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.

Sunday, 24 September 2023

'Haztrubel Bicca' takes the field

This past week saw two games here in GHQ utilizing my collections for the Second Punic War. Those readers with long memories may recall that these collections we born out of Lockdown during the first phase of the COVID plague. I chose the game because on the Tuesday morning of Phil's visit I was having my fifth vaccination against the bl**dy virus and I knew that for Paul's Thursday visit he had expressed a wish to see the collection in action.

In the Tuesday iteration of the battle Haztrubel Bicca was greatly aided by some classical poor dice throwing by Phil! Game over in four turns, brisk even for Hail Caesar MkII. A few annotated pictures in the usual photomontage which I hope give a feel for the unfolding drama ~

Haztrubel Bicca army of Carthage advances en masse on the Republican Romans of Coronus Cunctator.
Coronus orders an advance to meet the Carthaginian army but with ominous lack of uniform dice success. 
First clash in the centre in Turn 2 sees the light troops engage with each other and so halt the elephants in their tracks 
Italian allied Velites fall back having been beaten by the Spanish Scutari.
The victorious Scutari, supported by the first line of Haztrubal's Libyan spearmen, drive into the Allied Italian Legion.
The Hastatii are driven back by the momentum of the Carthaginian attack, which in turn smashes into the Allied Principes.
Celt-Iberian cavalry clashes with their Roman counterparts on the Carthaginian right flank.
The Romans break leaving the Celt-Iberians free to smash into the following unit.
On the left of the Carthaginian line the Light troops are having little success in holding off their Roman counterparts though the elephants have engaged the Wolf's Cubs! 
On the right, Roman and Allied cavalry have been soundly beaten and the Allied legion suffers further losses to the Scutari and supporting Libyan veterans.
The right and centre are beaten back, the cavalry fleeing for their lives...
...and the Allied Legion, already disordered, is defeated. It's all over for poor old Coronus as he falls on his sword at the end of Turn 4! Or should that be his dice?

On to Thursday's rerun of the battle next: also over in 4 Turns, but a very different game nevertheless and a markedly different outcome! As before an annotated photomontage to hopefully convey the sense of the action ~

The Carthaginian advance is patchy in Turn 1.
As is the Roman response.
On the Carthaginian right the first clashes see the Spanish cavalry beaten badly by their Numidian opponents.
A Blunder, or two! First on the left, where the light infantry surge forward for three turns, then in the centre where an entire Division retired! The Carthaginian line is coming undone in Turn 2.
Again the elephants fail to make any headway as the Light infantry clash holds them up.
Spanish cavalry are routed by the Numidians...
...as are Celt-Iberians by their Roman opponents. The Carthaginian right is creaking under these losses 
In the centre the elephants' light infantry supports are routed finally as the Wolf's Cubs Hastatii come to the support of their Velites.
On the Carthaginian right the two cavalry divisions are routed leaving the army in mortal danger!
The Allied Legion has driven back Haztrubal's veterans who, with enemy cavalry behind their flank, begin to give ground.
Finally the Wolf's Cubs beat the elephants and it's all up for Haztrubal's cause! The end of Turn 4 sees his army broken and in disarray as he flees the field. Clearly the 'Dice Gods' were swayed by sacrifice ~
Two very different games, two very different outcomes. What they had in common though was two games played in the spirit of companionship and the joy of our wonderful hobby. A bit of a break now in GHQ though, as we are off 'Oop North' again for a week's R&R, so fingers crossed for the weather or we will be dodging the rain drops in the Southern Lakes.

Thursday, 21 September 2023

Crimean War British Command Stand

While I was plodding through the Roosian Rifle Battalion skirmisher figures I was also daubing paint on four pieces for the British Army Command Stand. The stand features the mounted figures of Lord Raglan and General Cathcart with a General on foot {about to sign off the order which will 'loose the Light Brigade'}, and an ADC from the 'Cherubims'. The figures are from Great War Miniatures via North Star and the bases are from Warbases as ever ~
Such hobby time as I have found lately has been largely devoted to the rebasing of the Roosian infantry from the Prodigal Foundry Collection. I hope to show some photos of these in the coming days, so stay tuned please!

Tuesday, 19 September 2023

A Roosian Rifle Battalion

I'd initially bought these firing line figures to represent the fourth, Jaeger Battalion in my Roosian infantry regiment when I'd planned on 20 figures to a battalion. As we all know, plans seldom survive contact with the enemy, or in this case trial basing, and strengths planned rose to 28-30 figure battalions for the Roosians! Instead, following a chat with Dave O'Brien at Claymore last month, these 20 figures were designated as the regiment's attached Rifle battalion, deployed in skirmishing formation ~

Figures from the two Infantry firing line packs with a Sergeant from the Command in caps pack 
From the same two packs but with the officer from the command pack. A British casualty figure added for effect.

All the figures are from Great War Miniatures via North Star of course and the bases are from Warbases as ever. Great service from both companies by the way, even a free figure with my most recent North Star order - more on him later on. Overall the project is progressing at a decent rate I'd say, though I doubt it will be all over for Christmas as initial plans had surmised. The reason, you are rightly entitled to ask? Well, a combination of the reappearance of the Prodigal Foundry Collection combined with my typical decision to add a second Great War Miniatures Roosian infantry regiment of four battalions to the pot! Well, I am a wargamer after all...

