David Bickley's Wargames Blog

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



Wednesday 10 July 2024

Decisive Engagement at Malingarah

As mobility is something of an issue for me presently Phil kindly agreed to visit GHQ for our weekly game. I managed to put together a small Tales from Pendawar action with Lord Rawnsley making a surprise attack on the gathering forces of Typoo Bicca, the Tiger of Pendawar. As is my custom now,  an annotated photomontage which I hope will carry the reader into the heart of the action ~

Typoo's forces, a motley bunch at the best of times, are gathering around the village of Malingarah awaiting the promised hordes from the mountain tribes of Rhanzlistan.
Lord Rawnsley has deployed all his cavalry on his left, his brigade of regulars in the centre and the brigade's from the H.E.I.C. on his right. His main challenge is not to be caught piecemeal due to the terrain disrupting coordinated movements.
Typoo has mustered his brigade of regulars on the left of Malingarah, supported by his large guns and his rocket men. From here he hopes to deter any probing attack from the H.E.I.C. regiments opposite while also supporting the Raja's Household troops holding the village in his centre.
Typoo has garrisoned Malingarah with the troops of the Raja of Rhanzlistan's Household. Fiercely loyal to their lord, they can be relied on to fight to the last.
On his left Typoo relies on his numerous gun batteries supported by the Voluntares de Bhykli, numerous bands of Badmash, and the elephants from the Raja's Household.
Amongst those batteries he prizes the now legendary Great Gun of Bhyklabad.
As Rawnsley's cavalry manoeuvre into position to shield his centre Typoo's forces pour forward supported by salvos from his artillery. The elephants may hopefully disrupt the nervous horses!
Rawnsley's regulars probe Typoo's centre. Typoo counters by despatching the Household cavalry against the slowly advancing enemy. From here he hopes to disrupt both right and centre of Rawnsley's force.
The Pendawar Horse Artillery drive off the first of Typoo's rabble, sacrificed to shield the elephants and the Voluntares de Bhykli.
The elephants' ponderous advance now threatens Rawnsley's left wing. The Voluntares are poised to exploit their anticipated success.
Rawnsley counters Typoo's bold move by sending the native cavalry against them, forcing them in to square and leaving the elephants dangerously unsupported.
The ponderous advance of the units of the H.E.I.C. on Rawnsley's right is supported by the first of his heavy gun batteries to counter the threat of the Household cavalry.
As Typoo moves his entire left wing forward he suffers a serious loss when a rocket explodes prematurely and destroys the battery! Fortunately only the Tiger's Claw regiment are Disordered in the aftermath.
The elephants' attack forces the 71st into square while the native cavalry are repulsed by the Voluntares' fire from their square.
In the centre Typoo throws the Raja's Guard against the Disordered infantry in Rawnsley's centre. If they break he will have split the attacker's in two for the cavalry to exploit.
Typoo's plan is to swing round on Rawnsley's centre, exploiting the hoped for success in the centre, having destroyed his left. It all hinges now on the elephants' success and the disruption of the cavalry.
The Pendawar Horse Artillery are Disordered by counter battery fire rendering their support of the endangered left less effective than Rawnsley hoped at a crucial moment.
Lacking support the elephants' ponderous assault is first halted, then thrown back. Rawnsley's left is holding up despite the pressure!
In his centre the 72nd, despite being Shaken by enemy fire, gallantly charge down hill against the faltering Raja's Guard. Their attack is now supported by the European battalion of the Pendawar Fusiliers.
The Raja's Guard, both Disordered and Shaken by the assault, are driven back by the 72nd, the Hindoostan Regiment.
Unsupported and under fire from the Pendawar Horse Artillery the Raja's elephants' morale is shattered and they route for the rear!
As do the defeated Raja's Guard in Typoo's centre. Suddenly it is all unravelling for Typoo S he anxiously awaits news of the hordes from his allies Hill Tribes!
His right mostly destroyed and his centre thrown back Typoo is facing defeat as Rawnsley's men pour forward with renewed determination. 
With only his left strongly holding their position and his right and centre now Broken Typoo's army is defeated. If only those unreliable Bhurpa tribesmen had answered his summons! 
All done then in Turn 7 of 12. An intriguing action which in the best Black Powder tradition was unpredictable until it's sudden climax. Next up here in GHQ an Indian Mutiny game with Malingarah transforming into Bhyklabad...


Monday 8 July 2024

"The Nights are Drawing in!"

As my old Grandmother was wont to announce once the longest day had passed. Well, perhaps that is overly dramatic but we are over the hump of the year, summer still seems to have gone AWOL and my Crimean War project has reached a natural break in it's growth, and so I thought I would take this opportunity to look back on the first half of 2024 and tentatively forward to it's second half! I know I'm a tad behind here, blame it on 'Added Time' if you like! There's a bit of a natural break around now anyway which disrupts gaming and such, accentuated this year by a bad fall I had resulting in a broken big toe, severe bruising and restricted mobility for a while! Anyway, to business...

It would surely come as no surprise to any reader that the focus of painting over the first six months of the year was 28mm Crimean War figures for my new-old project. When I checked up on 30th June I had painted 372 figures, so if my arithmetic is correct that total slightly exceeds my modest two figures-a-day target. Hurrah!

