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.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020


It took me slightly longer than I anticipated to finish these two bases of archers for my Punic Wars project. This was partly down to an impulsive decision to paint three A&A Miniatures Numidian Light Cavalry to test out an approach that would work for human and horse flesh. Rather more significant in the delay was our first game in GHQ since early March. It left me far more tired than I remember pre-Coronovirus malarkey! All excuses aside now here are the latest recruits, two bases each of 4 archers ~
The figures are from Aventine Miniatures. The bases are from Warbases, who else? The texture is three grades of Woodland Scenics Buff Ballast washed  with Artist's Acrylic Country Maple. The static grass is a mix from different sources and the tufts and the like from Gamer's Grass.
I'm working on my second base of three more Numidian Light Cavalry now with 6 others waiting in line to work on when they are finished. Here's a sneaky preview of the first three I've finished ~

Today's post brought the last of the latest round of mail orders from LBM in the form of Etruscan shield transfers. I've pretty much got everything I wanted bar some Spanish and Celtiberian infantry, so watch this space as they say...

Monday, 6 July 2020

The Return of the Masked Wargamer!

The cobwebs have been brushed aside, the rust has been treated and the giant spiders moved to another home. Yes, GHQ is open for business once more as we've seen another reduction in all this coronavirus malarkey! So Phil arrived, suitably bemasked, for our first game since early March!
So, what could be a better place to start than with an ACW game, a tester for my planned campaign? Each of us commanded a sizeable Brigade with support from a Battery of artillery and a Regiment of cavalry. The battlefield was laid out as you see in the first photo ~
Colonel PJ Robinson's Brigade, Good 'Ol Boys one and all, marched on from the nearside while Brigadier General Useless S Bykleigh, a political appointment if ever there was one, marched his Union Brigade on from the far side of the table. Both sides represent a reconnaissance in force as the respective armies feel for each others' positions, strengths and weaknesses. We played out the game using Black Powder 2 with some additions from the supplement Glory Hallelujah. Each side was also allocated 5 random event cards which they could play one at a time at the beginning of their turn. Cards could be played on the enemy or on their own forces. These are from my Bull Run to Gettysburg rules written a while back for Wargames Foundry. Anyway, no more wittering on, let's get to the action!
Union Turn 1 gets off to a good start. The cavalry and two infantry regiments march down the road to seize the junction. A card plated on the Rebs prevents more than one order being made, and Phil duly fails that too!
In Turn 2 Phil responds by playing a card on the 5th New York to hamper their movement!
Nevertheless the Union reach the road junction in Turn 2 just in time to observe the first of the Rebs marching towards their position.
On the Union right though things are going less well. Although the battery has deployed on the crest of the lightly wooded hill the US Sharpshooters and their two companion infantry regiments are making very slow going. Must be the Virginian mud!
Turn 3 sees the Union infantry labouring to cross the low ridge in what looks like an increasingly forlorn attempt to flank the Rebs on the road.
Finally in Turn 4 the going becomes easier and the Union infantry advance with renewed enthusiasm!
Sadly the Rebs have beaten them to the fence line and the Union columns find it bristling with enemy rifled muskets!
Away on the Union left it all seems to be coming undone as casualties and Disorder combine with a card played on the 5th New York.
On the Union right it's not looking much better really as casualties and Disorder begin to take their toll.
For the Rebs much now depends on the boys from Georgia holding the fence line against the New Yorker's flanking march.
Meanwhile the main Reb attack begins to form, troops from Louisiana supported by more Georgians.
As the Reb attack gathers momentum Brigadier General Bykleigh moves to try to unravel the confusion and Disorder hampering his men holding the junction.
As the battle moves toward a climax on the Union right the New Yorkers manage to deploy into line despite galling fire from those damn Rebs at the fence line!
Phil now plays a low ammunition card on the leading New York regiment further hampering their attempts to dislodge the Georgians!
The  artillery battery supports the defence on the Union left by using the remaining card to increase their range for a turn. It's to no avail though, the Rebs take no casualties!
The Union stragglers marching to the sound of the guns are halted when Phil plays a halt for two turns card on them!
As the battle reaches its conclusion at the end of Turn 12 surprisingly the Union are holding on at the road junction despite heavy Reb infantry fire.
One infantry unit on each side has broken in route but despite that the other troops are steadfastly doing their duty despite Disorder and Confusion!
The battle ended we decided in a marginal Union victory. They held the road junction despite heavy Reb pressure and galling fire while still threatening the Reb left. The Rebs had struggled in the early turns to deploy their full force, in fact their artillery never fired a shot. Neither sides commander performed well enough to merit promotion nor did they deserve any reinforcement for the next battle.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Infamia Infamia

You might recall that Matt sent me some Agema Miniatures Republican Romans which he had sculpted for them a while back. Also amongst the haul was a Warlord Games 'Kenneth Williams' look a like figure from the film Carry on Cleo which he'd also sculpted. I thought it a shame not to use it, so I've worked it into a small vignette for my future camp project by combining it with two Agema Miniatures Lictors and a Signifer. Just for fun I painted faintly a Latin motto on the banner, a nod to the latest craze for TFL's newest creation ~

Next up I hope to start on some figures for the Carthaginian army. I've got two bases worth of generic archers lined up, hopefully to be completed as quickly as the slingers. Then it's some A&A Miniatures Numidian Light Cavalry, 12 figures on four 80x50mm bases. When my Aventine Miniatures Heavy Infantry and Hoplites arrive though they might be moved up the queue! Besides these I've some Numidian Light Infantry skirmishers and I've ordered some Gallic cavalry from Wargames Foundry. As an excuse for the latter I did need some new pots of paint. Well, that's my story anyway and I'm sticking to it...

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

A stone's throw from the Balaerics!

