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.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

AWI ~ Battle of Paddock's Bend




I've played two AWI Battles this week in GHQ, or to be more precise, I've played the same game twice ~ against Phil on Monday and Jon on Thursday. Although the scenario was the same in both games they both played out very differently, even though I ended up loosing both of them. The action centred on the seizing and holding of a strategic crossroads. The British and their Loyalist allies advanced from their encampment at the west edge of the table, while the Americans entered the table along two roads at the southern and eastern edge. The rules we used were Black Powder, with differing Command values for the Brigade Commanders in each army.   The report and photos which follow reflect Monday's game, with Phil commanding the British and their Loyalist allies and with myself taking on the American command...
                                                                                                                                               

The Americans entering from the Eastern edge made their Command Roll successfully and rushed towards the crossroads, the Dragoons engaging the flank of a Loyalist unit...




The British Regulars made short work of the American infantry and the Loyalist Infantry beat off the flanking attack of the American Dragoons...

On the southern approach the Americans were finding it hard to meet their role of  6 in order to enter the table, although one unit was able to cross the bridge and threaten the other flank of the South Carolina Loyalists...
However, before they could close with the Loyalists, they were themselves subjected to a flank charge by British Regulars...
By now it was becoming clear that the Americans, finding it hard to get units onto the table or to move with any vigour, were facing a crushing defeat...
Even the success of the C-in-C in leading a charge to repulse British Regulars now to the east of the crossroads could not delay the inevitable...
With his one Brigade unable to cross the river in the face of the Regulars' firepower and finding himself flanked by superior numbers the American C-in-C calls it a day and retires to fight again...
When we refought the game on Thursday the Americans were more aggressive and successful but lost eventually in Turn 8 when they failed an Army Morale check, having taken just too many losses in vicious close fighting around the crossroads. The figures are from my AWI collection, mostly Front Rank with some Perry Miniatures. The Chew House and the tented encampment were from Architectural Heritage, all created by my good friend 'across the pond', Dave Paddock. The bridge is the base of the Battleground covered bridge, the trees are by The Last Valley, while Phil and I made the fences back in the day...

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

USS Farncombe in port....

I thought it would be a good idea to post some pictures of my finished US naval presence for our Pulp games. Its based on a cheap wire framed 'ornament' I bought last year while staying with Matt and Sarah.

I stripped it down to the wire frame hull and first coated it with sheets of green stuff. The superstructure and main deck gun are from Minimi's range of ships, the Tramp Steamer I think.


The crew are Pulp Miniatures of course and the harbour walls, jetty and detritus are from Ainsty.

The paint scheme for the ship I copied from pictures I took on a visit to USS Olympia in Philadelphia and the naval ensign I found on the net.
I have to paint the Marines, also by Pulp Miniatures, to complete the naval element in the games. Hopefully they'll be done later in the year. At present its more 1940 stuff and rebasing the ECW armies that's occupying what time I have...

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Completed Mounted Infantry and a Pontoon Bridge

I've managed to finish the Empress Miniatures Mounted Infantry from their Anglo-Zulu War range this week. You can see the completed unit in the picture below, followed by a few close ups. {I know my painting does n't really stand up to close inspection, by the by, but it helps to show the sculpting standard you get to work with.}

I'm quite pleased by the 'tabletop quality' of my paint job ~ I'm no longer in the evil grip of the 'painting facists', who've forgotten the hobby is called 'WARGAMING', not figure painting. I especially like the Ebob horses, as I've said before, they are really interesting to work on and really do repay the effort involved.

I've also produced my first terrain piece of 2012, a Pontoon Bridge to cross the river section of my battlefield terrain tiles Phil made for me, as an alternative to the Ford, Stone Bridge and Covered Bridge we can already deploy. The model is a Renedra plastic kit Matt gave me.


There are nine parts making it up, including the four joint pieces to hold the three bridge sections together, so its well within even my paltry modelling skills. Its based on clear plastic, an idea I got from Charles Grant's Wargamers' Annual, with the road texture and towelling grass effect secured by PVA. {The tufts are added from those I used for my Indian Mutiny basing; dark green and dried grass I think they were from Mutineer.} I undercoated the bridge and pontoons with a grey acrylic primer and washed it with Games Workshop Brown Ink. The visible 'river' section was painted Valejo Deep Sea Blue on the underside and matches Phil's river better than the photo seems to indicate.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Mounted Infantry in Zululand 1879

I've been working on the new Empress Miniatures Mounted Infantry sets for the past few days, so I thought I'd post a few pictures showing progress so far...

