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.

Monday 30 July 2012

The best laid plans...

...of mice and men gang oft awry! Well, we would be in Aberdeen now staying with our friends Kevin and Vivian Calder as a prelude to visiting Claymore on Saturday. Instead, I'm here in GHQ passing the time between bouts of nursing the sick and ailing: Sue has developed a bad case of Shingles and is confined to bed! Thankfully, she's over the worst I think, but she is sleeping a good deal so I have managed some painting at the fag end of the month. In fact, my monthly total is a respectable 102 items painted and six Old West buildings made! More respectable in fact than my total of five games played and all Lost!!!!!

Painting has all been for existing projects, a theme I think will dominate the second half of the year here in GHQ. I've added to many collections: the Anglo-Zulu War got four more bases of Zulus to round the Impis up to an even number of bases and another base of mounted and dismounted Boers; the ECW got a unit of Forlorn Hope; the Indian Mutiny got more Bhurpas, aka Hill Tribesmen, and some neat Victorian ladies on camels for the Baggage Train; the F&IW got two large war canoes and crews for the Paddoquoi, finishing off the project for now; the AWI got a grasshopper gun and crew/limber for the US Continentals; the Old West got six Battleflag MDF buildings and interiors from Frontline, together with another armed guard for the stagecoach from Dixon.
Our games were a further trial of A Crowning Mercy, my putative ECW rules; two Black Powder games ~ an AWI and a SYW game; and, finally, two Sudan War games, using my own A Good Dusting rules. As I mentioned I lost them all! I think the last three Blog entries are showing a bit of a trend here...
I've not bought a lot this month, baring the six buildings for New Paddock City: the ladies on camels from Hinterland and some Foundry paints; Hill Tribesmen, WWII German motorcycle combo, and some cheap Peninsular War British Generals, for the War of 1812 of course. I forgot to mention the plastic palm trees and Indian statue from Tiger Miniatures, oops!

I managed two wargames related visits this month: to Stoke Challenge ~ see a previous Blog, and to the Foundry's latest Open Day. The latter is worthy of passing comment: personel mostly changed; old ranges being recast for reintroduction; absence of the many baskets of Bargain Blisters ~ the main reason I go if I'm honest; and a general sense of reorganisation/chaos of change. I'll probably give the next one a go, but if the BBs don't reappear then visit will become much less frequent!
Well, time to re-enter Florence Nightingale mode! Toodle Pip!

Tuesday 24 July 2012

New Paddock City

I'm at a strange age I'm told by family and friends. As a result, I'm having to rethink my wargaming priorities: out with two year projects painting two 28mm armies for a new or different period; in with changing or upgrading existing projects. So far this has mainly manifested itself in rebasing on those splendid MDF bases from Warbases, a highly recommended company from my experiences. All very time consuming, but fairly harmless. Then, I came across an advert in last month's Miniature Wargames for a range of Western Gunfight buildings in the form of flat pack MDF kits from Battle Flag. Having sold off all my resin and scratch built western buildings I decided on a whim to send for a selection to build a small town, aptly to be known as New Paddock City.
I bought four from the Main Street selection of basic buildings and two of the De Luxe range. The basic buildings come in six parts ~ a floor, four walls and a flat roof. All the window and door frames and fancy decoration are already in place. A building will dry assemble in under a minute! The De Luxe range are a different matter! I bought the Sheriff's Office and Jail and the Saloon { as I bought six, I got a bonus of a free transfer sign for the front of the Aces High Saloon.} The buildings are in kit form, taking about an hour to make each in stages: fitting the window and door frames; assembling the base; assembling the walls and roof; and finally, fitting it all together. The most complex was the Sheriff's Office and jail, which I left till last.
I had a range of 28mm resin 'fittings' from Frontline which I'd bought eons ago, so I decided to 'furnish' the interiors of my buildings ~

The Sheriff's Office and Jail.
The Jail is the rendered side addition.

The Interior from the cells.

The Aces High Saloon.

The interior of the saloon.

The General Store.

No sign of Arkwright's till!

