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.

Friday 30 November 2012

A Year of being Japanese...

...A Preview
As I finished this month's target unit, Robinson's White Coats for my ECW Royalist army, I decided to use the 'spare days' to prepare, spray, base and test paint some figures for next year's first project, a Samurai skirmish game. I bought the figures earlier in the year from Museum Miniatures and later added three packs from the Perry Miniatures range. I am building two Clans of about 30 figures and also will be painting the scenery and buildings I've acquired. Without more ado, let me introduce to you my Samurai Lord, Ono Onomoro, and his banner man ~

The scenic shrine in the picture is an prepainted Aquarium item I got from a local Garden Centre for £2.50. A good buy I'd say when you put it against regular wargames resin buildings! In the second picture you can see some of his retainers ~

I've chosen a muted colour scheme for the Ashigaru utilizing greys and browns in the main. Each figure for my faction has a red headband or sash, reflecting the main colour of my Lord {with blue for the second clan.}

For the second Clan, to be played by Phil and Jon in the main, I kept to the same scheme for the retainers but used blues and green for the Lord ~
I've also trialed some bearers, who will do duty on either or both sides, so they have no colour identification. I'm using Peaty Brown for them exclusively.
The banners for both Lords I made as an experiment using Word and some downloaded fonts. I think that I'll probably stick with these, for now at least, as I have no idea about genuine Mons and can't really be bothered to look for myself for such a small and infrequent game noone else will see.

Friday 23 November 2012

Odds and Ends...

I've been using my post-ECW painting time to work on some odds and ends for other existing projects. First up is a Dixon Miniatures Western vignette of a photographer and his 'subject' ~
The well respected, if somewhat useless, local Sheriff met his end in a shoot out in New Paddock City last week.

Next up for completion was a small set of British Light Infantry {From Foundry's new Peninsular War set ~ not on their site.} I wanted a vignette style scene to show walls of Block Houses or Forts being assaulted in our War of 1812 games.

Now  these are sculpted in a very different style from the 'old firm' but for me they are a welcome addition to my 1812 British-Canadian army. They paint up rather like the Pulp Miniatures of Bob Mursch I found. There were all sorts of interesting packs in the range, but its nowhere to be found on the site before you look. I bought my pack in a 'Half Price Sale' at the last Open Day, just after the Ansell-Coup...
The set consists of two light infantry advancing carrying a ladder, one climbing a second ladder and one firing up into the massed enemy above in support of the attack. They will do very nicely for my needs. Now, I believe that there is room in the hobby for all sorts of differing figure styles and, while most of us do have our favourites, there is a ready market for variety. Perhaps if Foundry had charged less for these new style figures that the 'geriatric' Perry's ranges on offer they might have been better received and sold more strongly. Horses for courses so as to speak. Anyway, they, along with the early Prussians and Russians I think, are supposed to be available but I guess you'd have to call and enquire within.
On a totally unrelated matter, but far more important for me at least, I was discharged from Physiotherapy today, having recorded 115 degrees of bend in my knee and sailing through all the exercises. I have been driving a bit, although changing gear is sore after a while, and walking when I can, often now without needing to use my stick! I've also managed to play two shortish games here in GHQ with Jon ~ a Western Gunfight game last week and a Hail Caesar Late Roman Civil War game. Needless to say I lost them both but could n't have cared less in the circumstances, they were games after all!!!! I hope to try another game of two before the holiday season and then, hopefully, normal service will be restored in 2013!
So, until the next time I feel the urge to waffle on, Toodle Pip!

Tuesday 20 November 2012

A Crowning Mercy

I have recently received a disc of photos taken to support my forthcoming ECW rules, "A Crowning Mercy". As Helen asked after the last post to see both sides from my ECW collection in action, I thought I'd post a selection for people to see.
I think that they really make my quite ordinary stuff look quite good: and then they say that the camera never lies...

A Push of Pike developing

A Swirling Mass of Horse contests the flank

The Foot close for action

A Battlefield view


Sunday 18 November 2012

Marmaduke 'Gaylord' Robinson's Whitecoats

Robinson's Whitecoats drawn up for battle
I have completed the last of my additional ECW Foote regiments, bringing the total for both Parliamentary and Royalist armies to six Foote regiments. The final one is for Phil's 'named character' regiment, Marmaduke Robinson's Whitecoats. Figures are by Perry Miniatures, flags by GMB, bases by Warbases and tufts, etc from Silfor. The unit's bases are 80mm x 50mm, while the command stand's base is 70mm in diametre. {The latter does not fight or fire in my rules, adding to the look of a regiment I feel and signifying by its relative position if the regiment is moving or halted.}
The Regiment's command stand

