Friday, 28 December 2012

The current state of my wargames workshop

To finish 2012 here is a quick tour of the aftermath of 2012 in my wargames HQ.

The painting desk: currently on the go are Crusader Miniatures Early War British Infanrty and various Prussian Napoleonics from Perry, all 28mm. I just bought a new batch of Vallejo paints today for my French WWII figures. The first Bolt Action games I'll be playing will be simple early war scenarios with just a couple of squads. The wheelie bin brush pot was a Birthday present from Anni.

Perry Prussian Landwehr (yes I know Warlord do them in plastic and yes I have them too)

The Warlord Ruined Hamlet:
In this kit you get enough parts to build three of these two storey cottages and three small one storey hovels without the roof. I put them togther with plastic glue and stuck them onto plasticard bases that I cut out from A4 sheets, bought from Monk Bar Models. I deliberately left off the chimney sections so they could be used for earlier periods too.

Next I used scenic pva glue and added some groundwork to the base. I then sprayed the whole thing in tank grey (no photo of that)

Lastly, I added some colour to the brickwork, plaster and wood areas with some drybrushing to the groundwork. All six buildings were done in less that an hour from being undercoated with the grey spray. Not a materpiece but they'll do, I'll spend the time on the figures.

Some Fallshirmjagers waiting to have bases built up with green stuff. I mostly use Redendra plastic 25mm round bases now for 28mm figures. Here we have two rifle sections, a command unit and mortar. About the minimum for a decent quick game of Bolt Action.

Here are some of the Crusader Miniatures late war British I'm working on. There are 4 units of rifles, 1 x command, PIAT team, small mortar and a 75mm gun with crew. Also have a unit of Lord Lovatt's Commandos by Artizan Designs.

Hope to have Bolt Action battle reports to post soon in 2013!

Last game of 2012 - Borodino

Well, 2012 was a great year for wargames. I managed to get to 10 shows, painted figures for and played some WoTR battles, played lots of DbN and am well on the way with lots of 28mm WWII for Bolt Action. I've made a good start on a Napoleonic Prussian Army for Black Powder, that maybe a long time in completion though. Also got into other types of wargames such as Wings of War, X-Wing, Zombie games and bought Memoir 44, though have yet to play it. May do that tomorrow?

The plan for 2013 is to play some Bolt Action games, give the Toy Soldier rules a refresh and maybe do a demo game or two and carry on with board wargames. If I'm going to do another period in 2013 its likely to be French Indian War in 28mm - Muskets and Tommahawks, so far I've resisted.

So, yesterday I was invited to Alex's place for a day long refight of Borodino using his own DbN rules, co written with Bob who was also there. I think there was 9 of us in all 5 commanding the French and Richie, John, Peeler and myself (as Bagration) commanding the Russians. Jordan made a rather unconvincingly young but believably capable Napoleon. The French swooped round at both flanks, leaving some very bewildered Russian guns in the central redoubt mostly redundant throughout the game. On the one side of Borodino Richie's Cossacks valiantly stunted the French with no less that suicide cavalry charges and some outstanding artillery volleys while the opposite flank was all but completely destroyed by the Westphalian, Polish and associated allies with some French Elites mixed in. Bagration (me) was left holding the village on the far side with nothing more left than a few Moscow millitia, surrounded by a massive French force of light infantry units and odd small line units that had been whittled down by Russian Grenadiers defending from the village before being wiped out. The French won on victory points after causing sufficient Russian losses and holding enough of the redoubts and villages surroundng Borodino to force a Russian withdrawl. The French still had all it's Old Guard in reserve as well as Guard Artillery, which was just begining to move at the end of the game. Borodino itself remained untouched. The game could have lasted 25 turns but was won in just 15 lasting about 7 hours.

Borodino - The Start

The Russians deploy!

Russian Grenadiers try to hold the village.

