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.

Friday, 12 October 2018

The Trouncing of Bhykli Pasha...

For our regular Monday game earlier this week with Phil I tweaked the desert table laid out for last Wednesday’s Sudan War game between Jon and yours truly. I replaced the Mahdist forces with my motley crew of Egyptian Regulars and irregulars, bolstered by some Baggara Horse roped in for the game. The British, under Lord Rawnsley, must drive through the Egyptian lines of defence if they are to win the game, the Egyptians just have to hold their ground if they are to win. As ever, an annotated photomontage to bring you the nub of events~
The Egyptian right rested on a small walled farm, fronting on
to the opening of the wadi to their front. The far right was held
by three units of irregular Arab horse, supported by one of
regular Gendarmes.

As Fanatics the Irregulars must try to charge the enemy in
sight. Sadly their Command Rolls did not reflect their ardour!

The Hussars and Dragoons holding the British left moved
forward cautiously, supporting the infantry who must storm
the Egyptian lines to win the battle!

The first cavalry clash of the battle was brutal...

One group of Arab Irregular horse is Routed unceremoniously!
A Sweeping Advance by the victors smashes into the
supporting Irregulars...

Who are beaten soundly and Retire 'Shaken and Disordered'!
Still, with two uncommitted Cavalry units still in place the
British victors sensibly Rally Back.

As the British close on the wadi in their remorsely assault on
the Egyptian lines the second Egyptian Cavalry Brigade is put
to flight.

With their right flank now open, the Egyptian regular infantry
reposition themselves awaiting the inevitable assault.

'Some corner of a foreign field...' as the British Cavalry
commander is killed in a fruitless charge on the Irregular
Infantry in the wadi! It will be up to the Royal Surreys now.

As the British Infantry lines close on the Egyptians, their
Cavalry move to threaten the rear of the Egyptian position.

The remaining Gendarmes are Routed by the Hussars and the
Egyptian army is broken before the infantry can close with

As is generally the case we used the 'old' Black Powder rules, for the last time today as, just before hostilities commenced, the two copies of the Second Edition I’d ordered for us from Caliver Books were delivered to our door. I hope the new version will get as much use as the old over the coming years here in GHQ. I really can’t be bothered now to try to recall the nuances of different sets of rules, even those I’ve written myself, so I think you will get to see ever more Black Powder 2 games on the table here.

I ought finally to say a little about the Tiny Wargames Desert Mat before I close. It was made as 7’ x 6’6” to allow it to lie easily over hills and that it managed quite well. However, the material it’s made from, a synthetic cloth it seems, is quite slippery when figure bases are placed in hill sides, in fact they heavy bases slide every time. The colour is also interesting, looking very green from some angles under my LED lighting and noticeably changing hue when viewed from different angles, something you see readily in the photos I think. But, and it’s a very big but, it is so much better than my old felt cloth that I have to say I’m more than pleased by it.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Palazzo Progress Report #4

Sue has gone away with her sister Ann for a very well deserved break on the Jurassic Coast, leaving me free to potter on with my Palazzo project for our Italian Wars project. The first stage after the base coat of Crafters Acrylic 'Golden Brown' is to dry brush the whole building with Crafters Acrylic ‘Fawn’, which when it’s thoroughly dry can then in turn be dry brushed more sparingly with ‘Antique White’. I’ve taken pictures of those three stages for you to see how it progresses ~
Base coat of Glden Brown for the walls & Madder Red for
the roof tiles.

A heavy dry brush of Crafters Acrylic Fawn is the second coat.
The third stage is a lighter dry brush of Antique White. 

I want the plinth of the classical bronze statue to pop a bit, so I omitted the bases brown colour used on the buildings and painted the first coat Fawn. It was then painted with Foundry Paints ‘Boneyard Light’ and the statue painted with the same company’s Bronze Triad.
The next stage of the project will be to wash all the walls with Games Workshop ‘Seraphim Brown’ before a final drybrush of the walls with Crown Emulsion ‘Limewashed Wall’. When all that is done, the pantile roofs can be tackled next! After that the ornate windows of the tower and the doors, windows and shutters. When all that is done the component buildings can be fixed to the 3mm MDF base and the texture can be added for groundwork. Bit of a way to go yet...

