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 April 2016

Twenty Seven Minutes!!!!!

I would swear, honestly, if I thought it would do any good. But bl**dy Windows 10!!! What idiot thought it was funny to let it loose on the world? From switching on to do this Blog entry to typing the title took 27 minutes! Had to restart the computer twice as it all just froze!!!!! Give me 10 minutes and a good length of 4 x 2 in a closed room with those idiots responsible for Windows 10....please!

Well, that's better anyway; I'm breathing normally again. Not much to report on here in GHQ really. Only three games played out this month altogether, only one of them here in GHQ, not that it attracted much interest anyway from what I can see. I've managed one win from those three games, in the SCW game over at Phil's {you can visit his blog 'News From the Front' via my sidebar link if you'd like to see more ~

I took this on my iPhone camera, Phil's pictures on his Blog are far better. He has a quite wonderful set up for things Iberian and I always come away thinking I must buy some figures for this game - a bad case each time of 'Darkest Africa Syndrome'!!!!
I've collected my new glasses and am manfully trying to master the oddities of the varifocal lenses; certainly better vision now for driving and watching the TV, but I'm finding the reading part fairly difficult to master. No problems though with the new painting glasses. Well, that's not strictly true between you and me: I was half way through six French Dragoons for my SYW collection to bring the unit up to strength. I put the new specs on and promptly could see how awful they looked. Cue considerable repainting before I could finish the other half of the additions. I've taken a few pictures of the figures I've been working on this month as I have nothing else to report ~
Grenadiers Royaux

Those French Dragoons I mentioned

British Horse Grenadier Troop

That's all the SYW additions for the British and French armies I purchased this year finished, although these still need to be varnished. That rather depends on the weather though...The Prussians will not reach the painting desk until the Autumn I think. Next project will be my northern European 'town' and my windmill, the latter which Sue kindly bought for me. They are waiting to be sprayed with a dark brown base coat; again, cue the weather sentence from above! I've also got some VBCW types on the go. I'd been meaning to add some troops for ages but somehow always forgot at shows. So, I ordered them over the net! I got the Sloppy Jalopy miners {Matt made the bodies, the heads are by someone else and are, in my view too small and rather spoil the character of the figures} and also from Arcane in Nottingham the Footsore Workers' Militia. I hope to work those in amongst the buildings for painting in May and June. I also bought the concise Sourcebook with a view to seeing how our local difficulty fits into the greater sceme of things. One final piece of painting: a Perry Miniatures mounted Continental Officer for my AWI collection ~

I'm rather pleased with how he turned out! Those new glasses have certainly made things much sharper and clearer for me. Well, that's all for now. Sorry to bang on about Windows 10 at the begining. I'll skate over the two times AOL has crashed while I've been doing this entry!

Monday 18 April 2016

Operation Checkmate

At last, a game today in GHQ! And not just any old game, but a VBCW game involving Eddy and 'That Woman'! Phil took the part of the Government Forces and I took on the Socialists of the People's Republic of Wolverhampton. The scenario sees the Socialists, having been alerted by an heroic employee of the railway to the passage close by of the Royal Train carrying the King and 'That Woman' south to Oxford, blocking the line outside Wolverhampton and derailing the train. The Government forces, rushing to the king's rescue, comprise elements of the KOSLI and the 'Bislston Steel' BUF, supported by local militia loyal to the Government, namely the Express and Star Rifles and Swindley's Own from Tettenall. The Socialists, based in the town, comprise local militia units: the Three Tuns Invincibles and the Boulton Paul Socialist Worker's Cooperative, supported by elements of the LDV who have gone over to the Socialist cause, together with some Anglican League militia based on St Peter's Church. The table at the outset ~

The King's party disembarked from the derailed Royal Train and anxiously awaiting rescue  ~

The Socialists set out to accomplish their task and capture the King ~

We used Bolt Action as the rules to run the game by, with the addition of a dice for the King's Party. When that was drawn the next Bolt Action dice determined which of us would control the royals! This meant they would mill about rather confusedly rather than just high tail it towards the relief forces, representing the confusion felt following a rail derailment at some speed.

