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.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Contains No Photos

Phil and I went to Partizan at the Newark Showground on Sunday. I always have enjoyed the Partizan shows, in all of the different venues they have been held, and I’m pleased to be able to say this one was well up to expectations. The venue would be hard to top for an event in our hobby: ample free parking right on site; a large hall giving loads of space for traders, games and the paying public to easily circulate; bright and airy so the games can be properly appreciated and goods on sale easily viewed and assessed. Only two quibbles on my part really: it gets over warm I found so air conditioning would be nice, though I don’t know if the venue boasts such a facility; but more importantly, at least for this senior citizen, the layout lacks any seating beside the cafeteria area. I find the floor very hard on my knees and if it wasn’t for the kindness of friends like Duncan and Dan, who let me sit a while at their stands, or Barrie, who let me sit at his game, I would really struggle. I’m just one punter here, but I guess I’m not alone in that respect. It would be nice if for The Other Partizan this might be addressed by the organisers in some way.
One really pleasing aspect of the show is that it attracts attendees from a wide geographical area. This means the games on show are always up to a very high standard, both for Participation and Display Games, which in turn serve to boost attendance. Indeed Lawrence tells me that the show reached and then surpassed its record attendance. For historical wargamers the trade show surpasses Salute in my opinion also. When you consider its other advantages I’ve already outlined I really don’t think I’ll ever bother with Salute again.
Besides the traders and games on show the other advantage the Partizan shows enjoy is the opportunity to chat with old friends and even to make new acquaintances. I was able to meet up with good friends in our hobby and in fact the reason I took no pictures at all is that I was just too engrossed in chatting. Kevin was down from Aberdeen and Dave from East Berwick, two long time chums who I had missed when I wasn’t able to go to Carronade the week before. Colin was down from Middlesbrough, and although we kept missing each other it was good to see him and Kathryn again briefly. Probably though my long chat with Aly was the most interesting, ranging far and wide on hobby and life event matters, and compelling me to acknowledge that perhaps I am more of a wargaming magpie than I had admitted to in the past!
As I’ve already mentioned the wealth of traders in attendance I ought to mention the spoils of war so as to speak. Andy at The Last Valley had made me four more canal sections which I’d preordered and in addition I purchased a dozen sections of split rail fencing for games set in North America. Chatting with him I have ordered more of these for the second show and also commissioned a tunnel entrance for the canal to go into on a table edge. From Dave Thomas I bought a pack of Perry AWI Militia Mounted Colonels and from Dave Ryan at Caliver the last copy of Rebels and Patriots, as I just can’t warm to Sharp Practice for our occasional F&IW games. From Battlefront I bought another BMP1/2 in plastic for next years WWIII game I plan and from Coritani some new brushes. I also collected from Colin my part of our joint Eureka order, collected by a third party at Salute. This comprises: some of the new Renaissance civilians; some French Heavy Cavalry, Battalion guns and crew and some Austrian Grenzers; an AWI American gun crew and some ragged Continental Dragoons. I’ve cleaned some up already this morning for spray undercoating before I pop over to Phil’s for our regular Monday game.
I’m already looking forward to The Other Partizan in August and all the opportunities it will bring for hobby and personal enrichment. Both Partizan shows are excellent experiences and if you’ve never been then I do highly recommend that you try to make it to one. You’d be hard to please I think if you didn’t enjoy it I’m sure! It is worth the effort just to see the wonderful games.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Counter Attack at Soggy Bottom

Phil and I lined up in GHQ this week for a WWII game set in the fictional world of a successful German execution of Operation Zeelowe in 1940. Our game is set some days after the Germans have invaded and pushed northwards. A hastily assembled force under Brigadier Bykleigh mounts a counter attack towards the village of Soggy Bottom held by elements of the Wehrmacht. On the German’s right flank groups of Falskirmjaegers hold Whyte’s Farm and have fortified it to secure the flank from envelopment. They are supported by a number of Panzer 38Ts. In the British force elements of Regular infantry are supported by LDV and a troop of Vickers MkVI tanks. They can also call on a battery of 18lbers off table with an observer located on a prominent hill overlooking the village and farmstead.
The Krauts dig in at Soggy Bottom while the Falskirmjagers
Protect their right flank by occupying the farm buildings.
The British advance with determination to throw back the
The Red Lion shall not be taken!
Covered by the 2lb anti-tank  gun and a company of infantry
the Vickers Mk VIs advance towards the enemy centre. 
On the British right flank the old men of the LDV make a
move towards the cover of the field boundary.
Just in time too as a company of the enemy is moving to
flank the British attack.
In the centre a Matilda Mk1 supported by a company of
infantry and a MMG advance to the attack!
With theLDV's progress being somewhat tardy, the enemy
move into the cover of the wood.
Heavy fire from the enemy halts the infantry advance in
support of the tank!

The German centre looks pretty firm by this time with the PAK
drawing a bead on the hesitant Matilda.

The enemy tanks are thrown back when the Panzer II is
knocked out by a lucky shot ~ the first of several I have to say!

With the enemy tanks thrown back unexpectedly the British
tanks advance with infantry support to dislodge the remaining
enemy infantry who are forced back into Soggy Bottom.

The Germans call up their reserves to shore up their left flank.

But its all in vain, mounting casualties have fatally weakened
morale and after three successive turns turns the Germans rout!