Sunday, 7 October 2018

The 4th Virginia Continentals muster in.

Pressing on while I can I’ve been working on a unit of 21 Foundry figures which will represent the 4th Virginia Continental Infantry in our AWI games. I chose to paint them in their blue faced blue uniforms, if I’m honest because I thought I’d struggle with other colour combinations given the amount of equipment on most of the individual figures! I’m actually quite pleased by the final results, given my ongoing issues. The flags I downloaded back in the day free from Clarence Harrison’s website, but I believe they are now sold through Warfare Miniatures. Fortuitously I downloaded the whole range of American flags so I hope to reflag the American army before our next AWI game here in GHQ. Well, enough said, time to let the boys step out smartly ~
The next unit to step up smartly to the Painting Desk are more Foundry Miniatures, this time to be designated as the 8th Virginia Continental Infantry, similarly with blue facings to their blue uniforms. I've just discovered that I have three bases worth of British Light Infantry, Foundry figures of course, so there may be future additions to the British and Loyalist forces next year.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

The Sands of the Desert are Red with Blood...

Earlier this week I received a custom sized Tiny Wargames Desert Mat via Dan at Wargames Illustrated. I’ve had in mind to acquire one of these for a while now, having been impressed with the overall look of the mats I saw in August at The Other Partizan. As Jon was due on Wednesday evening for our regular monthly game I set up a Sudan War game, which collection has not seen over much Table Top time of late. I decided we’d use Black Powder as the rule set, so it was necessary to look into the Blood on the Nile supplement for ideas of how to rate the units.
The scenario sees three Imperial columns advancing on the Mosque at El Pend-Ha, where the leader of the revolt in the area, the Barmy Bhykli, is rumoured to be quartered. Of course, he is far from alone, being escorted by numerous Beja and Nile Arab units. Lord Walton took command of the Imperial columns, personally accompanying the most easterly column and communicating with his subordinates by heliograph - on a Dx6 throw of anything but a 1 that is! The game ebbed and flowed as BP games usually do without either side gaining a decisive edge. As usual, a few pictures to tell the unfolding story of the battle ~
"Oh, My Beloveds, do not fear the bullets of the infidel!"
The Nile Arabs and Beja Camelry sweep forward to attack
Lord Walton's column.

Baggara cavalry sweep across the dunes to confront the 
Imperial Cavalry column on Lord Walton's right flank!
Red with the blood of the square that broke!
The Naval contingent flanks their Gardener gun, which was to
repeatedly jam throughout the game, a great bonus to the Beja
in its line of fire!

With the Imperial cavalry column stalled in the dunes, more
Beja tribesmen surge forward to bolster their fellows.

Lord Walton's Column, or rather its remains, are bolstered by
the arrival of a Highland battalion from the Centre column.
Meanwhile, the Nile Arabs surge forward and the Beja Camelry
move to flank his line.

We called it a draw after eight turns as it was clear the Imperial Force could not win, especially as their western column of cavalry was Broken and most of the eastern column had routed, leaving the main centre column to bear the brunt of the Mahdist attacks. Turning to the Mahdists though, their Baggara Horse were blown and the Beja camelry stalled, so any further fighting would depend on the depleted ranks of Nile Arab spearmen and on the Fuzzy Wuzzy! Needless to say, their chances were not good against steady Imperial infantry so they wisely held their ground!
Lord Walton takes stock of his deteriorating situation.

Arabs surge forward while the Imperial infantry wait full of

"Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar!" The Imperial Cavalry Brigade
is Broken and the Mahdist left is secured.

A stand-off in the center, Beja riflemen hold the wadi, with 
Camelry securing their right flank and keeping the South
Staffordshires at bay!

Monday should see a second Desert cloth themed game, this time pitting the British against Egyptians in the theatre of the Anglo-Egyptian War. Can Lord Rawnsley do any better than Lord Walton? We shall have to see, as Bhykli Pasha prepares the Egyptian plan of battle...

A wonderful gift incoming!