Favoured by the draw of the dice in turn 1, the Express and Star Rifles and Swindley's own made good time across the fields towards the railway line, hoping to reach the King's party and effect a rescue, supported by the Bilston Steel unit from the BUF ~

Only too aware of the stakes in this operation, the local Socialists Militias of the People's Republic of Wolverhampton hurry towards the railway line ~

While the Anglican League Militia seize the bridge crossing point, supported by a light tank painted a rather fetching pink ~

Rather worryingly for the forces hurrying to their rescue, 'That Woman' proves to have little sense of direction and moves towards the advancing Socialist Militias ~

However, help is close at hand as Militias loyal to the Government cause are closing in on the train and its important passengers ~

The Socialists cross at a ford known to a local fisherman, supported by the first of the LDV. It looks like a close race to seize the King!

Again the draw of the dice favours those seeking to rescue the King's party and the Militia are soon almost in place to defend the King's withdrawal ~

Meanwhile, the Regulars of the KOSLI make their presence felt near the bridge crossing, while the light tank of the Shropshire Yeomanry exchanges fire with the Socialist tank ~

Concerned for the safety of his consort, the King and his entourage have joined the Queen's party and are in some danger of capture ~

Help is close at hand however in the form of the BUF and the Militias ~

Back at the bridge crossing the Anglican League and the supporting light tank are doing a great job at holding up the Regulars, giving their Socialist allies every chance to capture the King and his party ~

A swift attacking rush sees the LDV force capture the King's party { by winning the hand - to -hand combat phase} in the face of the enemy rushing to aid the King ~

Gallantly rushing to the King's rescue, the owner, management and employees of the Express & Star Rifles attack the LDV ~

And in vicious hand - to - hand combat they defeat the LDV giving the King and his party a chance to escape ~

At the bridge crossing the Anglican League are still heroically holding off the Regulars, despite the tragic loss of their light Tank to the KOSLI's 2lb anti-tank gun ~

At this crucial juncture of the game in Turn 6, the draw of the dice again favours the Government's forces and the King and his party make good their escape ~

The heroes of the Express & Star Rifles had sold their lives dearly in the cause, allowing the king to escape. The table at the end of Turn 6 shows the final position of the forces of both sides. The Government {Phil} had achieved their objective in rescuing the King and his party, so won the game, despite some serious losses. In the end, the Socialists were just too late to capitalise on the capture of the King earlier in the game ~

A close game which might well have gone the Socialist's way, but for the run of the dice drawn in Turn 4. While both sides began with an even chance of achieving their objective, after Turn 4 the game slipped inevitably away from the Socialists' grip. But still, there is always the next time.

Wednesday 6 April 2016

The Eyes have it!

Well, clearly I spoke too soon in my last blog entry. No game at Phil's on Monday, he has the man flu! No game in GHQ either with Jon, real life far too demanding of time and effort. I will keep my mouth shut in public in future, ere the 'curse of GHQ2' strike again!

As my regular reader will recall, I've been chuntering on about the old eyes on and off for several months now. Well, today it was my optician appointment and its official, the old eyes have weakened since my last test and new glasses are called for, not only for painting and for reading, but now for general distance wear too! I will have a trial fitting next Wednesday for varifocals, to cover reading and general distance use, and then hopefully just have new lenses in my painting glasses. A side effect may be not much spare cash to spend on little chaps in the coming months! A good job I have a stash put away for Partizan! As that's in May you'll have quickly gathered that we are not off to Salute. This is the second year we've given it a miss. Let's face it; its overpriced, over-hyped, overcrowded and overwhelmingly it seems Fantasy and Sci-Fi orientated! We are planning instead to make a four day break in Jockshire which will correspond with the Carronade show in Falkirk. For the same sort of outlay as a short stay in the wilds of East London and the exorbitant entry fee to the show we'll get four days in a much prettier place and meet many of our Scotch chums and see some first class games too which hardly ever venture down to us southerners! The Hawes Inn at South Queensferry, one of my all time favourite places to stay will be our base for a three night stay! But, Sue and I may not get to go as the show's date is close to the expected arrival time of our fourth grandchild, and that of course takes precedence over all else. We shall have to wait and see how things go.

I have been putting my enforced non gaming time to profitable use when I've been able, plodding on with my additions to the French and British SYW armies. I've completed two British command stands now: one for the Line Infantry Brigade and one for the Guard Cavalry Brigade ~
Guard Cavalry Command base

Line Infantry Command base

On the painting desk at present I'm working on 16 Grenadiers Royaux for the French, although I shall need a Command pack to finish them off later on. I shan't have to buy a flag though, as I found a free one on the internet to print out. I'm also doing bits to the 6 British Horse Grenadiers to support the Horse Guards on the table. That will just leave 6 extra French Mounted Dragoons to bring them up to full strength. I hope I shall manage those by the end of April. If I manage to achieve that modest target I will be able to start on my town and perhaps even some SYW Prussians too.

To finish on a positive note, 2016 has not been all gloom and doom on the hobby front. My diary shows that I have painted some 202 figures, all 28mm of course. I've also played some 20 games so far, in a variety of genres too. Of these I've won 9 and lost 8, with 2 being drawn and one abandoned with no clear outcome! A decent enough total, so feel free to disregard the opening gloomy entry above! Now, enough of my inane babbling, back to painting I think! Until the next time, Toodle Pip!

Saturday 2 April 2016

Rummours of Wars

We managed to play a game in GHQ this week! I had left the Wars of the French Revolution collection out on the table after Dan had finished his session, so Phil popped over on Tuesday for us to try a game with the whole collection on the table ~

We used the Black Powder ruleset with some modifications in the statistics I'm experimenting with for the period {You will be able to read about these in the forthcoming article in Wargames Illustrated later in the summer}. We were a little cramped for time in the end, having started later than usual, and the game petered out into a draw, although the French commanded by Phil had the better of it. Mostly my chaps failed crucial Order rolls and my firing and hand to hand was below par too. We agreed that perhaps having all the Allies on the table actually worked in favour of the French as they enjoyed more freedom to manoeuvre than the Allies could manage. I still hope to expand the French forces a little, some Voltigeur companies and some scenic skirmish bases are on the list for Partizan in May. To that end I've invested in some more theatre appropriate buildings: from Grand Manner I bought a European Windmill in their March sale; while from Hovels I purchased several buildings and walls to make a small town ~

Here is the set up I have in mind for the town, with perhaps a fountain or statue in the square. It will probably take me most of the second half of the year to paint and base all of this, as my hands are not strong enough to hold the buildings for prolonged periods of time, in fact I struggle with brushes and figures sometimes! But they will get done and look the part I hope in due course. The service from both firms was first class and I could recommend them without hesitation to anyone thinking of making a first purchase from both or either.

Painting wise I've been plodding on with some additions to both the British and the French SYW armies in my collection. I picked these up from Foundry at WMMS last month and am pleased with my progress to date. Firstly some French Brigade commanders, one for the Line Cavalry and one for the Line Infantry ~

Next a battery of heavy field guns for the British, who previously only had the Battalion guns at their disposal. Foundry never did a specifically British 12lb gun, so using the "it'll do" approach I bought a pair of the French heavy guns. They will do the job for me anyway ~

I'm working on the extra British command stands now, one for an Infantry Brigade and one for the Guard Cavalry Brigade. More of them as they are finished next week. I've also started some French Grenadiers to boost their foot force. I expect they will take a while to finish as I could n't get a command set. My other painting task has been entirely pointless, but one I enjoyed enormously! I bought some Napoleonic Civilians from Front Rank to populate the town and village simply because I liked the figures. Here they are, D'Arcy and all ~

I especially liked the grouping around the village pump, very evocative of a simpler time gone by I thought. These are figures from three of the four sets currently available. The missing set will have to wait until I order some SYW limbers in the summer. I have added something else to the Lead Pimple since WMMS when I popped over to Foundry last week - my failed attempt to buy a French Grenadier Command set! I was rather more successful in buying the figures for the start of a small Prussian force for the SYW. I acquired some Generals; two 12lb guns and crews; a 20 figure Battalion of Musketeers; another of Fusiliers; and a third of Grenadiers. These will form the backbone of a large infantry Brigade to ally with the British. I will hopefully be able to add a second Musketeer Battalion at least when funds allow, and perhaps some Frei Korps in due course. We shall see.

There may be a game in GHQ this week, I am waiting on Jon to see if there is a window of opportunity in his schedule. I should manage a game at Phil's though anyway on Monday, though I don't at this time know what it will be. As its a thoroughly wet day here by the looks of it I hope to progress my painting at least a little, otherwise the Black Dog may get me if I don't keep busy! More as and when, as they say. In the meantime, Toodle Pip!