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.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Year of Destiny?

For the recent Monday game here in GHQ with Phil we had decided to give To the Strongest another run through, borrowing Phil's grid marked games mat and deploying my Saxons and Normans. {I should say that this is the figures' third rebasing, so you must excuse the lack of static grass, clumps and other vegetation for now, I've just not felt like tackling that as yet.} With the exception of one figure from Gripping Beast all of those you see are from Foundry, designed by my son Matt. You may have seen he has done a range of late Saxons for Footsore recently which look very compatible with these older ones. I may add some at some point, but that means more Normans! As Phil painted the Normans for me I would have to fit any more in his Commission schedule, no easy task as he is in demand!! As usual, a few captioned pictures to give a flavour for the game ~
The host of Harold the Hairless drawn up for battle. (The mat
really is much greener than it looks in the photos by the way}

Huscarls hold the centre supported by Harold's Thegns.

Harold and his Household are in the front line of battle.

William the Bastard's army drawn up for battle. Too many
archers for my liking I have to say!

Typical sneaky Norman attack on the Saxon right flank!

While the Saxons' own left flank is reluctant to move forward.

The Norman centre is advancing now against the Fyrd.

With the wood offering some protection the Saxons are trying
to flank the Norman attackers.

The two armies are beginning to close with one another.

Harold the Hairless is fighting with his Huscarls in the centre!

The Saxon right is holding up well but is being outflanked!
More elements are engaged in the centre now.

The Saxon lines have been breached and the Normans are in
the rear!

The fat lady is nearly ready to exercise her vocal cords!

Its all over for the Saxon cause, but Harold the Hairless lives to
fight another day!

I have no plans myself to move over from our Neil Thomas mash up for my Ancient and early Medieval games here in GHQ, but we both enjoyed our first run through of the rules at Phil's, so it did no harm to try the rules with different armies. Either way it has shown me that the Normans need at least four more bases of infantry and perhaps two bases of unarmoured cavalry. Sadly no room in the present schedule for 2020 for any of that. So its back to painting the von Rall Grenadiers for the AWI for me!

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Standard Bearers, Medics, a General, and a Bishop

Next off the painting desk from my January Allsorts are seven more VBCW figures in the shape of three Standard Bearers,  two Medics, a General and a Bishop. The first six are from Footsore, the bishop though is from an unknown manufacturer, a part of Tim Hall's generous gift last year ~

Next to move to the head of the painting queue are some Front Rank AWI Hessians in the form of the Grenadier Regiment Von Rall. If I get through them in good time I've two mounted figures by the same manufacturer to make an overall command vignette base for my AWI Hessian force.

Star Fort to Vauban Fort

I'm trying not to buy any new figures in the first month's of this year as I'm hoping both to reduce the Lead Pimple and see how my hands and eyes issues pan out over the next few months. My thumb joints get pretty painful if I paint for long some mornings, so I was looking for a lighter project when figure painting might not be too easy. I saw an advert for the new AMERA Star Fort and, even though it's plastic, I ordered one just before Christmas. Communication from the company has been first rate and a large, but lightweight, parcel duly arrived on Monday. It's a big beast ~
 I hope to finish it not as an earthen Star Fort but as a stone Vauban style defence. To that end I ordered a heap of stone paper sheeting from Metcalfe, the Superquick railway modelling folk - I had many of their buildings back in the 70's when I started out in the hobby. Again their communication and service were first class and the package of sheetings arrived on Thursday. The fort kit comes in 8 parts: 4 corner bastions; 3 connecting wall sections; and 1 log gate (not in my photo). Extra wall sections and corner pieces are available separately if you want an even larger piece!
I've downloaded some free kits for features of a Vauban style gateway and plan to print these out in an appropriate size to fill the gateway space. It may mean I need an extra wall section for the rear, I'll have to wait and see. I'll post a progress report as I go along for anyone interested in seeing how it pans out.