I received this as a gift from Jon before our recent Sudan game! A Foundry Miniatures (very) limited edition mounted knight in Maximilian armour. Isn’t he just splendid? He will make a fine subgeneral for my Italian Wars project ~
Of course, he probably has more value, left as he is in the original packaging, to some collector but I have no interest in that side of figure collecting, so he will be painted up later in the Autumn and join the ranks of the Papal States army.

Friday, 28 September 2018

AWI Additions ~ the 43rd Foot

My latest figure additions are a unit of Foundry Miniatures AWI British Line Infantry in firing pose, painted to represent the 43rd Foot with white facings. I chose these because I had the flag in house so I saved a few pounds. Back in the day when I started my AWI collection I bought two Army Deals from Front Rank at Salute, when it was still held in Kensington Town Hall. I added further units from the same manufacturer over time until the collection reached a state which suited the scale of our games. Fast forward a few years and Perry Miniatures began to add an AWI range, following on from the range started for Foundry, of which this unit is an example of the latter ~

My expanded collection now includes figures by Foundry, Front Rank, Perry Miniatures and a few Old Glory. When I decided further expansion was needed for the bigger gaming area in GHQ2 I chose to add two units of American Militia and two of British Infantry from the Foundry range. This is the last of those four units. The flags are ones I downloaded free awhile ago, now sold by Warfare Miniatures I think.
I still have two units of Continental Infantry from the same manufacturer and some Perry Miniatures British Light Dragoons. I've started on the first Continental line, the 4th Virginia, and I hope to work on completing at least those next month and see if I can get an expanded game in in December. We shall see...
What I have noticed though is that the combination of arthritis in my right hand and the cataracts developing in both eyes has meant that my finished work does n't really stand up to close examination, as you can see from the pictures. But, the process still brings me some pleasure and on the table I don't think anyone will really notice, so ‘Onward and Upward!'

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Mad as a bucket of frogs!

On Wednesday I went over to East Stoke, near Newark in Nottinghamshire, specifically to visit Wargames Foundry and spend some money on figures. You would be entitled to ask me, why? It’s not as if I don’t have anything to work on in The Lead Pimple after all. In fact, at my present rather reduced output of between 30 - 40 figures in a calendar month I worked out I had enough to occupy my painting time until July 2019!
But then I don’t suffer from any delusions about my own approach to the hobby, I’ve always been prone to look either for new periods to dabble in - the VBCW being a prime example - or worse still to expand existing projects far beyond the figure and unit capacity of the table in GHQ - the ACW anyone? In fact, one constant in the past 45 years of being a wargamer has been the constant churn of out with the old and in with the new, though the arrival of GHQ as a dedicated gaming room in 2004 has somewhat ameliorated this trend.
So it no surprise to me that when the budget allowed I was off to shop! This particular expedition had its origins earlier in the year when Phil and I revisited my SYW collection. More cavalry was an obvious development, either by reducing units from 12 figures or by adding new units. I should perhaps confess that the collection itself began entirely by accident, though Phil was indirectly to blame! I had decided to dabble in the First Carlist War with the then new Perry Miniatures range, I’d worked it all out and was ready to splash the cash. Then Phil showed me his latest painted figures! You’ve guessed of course, the First Carlist War range in question! So, effectively on the rebound, I turned up at Foundry with cash burning a hole in my wallet and was seduced by the splendid range of French and British figures sculpted by Rob Baker. I bought the bones of both armies there and then and have added steadily to them over the past few years.
Now, the range itself is to wargamers as Marmite is to toast affectionados, but I’m firmly in the pro-range camp as I feel the figures on painting really capture the mid C18th look of military men stout in heart and body! Whatever, I added to the armies on this visit: French Line Cavalry, destined for Orleans; French Fusileers, destined to be Regiment Clare for my Wild Geese; French Mounted Officers - you can never have too many Commanders after all! For the British: Grenadiers in mitre to stand in for the 23rd Foot; British Dragoons, for the 6th Inniskillin Dragoons; and more Mounted Generals! They won’t be reaching their day in the sun until next year, but in the meantime, here are some I finished earlier ~

Like me, you will have to wait until next year to see the new units hit the table. In the meantime, back to the 43rd Foot for my AWI collection...

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Marching to Glory...or Not!

