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.



Thursday 22 February 2024

Flashman at 'The Charge'?

I know that I have mentioned this before, but some things about our wonderful hobby deserve frequent repetition in my opinion. One such is the kindness of not just friends but of members of the general body of hobby chums whom we may only know through the Internet or through occasional encounters at shows. So, a while back last year I received an unexpected parcel through the post. On examination I saw it was from Matt Crump {of Wargames in the Dungeon and Penrith fame}. I wasn't expecting it so opened it with more than my usual level of excitement. And what a welcome surprise it turned out to be: the Historicon freebie figure "Into the Valley of Death". Perfect as an objective marker or table dressing for my Crimean War project. I've had this on the go since the turn of the year, putting colour on as and when it was appropriate to those I was using elsewhere. In my mind I see him as that fictional arch cad and noted coward, the much decorated Victorian antihero Harry Paget Flashman ~

I believe it was a Warlord Games piece, if so it's a decent effort compared to some of their figures of late. So, I give you Flashman, unhorsed at The Charge and no doubt suffering from his usual pure funk! Meanwhile the 31st Huntingdonshire Infantry regiment are progressing steadily; two bases completed and the third well underway. More on these when they are finished next week hopefully.

Monday 19 February 2024

A Royal Artillery 9lb Battery

The most recent figures to have endured their time under the brush are two 9lb guns and crew for the Royal Artillery for my Crimean War project. They are all from Great War Miniatures, via North Star of course. I added one figure I'd saved from the British High Command pack, an officer with telescope, which I felt would help bring the battery to life. You can judge for yourself of course ~

I'm working on another British infantry regiment now, the 31st Huntingdonshire regiment, one base of which is already completed. This should complete the planned second Brigade for the First Division. Remaining in the infamous Lead Pimple amongst others are a regiment of Highlanders and a second battalion for the 1st, the Royal Scots. These will complete my truncated Highland Brigade. I had intended to add the Highland Light Infantry but have had a change of heart, mostly because I ordered the wrong flags sheet, but also because it seems they wore the earlier bell topped shako not the Albert one the figures have. Those figures will need to be redesignated in due course...

Friday 16 February 2024

The Valley Campaign...

...opened for its second year when Phil and I sat down here in GHQ for our weekly game. We both enjoyed the series of linked ACW games last year and agreed to try a second year and follow the unfolding tale of rivalry between Union Brigadier General Useless S Bykleigh and his nemesis Confederate Major General P.J. Robinson! The opening battle is an encounter between the two forces feeling their way to cross an engorged stream. As the Union fared badly in last year's conflicts they start the game with one Brigade in the rear, not able to enter the game until Turn 6, the halfway point in our 12 Turn game. On the front foot the Rebs start 12" in from their table edge. As usual now an annotated photo montage to carry you down into the unfolding action in The Valley...

On the Rebs' left a large Brigade of North Carolina infantry led by Jubal E Bykleigh, a turncoat if ever there was one!
In their centre two small brigades from Virginia and South Carolina.
On the Rebs' right two more small brigades from Louisiana and Georgia lead by another turncoat, Jonah Jeremiah Bykleigh!
On the Union's left flank a brigade from Wisconsin supported by two large regiments of Regulars.
In the Union's centre massed batteries of rifled artillery and a small Union Brigade from New York screened by the 1st US Sharpshooters.
Both sides advance on the stream in an attempt to cross over to the other side and blunt their opponent's movement. As you see, both fell short in the centre and a prolonged firefight breaks out.
On the Rebs' right the Louisiana brigade reaches the bridge and blocks off the Union left flank. Another prolonged firefight erupts here!
The Virginia brigade takes post behind the fence line and, you guessed it, another firefight begins with the New Yorkers!
The Union advance is halted all along it's front as both sides take losses in the ensuing turns of firing. The North Carolina brigade is ominously advancing on the Union's right-hand brigade. Still no sign of those much needed reserves.
The US Sharpshooters exploit a gap in the Rebs' centre and push across the stream. They are halted by enemy fire but hold their ground tenaciously.
Disorder prevents them being supported and they are exposed to withering fire from the Rebs! Unsurprisingly as losses mount they are Whipped and flee to the rear!
Reb artillery comes into action firing on the New Yorkers in support of the North Carolina brigade on their left.
Over on the Union left the firefight across the bridge is indecisive, both sides rallying casualties only to take more in the subsequent turns!
In the centre more Union troops have got across the stream but are halted by Rebel fire! Disorder prevents the bulge being exploited and PJ's boys hold on!
Finally, in Turn 8, the first of the Union's reserve brigade of New York troops finally arrives on the battlefield.
More New Yorkers are moving to the Union's right flank now hoping to turn the Rebs' left decisively...
The Union is pressing home it's attack on the Rebs' left as more troops cross the stream. The North Carolina boys are being pushed back slowly...
...when disaster, aka a Blunder, sees the Union's leading unit fall back two moves! The Tarheels have a breathing space!
Fighting continues to ebb and flow in the centre but neither side can deliver the telling blow!
A setback on the Union's left sees the regiment at the bridge finally beaten in the firefight as they flee along with the Brigade commander!
With their right holding the Rebs are pushing forward again in the centre. Unnerved by the Rebel Yell the New Yorkers' closing fire fails to halt the charging enemy!
They do enough though in the ensuing melee to hold their ground. The line may buckle but it does not break!
Darkness falls across the battlefield ( Turn 12 of course). Neither side has managed a victory in this first encounter of the year. Both armies fall back exhausted to plan their next move in the ongoing struggle to dominate The Valley.
Once again Black Powder delivered the uncertain ebb and flow of battle. As usual the figures are all Dixon Miniatures from my collection, the buildings scratch built or kitbashed, trees, stream and fences from The Last Valley.