After galloping through the Equites Romani I wanted something simpler to paint. Fortunately next in line in the queue were 8 Balaeric slingers, Aventine Miniatures figures again. They provide some skirmishing firepower of sorts and can deploy both for the Republican Romans and for the Carthaginians, a handy addition to the collection. I've mounted them 4 figures to a base 80x50mm in size ~
Next in line are some of the Agema Miniatures figures which Matt sent me as a birthday gift. It will provide a small vignette base to grace the camp I am planning for later in the project. Watch this space, as the Admen might say!

Monday, 29 June 2020

Equites Romani

The heavy cavalry for Legio VI have galloped through the painting queue so I thought you'd like to see what I've made of them. The figures are by Aventine Miniatures, the shield transfers by LBM and the bases by Warbases as ever ~
The rank and file cavalrymen are multi part figures and proved to be very difficult for me to assemble given my hand issues. I persevered with them slowly and in the end managed to get them all done. The metal used by Aventine Miniatures is hard to work, compared to the softer A&A Miniatures for example, so I used UHU with an added spot of cheap superglue. This hardens very quickly and binds the legs, torso and head parts very strongly. I had mixed success though in fixing weapons and such into hands, some needing a second spot of superglue to fix firmly.
From the three packs of cavalry figures I received there's a visible size and style discrepancy between the three figures in the Command pack and those in the two rank and file packs. Having just spent a happy two hours assembling 12 of the Allied Italian Cavalry from Aventine I've come to the conclusion that my Romans might represent older figures in the range. The Allied Italian cavalry were much nicer figures and the body of the men is a one piece casting, much easier for me!
Now I have both my Aventine Miniatures Allied Italian cavalry and my A&A Miniatures Numidian Light Cavalry assembled I can get them spray undercoated and fixed to MDF pill bases ready to join the painting queue. Other good news, both my orders from Aventine Miniatures and from A&A Miniatures have arrived so I also have three Carthaginian Elephants and crew, Numidian Light Infantry, and the rest of my Allied Italian Legion figures to assemble and spray undercoat. I’ve also sent off an order for some Carthaginian veterans and some Hoplites. Looks like I have plenty to do now if we return to lockdown in the winter!

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

The Wolf's Cubs reach full strength

The title says it all really, but no doubt you will indulge me just a little if I say a bit more. With the completion of Legio VI the first part of the project reaches a conclusion. I have painted 101 figures in this first stage, 100 from Aventine Miniatures and one from Agema Miniatures! Here are the Wolf's Cubs proudly parading for the approval of old Coronus Cunctator ~
Of my first two orders to Aventine Miniatures I have only the two bases of cavalry to support Legio VI together with two bases of Balearic slingers to give another skirmish support option. The cavalry are already underway while the first base of slingers are fixed to the MDF hexes I use to hold figures for painting. My third order to Aventine Miniatures has been posted as I write, so we are in the hands of Royal Mail and it's minions now...
I need to get my initial A&A Miniatures figures ready for painting next to start the Carthaginian part of the project up. I also have a unit of 12 Allied Southern Italian cavalry by Aventine Miniatures to prepare too. As yet there is no news from A&A of my Carthaginian elephants and Numidian Light Infantry, but it's early days. Following on from the recent easing of all this coronavirus lockdown malarkey Phil and I have planned a grand reopening of GHQ with an ACW game to whet our appetite for a campaign. Life goes on, at last!

Saturday, 20 June 2020

It's Half Time...

...but is it oranges or lemons on the plate? As we are moving beyond the longest day of the year and towards the end of June, it seemed like a good idea to reflect on how things had gone here in GHQ since I rashly outlined my hopes and plans hobbywise at the beginning of the year. Well, the obvious answer is very much not as I hoped! There have been no games played in GHQ since mid March. Up until then we had played a dozen games and I was gearing up for the first of a series of North American set games from the F&IW, via the AWI, the War Of 1812-15, and finally the ACW. That would have left me with a campaign series of ACW games from July onwards, borrowing ideas from Longstreet, the event cards from Bull Run to Gettysburg, and Black Powder. Obviously, with all the Corona virus malarkey, that all went tits up!
I just don't get solo games. I enjoy the face to face nature of social wargamingl, not social distancing! I have had one game laid out in GHQ though, a War of 1812-15 extravaganza. Dan was due to take photos to accompany an article I'd written for WI but obviously lockdown put the mockers on that. With online tuition I took the photos myself over three days and if you saw the weekly Bitesize WI you will have seen the end product in issue 3. If you missed it the article is in the July issue as WI returns to its print format.
Although I eschewed gaming I did continue painting, although my monthly totals remained around 50 figures each month. I did a little terrain building, converting two 15mm barns by Warbases into 28mm cabins for North American games, also featured in Bitesize WI. Finally, and probably in a mad moment of optimism, I embarked on a new project in 28mm, the Punic Wars! (As an aside, the 15mm Cold War Gone Hot is available if anyone fancies taking it off my hands. It's a complete game still all in its original boxes and includes Seven Days to the Rhine rules and cards.)
I'm not sure if there is any virtue right now in looking forward to the 'Second Half', after all as a Walsall supporter of 56 years you get inured to disappointment after getting your hopes up. As I'm in the 'more at risk' age group I reluctantly expect it will be a while before Phil, Jon and I meet up for a game or two. I'll press on with my Punic Wars project in the meantime. I've an order in with Aventine Miniatures for some Allied Legion figures to supplement a purchase from Colonel Bill's and with A&A Miniatures for some Carthaginian war elephants and Nubian light infantry. I was hopeful of poping to Foundry for some Spanish infantry and cavalry and a look at the Celt options, but it doesn't seem as if their factory shop is reopening yet. It's a bugger this coronavirus malarkey and no mistake! Keep safe, and sane!