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 September 2016

Open Fire!

In the last three or four weeks I've been adding some support and heavy weapons to my VBCW forces. I've already featured the Stokes mortar and crew, together with the Leach catapult, crew and bomb making vignette; now I've finished the 18lb quick fire gun and crew. They all have civilian looking crew figures from Reiver Castings as I wanted them to be interchangeable between the various factions and forces in my games set in and around Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire, as well as popping up in 1940 Operation Zeelowe or Blandings games. The mortar and catapult are from Great War Miniatures, but the provenance of the 18lb gun is a mystery, perhaps Renegade? Its certainly not the guns sold by either GWM or Woodbine Designs.

A reprise of the earlier heavy weapons ~

And all together ~

The Reiver civilians look, I think, surprisingly good, given that I thought them a little on the 'primitive' side as sculpts. I don't mean to be scathing there, rather to say they remind me of figures from an earlier time, when the world and I were younger!

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Ministering to the Troops in 1914

Phil has almost finished his troops for our joint 1914 project. Its been a long slog fitting it around his commission work, family commitments and other activities, but we are nearly ready for a full game at last in GHQ. I decided to add a small set of vignettes to depict a Casualty Clearing Station, just to fill in along the back line of the table, an often empty area in games we have found. I bought a decent sized tent from Old Glory last year, and that will be the hub of the pieces. I've so far completed a Padre from Great War Miniatures  ~

Together with a small vignette from Woodbine Designs of 'Woodbine Willie' distributing cigarettes to a wounded Tommy ~

I plan to add the 'Casualty' set from Wargames Foundry's Great War range when I next pop over to their factory/shop in East Stoke. This should n't be too far in the future as I need to replenish certain paints too. I have an ambulance already, a die cast model I picked up cheaply a while back now, so taken all together it should make a nice set of pieces to provide some game infill. We shall have to see how we go beyond that then, although an army doctor and nurse[s] would be nice I think ~ all suggestions welcomed.

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Clouds of Skirmishers?

Well, not quite as you can see, but I'm sure you get the general drift of my thinking. As you probably know, in Black Powder you do not need to deploy skirmisher figures to claim their benefits, but I just thought when developing my armies for the Wars of the French Revolution project that a French army without clouds of skirmishers just would n't look the part! I've never been convinced by the odd single figure deployed out to the front of more solid formations either, so I decided to make something of the skirmishers as a mini diorama base, opting after an abortive effort for large oval bases from Warbases, which I could augment with scenic effects from Irregular, tufts and general detritus, in the form of green stuff spent canon balls! I've shown odd examples of the skirmish bases before, but thought a grand revealing was now in order. Firstly, the French, in the persons of some 14th Legere ~
The most recent base of four Trent Miniatures figures.

The three completed bases which will screen the Legere Demi-Brigade

An earlier set of Legere skirmishers from the 4th Legere Demi-Brigade ~
Elites from Trent Miniatures acting as Legere skimishers

As you saw in a fairly recent post, I've started on similar bases for the British contingent of my Allied army ~
Figures from the Longford Militia Light Co as skirmishers for the British

An earlier attempt at British skirmishers from the 42nd on irregularly shaped MDF bases ~
The 42nd's skirmishers take cover as they can

The Austrians of course have their skirmish bases too ~
A Hungarian battalion screened by its skirmishers

I hope to pick up the final figures I need for the remaining British battalions' skirmishers at Derby Worlds next weekend. Together with the French 4lb Battalion guns I have and the battalion on order from Brigade Games I hope that will round the project off nicely. We shall see, as they say...

Saturday 24 September 2016

Stretching a Point?

I had a bad fall on Tuesday while I was out with Sue and suffered some soft tissue damage to both wrists; the consequences of two arthritic hips I'm sorry to say! One obvious side effect has been the diminution of painting here in GHQ. So, I only have one thing to show for a whole week's painting time!
The latest addition to the VBCW in Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire comes in the shape of a Leach catapult, crew and bomb making vignette. As its range was about 200 yards at best in reality. I see it as a short range defensive weapon, deployed in someone's back garden or factory yard to deter attackers. I'll have to work out something to fit with Bolt Action before it debuts on the table though.

The catapult itself is from Great War Miniatures; the three crew serving it from Reiver Castings, although I added a stick to one of rage figures, for striking the locking mechanism on firing, with a short piece of brass rod; and lastly the bomb makers are from Woodbine Designs. The Reiver figures are really quite small, but I wanted civilian looking crew for this part of the project and I think they work quite well in isolation from their larger brethren in the collection.