Friday, 10 January 2020

Raising the Siege of Palazzo San Philippe

On Wednesday evening Jon and I locked horns in GHQ for our first game of 2020, an Italian Wars game using the Pike & Shotte ruleset by Warlord Games. Jon commanded the army laying siege to the Palazzo while I commanded the heavily outnumbered defenders, and later the relief column of course. The throw of a Dx6 at the start of Turn 1 determined how many Turns before news of the relief forces arrival would reach both sides, 3 in our case. At the conclusion of Turn 3 a throw of a Dx3 determined how many Turns it took them to reach the vicinity, 1 in our game. At the start of Turn 5 a further throw of a Dx6 determined the entry point of the mounted and foot elements, in my case 1 & 6 meaning the horse entered on the extreme right of my base line, the foot on the extreme left! As ever the captioned pictures illustrate the ebb and flow of the game over its course ~
It seems that there are a large number of mercenaries in the pay
of the enemy! Lets hope they have not been paid lately.. 

The enemy's Gendarmes and Elmetti move out of camp towards
their goal.

On the enemy's right a party of foragers move forward.

The attack on the Palazzo gets underway despite the galling
fire from the defenders.

The enemy's heavy gun has the Palazzo's gates in its sights. A
Dx6 roll indicated it would take six hits to destroy the gates
and wall.

Meanwhile, back in the camp the evening meal is underway,
cooked by one Baldriccio...

Those Gendarmes don't seem all that keen to join the fight!
Meanwhile, the first of the relief force has appeared as the
defenders bravely hold on against the odds

Someone has blundered it seems! The Gendarmes make two
moves away from the enemy. A bit of relief for the Borgia
force as its own Gendarmes are hardly showing much
desire to enter the fray!

The fight for the Pallazzo is getting serious. The enemy have
breached the walls and bitter fighting rages inside.

An assault on the gates is made and though Shaken the enemy
are not repulsed. At this stage it looked as though Jon might
take the Palazzo and win the game.

More of the enemy storm the

Although suffering many
losses the enemy are finally
driven from their foothold!

At last the relief force begins to make its presence felt.

Rather worryingly though the enemy's Gendarmes finally turn
up en mass! The fight looks as if it might swing back in Jon's
favour at this point.

On the Borgia's left the foot elements of the relief force finally
make their presence felt, surprising the foraging party.

Arriving on a 'Follow Me!' order, relief force's Gendarmes and
Light Horse pin the remaining mercenaries as the others are
forced out of the Palazzo.

Before the Palazzo the fight is reaching its climax with the
enemy failing to break the relief force's foot elements. {Jon's
dice were just not up for it!}

Turn 9 sees the one Mercenary pike block  destroyed by a
charge in its rear from the Light Horse, while the other two are
about to be charged in the flanks.

Its all up for the enemy's cause! What a titanic tussle this had
been, swinging first to favour one side, then the other.
Ever the gentleman, Jon conceded the game at the conclusion of Turn 10, leaving the field to the battered but unbowed defenders of the Palazzo and the relieving force. No doubt there would be much rejoicing in the Borgia camp that night! For those interested in such things the figures, buildings and terrain scatter are all from my collection. The figures are mostly TAG, supplemented by Foundry, Perry Miniatures, Citadel, Games Workshop, Minifigs and Warlord Games. The MDF based buildings are from Warbases, Charlie Foxtrot and Foreground while the oven and small mill are from Irongate Scenics. Next game due in GHQ will be a Saxons v Normans game using Phil's 'To The Strongest' rules, chits and grided game mat.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

F&IW Native American character

Just a short post as I've finished painting and basing the free figure from Warlord Games which came with the Black Powder supplement Dark and Bloody Ground. I really liked the whole look of the figure and enjoyed painting it. Here are two pictures of the finished piece ~

