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 August 2014

This month I have mostly been painting...

Late Romans from Wargames Foundry for our Ancients games ~
Horse Archers

Two bases of Leaders

Standard Bearers and Clerics for our 1940 /VBCW games. The figures are from Musketeer Miniatures, via Gripping Beast, and the standards were made for me by Leicester Gamer on the VBCW Forum Board ~
Two more for Blandings!

The Gallant Socialists ~
Boulton Paul Workers' Co-operative and the
Three Tuns Invincibles

The Forces of Repression and Privilege ~
The Express & Star Rifles and
Swindley's Own

Some Anglican League command

Some  Wars of the French Revolution figures from Trent Miniatures. Although the rules we are currently using don't call for Skirmishers to be shown by figures or markers I have enough spare figures left over to paint some up for the 'look' of the game. In the same way I have a figure to represent the 'political meddling' with the French army in the field {he's an Irish Leader figure with a head swap and a suitable paint job.}~

Some skirmish markers

'Representant du Peuple en Mission'

I shall be returning for the rest of the year to my ongoing Wars of the French Revolution project. I've started a fifth unit of British Infantry already today. When I complete them the British contingent will be done until I can source some cavalry figures. At Partizan I have to collect a preorder from Duncan at Trent Miniatures for the start of my Austrian contingent: three thirty man fusiliers battalions and one twenty four man Grenadier battalion, some gunners and officers. I'll source the guns later from Front Rank I hope. I also have a third French Infantry brigade all ready for painting, so I guess that will keep me occupied for a few weeks at least! I'll keep you posted anyway. Now, off shopping ~ oh joy!

Friday 29 August 2014

An Old Ruin and a Young Sub General

As promised, a few shots of the competed ruin for our Late Roman games. Archway from Ian Weekley's Battleground range, columns from Coritani {perhaps also Battleground?}, flooring from the Internet!

I also have a new Sub General, Pompus Beanus Minimus ~

A little over scale for 28mm I know, but I like him! My youngest grandson, William, aged 9 1/2 months; he makes up for his inexperience with enthusiasm! Let's hope he will be as keen when he's older! I'll certainly be doing my best to encourage the third generation.

Thursday 28 August 2014

Plugging a gap in the line

Earlier in the week I popped over to Phil's OHQ for another run through our 'rules in development' for the 1914-15 period of The Great War. As I mentioned in an earlier post I've dabbled in this area of the war twice before with Phil: once in 15mm with three Minifigs armies and once in 20mm with Britannia Miniatures figures. In the 1980's I even had a set of rules for 1914-15 published {The Great War 1914-15 oddly enough} which might even be in publication somewhere or other still. Phil and I also wrote a set of rules for the period which featured in an earlier copy of Wargames Illustrated {The Guns of August} while I also wrote a series of seven articles for the magazine based on recreating historical scenarios from the early days of the war on the table top. I remember one of them being bought spectacularly to the table top at an Alumwell Show by Dave Page and his small Kinver group of gamers. Phil has recorded our game, by the way, over on his Blog News From the Front {see sidebar link} so I'll just post a few camera phone shots I took during the game here to give a flavour of the action.
South Staffords occupy the villa while the Royal Scots Fusileers hold the flank

The South Staffords dig in

The Royal Scots Fusileers guard the right flank near the factory

The Gordon Highlanders move forward on the exposed left flank

In support of L Battery, the Royal Horse Artillery

Cavalry deploy in advance of the main defensive line

The 17th Lancers engage the enemy's Uhlans to defend L Battery

In a stiff fight the Uhlans are driven off and the distant German battery overrun

And a supporting infantry regiment taken prisoner

In the end the Hun are little trouble. Time for tea I think...