A huge thank you for an excellent day of wargames and hospitality from the Testo's!!! Merry Christmas and a happy wargames filled 2013 to all!!!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Recon Pudsey

It's been a few years since I've been to the Pudsey show. Snowed off in 2009 and 2010 and was in Sri Lanka in 2011 so this was a welcome return to a popular little show. The Yorkshire Coast Wargamers were there en-masse. In fact we were pretty much all in attendance from the core group. Alex and Peeler put on a DbN Borodino, which was quite epic! I only played a few opening moves then went for a wander round and ended up playing a few rounds of Bolt Action. I was really keen to play this game as I have recently bought the rules, have plenty of figures for it and ready to start putting games on but needed come coaching on the rules. It's great! Small units of 28mm figs, usually 10 man rifle squads or a 3 man support weapon and around six or so units per side is more than enough even for a 6x4 table. There were about six people playing in the end and one umpire, it's definately a good game to play with plenty of players. Emphasis is on pinning, which affects your ability to fight the more pinned markers you collect, killing is secondary as a very pinned unit will soon become useless, there are morale checks in the rules but they wern't used in the demo. Sadly no pictures of it but plenty of the DbN game:

This Zulu War game caught my eye, I hovered over the huge Rorkes Drift box set at the Warlord stand until some bloke behind me said.. "That's a lot of painting" and he was right, I put it back on the shelf.

Finally the purchases! I did a lot of shopping today. A number of Crusader 28mm WWII from Colonel Bill's, some bargain price Warlord figures US Para's and the new plastic Soviets. A scenery set from Warlord, the ruined hamlet buildings, which are great! Some bases and some more Bolt Action dice. Also bought a K&R carry case for my growing 28mm figures. This was my 10th and final wargames show of 2012 and I owed myself some Birthday/Christmas goodies at this last show of the year so went with a view to splash out. I didnt buy anything that wasnt to do with Bolt Action games so I was pleased I managed to stay focussed and not start any new projects.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

A Very Smoggy-Con 2012

Well, they wern't kidding! I've not seen fog like that all day for a while, we drove through the murk and got there about 10:30am. It was already fairly busy and after a quick pie and peas we set up a game of Last Night on Earth, which is a very American Zombie game. I liked it, first time I had played it and you really feel like you're in a typical Zombie film, playing a particular character and taking on the zombies as they spawn from entry points on the board. I have to say I'm getting more gripped by board games and the freedom from painting figures is refreshing. Thanks to Richie for bringing it along, we had a game with Norman D and a passing kid, the kind you get at wargames shows who gets left at what ever table will have them by their anxious to get some alone time parents.

The show was in a great venue, plenty of space and two main rooms of wargaming. This meant it never got too loud or chaotic  around the tables and the atmos was really good. The games were simple and small affairs, nothing was out of the realms of possiblity to create by the average wargamer which I liked. It felt like you were in a wargamers living room or were at just one big club night and as ever our North East hosts facilitated a friendly environment.

I had a chance to have a look at Battleground Kursk, the new rules set speciffic to Eastern Front WWII as there was a demo game in 20mm. Wasn't too impressed and the sheer size of the rules made my head spin. I did take some photos but the gym part of the venue was very yellow in the lighting and photos wern't going to turn out too well.

Purchases were few, I'm saving my big Birthday/Christmas splurge for Pudsey next weekend but I did get some Last Valley scenery and a huge piece of terrain from the Middlesborough guys, which is big enough for my 54mm figures. Here it is pictured with an unpainted 28mm figure so you can see just how big it is! I'm hoping to maybe do a Toy Soldier game of Stalingrad with it next year at a show.


We came home from Middlesborough on the A170 which was a bit of a back road detour, passed a field I used to camp in that I hadn't seen in over 20 years! We were pretty hungry by then so Richie suggested we stop at his post office / tea parlour for high tea. I have to say, this was excellent! Perfect finish to a wargames show and top marks to Richie's Mum for the spread. Will definately be back for more of this! Made a change from beginning the show with a greesy spoon fry up, not that there isnt a place for those too!


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Derby Show

It's been a while since we went down to Castle Donnington for the Derby 2012 Wargames show. A good show generally but a bit disturbed by the motor racing going on outside. Got a few bits for my Bolt Action collection including a couple of Warlord tanks. T34 and this Hetzer, which I had painted and finished less than 24 hours after getting it home! Also bought the rule book for the bargain price of £19.

I was hoping to get in on a demo of Bolt Action but it was a bit too busy. Took some pictures instead, which I will use for reference.

I liked the idea of the movement trays but the Soviet units have 12 men and the trays only allow for 10, though no problem just adding extra figures to the bulk tray alongside. I do also really like the ruined hamlet Warlord do and will probably pick one up soon.
Met many other chaps of good breeding from the WD3 site at Derby too. A good day out thanks to Peeler for driving and Richie for buying the Star Wars X-Wing game first so I could see if it was any good before I bought it.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Fiasco at Leeds

Good day out at Fiasco today. I recently bought the Wings of Glory WWI rules and some planes and have been having a lot of fun with it. I was pleased to see a game being put on by Hedingley Wargamers. Myself and Richie joined in a game. I learnt just how deadly rear gunners can be! Playing a French Spad I was out numbered in the end.

