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, 19 July 2019


As the more interested amongst my loyal followers will recall, I've been busy over the past few months painting up additional units for games well established here in GHQ: namely, the SYW, the AWI and latterly the War of 1812-15. Most recently I've been working on an additional base of figures for each of my Hessian Regiments in the AWI collection. They are comprised of the venerable Front Rank figures I acquired when Salute was still held in Kensington Town Hall! Looking closely at the 'style' I painted the originals in, perhaps over 25 years ago, I decided I couldn't replicate their look. Not only do I have a completely different look to my figures now, but I use different paints to achieve this. I decided to go ahead and paint them as I do now, trusting that the figures and bases being homogeneous would fool the eye at on table and in game distance! To further fool the eye I chose to make the additional base Grenadiers, giving the option of a combined Regiment in some games ~ remember in our games 3-4 bases are a Standard sized unit ~

Anyway, here they are for your perusal, though not aligned with their older fellows who are safely stored away in the depths of GHQ at present ~

I have an additional unit of Grenadiers still to paint for this project, but their moment at the head of the queue has not yet come. Two War of 1812-15 ADCs are next in line...

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Meanwhile, on the Home Front...

There is no scheduled wargame here in GHQ until August now, due to a combination of factors common to the school holiday period. Sue and I have Arthur and Reuben to stay for a week, Phil and Di are off on a week's holiday, and so on. I doubt that the remainder of July will be very productive on the painting front, as I'm finding it very slow going on the Hessian AWI additional bases as I’m trying to match a look on the figures from over twenty years ago while using my current techniques and paints. It's been slow progress I have to say. I have eight more figures to go!
While Sue was working at the University for a week I had planned a day out to Foundry and the wider Lead Belt. Silly me! Health interfered, so I resorted to mail order. Placed my orders with Foundry, Perry Miniatures and Flags of War: two days later packages from the first two arrived in the post, even before the emails telling me they had been shipped! I call that decent service, from them and from Royal Mail. Meanwhile, from Flags of War not even an acknowledgement of my order. Are they on holiday? Perhaps, but I've often noticed the considerable difference in mail order turn around between different companies in our hobby. A mild irritant in the great scheme of things I know; but if some can, why can't all?
Speaking of mild irritants in our hobby, I wonder what galls other gamers? For me, after flash and vent runs, notably on Perry Miniatures, it's the missing buttons on uniforms! Now, as Matt is a sculptor, I know that they are not missed off in that stage by the sculptors, so it is either in the mould making or in the casting process that the fault occurs. Of course, like the issues of vent runs and flash, it's also an issue of quality control. Now, I have never noticed these faults on Griffin cast figures;so if they can do it, why can't all the rest? I shan't hold my breath waiting for an answer...

Friday, 12 July 2019

More War of 1812 additions...

... in the shape of an extra US Artillery gun and crew. The crew figures are from Foundry, the gun from Front Rank courtesy of Phil. It looks like this piece is much bigger than it’s Foundry fellows which make up the rest of the American Artillery Park. Although it’s listed as an 8lb gun, against the others it will look more like a 12lber!

I hope to be able to expand the War of 1812 forces again later in the year, but for now I’ve ordered some better flags for the British and Canadian units from Flags of War; some Colonels and ADCs from Perry Miniatures; and lastly, some American generals from Foundry. While I wait for those to arrive I have two Redoubt Enterprises kneeling British infantry to finish for the F&IW. Then I’ve some Front Rank Hessians to expand the unit sizes in my AWI collection. All being well I shall complete those, and more, during the gaming pause. We shall see, as they say.

Monday, 8 July 2019

New Unit Syndrome

At Phil's request when we gathered in GHQ for our regular Monday game we set to replaying the War of 1812 scenario which Jon and I had played last week. Over twelve turns the game ebbed and flowed, with the fortunes of war favouring first the Anglo-Canadians, under Lord Rawnsley's command, and then the Americans, lead by old 'Mere Marching' Bykleigh. By the end of the twelve designated turns neither army was the clear victor, but with the Americans having burned two farms and still on Canadian territory. We agreed a draw, but a winning one for the Americans.
One notable feature, at least for me, was the dreadful performance of my most recently painted units, the 16th and the 33rd US Infantry: the former routing, the latter failing to march to the sound of the guns! To cap it all, the new Brigade Command element, allocated to lead the Militia Brigade failed to move his command on the left flank for five turns! That probably cost me the game with hindsight.

It just may be the hobby equivalent of an urban myth, but I can't help but feel that perhaps those ‘Dice gods’ like to teach the newly painted units their place!

"Follow me!"