Tuesday 13 February 2024

A 2nd Battalion of Roosian Jaegers

I have, eventually, completed the second of my four planned Roosian Jaeger battalions. It almost seems as if I had been working on these for eons uncounted! They are the last of the Roosian infantry using the advancing/marching poses, as the remaining two Jaeger battalions will be made up from the two packs of Firing Line figures plus a Command pack. One bonus for me will be that there are fewer figures to paint for each stand, perhaps 8 instead of 10 or 11? For now, here are the 2nd Jaeger battalion for your comment if you are so minded ~

The figures are all GWM, the flags from GMB Designs, and the bases from Warbases as ever ~

Next under the brush are a battery of Great War Miniatures Royal Artillery 9lb guns and crew. I really hope that these will not take quite so long as...



Thursday 8 February 2024

A Progress Report

Nothing finished to show yet I'm sorry to say, a brief health hiatus has hampered progress over the last couple of days although I did manage a draw in a recent WWI game at Phil's. I'm not up to painting anything at present, though I did manage to varnish and base the ones I finished on Monday and get it textured. That's two bases of the second Roosian Jaegers battalion done now. The last nine are fixed to MDF hexes ready for their turn under the brush. All being well 🤞 I hope they will be completed by the end of the weekend.

I thought I'd take stock of what is remaining now for the Crimean War project. I have a third Roosian Jaeger battalion cleaned up and spray undercoated and a further battalion still ensconced in the depths of the Lead Pimple along with a battalion of British infantry in a mix of coatees and greatcoats. I had intended the latter for the 71st Highland Light Infantry but stupidly ordered the wrong flags from North Star!👴🏻 Old Age strikes again it seems! 

Sitting all ready for their turn in the painting queue, and glaring almost malevolently at me it seems, are three British infantry battalions, a battery of British 9lb guns, a battery of 12lb Roosian guns, two Roosian command stands each of two mounted figures, six Great War Miniatures Roosian Dragoons, several bases of skirmishers for the British and the Historicon freebie 'Into the Valley of Death' gifted me by Matt Crump. As you can see, not all of these can be fitted into the 'nearly their turn' queue atop my paint drawers! It almost as if any project seems grow almost on its own I think... It looks to me that any chance of finishing all these before summer is pretty remote. Oh well...

Next game on the table in GHQ should be an ACW tussle with Phil, if he's dug himself out of the snow by then that is.

Saturday 3 February 2024

Intimations of Mortality?

 I have just seen that Graham Cummings has passed away after a short illness. Only last week he posted on his blog from James Cook Hospital reporting on his diagnosis and sounding really optimistic of a recovery in a few weeks. Now I read he has passed away. I only knew Graham when I bought a few things from his Crann Tara company before he sold it on to Dave Ryan at Caliver. Graham's passing is a great loss to his family and friends, but also diminishes our hobby community of course.

