David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occassional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

More handgunners!

Either side of our trip to Scotland, including a visit to Claymore (see previous Blog post), I’ve been working on what is for now at least my last TAG group of figures for our Italian Wars project, in this case a base of handgunners for my contingent of Landsknechts. As with all my earlier work on the TAG figures, they are easy to paint - for Landsknechts that is!

As far as the project goes at present I shall be left with a base of Landsknecht halberdiers and a third base of Pikemem to complete. These are some Warlord and Foundry/early Citadel figures I picked up for a song back in June at Barrage in Stafford. The latter are lovely figures, full of detail and life and, in my opinion, far better than the more recent work by the sculptors.

When these are completed it will be back to the C18th in the shape of my AWI additions, alternating with my remaining figures for my Wars of the French Revolution project. If all goes well all of this will be interspersed with my Palazzo for the Borgias MDF project! Well, we can plan, at least for now... You never know, but purchases at The Other Partizan may derail all of that!

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

I have been to...

...Claymore, Scotland’s premier wargames show. Always high on my list of favourite shows to attend I must sadly admit to being a tad disappointed this year. Perhaps I should rephrase that on reflection, a tad less impressed than I expected might be better. The show seemed less crowded, bar the Bring & Buy, and we’ll pass quickly by the stench I encountered on my sole brief visit, and there seemed less of a buzz around the games than usual. Of course, that could just be an impression gained by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, I’ll never know.
Nevertheless I enjoyed my day. I met good friends, I bought most of the things on my list, I did see some games I liked and I chatted with several traders, some who I seem to have known forever! I’ve decided not to include a full picture report, most folk will have seen many pictures already, so here are three of the Iron Brigade’s alternative Zorndorf game featuring Kevin’s Prussians, mostly from Calpe with some Front Rank support, and Peter’s Russians, all admirably supervised by Emma - hope your exam results went well today!
I always enjoy seeing the Iron Brgade’s games. They deserve a far wider audience in my opinion. They are beautifully presented and full of interesting extras, vignettes, scenics and the like. Their game came second in the Demonstration Games section of the show awards. They was robbed if you ask me! Meanwhile, by way of a change, The Redoubt Castle Hotel in Bonnyrigg, our basefor our stay. Quite wonderful, highly original and the warmest welcome we’ve ever received anywhere. Highly recommended if you’re ever that way.
Next up for me as far as shows go will hopefully be The Other Partizan, one of the other highlights of my wargames show year which I always look forward to. You’ll probably have noticed by the by that I’ve no swag picture. Why, you ask? Well, I bought one figure and heaps of MDF building kits and extras, not exactly photogenic, oh and the Wargamers’ Annual 2018. I hope my TOP swag will be more diverse, we’ll see. Meanwhile, back to painting Landsknechts!

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Le Pont a Lembeek

This week’s game in GHQ between Phil and me was a Black Powder War of the French Revolution game, with Phil, as De Rawnslie, leading the Revolutionary French army and yours truly,  as von Bikkelberg, leading the Austro-Hanoverian defenders of Lembeek and its strategic bridge over the River Semme. The Austrians win if they deny the bridge to the French, the French if they have one Brigade over the river by the end of Turn 8. Either side can win of course by defeating the enemy on the field of battle.
Austrian cavalry hold the right flank, protecting a small 
Brigade of Hanoverian infantry and a Battery of 12ld guns.

The French have all their cavalry deployed on their left flank.
Two Brigades of Heavy Cavalry and one of Light.

The French right is held by a Demi Brigade of Light Infantry,
supported by two Batteries of 12ld guns. The centre is held by
two Demi Brigades of Line Infantry each of one Old Army 
Battalion and two newly raised volunteers who must check
their status on first fired on or being in action.

"Follow Me!" To compensate for my inferiority in cavalry I 
used this order quite a lot. I had mixed results I have to say!

Austrian Dragoons, Curassiers and Chasseurs surge forward
to halt the French attack.

The French advance on the Bridge supported by the Horse
Artillery on their left flank. The French cavalry seems reluctant
to advance to the attack!

Austrian infantry prepare to defend the Bridge as the French
advance on them. The Horse Artillery has deployed to support
the French attack.

Austrian Dragoons and Chasseurs surge past their Curassiers
and supporting Light Artillery.