I have been making slow but steady progress on my small expansion to the American forces of the War of 1812, this time in the shape of the 16th Infantry Regiment. It seems from sources that early in the war they may have worn dark grey uniform coats rather than blue. These may have been faced black, but I chose red facings for mine following an Osprey illustration Google threw up. As with the bulk of the collection they are the old Foundry figures sculpted by Aly Morrison. The flags I downloaded from the internet a while ago. As ever, a photo of the Regiment drawn up in line ~

A couple of closer shots for those of a strong constitution ~

Thanks to Phil I now have a gun for the artillery crew I bought, so they are currently on the painting desk! I’ve also got a few of the newer range by Knuckleduster, the Kentucky Mounted Rifles, which should feature later in the summer.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Barrage 2019

I'm a firm believer in the old saw, if you don't use it you may loose it, when you apply it to small local shows. In that spirit I usually attend the twice yearly Penkridge TT Sale, Wargamer in its different guises, and Barrage in Stafford. They are all reasonably near to home, not overly expensive to get in, and I've usually managed to come away with useful additions to the Lead Pimple. So today I set off for Barrage held in Blessed Bill's in Stafford, in hope rather than expectation I will say.
It's a well established local show, well known for its bias towards Fantasy and Sci-Fi traders and gamers, though always with a decent showing from the historical branch of our hobby. I decided I'd get there for 10.00am, just as well for the car park was very nearly full by then and the queue to enter was around the building and back into the car park!
There are three halls making up the show, plus a foyer area, each with traders and games, many in organised competitions with a scattering of displays. Now, my antipathy towards gnomes and space pixies is well know to you all, so I'll pass that all by if you'll humour me. I have taken a few pictures of a few of the more historical offerings ~
 A 15mm Cold War Gone Hot game utilizing Team Yankee components gave me some ideas for 2020's project here in GHQ.
 Right next to it was a Saga game awaiting it's it's  participants. Not my sort of game, but I acknowledge it's it's popularity.
 A Desert War game caught my eye in passing, but I neglected to go back and note the details. Doh!
A couple of rows of Bolt Action tournament games were on offer. The usual sort of thing but clearly enjoyed by the participants.
My personal favourite though was the AWI game, not in my preferred 28mm scale sadly, but still a splendid sight!
In the end I stayed about two hours and met up with Jon and Phil, who both outspent me on the day! What did I buy? Another 9 brushes from ABC Brushes! Last of the big spenders me! But 9 Pro-Arte sable brushes for £10 I call a bargain! I kept my wallet tightly closed in the end, saving my cash for The Other Partizan next month. Amongst the traders I might have spent with were Sarissa Precision, Eagle Miniatures, Warlord Games, Foreground, and Sergeants Mess. I shall do my best to support them again next year, though hoping to see more of the historical arm of the hobby on show.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

At the Year’s Midpoint!

I have read one or two blog posts by fellow bloggers outlining how their first half of the year has panned out. It’s always interesting to read other folks’ take on our wonderful hobby I find, though it’s often salutary when you realise how much more they have squeezed into their half year than I have! But, never daunted, so here for any passing reader is my take on my half time situation.
Our hobby is rightly known as wargaming, not warpainting, so it’s only right to focus first on the games played, here in GHQ and over at Phil’s, otherwise ‘Olaf’s HQ’. Phil, Jon and I have played 26 games in the first half year, all but five or six though have been against Phil. Of those I have somehow won 13, drawn 6 and lost 6, with one game petering out into no result. By my modest performances in past years that is outstanding form! No doubt that will be rectified in the second half of the year though!

Probably, no, almost certainly on reflection, I spend far more time painting stuff than I do playing games with it, but then don’t we all. So far then I’ve manages to complete the painting, basing and varnishing of 389 figures, all of them in 28mm. If you look back through my blog for this year you will find out what genres I was working in, but from memory it would mostly have been Italian Renaissance Wars, the SYW and the AWI. The Italian Wars project lead to two articles in Wargames Illustrated, the second of which I believe is due in the next issue.

Although our hobby might sometimes seem a solitary venture, in reality for most of us it is a social pastime as much as anything else. Gaming aside that encompasses visits of all sorts: to walk battlefields; to visit manufacturers or hobby shops; and to attend Wargames Shows, or Conventions as our colonial cousins grandly style them. So far this year I’ve been to six Wargames Shows: ROBIN; Hammerhead; WMMS; Partizan; Phoenix; and the small local Tabletop Sale at Penkridge. Missing from the list is obviously Salute, a vastly overrated, overpriced and overcrowded event, not to even mention the ghastly lighting and the hard floor. I would take a lot of persuading to visit that again! I’ve also been over to Foundry twice, though the second visit was very disappointing stock and paint wise. I combined my visit to Hammerhead with an overnight stay in Newark and visited Caliver Books and Battlefront on the day before the show.

I’m more than pleased with how my hobby time has enriched my life in this half year. I don’t know what dark place I might have found myself in at times without my friends in the hobby or the refuge that it’s contributing activities provide. I’m hoping for more of the same in the months and years to come, not just for me and my friends, but for all of you who visit this corner of the blogosphere from time to time.