The Pike prepare to advance
I had been tempted, as I am sure many others had, to perhaps add a unit or two from the new range released by Empress recently. However, having seen them on their stand at Warfare in Reading yesterday I have had to pass on that idea as they are far too large in my opinion to integrate with my predominantly Foundry/Perry armies. They will, I am sure, prove popular with those whose figure tastes tend towards the Renegade/Bicorne end of the size spectrum.
I especially liked the first cavalry releases, although I may be biased as they are mounted on the splendid Ebob horses ~ the hobby's premier equine sculpts in my view. But one thing I have learned over the years is that there will be someone out there whose views of compatibility between ranges differs wildly from mine and who will happily mix the new Empress figures into their forces. Horses for courses as they say...
Next up for painting during my reduced, but expanding, sessions are some British Napoleonic 28mm figures for my War of 1812 - 15 project. They are from the 'newer' Foundry Peninsular War range {which I know a lot of Napoleonic buffs were horrified by}. However, the set I'm using is a siege assault set ~ comprising two infantrymen carrying a ladder, one climbing up a second ladder and another firing up into the enemy above. I plan to use them in two vignette bases to signify assaults on walls and block houses. Really its just a short diversion after the ECW-fest of the last four months.
The last unit I'm hoping to tackle is a Dixon ACW Confederate infantry regiment, the 1st Maryland. I have recently bought a large number of GMB's ACW flags, with a view to upgrading the look of my armies, now that I've finished their MDF rebasing. I'll tackle that a Brigade at a time over the months of 2013 I hope. I expect ACW games may come to the fore here in GHQ in mid year, as another anniversary of Gettysburg rolls around.
I'll return to the subject of Warfare in a day or two, my poor swollen knee and calf are still recovering from the effort of attending the show, thanks to Phil the Chauffeur, so my 'Limp and Look' report will have to wait, its time for the ice again...

Sunday 4 November 2012


The last eight weeks have been really strange for me, and, I suspect for my family and friends ~ both material and cyber varieties included. Only one game has been attempted ~ a First Carlist War game which Phil laid on for me over at Olaf's HQ, even moving the figures for me ~ while I sat in glorious isolation from the table on a sofa with my leg elevated! I even managed to win what proved to be a shorter game than we had envisaged as, for once, the dice gods favoured my cause! No games at all attempted in GHQ of course... Have I missed the games? Well, if I'm truthful not as much as I thought I would. What I have missed is the friendly companionship of my opponents: Phil, Jon, John and Charles, you have been missed more than you might think.

It has given me time to pause and reflect on our wonderful hobby though. Primarily it has lead to me reappraising what I want from this all and where I see it going for me in future. I think I can safely say there will be no more projects weaving their way over a couple of years while I steadily paint up both armies in 28mm. Somehow it seems to have lost its appeal... Instead I have determined on a number of smaller projects, as regards painting and terrain making at least. To that end I've been steadily acquiring figures, buildings and terrain accesories for 2013, which I have designated my 'Year of being Japanese'!

So far I have assembled two Samurai forces of about 50 figures a side, mainly from Museum Miniatures, supplemented by some Perry Miniatures Town and Village People and a pack of Ninjas. For buildings I've used the John Jenkins Designs offerings, which I sourced from Hong Kong and from Norfolk! I have a wall set together with a temple, samurai house and village house. From Grand Manner I obtained a Tori gate and from James at Oshiro a number of small items to bring the scene to life ~ lanterns, casks and the like ~ to which I shall be adding a Zen Garden at some stage. All of these firms and folk provided exemplory service, so I could recommend them with a clear conscience!

To supplement this venture, and remain on the Japanese theme, I've aso been acquiring World War Two items for a Burma setting: Chindits from Warlord will tussle with their Japanese foe from the same company, the latter designed by my son Matthew, supplemented by some fine figures provided by Brigade Games. I've also acquired a Grant tank from Colonel Bill's and plan a Japanese tank from the Warlord range later in the year. I may add figures to this project in 2013, when I see how it plays out with Bolt Action rules which I bought at the Other Partizan. For terrain I already have a heap of jungle bases and so I've merely added the Architects of War 'Pacific Village' to the pile. This set gives you two substantial village house and three scenic items to bring it to life.

I may even branch out beyond this by extending my Sherlock Holmes game collection even further. There a few Foundry Victorian packs I might look for over the year. I may also venture towards Mars in this context.... But, for now, I have to finish my fourth ECW Foote unit, Robinson's White Coats, which I hope to manage in November. That will leave me December for building the 'Trinity Grand Hotel' from Battle Flag and painting up another Dixon ACW Reb unit. So, KBO* is the order of the day!

* KBO ~ Attributed to Winston Churchill, 'Keep Buggering On' ~ keeping at the task in hand despite fequent set backs!