Next up, now I'm restored to what passes for normal, for the 1914 game are some figures for the start of a casualty clearing station and for the VBCW game an 18lb quick firing gun and civilian crew. I hope to finish both before Derby Worlds to keep some balance in the Lead Pimple under my painting desk! I have preordered the figures I need to finish the British skirmishing Light Companies for the Wars of the French Revolution project and I hope to also collect some other bits and pieces, including some Warlord Games Gurkhas for the Burma games. I hope these, together with the French I ordered from Brigade Games, will see me safely through the winter months and onto a new project for 2017!

Monday 19 September 2016

The Grand Old Duke of York?

Not exactly I have to say if I'm being scrupulously honest, but rather a new/restyled command base for His Majesty's Army in Flanders and the Low Countries. Two versions of the Trent Miniatures Irish Militia officer and one of the foot officers from the same company's range.~

A vanity, I know, but mostly harmless so I feel that  you will indulge me this one more time. 'The' head you will recall was sculpted by Matt and cast up as a favour by Trevor Dixon. While I was working on this base I also reorganised some other figures to give me a command element for the second British Infantry Brigade, again using Trent Miniatures figures. The officer nearest the camera is from the Irish Artillery set, the other from the set of British Officers. ~
I've also started on some skirmish bases for the British infantry, as previously only the 42nd/Dunwhinginn Fencibles had their own skirmish bases. I want the game to have an homogeneous look on the table, so British Light Company skirmishers are on the agenda at present. These two are the first, I should pick up the other figures I need at Derby Worlds ~

Again, Trent Miniatures figures using one pack of Longford Militia Light Company and the remaining two officers from the pack of four. Turning to the French, I want to add one further Battalion of Legere to my Demi Brigade, which I have taken the plunge with and ordered in from Brigade Games in the USA, sculpted by Paul Hicks, so making the 12th company to contribute to my project. In the meantime I have added two more bases of skirmishers for the same Demi Brigade using the left over figures I had from the 14th Legere ~

As it happens I have four more of these figures in the Lead Pimple so there may be a fourth base; after all you can't have too many French skirmishers really. Finally, and on a very different tack entirely, for my VBCW games set around 1938 Wolverhampton, a Stokes mortar and crew ~

The mortar is from the Great War Miniatures set I bought at The Other Partizan, the crew from Riever Castings picked up at Claymore last month. I'm working on a Leach catapult and crew now. The catapult is from Great War again, the crew from Riever but with the addition of the Woodbine Designs 'Bomb Makes' set. But you will have to wait to see that, sorry. I'll finish by saying that I have two of 'The Heads' left and am wondering in what game they might yet pop up. Any and all suggestions welcome.

Saturday 10 September 2016

Watching paint dry!

I seem to have been doing rather a lot of that of late, gazing into the middle distance vacantly rather than getting on with paint, brush and figures. I think that it must be that the onset of Autumn, with the nights closing in, has brought on the annual S.A.D. rather earlier than usual! Or perhaps I need a new period interest to spur me on? No? Well, at least I do have something new to show at last, and for different games that we play here in GHQ. So, no more waffle, here we go ~
For the 1940's Operation Zeelowe/Blandings games, some new aerial power for Lord Emsworth, the Empress III ~

This lovely little model is the Ironclad steam gyro-copter. Matt suggested it might be fun, so I bought it at Claymore in August. Hardly any flash on the metal parts, cleanly cast resin body, nice pilot with three extra heads for conversion affectionados, goes together easily, what's not to like? One quibble though, the hole for the flight stand, included with the kit, is in the wrong place for balance. Easily solved with the trusty pin vice!
Next, for the Wars of the French Revolution project, from Trent Miniatures, a rather corpulent Tyrolean officer who appears to be singing an operatic aria! I've nicknamed him Biccarotti, rather unoriginally, and plan to use him as a marker in a game for a once only Morale reroll, in the spirit of "Its not over until the fat officer sings!"

More sensibly for the same game genre, the final pack of Front Rank Napoleonic civilians, augmented by The Other Partizan free figure ~

While on the subject of free figures, Dan of Wargames Illustrated fame gave me a Lord Kitchener figure. I can use him in the 1914 games I'm sure but I see no reason why he should n't figure also in my VBCW games set around Wolverhampton in 1938 ~

So, neatly and finally, on to the VBCW genre. I have added two new units; the Chillington Rifle Company and the Tettenhall College Cadets. The former are mainly the weaselly folk ,by Paul Hicks I believe, which Phil kindly gifted to me, the latter the Woodbine Designs armed schoolboys and staff groups, with a Footsore standard bearer ~

In the case of both these units Pete Barfield very generously made me the flags, making use of some ideas I researched on the internet and sent to him to work with. Needless to say, his wonderful creations owe little to my work and really lift the units on the tabletop! I also have flags made by him for the Chillington Light Horse and for the Tettenhall Militia. I hope to pick up the figures for them at Derby Worlds in October, so keep an eye out for them later in the year! Toodle Pip!