The kits are not really expensive and certainly not difficult to assemble. I opted to wash mine with some old Games Workshop inks I had: red, blue and yellow. It takes about four coats to achieve the colours you can see in the pictures. My only gripe would be the price of the optional shingle roof kits, I honestly thought them a bit dear at £6.50 or £7.50, but they do look good I think you'll agree. So much so that I've ordered the new Bordello!

Thursday 19 July 2012

The heat! The flies!

I've managed to play two games this week, both Sudan War games using my 'A Good Dusting' rules: on Monday against Phil and this afternoon against Jon. I best be up front about the results: I lost them both, though they were both close games. Some pictures from today's game ~

White Pasha's mixed force of Egyptians and Imperial troops heads out into the desert...

Nile Arab tribesmen are the first of the Bhykli's force to encounter the enemy's fire power...

Beja tribesmen appear over some low hills to the rear of White Pasha's force. Egyptian dragoons move into action against them.

At the Mahdist high point, Beja tribesmen defeat the Tandoori Horse, having already routed the Loyal Tandoori Rifles.

Just after this stage the Mahdist attacks petered out, scythed down by Imperial fire power or halted by failing Pluck.

The figures are Perry Miniatures from my collection. The palm trees were made from novelty pen tops I picked up while on holiday on Fiji a while back and the rocks are from Normandy! Honest! I've given up on my terrain mat, as its developed bald patches, and reverted to a felt cloth over my main terrain tiles. If we ever get some dry weather we'll spay paint it lightly to give some texture.

Monday 16 July 2012

A Visit to Stoke Challenge 2012

I went to Stoke Challenge '12 yesterday, a small show in Stoke-on-Trent which I'd not visited for a number of years, mainly I should say because I'd seen on his website that Colonel Bill's had some unpainted Foundry Hill Tribesmen I could use to increase my Mutineers for our The Devil's Wind games. As the event is mainly for competition players I had n't really expected to see much in the way of Display Games but it turned out rather differently, as you can see...

First up, a gruesome detail from Stoke Wargames Club's 28mm Naseby game. The MDF buildings were very good I thought.

From the same club's Blenheim 1704 game. Loads of figures on both games and lots going on to grip the attention and interest.

A WWI Arab Revolt game staged by The Maths Club Valiants featuring some splendid stuff ~ terrain, boats, planes, trains: you name it, they had it! Including figures!

The harbour 'somewhere in Beerabia' I think. No sign of Terrence though...

The RFC soaring above the desert plains!

A 20mm WWII Western Desert game presented by an independent group of gamers. Featuring some nice terrain and well painted figures. I always admire anyone who takes the Italians in these games!

Detail of the Italians dug in and ready to defend the position valiantly, or not...

Finally, St Helen's Spartans had a Very British Civil War game which had some splendid scratch built terrain by Nick Perry of Bespoke Model Buildings.

The detailing on the buildings made for a very engrossing tabletop. Nick has a web site, so look him up if you want something different for your tabletop games ~ http://www.bespokemodelbuildings.co.uk/

Well, it would hardly be a visit worth the name to any show if you did n't come away with some goodies for the Lead Pimple! I got the Foundry Hill Tribesmen I wanted from Colonel Bill's Recruiting Office; a Hindu statue of Ganesha for the Mutiny games and some palm trees from Tiger Miniatures; and, some MDF bases from 4Ground. Sue bought a book on the B&B, so success all round! On to Buxton then for lunch and finally a drive home through The Peak District. And, it did n't rain! In 2012's wash-out summer, surely some success!

Friday 13 July 2012

This week I have been mostly painting...

No games here in GHQ, or elsewhere, this week so I have been keeping busy painting figures and also working on a secret buildings project. As has been my wont of late I've been working on a number of different projects. First up, the second canoe for the Paddoquoi in the F&IW ~

Canoe and figures from Redoubt Enterprises F&IW range.

Next an addition to the Baggage Train for my Indian Mutiny games: Hinterland's 'Victorian ladies riding on camels'.