We think the rules are developing nicely now to provide the size and nature of game we want to play. The Great War can be a little overwhelming when it comes to the tabletop if you let it. We are aiming at Brigade sized actions in the early months of the war, brought to the tabletop battlefield on a table sized no more than 7' x 4', probably the size most gamers have access to. As we both enjoy painting 28mm figures, that determines the scale of the game, and the wonderful range from Great War Miniatures provides most of the figures needed, although other ranges are available ~ Wargames Foundry, Musketeer Miniatures, Mutton Chop, Old Glory come to mind readily. Infantry battalions are represented by 10 bases of figures, each 50 x 40mm, including a command base and a machine gun company, while cavalry are represented in 6 or 8 figure squadrons on bases to suit tastes about 50 x 50mm in our case. Artillery are on bases 50 x 80mm and have two models to a battery, with limbers and the like being optional. Brigade and army commands are based on appropriate sized round bases. More news of the rules in due course as they say.
On a different front Phil was kind enough to rebase some ancient terrain pieces for me and I've been working on one this week. As it stands right now this is how it looks ~

Its an old Ian Weekley Battleground item with columns from Coritani I think. The mosaic patterns I downloaded after a web search and resized for use on the model. I will add extra groundwork, static grass and clump vegetation to give it a more worn look. Probably I'll also was the tiles and walls with a dirty colour to tone it down a tad too. Pop back to see it in all its glory next week some time. Now, as they might have said in August one hundred years ago, "Here we go, Cheerio, Toodle Oo, Goodbyeee..." until the next time.

Monday 25 August 2014

Following on from last week

When I posted a thematic Blog entry focusing on my ACW collection and encouraged by the many positive comments it elucidated, I decided to reorganise the photos I had stored on Photobucket of my 28mm English Civil War collection and make a second thematic Blog entry.
Actually, its the third collection I have owned over the years, starting in the 1980's with a small Minifigs army, for Parliament of course, and then a 28mm scale Covenanter army made up of figures from manufacturers such as Essex, the long gone Sussex Miniatures {I really liked their pikemen}, and even some Lamming figures with the separate heads! The present collection I began when I retired from teaching in 2001 and comprises mainly Wargames Foundry and Perry Miniatures figures with a few from Warlord Games, notably the personality figures Matt sculpted for them.

We play now a days with my own rules,
"A Crowning Mercy", available from Caliver Books

My allegiance in the Civil War has always been to Parliament, I'm a republican to the very core of my being, detesting the monarchy, its fawning advocates, and the aristocracy in general. The end of the Commonwealth in 1660 signalled the end of any chance of true meritocracy developing in our country. So, "Death to Kings! Even 28mm ones!" will be our small scale battle cry! Our forces are lead by ~
Oliver Cromwell by Warlord Games

The Earl of Essex by Warlord Games

Obadiah Bykleigh, our local Parliamentary Hero, by Wargames Foundry

Of course, I've had to put my strong feelings to one side and paint figures for a Royalist Army as well as for Parliament. They are commanded by that staunch monarchist, Sir Marmaduke Gaylord Robinson, later Lord Rawnsley and by Lord Walton of Stafford ~
Sir Marmaduke Rawnsley by Warlord Games

Of course we have historical personalities too in the form of the Kynge {'God bless His Majesty!'} and that arch Royalist, Prince Rupert of the Rhine ~
Prince Rupert by Warlord Games

We mainly game a series of imaginary battles in a semi campaign format ranging over South Staffordshire, where Phil, Jon and I live ~
Obadiah Bykleigh and his 'Council of Warre' plan their next move

In recent years for this period I've moved away from 40 x 40mm bases and the like to larger bases for ease of storage and movement on the tabletop battlefield. The favoured size for the ECW armies has evolved to be 80 x 50mm. This enables a Regiment of Foote to have three bases, one of pike and two of shotte. I've also added a circular command base, an idea I lifted from Dave Imries's ECW armies on his blog ~
Essex's Tawney Coated Regiment of Foote

Sir Marmaduke Robinson's Regiment of Foote

A Troop pf Horse or Dragoons can be represented by a similar 80 x 50 base, usually with three mounted figures on it ~
Parliamentary Horse advancing to the fight!