Sunday, 17 September 2023

"There are your guns!"

Amongst what feels like the seemingly endless Roosian Rifle battalion figures I've been painting for the last eon or three I've also been working on this figure from the Great War Miniatures set, 'Charge of the Light Brigade Characters' ~

Of course this ADC is Captain Nolan of the 15th Light Dragoons/Hussars galloping away with the infamous order which would launch the 'Gallant Six Hundred' of the Light Brigade into immortality. 

Finally, as I mentioned the Roosian Rifle battalion figures I ought to say that I've completed them and they will be along in due course for your approval. I've also started on Lord Raglan and staff figures to populate the British army command stand. More on them as and when they are finished. 

We are taking a bit of an early autumn break  then with a few days away 'Oop North' again near Carnforth. Hopefully that will see the creative batteries recharged ready for the next phase of the project ~

Starting with the Grenadier Guards who have reached the head of the queue on the painting desk. There's also a small matter of rebasing more of the Prodigal Foundry Collection, in this instance four more Roosian infantry battalions together with a couple of command stands ~

Rebasing, isn't it fun? Well it will be...when it's finished.

Saturday, 16 September 2023

Holding up the sky!

Again! Don't be alarmed though loyal readers, I've not developed Atlas delusions! I've merely been supporting a backboard which is sometimes used by Dan to blot out the unwanted background when taking pictures here in GHQ. He visited GHQ on Thursday to take photographs to accompany the latest piece I've had accepted for publication in an upcoming edition of Wargames Illustrated, where the theme will be Pulp Wargaming. I can't say too much about the piece or the issue involved, but here are a few pictures of aspects of the layout, taken just before 'the balloon went up' ~

Summer 1940, somewhere in sleepy Shropshire... Blandings Castle, ancestral home of Clarence, Earl Emsworth, his family and his prize porker, the 'Empress of Blandings'.
Scenes of rural idyll abound. Sheep may safely graze, or not. Boy Scouts must always be prepared, but for what we wonder?
About as busy as it gets in sleepy Market Blandings...until now that is.
Meanwhile, who can this distinguished guest be arriving with military escort at Blandings Castle?
It's almost 'Opening Time' at the Red Lion inn, but will it be 'Last Orders' for these gentlemen and other residents?
The greatest feat of flying for the Luftwaffe's ace pilot Otto von Bikkel sees the glider land exactly on target! {Matt made this glider model from scratch using card and air drying clay, along with another for the British paras, when he was 13. I've kept and treasured them for thirty years now so I hope you'll appreciate it too.}
Professor Braynstawme, the greatest scientific mind of the age, prepares to fire his D-Ray in an unexpected live test! Some visiting 'foreign Johnny' called Einstein looks on in awe!
What could these strange objects be? Giant mobile pepper pots perhaps? Or some dastardly Hun secret weapon? 
"Is it bird? Is it a plane?" they ask. "No, it's B.E.R.T. at Blandings!" Another of Professor Braynstawme's projects arriving in the nick of time to save the day...or not? 
All taking place under the scrutiny of that great British institution, the British Broadcasting Corporation and that nice Mr Dimblebury.
Even in the midst of the struggle for national survival in 1940 Winston can still find time to visit Blandings to witness Braynstawme's latest 'triumph'. Lord Emsworth and the family gather to welcome their distinguished guest as he inspects the local troop of Sea Scouts.

Meanwhile, it's stiff upper lip time for the staff of Blandings Castle as they face an unknown foe...

If any of this has wetted your appetite, and I do hope it has, don't forget to keep an eye out later in the November issue to see how the action unfolded ~
In the meantime, remember that "KBO!" is the Order of the Day, as Winston Churchill would undoubtedly have remarked to Braynestawm in the heat of the action!

Thursday, 14 September 2023

Some more Bretons...

...in the shape of a base of Breton archers, allied to Duke William the Barsteward's Normans for my 1066 & All That project. As with all the other elements of the Duke's forces these were painted by Phil - Olaf's Painting Service - and based by yours truly ~

The figures are from the old Foundry Norman range by the Perrys rather than the more recent range by Matt. I picked them up at Partizan by mistake, that is I thought they were Matt's and didn't look at them closely. But, they are half decent figures and Phil has made a good job of them. In due course I am confident that there will be more for this project, but not just yet...

Tuesday, 12 September 2023

Some Senior Ivans...

...together with some Rifle battalion skirmisher bases for my Crimean War Roosians have made it safely across the painting desk and are ready to muster into GHQ. Let's face it, the weather over the last several days has not been conducive to slaving over the painting desk! In these circumstances progress with this project of any kind is not to be sneered at. As it is I managed to complete four bases of Roosian Rifle Battalion figures to deploy as skirmishers for the Roosians ~

The figures are from Great War Miniatures via North Star as ever and the bases are from Warbases. There are 12 more in the painting queue to finish, so look out for the whole unit's worth in due course.

I also continued with my approach in mixing into the painting queue various Command stand figures, in this case two mounted and two foot figures to form the Roosians' Army Commander-in-Chief stand ~

Details as to figures and bases are as above of course. I suppose this means that I must work the Army Command stand figures for the British army into the schedule now, again a combination of mounted and foot figures. They will be a while yet though...