While games have been as rare as hen's teeth of late due to holidays, illness, pratt falls and such I have managed to play in 25 games with Phil and Paul so far this year, both here and at Phil's {News from the Front in the side bar ~ If you don't know it you are missing a real treat!} Of these 25 games I won 10, drew 3, and lost 12. Not my best performance I'd say, but every game has been great fun and better company!

So far this year I've managed just three visits to Wargames Shows: WMMS and Hammerhead in March and Partizan in May. Both excellent events, well worth visiting if you don't know either, with great games to drool over, lots of traders to spend your warchest with and the welcome opportunity to natter with more distant friends in person rather than by text.

Turning lastly in this retrospective to purchase, the obvious comment might be too many. But then I'm a wargamer and as you well know we don't entertain 'too many' as a notion worth a fig! No prizes for guessing that most expenditure exhausted on keeping the Lead Pimple stocked up went on Crimean War figures, overwhelmingly from Great War Miniatures via North Star. When I look at it all on the tabletop battlefield here in GHQ it's quite worrying, just for a moment of course and then I order more!

Anyway, that's January through to June neatly trotted through, on to the second half of the year and my 'vague aspirations' for my hobby. Firstly, no more Crimean War project painting for now at least, even though the 42nd Highlanders, the French and more Cossacks are waiting in the wings for their turn later in the year as winter arrives. Looking outside as I type it might already be here! The Lead Pimple contains the kilted Highland regiment for the Crimean, Austrian Uhlans for the FRW, Breton and Norman Light Cavalry, three regiments of Confederate infantry, some Late Roman Clibanarii, as well as sundry odd figures and more besides. Variety will be the rallying call for the coming months I hope! First up have been four Casting Rooms Miniatures British Horse Grenadiers on foot. These were the final part of Jon's generous gift last year. They were long overdue their moment in the sun!

As I've already mentioned I have sent off an order to Aventine Miniatures for the bones of a Pyrrhic army. I'd hope that they would arrive in a week or so and can be advanced in the painting queue to give me some welcome relief from Foundry's 'British Red Coat'. I would anticipate hopefully having at least a decent tranche of them completed by the time my Vikings are due to arrive in September. I will need to order some Tarentines of course later in the summer: a Phalanx, some cavalry probably and perhaps more, we shall see. 

Back in the day, when the world was young - not to mention myself and Phil - we would perhaps have attended upwards of 20 wargames shows in a good year. Looking at the second half of 2024 I can only realistically see me hoping to attend Colours and The Other Partizan. I would have liked to pop up to Jockshire for Claymore but Sue is not so keen as the costs of accommodation have skyrocketed, partly post lockdown profiteering of course, but also the Festival effect on prices. So if that comes to pass it will mean just four wargames shows; a bit of a come down from pre-Covid times! Of course age and general health are a factor also, but all in all it's a tad depressing seen baldly like that. But, KBO being the watchword here in GHQ I am braced for whatever opportunities the second half of the year may bring my way! Starting with today's game with Phil, a welcome return visit to Pendawar.



Saturday 6 July 2024

Guard Duty

I mentioned in the previous blog post that I'd been rummaging about in the Lead Pimple. Alongside the two Roosian casualties you saw towards the end of said post I found four Great War Miniatures British infantry figures, one sergeant and three privates. Initially I couldn't see any relevant use I might put them to so they were laid aside pending inspiration. A couple of days later I was sitting at my desk painting when it suddenly dawned on me how I might use them. I saw them in a small vignette representing the guard being inspected by the duty sergeant! Another frippery added to the ever expanding number! So, without more ado here they are ~
As you already know I have decided to lay the French and the remaining Cossacks aside for now, I really do need a change. In the early autumn I should receive my Footsore Miniatures Vikings, sculpted by Matt, from their Kickstarter. { I've actually got a few resin master casts as a gift from Matt which I hope to work on.} However, they are two or three months away for now so I have the opportunity to paint other bits and bobs as I choose, so, some Casting Rooms Miniatures SYW British Horse Grenadiers on foot who have been lurking for years in the Lead Pimple are next up!
As if I don't have enough in the Lead Pimple to be going on with I have sent off an order to Aventine Miniatures for the bones of a Pyrrhic army ~ three Phalanxes, Companion Cavalry, Greek Light Cavalry, a mounted Successor general, Pyrrhic General & Staff on foot, and skirmishing Light Infantry. With what can be added to them from my Punic Wars armies I should need only some Tarentines. But then you are all wargamers so you already know how these things go...