A first run out in GHQ for 1940 games with RF2 as the rule set in use rather than our more usual Bolt Action set. The dice gods really helped me along the way in this game, with the tanks five times needing a 6 to hit and then getting a further 6 to knock out the Panzer II and one of the remaining PanzerT38's, while the German Pak could not hit a barn door! The game lasted 10 of the projected 12 turns, so the Germans could consider themselves a tad unlucky to loose, putting up fierce resistance in Soggy Bottom itself and blunting the LDV attack on their left.
Al the figures are from my 28mm WWII collection The infantry are mostly Foundry, supported by Warlord Games and Mutton Chop figures. The tanks are all by Warlord Games and the extra British vehicles are from Lledo. The buildings are the old Conflix range, now becoming available again I read somewhere or other!
Next up here in GHQ should be an AWI game in early June. These run of three Bank Holiday Mondays in six weeks has really scuppered our regular games programme and no mistake! In the meantime,its back to painting the last of the AWI expansion project units, the 45th Foot using venerable Foundry figures.

Monday, 13 May 2019

3rd New Jersey steps out...

The last American, or Rebel unit if you prefer, for my AWI expansion project has been completed at last. The figures are once more the venerable Foundry miniatures, sculpted back in the day by the Perrys. I don't anticipate adding any more units at present, even though I've several sprues of free plastic figures from Wargames Illustrated via my friends. I chose them to represent the 3rd New Jersey and based them on a Don Trioani print featured in his Soldiers of the American Revolution ~

The flags are from two sources: the free downloads from Clarence Harrison, now sold by Warfare Miniatures, and one I found on the net for the 3rd New Jersey. No idea if the latter is right, but it's different! I also found this more contemporary picture a useful source for determining the uniform coat colour ~

As is usual for these posts, here they are firstly drawn up in line, and then featured in some closer shots, the latter for those of a strong constitution ~
This leaves me with just the 45th Foot for the crown's forces and I'm done, at least for now. After those I've some SYW artillery and crew and some War of 1812 Americans in the queue. Mind you, when I collect my Eureka order from Colin at Partizan that might all change! We shall just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Confined to Quarters!

Phil and I, together with Sue and Di, were expecting to be heading north tomorrow for a short break and a visit to Carronade too for us lads. Sadly I've scuppered that with a flare up of an old health problem! Right now I'd struggle to make the end of the road without, well, I'm sure you don't want to know the details. I just hope I will make Partizan now!

Sunday, 5 May 2019

The King's Orange Rangers

The latest unit to muster into my AWI collection is a Loyalist unit, the King's Orange Rangers. The figures are the venerable Foundry figures by the Perrys. The flags are by Flags of War using their 'create a flag' option for colour and wording. To be frank I chose to paint these despite their poor record simply because I liked the colours. They were nearly the King's American Regiment, but, well, I had the flags in stock... Here is the usual, by now, set of pictures of the unit in line, followed by some closer photos ~

Next to hit the painting desk in GHQ are the 3rd New Jersey, again because I liked the uniform colours! No doubt some AWI buff has just exploded on reading that; but, my game, my toys as they say. That will leave the 45th Foot to be painted for the Crown's forces and we are done, for now at any rate. I hope I shall finish both units by the end of the month if all goes well in GHQ. After that we shall see, but the Lead Pimple is steadily diminishing...

Thursday, 2 May 2019

The Battle of Bushbury

Jon was unexpectedly available for a game this week and as the ECW armies were still out on the table in GHQ I set about reconfiguring the terrain and forces for a second ECW battle with Pike & Shotte rules.
Following the Royalist defeat at the Battle of Coven Heath Lord Rawnsley has been replaced as commanding general by the king’s order with Lord Walton. Hurrying from his manor near Stafford, Lord Walton assesses the situation quickly. With an inferior forces, he decides to fortify the hamlet of Bushbury and await Obadiah Bykleigh’s response...
Obadiah Bykleigh oversees the deployment of his forces.

Talbot's and the Oxford Foote hurry to their defensive positions under the
eyes of Lord Walton and his entourage.

On his right, Obadiah Bykleigh's attack has stalled - failed Command Rolls
plagued both sides as the game unfolded!

Light Artillery comes up in support of Talbot's Foote.

Royalist Horse impetuously moves forward on Lord Walton's left flank.

The first cavalry melee is indecisive. John Hampden's Foote nervously await

Astonishingly the Royalist attacks are halted by Parliamentary Horse! For now

Sadly the fortunes of war deserted Parliament's Horse! I just knew it could n't
last: the Horse fled, the Foote stalled and the artillery could n't hit a barn door!
A view of the Royalist centre. Dismounted Horse support the Foote lining the

John Hampden's Foote drawn up in battle.

In two games a total of four Blunder's adversely affected this one unit! It must
be cursed!

Sir Marmeduke Gaylord Robinson's Foot supporting the Royalist Heavy
Artillery. Each side's Heavy guns were limited to three shots in the game.

Fairfax's Foote is all but destroyed by the Royalists before Obadiah Bykleigh's

A very satisfied Lord Walton, supported by the Bishop of Lichfield and
guarded by his Lifeguard of Horse, surveys the battlefield. Obadiah's forces
must regroup once more and steel themselves for the next encounter.
All in all a super game which swung back and forth as well as showing us how much of  Pike & Shotte we still have to take on board. During the game I only took the first eight pictures as we got absorbed in the unfolding battle. The remainder are rather atmospheric shots of the action I took before clearing away for the next game later in May, a 1940 game trying Bolt Action with my expanded forces for the period.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Officers of the 45th Foot

The spare mounted General from the Foundry British AWI High Command pack and another spare Officer figure from one of their British Command packs meant I could muster in an other Command stand for the British force in our games. I’ve painted them both in the colours of the 45th Foot, later the Nottinghamshire Regiment - after all, that’s where the figures are from in reality - and also because earlier they were Robinson’s Foot during the SYW!

For the very sharp eyed who will have noticed, I don’t yet have the 45th in my British AWI collection, but they are in the painting queue! After the next Loyalist regiment there is a further Continental regiment to paint before I get to them, but I hope they will muster in sometime in late May at my current rate of progress. We’ll have to see how it goes...