Speaking of Dave, he's only just out of hospital himself, having contracted not one, but two strains of COVID!  I also read that Ray Rousell is hospitalised with blood clots on the lungs and pneumonia. Much younger chap than yours truly and full of life whenever I've met him. Then there was the passing of Bryan Ansell late in December last year. Another loss to the hobby of one of its most influential folk, which in turn brought back memories of Duncan's sudden passing... It's all made me think you understand.

I may still see myself in the young lad in this photo, but the reality is that I'm past my three score years and ten and I'm finding that any news like that of Graham's passing or the hospitalisation of folk I know like Dave and Ray affects me far more than it used to. Where did all those years go, not to mention all those little lead chaps?

Wednesday 31 January 2024

A Fate Worse than Death?

A small F&IW game was our choice for this week's meeting here in GHQ. Phil, as 'Hawkeye Robinson' would command the local citizens, Militia and Provincial infantry and attempt to rescue the women of New Pender from the evil clutches of the Paddoquoi under the control of their cunning war leader Tá Wit.  He might expect the regulars under Lord Rawnsley to make an appearance at some stage. He also fears that a large French raiding party is heading his way bent on revenge! Nothing is ever really straightforward is it? Now read on for the full unfolding horror...

The captive women face an uncertain future at the hands of their Paddoquoi captors.
Tá Wit determines the fate of the captive women of New Pender and plots the defeat of 'Hawkeye' Robinson's rescue attempt.
The Paddoquoi warriors form up into their warbands and head off to take more scalps.
'Hawkeye' Robinson receives the blessing of Pastor Jeremiah Bykleigh as he sets out to rescue the women from a fate worse than death.
The mustered forces of New Pender: the citizens, Militia and Provincial Infantry are bolstered by their allied 'Praying Indians'.
'Hawkeye' wastes no time in urging the Provincial Infantry forward to secure the bridge over the minor river.
Despite Tá Wit's urging, the Paddoquoi warriors are reluctant to leave their camp.
One war party manages to shake off it's lethargy and reaches the bridge, delivering an ineffective volley on the approaching Provincial Infantry.
Wasting no time the Provincial Infantry charge across the bridge. A ragged volley from the Paddoquoi warriors Shakes them but still they close with the surprised war party.
Meanwhile Lord Rawnsley has finally reached the outskirts of New Pender with the first of his Regular Infantry.
Just in time too as the warriors have driven back the Shaken Provincial Infantry in Disorder. The fate of those fair female captives is in the balance.
While the contest for the bridge was raging, the town's Militia had moved up on the flank and entered an indecisive fire fight with the second Paddoquoi war party.
The 'Praying Indians' were moving very slowly forward to flank the warriors and possibly seek out the rumoured French presence.
The Militia and Paddoquoi warriors contine their desultory firefight, though casualties are edging up for both groups.
The first of the 'Praying Indians' reach the banks of the river, just in time to discover a party of French Woodsmen. They do not yet see the Coureurs de Bois following on behind the low rise.
Both sides are surprised by the unanticipated encounter and a firefight begins between the two. The Woodsmen have the worst of the early exchanges becoming Shaken but soon the first of their opponents are driven back Shaken by the effects of Disorder under the fire of the Coureurs du Bois.
The British Regulars march steadily forward now, to the relief of the worried Provincial Infantry! Although  Tá Wit's forces are looking very worried the captive women are being hurried towards his main force (off table).
The British Regulars fix bayonets and charge the weakened Paddoquoi war party. There can only be one outcome and the warriors are driven back Shaken. But there is no sign of the captive women in the abandoned camp and time is running out.
The Paddoquoi warriors and their French allies have fought tenaciously but have suffered greatly in the process. It is Turn 11 though and the captive women are almost off the table.

Almost! With a cry of "Follow Me!" old 'Hawkeye' Robinson leads the 'Praying Indians' in a wild charge defeating the already weakened Paddoquoi warriors and saving the captive women from a 'fate worse than death' at the very end of Turn 12! What a contest with the result in balance right up to the final Turn. A great testimony to the versatility of Black Powder as well as providing a challenging but fun contest. Where were the rest of the French raiding party you ask? Well, I did say it was a rumour...

The figures are from my collection, mostly Redoubt Enterprises, with some from Galloping Major. The buildings are a mixture of scratch built and modified MDF kits. The trees, fences and stream are from The Last Valley of course.