I'm quite pleased by how he turned out in the end. For the flesh I used the same method as on all my F&IW native American figures, first shown to me by Joe Moore when I stayed with him to attend Cold Wars one time. It's just repeated washes of Games Workshop Flesh Wash over the standard white acrylic spray undercoat I buy from a local Home & Motor store. It's quick and works for me, so that does!
I thought a granite finish for the rocks would be too harsh against the Colour Party Dried Earth Basetex I use for these bases, so I chose Foundry Rawhide shade as a base, highlighted with the same company's British Uniform Light. No real plans for a game in the near future, but he's ready when summoned now at least.
On the painting desk three Footsore VBCW standard bearers are nearly finished and four other figures for the same are started, including a rather jolly Bishop {of unknown manufacture} included in Tim Hall's last box of freebies.

Hilton Main Miners’ Collective Silver Band 1938

After seemingly endless hours of painting figures for my War of 1812-15 expansion project I decided that I should take a break from the genre at the beginning of a new year. So far I’ve added a very large mortar to my ACW collection, a gift from Tim Hall, and a 1st Corps vet and shepherd to my VBCW bits and pieces ~

 Now the latest additions into GHQ are a band for my VBCW Hilton Main Miners’ Collective. The figures are from Tsuba Miniatures, via Empress, and were sold as a Russian band. I thought the communist leaning miners of my 1938 imagination could easily adopt a Russian cut to their dress, with the red collars and shoulder boards a nod to their political inclinations. Sadly the group lacks a big drum and a conductor, but I can live with that for what is really a bit of table dressing. Here’s a period picture of a Silver Band ~
Followed by their 28mm counterparts, the Hilton Main Miners Collective Silver Band ~

Not likely to win any prizes, but good for morale perhaps, so I’ll look at tinkering with Bolt Action in our games later in the year. Finally, a splendid Christmas gift from Phil for my ACW games, the Glory Hallelujah freebie from the Perrys which he painted up of course ~

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Cut up up the cut! 1940 Operation Zeelowe ~

For the final game of 2019 here in GHQ I chose a 1940 Operation Zeelowe game, using the basic table layout from the ECW game earlier in the month with added elements to bring it visually into the period. This involved adding the garage, canal and railway line along with hedges, walls, fences and period scatter like the greenhouse, platelayers' hut and pig houses. Added civilians further aid the period 'look' of the table ~

The action sees the British counter attacking the invader across a canal and a railway line. Phil took charge of the British and I was in charge of the Germans, caught out by the surprise counter attack. We used Bolt Action2 for the rules, but set the game limit as 12 turns to accommodate the larger playing area. As is my wont, the battle unfolds through the captioned pictures which follow ~
I sent one of the 38Ts supported by a squad of infantry to delay
Phil at the bridge crossing.

The other 38T I sent out wide to my left, again supported bya
squad of infantry to give flanking fire on the bridge crossing.
Myinfantry gun is in the wrong place! But my 80mm mortar
did splendid service. The spotter is in the abandoned pill box!

Phil's LDV Reccon squad made it over the bridge and into the
wood before my squad was in place. They were a nuisance all

The sniper's spotter acquires his first target.

Von Bikel bites the dust! Bit of a downer that!

Vickers Mk VIc engages and destroys my 38T! What can I say?
The dice certainly didn't run for me there!

With the 38T down the infantry squad withdrew into the cover
of the garage!

At last my anti-tank gun gets into action ad destroys the Vickers
Mk VIc. Sadly the remaining Vickers knocked out my other 38T
on the flank along with my supporting infantry.
Well, Turn 7 and I'm beaten really, so we adjourned for coffee and then a late lunch. Being the 'vile Hun' as usual seems to have affected my post game frame of mind, so I arranged a small scene to finish on...
Finally, a couple of shots of the extras for these games ~
Sheep may safely graze? Or cattle chewing the cud?  A very
pastoral idyll...

Richard Dimblebury reportingfor the BBC?

Next game planned here in GHQ will be on January 8th with Jon. No idea at this stage what we will play, I will have to see where the muse leads me now the year has turned...