The figures seemed very small when I unpacked the parcel, but they scale well with the older Foundry Mutiny ranges. I think the camels are by Ebob.

Finally some odd Perry Miniatures ECW figures to form a Forlorn Hope in future ECW games.

As I said, a bit of a mix of projects this week, but it all helps to reduce the Lead Pimple!

Friday 6 July 2012

"The British are coming!"

Well, for part of the game they were at least! The latest game here in GHQ featured a, slightly belated, tribute to the 4th July celebrations across the pond: an AWI game with Phil 'Liberty' Robinson commanding the brave colonials and yours truly the forces of the tyrant, sorry, the Crown, aided by some Loyalist volunteers and paid mercenaries from the German states. The rules used were Black Powder and the figures and terrain were from my collections ~ a little dated now I'm sure, but still doing sterling service when called on!

The rebel camp on the left of their line, defended by Militia and Rifle armed Backwoodsmen. Figures are mostly Front Rank, with a few Perry Miniatures and Foundry thrown in.

The Hessians' Brigade attacked through a farm, attempting to turn the flank while Butler's Rangers harassed the camp's defenders! In the centre the British advance to a fence line to support the Hessian attack while beyond Regulars engage the Continental line.

In the centre the 38th, supported by Light Infantry, Paddoquoi Indians and South Carolina Loyalists drove in the first Continental line, despite coming under heavy fire.

About the half way point of the afternoon it was all decidedly promising for the Crown's cause: the Hessian attack was making slow progress on the right, the Rebel centre was creaking and starting to buckle; and on the left the cavalry were getting the upper hand! Hurrah!

The 17th Light Dragoons drove straight through the Philadelphia Horse, on into the Dragoons holding the right flank, and smashed through them in turn into the Rebel right flank. Oh, it all looked so good...

Counting your chickens is a dangerous game in any wargame, oh yes it is! It all began to unravel for the Crown's forces. On the right, the Rebel Militia defending the camp drove off the Hessian attacks in bitter fighting: the Brigade broke and fled! On the left, the Light Dragoons were sweeping all before them, only to take withering flank fire from Pennsylvania Line and Continentals! They broke and fled! In the centre, dogged defencive fire finally stopped the attack and then broke the British resolve! Liberty had triumphed over the tyrant!
Scenery is by The Last Valley, with the farm buildings and tented camp by Dave Paddock's former Architectural Heritage firm, now JR I think and available through Magister Militum here in the UK. A great afternoon's gaming with Phil, spoilt only by the humiliation of certain victory evaporating into ignominious defeat! Oh well, that's all part of the joy of wargaming really! {And, as a side note, it marked a third defeat in the week, having lost a Black Powder SYW game with Jon the day before in a similarly tight and hard fought game.} Still, there's always the next time...

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Another mediocre performance...

Not a reference to England's recent Euro debacle, rather a hint at the result of this afternoons ECW game here in GHQ with Charles. Yet another play test for my rules, 'A Crowning Mercy'.

On the Parliamentary Left Wing, a mass of swirling cavalry really decided the battle's outcome.

The Parliamentary Horse are from my collection, a mix of Perry Miniatures and Wargames Foundry. The Royalist Horse are from Charles' collection and are mostly Bicorn Miniatures I think. The unit nearest the camera routed off the table in short order. Charles' unit returned to loot my baggage ~ just out of shot ~ while the unit furthest from the camera also routed and was destroyed! Only Obadiah Bykleigh's horse in the centre fought the Royalists to a standstill.

In the centre for a long time the Parliamentary foot held firm, before finally succumbing to some devastating dice on Charles' part.

In the foreground are John Hamden's Foot opposing Prince Rupert's Foot. Parliamentary figures from my collection, mostly by Wargames Foundry, Royalists from Charles' collection, mostly Bicorn. Trees and walls from The Last Valley.

More detail of Rupert's Foot. Flags by GMB I think. In the distance the Royalist's Lord General base featured Charles I and the Royal Standard.

Charles' figures are exquisitely painted. The command stands are really nice vignettes in their own right. It was almost a pleasure to see them thrash my poor souls...