The Austrian heavy guns are direted to fire in support of the
Hanoverian Infantry Brigade.

A view from the Austro-Hanoverian lines shows the ominous
numbers of French surging forward.

The Austrian infantry is under attach across the river and by
the Bridge. Time to show what they are made of!

Fighting is fierce around the bridge, with both sides having
some success.

After several gallant but indecisive charges and subsequent
melees, the Austrian cavalry is battered and weakened.

Despite a spirited and very gallant defence, numbers begin to
tell in the French's favour. The 8th cavalry move forward to
finish off their Austrian opposite number.

At the end of Turn 7 the French have two Broken Brigades,
but the Austrians have three. The French are over the bridge
and the Austrians cannot drive them back. Its all up for von
Bikkelberg I'm afraid, the Austrians concede the field to the 
Black Powder never disappoints we've found in delivering a game in which fortunes swing first one way and then the other. The game was on a knife edge throughout and could have gone either way a number of times. The Austrian cavalry performed heroically, but were ultimately defeated by weight of numbers. French Command rolls were often indifferent, but their fighting was overwhelming in far too many instances for their opponents. Despite the result being disappointing for me, I thought this was an excellent game and thoroughly enjoyed it, as did Phil.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

La Cappella di San Filippe

I’m steadily working my way through the buildings I bought back in March and April for my Italian Wars project. I’ve previously completed the two I made using Warbases’ Modular Buildings, together with a few additions from elsewhere, leaving me with the two Charlie Foxtrot buildings, the Small Store/Hovel and the Chapel. The painting scheme follows that of the walled farm and the inn I featured in earlier Blog posts, though perhaps I’ve got a little better at dry brushing with practice. The buildings are based on 3mm MDF custom bases made for me by Warbases of course. The Chapel is a very simple building, though I added some Wills plastic pantile sheeting to the front elevation to tone it in with the cast resin main roof provided with the kit ~

The small store, or hovel in my mind, is a simple square building, you’d think an idiot could build it. Wrong! I only noticed when I came to paint it that I’d mounted the side window in sideways! Obviously an early Italian Top opening window light! My kit was missing one of the three exposed stonework pieces. Rather than complain I simply left the space open and painted it in to match the base, it’s a hovel after all. Like the inn it needs some bits and bobs adding to give a lived in look. I have those on my list!
Phil ordered some resin buildings and extras from Grand Manner for his Spanish Games last month, so I added in a fountain to save on postage. I made it a feature base to arrange the buildings around if we want a town in any of the games.
I plan to make a further building from the Warbases modular building options by combining some elements of the Sally Forth Italian castle range with those from Warbases to create a more impressive Palazzo for the Borgias to reside in. I’ve ordered the Sally Forth elements to collect at The Other Partizan and hope to get my Warbases bits and pieces at Claymore next Saturday.

Friday, 27 July 2018

The 19th Dragoons

French of course, from Trent Miniatures, for my Wars of the French Revolution project. The project began for me in a totally unplanned way when I bought a few bags of figures from Duncan at Partizan, if I’m honest purely because Matt had sculpted them on the one hand when he was starting out and on the other because I’d found nothing else to pique my interest. Add to that the substantial discount Duncan offered me and I was away! I just really enjoyed painting the figures, and still do. I have them firmly placed on my ‘Figures which seem to love the paint’ list, along with others like Copplestone Castings, Pulp Figures, and Front Rank. Anyway, leaving that aside for now, here are my latest additions, painted as the 19th Dragoons ~

As I mentioned at the end of my last Blog post, I’ve two more cavalry units, or rather one and a bit, in the queue: a unit of eight British Light Dragoons and the rank and file for my Scots Greys, STILL without any long promised Command Figures! I’ve also got a few Austrians who may appear as Rohan Fusiliers in due course. I intend though to try first to finish the Italian Wars figures, of which there are three bases: a third Landsknecht pike block, a base of Landsknecht halberdiers, and a base of Landsknecht handgunners. Perhaps it wasn’t a good idea to leave these until last after all...

