fire rules or making some smaller scale rules from the Toy Soldier set? Have some ideas about rules for making the 'drop' itself that will add a lot of weather dependant uncertainty to it. Need to paint up some Fresh Germans too. I've been using quite small bases as with the Nam figures I have been doing, Italeri figures lend themselves well to this and it means they look good but can be crammed into small spaces for skirmishing in dug outs, buildings etc.

Airfix 1/32 German Mountain Troops

Done the first two, have three boxes of these to get through. Of all the new Airfix these have been the biggest let down, loads of mould flash and some dodgy figures. These two are the best and the skiers will come in handy. I plan on using my Comandos as Norweigians and the British infantry in Vaagso type raids.

First VC ready for action.

Med-Evac For Nam Buddies

"You wern't there man, you wern't there!"
I picked up this diecast model of a Huey from eBay. I tried to make one from a kit but it went badly wrong.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Union Infantry

ACW Infantry are here!

The first box arrived in the shop today, £1.25 per figure. 48 figures in a box (£60) not bad value given the reasonable paint job. My only gripe is they have three flag bearers and two of each in the box, giving you 12 in all. I would have expected just the 3 per side. You also get 4 officers for each side. I assume this is because they expect that the figures will be sold individually and these will be the more popular. Frustratingly you only get two on each side of the loading poses. The figures also come individually bagged. The photo shows my new Confederate infantry line, minus the extra 2 officers and 3 flag bearers. Once I get the second box I will have more than enough.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Union Cavalry

ACW 1/32 Britains Plastics

When I was wee the last of the Britains series I collected was the ACW range. I tended to use them to bolster my few 7th Cavalry against the Indians. I didn't have the full sets of the Cavalry but I did have most of the infantry, only one of each pose. If I remember right by the mid eighties they were 60p per foot and about £1.20 for mounted, I may have paid as much as £1.75 for mounted. By I had started secondary school in 1986 Britains had all but stopped doing their pre-painted plastic, at least they were not available in the high street. I remeber the counter packs being kept in the glass counters of the toy shops. It was one of the highlights of my childhood to choose which troops I wanted browsing the poses under the counter. The possibility of buying the whole counter pack was never an option until later life and I've been meaning to get hold of a few for the last few years. You can pick up these counter packs for around £60, mounted packs work out at about £3 per figure, which is pretty good value for what you get. The paint job is more historically accurate for the ACW, the Confederates are more random and not all in grey, some brown coats here and there. They are a different kind of plastic to the old fugures, its much softer due to new regulations for toys but this means you can safely give them to anyone not likely to just eat them. I got this mounted pack from ebay, I had enquired at the local model shop but their suppliers only had infantry packs so I ordered two packs to give a nice mix of cavalry and foot. Once they are here I'll start putting togther some Horse and Musket rules to add to our existing WW2 rules. I'm very tempted to get a box of British and Germans in this range, much better to give these figures to kids at participation games than my lovingly painted Airfix!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Charlie Don't Surf!

Finished this batch of 1/72 Italeri US special forces in Vietnam last night. They were very quick to do and look quite good. Got the Viet Cong and NVA to do next. From my teenage years when I got into the smaller scale these figures were my favourite. The old Esci one's I have are too sentimental for me to paint so I bought some of the new ones from Italier, which are also harder plastic and better detailed anyway. I have also bought a Bell Huey Medivac from ebay - ready made metal model by Hobbycraft. I tried to make the Italeri Huey but my aircraft modelling skills aren't great and it looks a mess, it was supposed to be an easy model to make!? The shop in York also has amphibious tanks for Vietnam - ready made die cast models! So I may pick one of those up too. The hard thing will be making scenery, I've never successfully recreated a jungle so that will be the biggest challenge.

