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.

Saturday 30 November 2013

A Slight Diversion

As I said over on my Rhanzlistan Blog, I just could n't face painting the second Indian Infantry unit so soon after completing the last one ~ same figure, same pose, same equipment, different head, you know how it is. Delving into the 'Ready to Paint' drawer I plucked a unit of Dixon ACW Rebel infantry and a Brigade Command Stand to occupy my spare moments in the second half of the month. I've decided to paint up Georgian units for Semme's Brigade, McLaw's Division of Longstreet's First Corps.
{Now there appears to be an issue between Blogger and Photobucket (and possibly AOL) because the pictures edited in Photobucket and uploaded into Blogger somehow revert to the original unedited versions in the Post. Not only that but the layout is all over the place too! No doubt some nerd with nothing better to do has cocked it up, again...}
Anyway, here are the remaining pictures. I hope they will illustrate why I prefer the Dixon Miniatures to other manufacturers, giving a vignette feel to the bases with the wide variety of poses and faces on offer ~


I would have expected to have painted more than this single unit and command base, but I got sidetracked into painting some of my Victorian buildings from Oshiro Models for my Great Detective Pulp Games. I've managed to paint a terrace of three two storey homes, a warehouse and a chapel ~ St Edith's Mission to Seamen and Fallen Women! More on this project in a future Blog entry.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

J.E.B.Stuart ~ Reb Cavalry Command Base

Not long ago I posted a few pictures of the 'new' command bases I'd added to my Confederate Army. At the time I think I mentioned that I'd got one base left to complete, a Command base for my Reb cavalry. I'd been over to Spirit Games in Burton on Trent, a 'local' stockist of my preferred Dixon Miniatures, and bought the J.E.B. Stuart figure, a generic general, a cavalry standard bearer and three horses. Here's a picture of the finished base ~

The flag is from GMB Designs I should add here, which I've been patronising of late as I've been reflagging my two armies as part of the general upgrading programme ~ MDF bases, tufts, flowers and the like. Its been a bit of a labour of love really, taking up painting time, but I do think it has helped to lift my quite average paint jobs to a higher level. But, you'll be a better judge of that than me...

Monday 11 November 2013

The Game to end all Games?

Phil and I seem to have settled on Mondays for our weekly games day, and, today being Armistice Day, it seemed appropriate to try out our embryonic rules and armies for the 1914-15 period of the Great War. The action sees a farm held by Phil's small German force which the larger B.E.F.  contingent must capture.

The Gordon Highlanders are tasked with assaulting the farm itself, held by elements of the 9th Lauernberg Jaeger Battalion, supported by the 48th von Stupenagel (95th Brandenburg) Infantry Regiment.

The Gordons are supported on their left by the South Staffordshire Regiment, who will move through the woods to engage the enemy's right flank.

While their right flank is covered by a small Brigade of cavalry and the Royal Scots Fusileers.

The B.E.F. advance gets underway, supported by firing from the Brigade's artillery support,with both the Gordons and the South Staffs loosing men, including their Regimental machine guns.

The German position is looking strong at this point as they take full advantage of the cover along the road.

The Gordons, lead by the skirl o' the pipes, assault the farm but are repulsed with some loss!

The South Staffs make progress through the woods to engage the enemy's right flank.

Meanwhile the 2nd Brandenburg (Graf Haeseler) Ulhans move to support the German left flank.

The Gordons rally and once again rush the farm, this time driving out the defenders decisively!

The B.E.F.'s right flank begins to look as if it will successfully outflank the German's left, endangering their hold on the defensive line.

The Ulhans are driven off the heights they had seized with the advantage of the initiative for two turns.

The German position becomes untenable and Phil orders a withdrawal.

A grand day's gaming and so appropriate we felt for the day. For the purists out there, the game lasted nine turns in about three hours, not bad we felt for a set we are developing and revising on the hoof! The figures are from our joint collections, almost all by Great War Miniatures, though you may spot a Tiger Miniatures mule or two and two Musketeer stretcher bearers! I assembled the farm from bits and pieces made by Hovells and the vegetation is all by The Last Valley. As I said at the beginning, we are working on our own rule set which will allow you to play smallish games like this without the need for vast numbers of figures. A Battalion is represented by 10 bases of two or three figures, an artillery section by a gun and six crew. Cavalry are based singly or in pairs with six figures representing the tactical unit deployed in small games like this - Regiments would need more figures. The Great War Miniatures range needs some additions sadly: dismounted German cavalry skirmishers; cavalry machine guns; German Hussars; and finally, a German Command set for starters. Perhaps the 2014 centenary will see all or some at lest see the light of day!