For what turns out to be our last game here in GHQ this month I chose a War of 1812 setting and borrowed a scenario loosely from Steve the Wargamer - see his post on Abundance Farm, from the sidebar blog link section. Two equally balanced forces are tasked with capturing abundant supplies located in a farm on the table edge. Both enter down the road on the opposite corners of the table to the farm edge. Phil commanded the American forces and yours truly the Anglo-Canadians. Each side had two Brigades of Foot and were supported by artillery. In addition each side had one unit of cavalry. The rules used were, as is usual for us now a days, Black Powder while the figures were Foundry from my collection. We set the game length at 10 Turns and allocated Victory Points to features on the table, ranging from 1 for the entry point, through to 3 for the hills and for the crossroads, to 6 for the farm itself. As is my wont, a photomontage follows to tell the story of the unfolding game ~
Abundance Farm is occupied by the Paddoquoi war party in Turn 2.

The Anglo-Canadian forces advance on all fronts: the Regular Infantry on the
farm, the Militia and Fencibles on the right flank, supported by the Light 
Dragoons and an RA 6lb gun.

American Light Dragoons are Shaken by fire and nervously await their
supporting Infantry from Scott's Brigade.

The Paddoquoi are joined by the 4th Foot and their combined firepower is too
much for the US Sharp Shooters who fall back Disordered.

The American Light Dragoons are routed and the Infantry forced into square
by the British cavalry. The 2nd US Artillery is left exposed!

The American left flank collapses and the Anglo-Canadians prepare to go on
the attack. Columns of Militia and Fencibles at screened by the Glengarry
Light Infantry.

"Follow Me!" American infantry charge forward but are met with withering
fire from the 4th Foot and the Paddoquoi, while the 10th Royal Veterans are
hurrying to their support.

An overview of the battlefield: the Anglo-Canadians hold the farm while on
the nearby high ground the Glengarry Light Infantry skirmish with elements
of Scott's brigade.

The 10th Royal Veterans advance to take the battle to the retiring Americans.

The American left has collapsed and though the 1th Royal Veterans' attack
has been repulsed, the Anglo-Canadian's grip on Abundance Farm and all its
wealth of supplies is like iron!

The American's concede defeat! Their Regulars fared badly against the Militia
and Fencibles while their own Militia never made it into the fight!
A grand game I thought, perhaps coloured by my victory! It is true that Phil's Command Rolls were frequently poor and mine not much better, but I felt my own tactics more likely to win the game, drawing in his Regulars with my weaker Militia and Fencibles, leaving my own small Regular brigade and Paddoquoi support to seize the objective. No doubt Phil will pop up in due course with a different perspective on the flow of the action!
Next up in GHQ should be a WWII game with Jon, using Rapid Fire!2, on the first Wednesday of October. In the meantime for me its back to painting the 43rd Foot for my AWI collection. Foundry figures of course. Eight finished so far, leaving 13 to do, plus 4 Light Company figures if I get that far this month!

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Palazzo Progress Report #3

When I wake early some mornings I like to use the quiet time for hobby related activity. I do find though that on occasions the old eyes are not up to figure painting, so the Palazzo project (and associated other Italian Wars buildings) are a suitable alternative subject to occupy the time usefully. So, I’ve managed to progress the Palazzo project a little in that I have painted the base colours on the walls and pantile roofs: Crafters’ Acrylic Golden Brown for the walls and Foundry Madder Red Shade for the pantiles (& for the large windows on the tall tower) ~

In addition to the Palazzo I’ve got two other buildings in progress for the Italian Wars project: one large and imposing building made from WarbasesModular Buildings range, enhanced by a Supreme Littleness DesignsOrnamental Window; the second made from the central section of the Charlie Foxtrot tall Italian tower, with the spare resin roof Colin kindly sold me, serving as a stand alone defensive tower. I’ve got as far as texturing the walls on both of these buildings and adding the Wills pantile sheeting where needed but need a new pot of Golden Brown before I can start painting them ~

I’m aiming for a decent wargames table standard with these, to match the four already completed. Frankly I know both my limitations as a modeller and in respect of the time I’m prepared to spend on such projects, so I cut my coat according to my cloth so as to speak and am generally content with the process and the end product.