The best thing about these figures is that there isn't a single one in either the US or Vietnamese box that you wouldn't want painted and on the table, no silly or useless poses. Each set has a wounded pair that can be made into a little diorama, perfect for the medivac I have on the way!
I plan on testing our toy soldier rules with these to see what it plays like in this scale. May need to adjust some ranges but otherwise should be fine.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

So, finally I have made an effort to get into Napoleonic wargames. I bought three books on amazon last week, the most interesting of which is Neil Thomas' Napoleonic Wargaming. Provides those new to it a good deal of background. I also got Napoleonic Wargaming for Fun and Napoleon by Mathew Fletcher, which is the big colourful Games Workshop style rule set. The only thing that puts me off this is the number of figures you seem to need for the rules and they seem a lot less simple than others I've seen. Other than that its a book worth having.
I've stuck with plastic figures since you can pretty much make an army out of a coupe of boxes of infantry, one of cavalry and some artillery. Here are the first batch of Nap Russians finished, they are Zveda plastics and I am very pleased with them. Very realistic, good various poses and a nice range for Russians at least.
I got some HaT French light infantry, which by mistake had a sprue of 1805 line infantry in the box too, which was great as I needed these! HaT also do the 1805 artillery - bicorne French to match the line. Also have HaT Russian light infantry (in the top hats) though these look mildly daft. May just stick with the Zveda stuff.
Will hopefully get a game on soon.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

New Rapid Fire stuff

Spent recent wargames room hours back on 1/72 scale. I have a few Valliant Miniatures still half painted so have been trying to get these done for a late war scenario or two.

Something such as Caen I think. I picked up some of the new Italaeri fast build kits that can either be Preists or Ram Kangeroo's, so here we have a platoon of New Zealanders with their Ram Kangeroo transport.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Now an award winning game!

We ended a fantastic weekend by scooping the 2nd prize for best participation game! I like to think we raised a few eyerbrows of fellow gamers and also introduced wargaming to many new young converts to the hobby. Sadly we were too busy playing to realize we had won anything and did't get the official presentation, so we had our own! Part of the prize was 10% off anything we wanted from the trade stands so I treated myself to some 1/32 Napoleonics. The hope is that we can adapt the simple rules for horse and musket era battles! Watch this space!

Defending the cows

This Airborne drop saw US Airborne wind up in the fields with a mix of German infantry and fallshirmjager waiting in the trees for them. It didn't go well, British Para's came out of the church to assist them but they all eventually fell.

The battlefield layout

This shows how simple it can be. We mostly never play on a table this big but it was good to use a nice space. I'd love to do a huge game, just need to paint the figures!

Dunker Church

I aquired the Britains model of Dunker Church from one of the traders at the wargames show. It was an ideal piece for the games and we easily used the rules to have troops fighting from inside, firing out of windows and lobbing in grenades. In the final game on the Sunday two Allied Airborne units fought a retreat from the cow field into the church but later gave up the fight and came out under a white flag to a supperior German force. This photo shows Soviet gunners defending it from a Panzer III and motorized infantry in Opel Blitz trucks.

Note the chaps in the background engaged in a DbC Zulu game!

Battle Group North Show at Elvington (York)

So, the Yorkshire Coast Wargamers went en masse to this year's Battle Group North and took an array of games with us, mostly Db variants but also our hot of the press 'A Game of Toy Soldiers'. The wargames element of the event (it's primarily a military vehicle and re-enactors show) is held in the large hanger with the Lancaster keeping an eye over everything. It was the first time some of our rank and file had played it and it was great to see seasoned wargamers like Jordan get into it and embrace what it's all about. Throughout the day we played three games of different scenarios, all incorporating a cow field with my newly aquired Britains cows. The game was very popular with kids who were quick to grasp the rules and loved being able to 'play' a game rather than puzzle one out. We even had a kid of 2 years old playing! For some of them it was their first wargame and they loved it. I gave away a few play sheets to exited Dads who thought it was ideal. Some of the other wargamers were interested in buying the rule set so now I'm on with polishing them up ready to be made into a proper booklet. A very enjoyable weekend! I spent some of Sunday afternoon flying over York in a helicopter with a WWII veteran who was there for his 90th Birthday that day. A very special gentleman indeed, he was still as fit as anyone.