Thursday 4 July 2024

Cossack Scouts and others

As I had previously mentioned on the blog amongst my purchase of pre-release figures from Eureka Miniatures in Australia for my Crimean War project were six Cossack Scouts on foot, one of each of the poses I believe. I thought that they would make useful bases of skirmishing infantry for my Roosians so I have based them up on 50mm round bases, two figures to a base. 
I have no print sources for their dress but research on t'internet had supplied me with several illustrations of Cossacks of the period. In the end the very small areas of their uniform coats and trousers on view I chose to paint dark blue {Foundry Prussian Blue shade and mid tone} while the greatcoats I painted in a beige-brown shade {Foundry British Uniform mid tone and light}. Two of these are modelled with rather nice hooded coats which vary the look nicely. Belts and such were painted Leather, bags and such either Drab or Rawhide {Foundry shade and mid tone in all cases}. When it came to grass 'n tufting their bases I went for a wilder look, well they are scouting after all. Enough waffling on, here they are, make up your own mind ~
While I was rummaging through the Lead Pimple I found two Great War Miniatures Roosian casualties, so ever the cheapskate I've painted them up as another frippery, or an objective marker even ~
There do remain in the Lead Pimple some Foundry Cossacks, but they need a spray undercoat and I haven't got around to it, yet... You could probably blame the 'great British summer' for that! Hopefully they will appear alongside the French over the winter. Mind, they need to be spray undercoated too...

Monday 1 July 2024

The Look of the Game

One of the advantages of having a permanent wargames room and table is the simple fact that you are not usually as rushed in setting up or taking down games as you would be on most typical club games night. A simple knock on effect of that is the ability to model and paint game ephemera, put simply that results in the creation of interesting fripperies which just add to the look and feel of the tabletop battlefield. The 'look of the game' matters to those of us who game under the loose GHQ Irregulars banner, creating points of interest be they figures, equipment, vehicles or buildings. I've already shown a few of these from my Crimean War project on earlier blog posts, so the fact that I've added some more should not come as a surprise to any regular reader.

By now you might well be wondering where the figures were sourced. Well, if you follow the Lead Adventures Forum in the Age of the Big Battalions subsection you may have seen that last year Eureka Miniatures in Australia acquired the rights to a new range of Crimean War era figures from a Russian designer. With the Eastern European unpleasantness intruding the range has sadly been in an hiatus since. Having seen via the internet that Nic had cast some Uhlans for a fellow gamer I thought I'd take a chance and enquire if I might acquire some figures also. Very kindly Nic sent me a provisional pack list, quite an extensive one if I'm honest. I decided to choose a few dismounted Cossack Scouts, Casualties, and a Dressing Station set. Mixing the latter two sets has produced three bases of figures to populate a Roosian Field Dressing Station ~

The figures include two orthodox nuns in a nursing role, medical orderlies and a number of casualties in different stages of treatment or recovery. {On a related point, there was also a Hospital pack but no indication of what it might include, but I was sorely tempted...} The figures turned out to be straightforward to paint, though somewhat more delicate in sculpting style than the robust Great War Miniatures, Warlord Games and Foundry figures in my collection. The Cossack Scouts though look much more solid and have given me less trouble now they have come under the brush. They will feature in a forthcoming blog post in due course 

Saturday 22 June 2024

The 88th Foot

Before we set off for our break in the South West I had completed the first base of figures for the 88th regiment, later the Connaught Rangers. The remaining two bases of figures have been completed since we came home. The finished regiment completes a Brigade for my Light Division. As usual these are Great War Miniatures, from the 'charging' line infantry packs with others added from the 'casualty' and 'command' packs. The base is from Warbases and the Colours are from North Star

With the completion of this regiment all but one of the British elements are finally finished! That is because I have recently purchased a third kilted Highland regiment, designated to be the 42nd, the famous Black Watch. They will have to wait though for their moment under the brush, as I have to steel myself to paint yet more hose, kilts and bonnets!

As I've decided to leave the French until later in the year next up on the painting desk are some Cossack Scouts and a  pair of Roosian  casualty/first aid vignettes. These are all from the as yet unreleased range from Eureka Miniatures in Australia. More on them next week I'd think as Phil is away, meaning I've no game to host in GHQ.

Thursday 20 June 2024

A Small Tribute

I enjoy tatting with peripheral pieces for my wargames projects, I find it disrupts the tedium inherent in painting both armies for a project. You may recall that around the turn of the year I showed two such friparies for the Crimean War project utilising spare figures and a TAG Orthodox priest in one instance and two Warlord Games Russian 12lb guns and crew with the second priest. Thanks to Phil while I was down in Cornwall I was able to take advantage of the post free offer from Warbases to acquire a van and draught horse. 

As I expect you will recall I had assembled a photographer and subjects from the odd figures in the Prodigal Foundry Collection, so it had been on my mind to sometime add a Photographic Van to the collection in tribute to Roger Fenton's pioneering work in the Crimea ~

This image of Fenton's photographic van gave me the idea originally. As you will all know I'm not overly gifted in the modelling department, so a scratch built copy was out of the question. Instead I painted up the Warbases generic van kit and added a graphic I had knocked up on Word. It seemed appropriate to me by this vignette to also pay homage to a contemporary well known photographer of wargames miniatures.  So here is the photographic van of one D. Faulconbridge Esq, intrepid traveller and expert photographer of wargames figures far and wide ~
I'm off down to Herefordshire this weekend to visit with Matt and his family. No doubt we shall chew the fat on all things family and hobby, so I'm hoping that I will come home fully refreshed and eager to press on with my Eureka Miniatures Cossack Scouts and First Aid vignettes!