I've added a few of the ephemera of battle over the last few years as well as a number of guns of various manufacturers and calibre ~
By Perry Miniatures

Baggage ~ an essential element of the ECW army

On a table 6'6", or 7', by 4' large scale battles in my preferred choice of 28mm figures are not always feasible. But, even on a smaller table the visual impact can be pleasing I think ~
A clash of horse on the army's flank

Or a push of pike in the centre ~ figures by Perry Miniatures

There's a good reason to collect those ephemera figures in the visual appeal of any game ~
The Rev Jeremiah Bykleigh invokes the Lord's blessing
on slaughtering those Godless Papists fighting for the King!

While Solomon Drinkswelle takes a more laid back approach

To finish then, some shots of the other units which have graced our games ~
Prince Rupert's Regiment of Foote

The Oxford Foote

Some action scenes from our battles ~

A shameless plug for my rules to finish off this second thematic post ~

I shall be interested to see what, if any, feedback and comment this Blog post produces. If it is mainly encouraging and folk would like to see more then I shall persevere with the reorganisation of my photos and post a third Thematic Blog entry, probably of one of my Colonial Collections...

Friday 22 August 2014

Because I felt like it

I have been reorganising my photo libraries on Photobucket of late, having realised that things were getting increasingly difficult to locate quickly due to the lazy way I had uploaded pictures in the first instance. For example, I had no library dedicated to my ACW collection; odd that as its always been my real interest in gaming, and in research and writing down the years! Having reorganised this one file I thought I'd celebrate my progress with a little blog post. Its also a post which confronts the reality that nothing I game seems to be 'popular' at the moment if I judge by the paucity of comments beyond a few friends and diehards. Plenty of visits here, and on various Forum Boards I frequent, but very little in the way of feedback or comment. I have at last come to terms with that state of affairs and will continue blogging in my merry way and the fashion followers in our hobby can... well, you get my drift I'm sure. So, some pictures of my ACW collection in action, and in close up too, to encourage others who like me perhaps are not as good a painter/modeller as they aspire to be. First up are two bespoke figures sporting my personal likeness, which heads Matt sculpted for me as gifts. Each is based on a Redoubt Miniatures' body and mounted on a Dixon horse. {As you'll see, if you did n't know already, my ACW collection is almost exclusively Dixon Miniatures.} ~
Useless S Bykleigh

Jubal E Bykleigh

I've realised in sorting out the pictures, and confirmed by sorting through the drawers in GHQ, that I have far too many Generals to ever deploy on the tabletop. My excuse? Well, I enjoy painting them! Here's a selection ~
Joe Johnson

Meagher & Father Corby

Jackson & his Staff

As 'regulars' here will know I'm not a very good painter, though I do try hard, and I'm even less of a modeller! I have over the years though made several scratch building and modifying efforts for my favourite era. A few samples of those now ~
Observation Balloon set

The intrepid aeronaut!

The balloon was picked up in a 'tourist tatt' shop on a day out in Shropshire. The waggon is from the Days Gone By range and the figures from Dixon and Redoubt. With Phil's help I've made several buildings to grace our battlefields over the years ~
Rawnsley Farm and associated out buildings

Fencing of various types ~ by the yard!

I've been painting and collecting my favourite Dixon Miniatures figures almost since they were first available, so both the paints I used and the style I paint in have changed and evolved of course. A few shots of my figures might illustrate that better than many words though ~
The Dixon Miniatures ACW bandsmen ~ I have two bands!

Rebel artillery

From the Irish Brigade

146th New York

Louisiana Tigers

South Carolina's finest

Finally in this piece of blatant self indulgence, my figures in action across the table top battlefield here in GHQ. Phil made the terrain boards, as I'm sure you'll know by now, and the trees and stonewalls are from The Last Valley ~
The Rebs advance!

Union troops on the march

Steady Boys!

Rebel artillery swings into action!

As a postscript: 'General Robinson' perusing the first copy of Bull Run To Gettysburg, my ACW rules published by Wargames Foundry ~
The calm before the storm...

Well, I hope some of you have enjoyed this self indulgence on my part. Now to reorganise the next file...