At the entrance to to the show was a 28mm ACW game and this battleship game, which looked pretty good though I didnt get chance to talk to the guy doing it and he had gone when we left. Seen the game at other shows too. Would be a good addition to a Wings of Glory game!

The show quietened off considerably after lunchtime and traders were packing up at £3:30pm but it was an enjoyable do. Met up with Alex and Bob and discussed plans for future games. There seems to be fewer and fewer games and traders at Fiasco, which is a shame but still it's worth a visit. The quieter afternoon was a better time to browse, chat and shop. I spent my cash pretty quick, mostly on a WoG Gotha bomber that I got from Caliver Books. Also bought a pre-made/painted winter T34 in 1/72 scale, some 20p old magazines an awesome little wargaming book from 1974 (as old as me) with some excellent pictures inside, some Italeri quick build Shermans for my 20mm German/US winter war stuff and 3 packs of Lancashie Games 20mm - Norwegians, Russians and Germans. The later purchase I now regret somewhat. It came to £42 for the figures, on closer inspection they arn't that good and looking through the lead pile I had enough figures anyway for what I wanted to do. Oh well, live and learn. It was the end of the day and I got carried away. Very pleased with the Gotha, it's a fiddle getting it in and out the box so might have to invest in a K&R multicase, they have specialist ones for WoG and had some at the show. Will order one on payday. I have some 'snow' which I'll be using on the Shermans to make them look appropriately weathered for Bastogne as illustrated on the box art.

I'm hoping to use existing painted 20mm WWII US/German figures and vehicles for a Bolt Action game. Painting all the 28mm stuff is taking some time to get through.

Good day out but as you can see, pretty quiet show once the crowds had dispersed after lunch. There was also a demo game of X-Wing the new Star Wars game based on the same mechanism as Wings of Glory, didn't get to try it as it was proving pretty popular but should be playing a game soon. Chocolate doughnuts for a quid were a welcome snack just before coming home.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Colours 2012

I'm fresh back from the Reading and Newbury show held at Newbury Racecourse. I've no idea where that is really, somewhere down South. I have to say I was amazed by the sheer scale of it. Same sort of size of venue as York (again held at a race course) but absolutely packed to the rafters with trade stands and games. Held on three floors of the grandstand building the first floor is all for shopping. I got a free bundle of catalogues from the friendly chaps at Front Rank miniatures, first time I have seen these guys at a show. In fact I saw many manufacturers I never knew existed. For example:

Parkfield Miniatures - very competatively priced 25mm figures with ranges for Napoleon in Egypt, Peninsular, SYW, FIW, Vietnam (great looking M113's!) and very interestingly the South American Wars of independance. Lovely looking Argentine and Spanish sets newly released.   

Eagle Figures - nice looking and good priced 28mm SYW, ACW, HYW, and Napoleonic Swedes and Spanish!

Also saw many more traders I had never heard of and ones I know well but have never seen in the flesh.

Our favourite trader Colonel Bill was there too with his pre-owned figures. I got the French 36 man btn in greatcoasts (Foundry figs) from him for £35. Those were the only figures I bought, I was litterally overwhelmed so decided to simple collect infomation and catalogues for future possibly buys. I have enough to paint (see below) so was being strict with myself. Sadly Dave Thomas was by this point running out of Perry Prussian's so I held back.

I attended along with two wargames show 'noobies' at least they hadn't been to a regular wargames show before. Paul and Rob are more GW/Sci Fi gamers but loved the show and particularly loved the huge Zombie game on the 3rd floor. Biggest zombie game I've ever seen at around 16ft x 4ft. Hopefully I have inspired to have a Yorkshire Coast Wargamers contingent in the South and we can make it an annual trip!

For me the best game was by the Skirmish Wargames guys. It was a 1/32 scale skirmish based on the French retreat from Moscow. The table looks big but was actually split into three, so three skirmish wargames were happening at once at different time periods. This ensured that everyone involved was always playing and not sat about waiting for something to develop at the other end of the table. I had seen these guys years ago putting on a WWII Pacific theatre game in 1/32 scale at the Sheffield Toy Soldier show and the modelling skill in their conversions is amazing. This game didn't disapoint either, they had use the 'green stuff' to convert figures into Cossacks and to 'winter and weather' their French. Many of the French figures were from the new Victrix range of 1/32 scale, which needed a bit of conversion from Peninsular to Russian theatre but worked well. More info on these fine chaps here:

A fantastic show and one I hope to attend regularly from now on. I resited buying some of the Victirx French as above that were on offer cheap and also some 1/32 scale Prussians from the same trader, also cheap. I'm starting to regret that so having a quick look on ebay once I've uploaded this. I also didn't buy a sourcebook on the Prussian Napoleonic army and tactics. It would have been perfect but as an out of print it was selling for £28 and I knew I could get similar from Osprey which have just released their Prussian Napoleonic Tactics book, which will only be £14 - looked for it but couldn't find it at the show.