Thursday 7 November 2013

The Defence of Le Blancs' Landing

Recently Jon and I played out a F&IW scenario here in GHQ. Jon, as ever, took command of the British force, leaving me to lead the French force to victory, or not... The rules we used were based on Astounding Tales, my rules of choice for this sort of mini game, with some additions to cover the artillery lifted from Black Powder and the use of the activation cards from Muskets & Tomahawks ~ a set I've given up on long since.. The game opens with the French deployed in the settlement and fort located at the Landing, with the British marching onto the table at the opposite end. Their objective is to capture the French arsenal and carry off the arms and ammunition it contains for a Resounding Triumph, or burn it for a mere Victory. Any other result is a French Resounding Triumph! The view from the Landing ~ the french vessel supplies some last ditch artillery fire to cover the Arsenal ~

The British force march onto the table. I co-opted some Foundry SYW Grenadiers, artillery and command to supplement the Redoubt figures ~

The Rangers arrive over the mountains to effect a surprise river crossing ~

Only to find that a group of cunningly deployed French Coureurs du Bois have seen them ~

Meanwhile the settlers of Le Blancs' Landing spot a group of enemy Light Troops trying to infiltrate the settlement ~

Alerted by the sound of musketry from the settlement, Colonel Le Gloire leads out his regulars from the fort ~

Soon the two sides regulars are joined in a bitter firefight, while irregulars and civilians snipe away at the edge of battle ~

At last the French allied Indians arrive on the table ~

Aiming to bring some much needed support to the defenders of the settlement and the Arsenal ~

Meanwhile the British forces press the French defenders hard ~

While the Indians land in support of their French allies ~

The British begin to drive the French regulars back towards the fort ~
Suddenly the French regulars' morale becomes shaken and they fall back quickly on their blockhouse fort ~
Under the cover of all the fighting the British have managed to get a unit of Rangers right around the French flank ~
Meanwhile the main British force advances on the few remaining settlers in Le Blancs' Landing ~
The Rangers who have flanked the settlement make a forceful move on the Arsenal and for the French its all gone wrong suddenly ~
With a roar the Arsenal is set fire and the British claim the victory in turn 11 ~
We had a thoroughly spiffing time fighting out this scenario in about two and a half hours. For those of a certain frame of mind a quick run down on the figures and terrain: figures from Redoubt and Foundry; vegetation from The Last Valley; the Block House/Fortlet I bought years ago on a Bring & Buy ready painted for £14, the other buildings I scratch built eons ago; the dock is from Ainsty and the ship from the old Flagship range I think. I'd be interested in some feedback if anyone else tries out this scenario for themselves.

Monday 4 November 2013

Apes, Walkers, Robots, Mad Doctors et al...

...its WEIRD WORLD WAR II meets Bolt Action! Some pictures from a recent game over at Phil's Olaf's HQ, utilising his small, but beautifully realised, Weird World War II collection and the Bolt Action ruleset from Warlord, with a 'few' modifications along the way...

A view from the American sector. A Walker and robots advance under the watchful eye of a Mechanic, while a sniper covers their path.

From the German Lines: An Ape with mindless trooper mutants advances, shadowed by the Officer in command.

Major Paddock consolidates his position as some odd flaming chaps hove into view.

Walker and robots clump into action, supported by Rocket Troopers who have occupied the building on their flank. German activity can be seen in the yard of the building in the left background. In the distance one red hot chap is already down!

The action is joined in the lane as the US Walker, supported by the robot troopers, tackles the mindless mutants.

As the melee ebbed and flowed, the Ape joins the attack and the officer attempts to take out the Mechanic.

The Ape is down and out! The Walker sees off the mindless mutants! The tide of battle is turning in favour of the righteous!

The end is nigh! Phil's German remnants are forced to fall back and the US force consolidates its hold over the ruined village at the centre of the game. A wonderful day's entertainment, using wonderful figures and terrain in a well thought out scenario with clever rule adaptions and additions! Of course, winning always helps colour one's views...
The figures are all from the AE WWII range I believe, the ruins from Foreground. Phil scratch built the intact building, eons ago it seems now.