Monday, 5 April 2010

First batch of Red Devils finished!

I'm extremely pleased with these! I usually try and avoid figures with camo as I can never quite get it right but these have turned out quite well. A bank holiday Monday well spent I think. There are about 20 more on the painting desk.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

A desperate defence

Half track gunner, already badly wounded, tries to hold back hordes of Soviet SMG armed shock troops. The half track guns did a lot of damage in the second game!

2nd Play Test

Today we play tested the Yorkshire Coast Wargamers 'Toy Soldier' Rules for the 2nd time. We had two games both similar with a German convoy getting into a tight spot. The 1st game saw prepared British infantry defeating the convoy quite well. The second game saw Soviet shock troops rushing in with SMG's and much more figures on the table. The second game was almost a draw with the Soviets just about managing it with two injured infantrymen and their officer left standing. Both games quite closely run and could have gone either way.

We tweeked the rules very slightly, limiting the use/effect of SMG's and there is some clarification on multiple wounds to make. Otherwise it ran smoothly and produced two good games.

There are now new rules for mortar fire, which worked really well. The first battle was difficult for the Germans from the first move when the Brits lobbed a grenade into the half track, hampering their use of the mounted HMG's on the vehicle. In the second game the Soviets tossed back a German grenade, which saved them from loosing the area they held.

We used more scenery, note new hedges and barbed wire, which made a better game. There was a lot of jumping hedges that resulted in slower movement over the table and making troops more vulnerable at times as well as providing better cover.

I think these rules will continue to evolve but as they are we are ready for the show now!

Friday, 26 February 2010

View from the bunker!

The First 'Game of Toy Soldiers'

The game itself was simple 10 British Commandos attack a German bunker complex guarded by around 13 Germans. Each side had an officer and LMG with a few SMG's and grenade armed troops. We used old Airfix figures I had won on ebay for a few shillings, a BMC bunker bought from Steve Weston's Toy Soldiers, a few trees, rocks and a couple of 21st Cen vehicles for decoration or for hiding behind. You get a nice view out of the bunker windows! We use d6's only so that the game doesn't require 'specialist' wargames bits.

New Toy Soldier Skirmish Game in Development!!!

This week we began work on creating a very simple set of rules to allow us to play toy soldiers! At a stretch you might call it a skirmish wargame if you're bothered what non-enthusiasts might think but in escence it's a game of toy soldiers.
Thanks to Peeler, Dave and Richie's experience we were able to dive in and start pretty much from scratch playing a game. Movement is very simple, spotting is taken literally so you shoot at what you can actually see and effects of being hit are basic. The game boils down to who is armed with what and how much you can keep your head down before some Tommy pots a round through your helmet. I think there is still a lot of refining to do, especiall concerning the use of automatic weapons, these are pretty devastating at short range compared to a rifle - though they can jam up in a bad dice roll! As happened! Vehicles aren't much more than scenery, there's potential to use trucks, jeeps and vehicle mounted small arms but we didn't want this game to be dominated by a tank on the table. It's all about the firefight!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

BEF digging in along the Seigfried Line

These are the first of my BEF Tommies. There are many more on the table awaiting paint. I'm about to order a bunker from Steve Weston that will provide a great base for them to defend against the Fallshirmjagers and the onslaught of tanks about to make their way West!

More German Para's

These chaps are currently training in secret locations for their drops into France during the weekend of 8th & 9th May!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

German Paratroops (Airfix 1/32)

I've been neglecting my 1/32 painting lately but the first lot of German Paratroops are nearly there, this is the first one I've finished. I always try and get one done to use as a reference point for all the others, that way they all look the same in terms of painting style. I didn't paint any in camo yet as I want to use them as early war pattern and also I couldn't be bothered lol. The British infantry are more like early war period anyway so they fit quite well together.

New German Armour

These are the new Italeri fast build PzIII's, with long 50mm barrel. There is another short barrel option in the kit. They are extremely easy to make and look great. I haven't painted the details and I'm not sure I need to, better time spent on more kits and figures!