In all, the shows I have attended this year are:
York - Vapnartak
Sheffield - Tripples
York - Battlegroup North (took a game)
St. Helens - Phalanx
Scarborough - Wartorn
Gateshead - Border Reiver
Newbury & Reading - Colours

Great fun at all of them and still a few more to go this year! Hope to get to Pudsey, South Sheilds and Leeds to make it up to ten shows this year. Maybe squeeze something else in too. It's long been an ambition to go to London Toy Soldier Show. Maybe next year!

Update on 28mm Nap project.

I have been on quite a big shopping spree recently. It's extremely satisfying buying whole units at a time and definately the way forward. I just hope I can focus and complete painting one unit at a time. I'm beginning to realise what a huge thing I've bitten off to chew with Napoleonics but no matter, I had few other plans for the next 40 years.

Attended Border Reiver show in Gateshead with Richie, met Roger there. New venue for this show at Gateshead Stadium, which worked well despite the catering failing to appear as promised. It was a quiet show but plenty of good traders and most importantly Dave Thomas was there with his Perry figures.

For my Prussians I picked up a 36 man btn of Landwehr:


A 12 horse unit of Hussars:


and a Horse Artllery Howitzer with crew. I don't have a photo of this but here is a photo of the Foot Artllery running up a 9lb gun that I have just finished.

The btn of Line infantry in greatcoats are nearly finished. I had to order one more pack from Perry to make up the 36 man btn. Photos of the finished unit to follow shortly. I also have some mounted officers waiting to be painted.
I have been aiming towards 3 infantry units and one cavalry with a gun or two as the core of my army. You can get away with this size army to play a small game of Foundry's Napoleon rules. I  have Black Powder but having read it the sheer size of armies needed has made these rules a bit of a pipe dream for now.
I have just come back from Colours at Newbury, an amazing show! Met up with Colonel Bill and bought from him a 36 man btn of Foundry French in greatcoats. So now have the beginings of my French Army.
I have been looking at the later Napolenoic period (6th Coalition) and the retreat from Russia as the period for my armies. I like the look of the embattled war weary French and the simple, yet effective, post 1813 Prussians were an obvious choice for an easy to paint first Napoleonic army. Just need to get some reading material, hope to pick up the Borodino Osprey that has just come out!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Very first base of 28mm Napoleonics done!

I have been wanting to begin making some big armies for a while and Napoleonics seemed an obvious choice. I was drawn in by the new Perry Prussians in greatcoats as they seemed an easy painting option to begin the collection with. I also have the Napoleon and Black Powder rules as well as Neil Thomas' Napoleonic Wargaming, though this lends itself better to smaller units of 4 bases each of Dbx style basing.

I decided to go with the more modern 40mm x 40mm base sizes for infantry and 50mm x 50mm for cavalry, when I get some.

I don't expect to have these finished anytime soon and as I'm aiming for as much metal as possible its going to be a big financial commitment but hopefully worth it in the end.

So, here is the first base done.

Monday, 13 August 2012

War of the Roses at York library.

Played a full game at the library today lasting another 2 hours or so. We were joined by some enthusiastic young war gamers who stayed for the whole battle and seemed to really enjoy it. They grasped the rules quite well after a while and got very involved. They also picked up the basic strategy of warfare at the time very well.

We've been invited back so will be there again soon for another game, possibly Viking next time as part of York Viking Festival. Will hopefully try and use the same Neil Thomas ancients rules for that too.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

First Play Test of Neil Thomas' Medieval Rules

In preparation for our participation game at York Library we play tested the rules from Neil Thomas' book Ancient and Medieval Wargaming. They are a simple set of rules and I managed to type them out onto 4 sides of A4 to use as quick reference sheets. They replicated the nature of the warfare of the period with some understanding of what troop types did and were used for. Rather than follow Neil's suggested army list of 4 bases making each unit we just had one base per unit, which made the armies much more manageable and more like a DbA game. There is no command and control element, but then this would have been pretty minimal in the battles of the period anyway. The game took just over 2 hours to play out, but we played very leisurely with breaks for cake and tea (lemon drizzle!) The Lancastrian army was unpainted unfortunately. I'll get round to it soon!