I forgot to mention earlier in the month that I bought some figure packs from Crann Tara for my SYW expansion. Strictly speaking they’re from their Jacobite range, but I wanted the Royale Ecossosais in the blue bonnet rather than the tricorn they probably wore in the SYW period. My toys, my game, my choice... They are very slight next to my Foundry figures, but I think they will look fine painted up en masse on the table. The next time I manage to get over to Foundry I shall buy some more figures for my SYW expansion, another British Dragoon or Dragoon Guard unit and a French Line Cavalry unit being top of my additions list. I’ve also got plans to add a further Wild Geese element to the French and perhaps some Hanoverians to the existing British side, though these would need to be from Front Rank as the thought of adding green stuff moustaches to 50 odd figures somewhat phases me!

Friday, 20 July 2018

La locanda del Bougainvillea...

...and the completed Landsknecht pike block. Really all this wonderful, warm and sunny weather is not much conducive to sitting at the painting desk but I have managed to make some progress despite all this. Firstly I’ve finished the second building for our Italian Wars project, again made up from Warbases’ Modular Buildings and extras. It uses three components: the two storey and longer single storey building and the Portico addition piece. Again, the pan tiled roof sections are from Wills railway scenics range of plastic sheeting. The bespoke base was cut from 3mm MDF by Warbases for all my Italian Wars Buildings. The Bougainvillea adorning the end wall is made from Jarvis climbing plant sections, as on the farm I featured earlier, with flowering areas by a rubberised colour scatter I bought a while back from Mutineer Miniatures. I need some scenic additions, but have nothing suitable in the ‘Useful Bits’ box!

Secondly, I’ve completed the additional Landsknecht pikemen I bought from Warlord Games at the Barrage show recently. They were added to the front of the base of figures to make the pike block more convincing on the tabletop.

Ongoing work besides these are a unit of the 19th Dragoons for my French army from the Revolutionary War project. These are Trent Miniatures of course, sculpted by my son Matt early in his career. While I’m not entirely unbiased you understand, I prefer his sculpting style to that of the more recent sculptor, but I recognise that it’s all a matter of taste. So far I’ve completed two Dragoons but have much of the basics on the remaining six which I hope to finish this month.

Besides this unit I’ve two others by the same manufacturer in the painting queue: a unit of eight British Light Dragoons and another of six Scots Greys, for which I’m STILL waiting for the long promised Command figures! Other figures actually on the painting desk are a unit of 10 Landsknecht handgunners by TAG and a third Landsknecht pike block of 18 figures by Warlord Games and Wargames Foundry. After those are done I’ve three units from Foundry for my expansion of the AWI game: two of Continental Infantry and one of British Regulars. There are also some Light Dragoons somewhere from the Perry Miniatures stable. somewhere near the bottom of the pile are three units of Dixon ACW Union Infantry, which I will get around too, just not yet...

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Who would have thought it?

A small milestone is reached today for Tales From GHQ in the shape of this Blog post, the 500th since I made the transition to blogging after an earlier Freewebs based gallery style incarnation. I would never have thought when I published my first blog entry on 29th November 2011 that I would still be publishing some seven years later, not to mention that I would have garnered 230 interested souls along the way as Followers, nor achieved over 250,000 hits ~ thank you Mr Putin by the way! It’s proved an interesting, frustrating, uplifting and enjoyable way to chronicle all I’ve been up to in our glorious hobby, to meet new friends - both real and cyber, to find new ways of doing things and to share the joys we all experience from the many aspects of our shared interests - the historical research, the drawing up of lists, painting figures and ephemera, the sheer creativity of the hobby, but most of all the friendship. So what better way to celebrate than to feature my friends, and especially my life long friend Phil, in this milestone post?
Phil perusing Bull Run to Gettysburg before an ACW game in the original GHQ. 
Phil, Jon, yours truly, Martin and John on ‘Moving Day’ from GHQ Mk1 to GHQ Mark2.
Dan hard at work most recently taking photos to accompany my latest piece for Wargames Illustrated on gaming 1914 with Black Powder rules using in house developments.
There have been two incarnations of GHQ since I started my Blog, the original housed in the extension to our home and now the master bedroom, the current location a conversion from the garage giving me more storage and a larger table at 6’6” x 6’. Mind you, we are not above commandeering the dinning room table on occasions as you can see! You may see a little more of GHQ in the Autumn as it features in a short article on wargamers and their spaces in Wargames Illustrated. Meanwhile, who else but Phil would be expected tomorrow as we prepare to play out the 1914 game I set out for the photoshoot with Dan a couple of weeks ago?