I've painted and based two figures in Mounted Order and three in Dismounted Order so far, with a further mounted figure painted but awaiting his two fellows before basing can be completed. The pointing mounted figure is the officer ~ he's also the left hand dismounted figure with pistol. The close up shots below give you a better idea of the quality of the sculpts I think ~ we'll draw a veil over the quality of the painting though...

I think the figures in Dismounted Order are full of life and they are proving good fun to paint and base in mini diorama mode ~

When I get the remaining figures painted and based, and the whole unit varnished, I'll post some further pictures.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Anglo-Zulu War additions

This week I have been painting some more of the lovely Empress Miniatures Anglo-Zulu War figures that I treated myself to at Christmas. I've added another base to my British Infantry Regiments, to make use of the figures in the newly released Command pack.

This stand, for the 80th, the Staffordshire Volunteers, features three of those figures ~ Officer, Bugler & Sergeant.









The second picture has the other officer from the pack, depicted as the 24th. I use Foundry British Redcoat midshade washed with the old GW Red Ink for ease of painting the jackets.







I also painted some Natal Native Contingent troops, in both mounted and dismounted order, complete with Horse holder set. I hope there'll be a similar set for my Boers and Mounted Infantry in due course, it really adds to the look of the game.

I've used a very limited pallatte of colours here, mostly Foundry British Uniform, Drab and Moss Green on the trousers and jackets and various greys for the slouch hats. The natives' horses are smaller than the Officers' mount, a nice touch I thought. The close up picture below shows what I've tried for I think.

I've started now on some of the Mounted Infantry, working on both the mounted and dismounted versions of each figure at the same time, to try to ensure that I don't produce something glaringly odd...

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Victory Without Quarter?

My ECW  Armies had a run out last night, using our currently favoured rules, "VICTORY WITHOUT QUARTER"  ~ free to download over the web thingy. Phil, aka Sir Marmaduke Robinson, commanded the Royalists, while I, in my persona as Obadiah Bykleigh, gentleman, commanded the Parliamentary force.

The game saw the Royalists marking down the table length, charged with escorting their treasure to safety, appearing in the order their cards are drawn. The Parliamentary force appears on their right during the game, also as the cards are drawn. We like the friction of uncertainty the rules bring this way, as we feel it relects the difficulty of command and control on the C17th battlefield.

Early action saw Sir Martyn Boland's Horse charge the Royalist Sir John Whyte's Horse, effectively blocking further Royalist progress for a time...








A second cavalry melee developed near St Phillip's church which was to last most of the game and blocked much of the Parliamentary foote...







Enjoying, for me, the unusual pleasure of seeing my cavalry win a melee, when Sir Martyn Boland's Horse destroy their enemy, I commit them to what turns out to be a charge too far...








Meanwhile another unit of Parliamentary Horse routes from melee, the failure of Matthew Bykleigh's Horse a set back to the Parliamentary hopes...







When the dice do not love you....what's a chap to do?










The success of Sir Gilbert Talbot's Foote in halting Parliamentary advances was crucial. This unit stars in most of our games, its almost supernatural the way it rises to the occasion whatever the game...
Wytchcraft, me thinks!!!!!






The table at the end of the game. We rather ran out of time in the end and settled for a winning draw for the Royalists, as Parliamentary losses were more damaging and it seemed to us both that the Treasure would make it off the far end of the table in due course...







The figures in my collection are mostly Foundry and Perry Miniatures, though the larger guns are by Bicorne and some command figures are by Warlord. If you've not come across Victory Without Quarter I'd recommend you give them a try. We find they give a challenging and enjoyable game.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Incident at De Witt's Drift...