The Yorkist army was a more traditional set up with:

3 bases of Men-at-Arms
1 base of light cavalry (Hobilars)
5 bases of archers
1 base of heavy knights
1 cannon

The rules replicate the nature of what the differnt troop types do very well but we felt we would need to add in some modifiers for future games. The Lancastiran army was much less orthodox, employing more foreign mercenaries and was composed of:

4 bases of Men-at-Arms
2 bases of pike
1 base of hand gunnners
2 bases of crossbow
1 base of mounted Men-at-Arms
4 bases of archers

In the future I would add modifiers for pike or hand gunners against horse. The boom of the handguns would 'spook' horses quite easily during these times. Pike also would be an obvious advantage against horse.

Cannon can be a real problem to your enemy and has a huge range in the rules, it also affects morale quite a lot. I painted this Perry gun in just one evening and was pretty pleased with it. Sadly it lasted two turns before exploding! The rules dictate that guns must test each turn, roll a 1 and your men got the mix wrong and the whole thing blows up, killing the crew as well.

I made some archers stakes from toothpicks and we added a small modifer for getting past these, as with rivers in the rules, the stakes took a move to cross to get to the soft fleshy archers behind them. The Yorkist mistake was staying behind them too long.

I predicted at the start that, as in reality, the Men-at-Arms would be the battle winners and this proved to be the case. You have to play carfully, keeping archers back and sending heavy metal in to do the scrapping. It doesn't help going in to woods as we found movement was so restricted that it became too arkward, not really worth the extra cover.

There are a few things that you have to decide for yourself in the game, such as designating where the woods are and adding in other modifers as and when appropriate but this isn't difficult once you have the hand of it.

The rules are great for basic demo/participation games or for just having fun. My kind of rule set! I recently bought Neil Thomas' Introduction to Wargaming as it had similar rules for other periods, they don't look as good as the Medieval Rules on first thumb through and may be more tricky to adapt to different unit/base sizes but are still a good introduction. Most of the rules appear to be written for 15mm but we used the Perry 28's in smaller units and the distances worked well on a 4 x 4 foot table.

For all my WoTR gaming I have bought most all Perry plastics, so far 3 boxes of Halberds and Bows, 1 box of Swiss Mercenaries for the guns and crossbow, 1 box of mounted men-at-arms (this is very flexible and can make up various mounted troop types) in metal I only have the one Perry gun so far and 6 individual Perry men-at-arms, which I just bought for painting really, they can serve to occupy buildings etc. I don't think I will need anything else, maybe another gun or a wagon or something to add interest. This makes the whole lot of figures come in at around £100, which is a good deal for a whole game. You could probably game these rules well enough with just two boxes of bows and bills even.

Neil Thomas' Ancient and Medieval Wargaming book is definately worth a buy if you want to dablle in these periods for fun games or for participation. If you like DbA or old school type wargaming you'll enjoy using these as a starting point.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Wars of the Roses

We have been preparing for this year's demo/participation game at York Library and I have finally unboxed some Perry WoTR plastics to make up for a DbX type game, which was always the plan for them. I have also got the plastic mounted men at arms so they will be going with these too. They have painted up so good I might even get a few Perry metals to mix in based as singles for skirmishers/characters. I love painting armour, it's so easy! I have 'speed painted' these as I want to get them all done soon. The game will be in about 4 weeks so need to get a shift on and practice a simple game.

I have Neil Thomas' Ancient and Medieval wargaming, which is an excellent book if like me you only dabble in these periods. It has a few DbX style rules suggestions for various periods and gives brief explanations of the characteristics of the warfare of the times. As a starting point its great.

I have based the figs on 80mm x 30mm plasticard bases. The suggested base size for 25mm figures in DbA is 60mm x 20mm but I found this too small, they were hitting each other in the face with their weapons and looked all wrong, this base size seemed to work better and will fill up a table without using too many figures. I'm not sure how the mounted figures will work yet? They will need to be the same frontage so I may have two figs on a 40mm sqaure base and lump two bases togther for a unit.

Will update as and when I get more done. The main game is at York Library 11th August. 11:30am - 3:30pm so feel free to pop in.


Just some pics of the first base of cavalry and some finished archers: