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.

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Painting! Playing!! Partizan!!!

Bit of a mix and match entry today as this is the first real opportunity to sit down for a while and contemplate goings on in my hobby, and in GHQ in particular. The reason? Well, the wonderful arrival of our first granddaughter Emma Lily, our fourth grandchild, has been the main focus of life in the past few days. Needless to say we have been focused fully on the happy event and so all else has taken a back seat. I can now at least draw breath and think about what I want to get on with in relation to the Blog in recording the last few weeks goings on in GHQ.
Firstly, I have completed another unit for my VBCW games, the Workers' Militia figures from Footsore Miniatures to flesh out the Boulton Paul Workers' Cooperative ~

I enjoy painting the figures, getting the 'worker look' right without endlessly repainting the same dour colours is an interesting challenge, akin to painting ACW Confederates in my experience, but I did NOT enjoy the rigmarole of cleaning up so much flash, so many vent runs and even metal blocks from all the figures. That's three purchases now in succession which have had very poor quality control on the castings. Someone needs to get their finger out there I think! I've got a few more figures ready to paint now to add to the collection, so look out for more recruits in future posts if this is an area you are interested in.

As I've mentioned previously, with Jon's life being somewhat cluttered with more important matters than wargaming, my gaming total has taken a bit of a knock back. The last week therefore has come as a really pleasant change in that I played three games here in GHQ, although I only have pictures of two of them. Phil and I played an AWI Blackpowder game, by mistake actually, but I'll come back to that in a moment if you'll bear with me. The British commander, Phil, had a game objective which differed from mine as the American commander, leading to him having to respond to the unexpected and me to planning to deal with his unforeseen response as well as achieve my own objective. In the end the game ended in a draw after 12 turns, but with Phil poised to achieve his game objective of capturing the American officer in mid coitus and my own forces frustrated in their objective of capturing the enemy fortified camp. I think the pictures will tell the unfolding story clearly ~
The British fortfied camp ~ the objective for the Ameicans.

The 'Love Nest' of an unnamed American officer ~ the British objective.

Early moves on both fronts!

The Americans assault the British position!

Some set backs for the Americans!

The British close in on their objective.

The Americans gather for the final assault. Victory is in sight!

Or perhaps not!

Time for a quick exit! "A pleasure, ma'am!"

A great game with wonderfully tense moments and full of incident right up to the end of the 12 turns, with victory eluding Phil by mere inches and me my the throw of the dice in hand to hand combat!

My second game was with my good friend Kevin Calder, who flew down for the weekend from Aberdeen to go to Partizan with us and of course get in a game in GHQ while he was here. I had left the terrain out on the table when clearing away after the AWI game with Phil, so as Kevin had never played a Blackpowder game before I opted for the same game scenario, but moved the setting to the War of 1812 in the Canadas. Once more, I was the Americans and Kevin took the role of the Anglo-Canadians. It seemed rude to disrupt Kevin's first game in GHQ by stopping to take pictures, so I concentrated on the game play and helping Kevin to get to grips with the rules in his first game. He picked it up pretty well, as I'd only expected really. Too well in fact, as I lost in Turn 9! But once more it proved a challenging and interesting scenario, one which could be applied to many theatres and periods I think.
I'll come back to our Partizan experience later, but first the third game Phil and I played out after Kevin had returned home. Some small alterations to the table layout and once more a setting of the War of 1812 with the Battle of Calder's Creek! The simple game objective is to win control of the bridge over the creek, commanding one of only two approaches to the settlement of Calder's Bend. Again, I hope the pictures will tell the story of the unfolding struggle ~
The American left advances!

Light Dragoons sieze the bridge for the Anglo-Canadians!

American artillery target the Glengarry Rifles.

The might of Empire on the move!

British regulars advance to support the Light Dragoons, while the
Fencibles advance to confront the American right!

In the centre, the Americans sieze the hill!

A dashing charge by the American Dragoons disrupts the whole
Anglo-Canadian advance! Hurrah!

The Michigan Fencibles are in trouble!

The centre is held by the Americans, despite heavy artillery fire!

The Americans overwhelm the enemy! Victory!!

A win in Turn 6 for the Americans when Phil conceded defeat, unable to prevent the Americans siezing the objective of the bridge over the creek! Half of his army was 'Broken', resulting in the Light Dragoons being permanently 'Disordered', leaving them helpless before the American onslaught!

So, back to Partizan as promised. Our first visit to the new venue. Pluses? Light! Space to move around! Great games! Large range of traders! All good we thought. Minuses? Queues to get in even at 10.35! Poor planning there chaps! A bit warm for those on the sunny side suggests August could be 'interesting' for us all!Catering! Let's have some decent food and decent service please, none of this fast food junk! We'll bring our own in August I expect. A seating area for R&R for we elderly chaps would be good too. Overall impression though is positive. I can only see this show growing in the new venue! Well done Laurence and Richard! Pictures? There's heaps all over the web, but I do have just a couple of camera phone shots. Firstly from the VBCW game, two details ~
A Field Kitchen.

A Casualty Clearing Station.

And from the Great Yarmouth Good Old Boys, a wonderfully excentric game featuring armies of Dolly Peg troops, even with full instructions for making and painting them! My favourite of the show ~
The look of the game.

Even artillery!

And cavalry!

And Hussars!!!

A great game, but only one of many great games, and a great show all round. If you did n't go you missed a treat, so get there in August if you can. We certainly hope to! Toodle Pip for now though!

Monday 16 May 2016

Planning and Progress...

...after a fashion! My mind is on other much more important family things at the moment, so, even though Sue is again working at the University all week, I find that I've actually painted very little really. I did manage though to take advantage of the better weather last week to finally spray paint the undercoat on all of the buildings and bits I bought earlier in the year from Hovels to make up a representative 'town' for my Wars of the French Revolution project {although it could be used in Bolt Action WWII games or even in our occasional 1914 games I suppose} to which I've added some gravestones and a memorial from Ainsty which I picked up at Carronade. I've laid out what I think will be the final layout of the town on my table in GHQ to give me an idea about painting the individual pieces. The 'town' will be mounted on four seperate but interlocking pieces of 2mm MDF to allow for some 'modelling' effects to sit the buildings more effectively into the terrain. I'd be interested to hear what folk think of the layout, so please chip in without fear or prejudice ~

The dome I bought from Coritani, also at Carronade, to give an option in the 'look' of the church in the town.It will need a base making to sit it correctly on the tower but that not withstanding, I hope that the four views have given an idea of what the town might look like in the round on the table. Anyhow, any comments, even brutally honest ones, can help at this stage of the project! Moving on from 'Planning' to 'Progress', of a sort, some more additions to the VBCW/Blandings/Operation Zeelowe games in the shape of a Militia Anti Tank Rifle team and a few more general Militia figures. I've also finished the first two of a ten man unit of Workers' Militia, but they will have to wait until the unit is completed to be on view here  ~

Well, that brings me to my final point: these figures, formerly from Musketeer but now from Footsore Miniatures, used to be really crisp castings with zero flash, vent runs and the like. These latest ones under the new banner were all covered in flash and even solid blocks of metal from ill fitting moulds. I would not mention this sort of thing lightly, but to go from perfection to these poorer specimens merits comment.

Wednesday 11 May 2016

A Few New Additions

Since we got home on Sunday Sue has been working at the University and I find that my days are largely my own. I managed to get over to Phil's on Monday, despite being rather tired from the previous day's travel, and play in a 1st Carlist War game which surprisingly I managed to win! I've also been able to get on with painting some figures to add to the VBCW/Blandings/Operation Zeelowe games here in GHQ. First up are some Footsore Miniatures {formerly Musketeer Miniatures of course} to add some figures to the Express and Star Rifles as reporters and printworkers ~

Next up from Sloppy Jalopy are my miners, sculpted by Matt with heads by someone else, to represent the Hilton Main Miners' Collective. The Hilton Main pit was quite close to our home and so it seemed a good choice for our VBCW games set in the local area of South Staffordshire around Wolverhampton ~

The banner of the Shropshire and South Staffordshire Miners' Union was made generously for me by Pete Barfield, based on a photo of the original I found on the web. It should probably be larger, but that's a matter of convenience for storing the group really ~

The mine foreman sports a Wolves scarf as a further nod towards our local setting in the VBCW games here in GHQ. His personal bodyguard is made up of two figures with shotguns, ideal for nasty close up combat ~

The remainder of the group is made up of a two man Lewis Gun team and four riflemen, one about to lob some liberated company dynamite ~

While I'm quite pleased with the way they turned out, the close ups reveal that I've made a bit of a mess of a couple of eyes! Probably I should give up painting them in, but I always have done it where the sculptor has given me something to work with, so I guess its a case of old habits dying hard! They all need to be varnished of course, but the weather is not playing fair at present!
Next up are some more Footsore Miniatures, a mixture of Workers' Militia and IRA figures, to fill out the Boulton Paul Workers' Militia with some appropriate figures. I've made a start on the two man anti-tank rifle team first, and then there will be 14 figures to paint for the unit to be finished. I'll pop them up sometime next week hopefully, if all goes to plan that is!

Sunday 8 May 2016

Carronade 2016

Sue and I have been up to Scotland for a few days with Phil and Di, staying in South Queensferry at the Hawes Inn. The object was to have a few days break and to take in the Carronade show organised by the Falkirk and District Wargames Club. Together with Claymore, held in August, the show is amongst my favourites of the year and one we always try to get to if we can manage it. Its good to see games which don't make it down into our neck of the woods and to meet the many friends I have made over the years visiting the show. There were many wonderful games, but I've concentrated my photo report here on those which particularly caught my eye. See what you think anyway. First up, a rather fine ECW game which took Best Game award for David, Brian and co ~

Next to catch my eye was a 28mm Retreat from Moscow game by Kevin and Peter from the Iron Brigade. The snowy battle mat by Cigar Box Battlemats really caught my eye, so much so that I may consider one or two desert ones for GHQ for the Sudan War games later in the year ~

A rather fine D Day game caught my eye too ~

As did this rather smart Great Northern War game featuring the rather fine Warfare Miniatures ~

Amongst other games I really enjoyed looking at was a 28mm Battle of Assaye game featuring the range of figures for Wellington in India by Redoubt Enterprises, which I don't recall seeing at a show before. The tabletop battlefield was made up of carpet tiles and I thought it clever, cheap and effective. Judge for yourself anyway ~

There is plenty so see and do at Carronade I've always found and in a very congenial environment amongst friendly gamers. Here's a participation game featuring the new Blood Eagle rules which I thought looked wonderful ~

A Bolt Action 28mm WWII game ~

I always find something unusual at this show, well at least its unusual to me. In this case a large scale Ancients game. At first sight its rather plain, but it grows on me; I think it must be the large scale figures reminding me of happy childhood days ~

And to end the run around of games I liked,the chaps from SESWC lead by Colin Jack: Brazilians in WWII, the Italian Campaign ~

Of course no Show report is ever complete without some mention of the 'Loot' gained by the happy wargamer! So, here's mine ~

Bases from Martin at Warbases: resin scenic bits from Ainsty via Colonel Bill; a carriage from Cran Tara; VBCW Militia from Footloose via Ainsty; a resin onion dome from Coritani; and finally some odd figures from Colonel Bill again ~ SYW French light infantry, SYW Hussars on foot (I wanted the pelises); a Wargames Foundry C18th Shepherd and a table from an unknown source, perhaps Redoubt? Oh, and a copy of Sharp Practice, in case you missed it,from Caliver Books. A decent haul I thought to add to the lead and resin pimple! All in all a great day out and a show I highly recommend to any who can make it! Roll on Claymore in August now!!!