Jon and I played a most enjoyable Anglo Zulu War game this afternoon, using my own "Washing the Spears!" rules. Jon took the Imperial forces while I handled the auto generated Zulus' fighting and skirmishing capabilities. The Imperial force had to escort a supply column across the river at De Witt's Drift and on to De Witt's Mission Station, which was garrisoned by elements of the 24th. The escort consisted of Van Whytt's Boers and the 13th and 80th Regiments. They were accompanied by a Reporter for the Cape newspapers.
Even before the column had reached the Drift or properly deployed   they were ambushed by a Zulu force. Surprised by their electrifying appearance, the 13th didn't manage to get off a volley and a fierce hand to hand fight ensued. Supported by Van Whytt's Boers, and despite some losses, the 13th drove off the first Zulu attack.



The Imperial force reorganised after the brisk but bloody skirmish and pressed on towards De Witt's Drift.





Scouting ahead of the main force, the Boers flush out some Zulus armed with rifles of questionable provenence.





The 80th Regiment moves up to support the skirmishing Boers and soon the Zulus are no more...




Moving forward with determination the 80th and Van Whytt's Boers clear the river at De Witt's Drift and have the Mission Station in their sights, but...



More Zulus are revealed, partially concealed in tall grasses...






As the 80th get off a sharp volley, the Zulus move with difficulty through the tall grass, while the 13th and the Boers get into possition to give         covering fire..
Despite some losses the Zulus pass their 'Pluck Test' and close with the Imperial Force. A fierce and prolonged combat develops, but the weight of numbers finally tells and the Zulus break...
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                
Van Whytt's Boers gallop ahead to let the garrison know that the much needed supplys will make it through this time.



The table at the conclusion of turn 13. The last of the Zulus are disappearing rapidly while the Imperial Forces cover the safe delivery of the Supply  wagons. All in all a most satisfying way to pass an afternoon...









The figures are all from Empress Minatures' 28mm Anglo Zulu War range, with the noted exception of the Dixon oxen and the Boer wagons, one by Redoubt and one by Foundry. The game lasted two hours or thereabouts. De Witt's Mission Station is by Front Line, the trees by Last Valley and the mealie bag barricades by Hovells. The tents are from Rendera and the tall grass is an aquarium product from the local garden centre!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Off to a Steady Start...

I've managed a little painting towards the end of 2011 and the first days of 2012, enough at least to satisfy myself that the festive chaos is behind me now. First up, some additions to the 1940 Operation Sealion/ "Pig Whoooey!" game ~
These are the Foundry 'Home Guard in steel helmets' set ~ they'll double as Regular Army in our games if needed.






They'll have a 2lb Anti Tank gun to supplement their support weapons. This one is by BEF, presumably now Warlord. For all the British figures I used a base of Valejo British Uniform and dry brushed Foundry British Uniform Shade and Mid tone over the base.




To give the LDV/Home Guard units a litttle extra fire power, though not much really, I added a Stronghold 'Smith Gun'. Its a nifty little set which goes together well. The figures are small, true 25mm really, but very finely detailed.






This view from front left gives a nice idea of the figures' details I think. Again, uniforms painted as above, while the gun is Foundry Russian Green Light, dry brushed with Foundry Phlegm Green Shade and Mid tone.




I've also given the LDV/Home Guard an Anti Tank Rifle capability. These are from BEF, now Warlord as I said. Painting uniform details is as for the other British figures. I've been trying to match them to the style Andy Dumelow painted the rest of my 1940 Collection in. Its close enough for me ~ that is it passes the 3' tabletop test!!




I've also added to their opponents, eight Foundry Fallschirmjagers, again painted to blend in with those Andy did for me a while back.
For my ongoing Anglo-Zulu War project I've added two horse holder sets from Empress for my dismounted versions of, firstly, the Natal Carbineers. A nice set, although I exhanged the horses between the two sets I bought to give four seeming to stand, as here, and four seemingly moving, as in the next shot; mainly to go with the different poses of the figures.


The second set represents the Natal Mounted Police. Even though the uniform jacket is incorrect for that unit, again it passes the 3' table top test. The horses by Ebob are a joy to paint, far superior in my opinion to offerings from other manufacturers.




I've also been working on adding a base of four infantry figures to both the 24th and the 80th in the Anglo-Zulu War game. I've finished the four of the 24th, but need to do the basing, and have paint on the four for the 80th. After that it will be more Anglo-Zulu WAr stuff, probably the mounted natives.