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 31 October 2017

Moving on...

...as opposed to other, more recent forms of moving, I’ve painted up a Royal Artillery 12lb gun and crew for my Wars of the French Revolution project. The gun is from Foundry and the gun crew from Trent Miniatures. The figures mostly sport the ‘Mother Shipton’ hat, which makes them stand out from my other bicorne wearing gun crews in the British contingent of my Allied army. From the latter manufacturer I’ve also finished three Artificiers to go with the gun when it’s emplaced in works rather than deployed in the field.

After Finishing these figures I started on some Mutton Chop 1938 British infantry figures for my VBCW project. I've got the first four to the stage where all the basic colours are blocked in and the flesh and metal areas are highlighted. The figures are quite nice, though the detail and/or casting on some is a little soft, or perhaps it’s my old eyes? In total I have 16 to paint, so at my current rate that will take a couple of weeks! I believe a command pack is next out, though how soon I don’t know of course. That will give me two 9 figure groups and a command group of 2 figures, a decent addition to the VBCW roll call. When the female figures from Footsore are released, hopefully before Warfare, I shall get those for my Tettenhall WI contingent, perhaps will some additional figures from the New Bad Squido Land Girls range.

Thursday 26 October 2017

Confined to Quarters!

Not a great deal of hobby related activity here in GHQ since last week I was struck down with a bad attack of Gastroenteritis while away with Sue in Chester. It spoilt our break as you can imagine. It’s also meant no progress in GHQ on the painting front and definitely no chance of any games ~ both cancelled this week sadly! As I seem to have rallied I can post something though, the last figures I finished before this blew up, together with something Phil has been painting up for me. Two limber sets from Eureka for my French Horse Artillery in my Wars of the French Revolution project ~

Thanks to Pete Barfield, a stalwart of the VBCW scene, I now have flags for more of my formations in my own corner of the VBCW in Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire. Firstly for the Wightwick Manor Rifles, a mixture of garden and house staff ~

The figures are all from Footsore of course: the Old General;Toff and Butler; the new Gardeners; and the new City Gents. The Gardeners are lovely figures, less so the City Gents I thought, but that’s just me ~

I also added a flag for Mander’s Horse and a generic Anglican League flag, the latter found for free on the web ~

Finally for the VBCW/Operation Zeelowe games an ambulance from Shropshire! A model I found for £1.00 in an Antique Emporium in South Staffordshire ~

To end the post, I mentioned that Phil had painted something new for me. A German Infantry gun and crew, by Warlord Games, for our 1940 games. I think it’s fine, hope you do ~
Now, back to resting I think! Pop by next week when I hope to have more to report!

Thursday 12 October 2017


With three weeks without any games here in GHQ or elsewhere I’ve been trying to make progress on painting, mostly for my Wars of the French Revolution project,  if for no other reason than keeping the summit of the Lead Swelling within sight! (See my previous post for a peek at the growth in the Swelling!) My first task was to complete my unit of Eureka Miniatures Austrian Hussars, in the to do queue since May! The twelve figures proved less taxing than I feared and were completed in just over a week. They will join the Light Dragoons from the same manufacturer in my Austrian’s Light Cavalry Brigade ~

Next in the queue were two small units, in Black Powder terms, to represent the Hussars of the Damas Legion and the York Hussars. They are each four figures in number on two 80 x 60mm bases, compared to the normal strength of British or French cavalry in my collection of eight figures on four similar sized bases. They are unusual as the figures from Trent Miniatures were never released, seemingly neither Matt nor Duncan know why that was. I suspect that it’s because they don’t sit easily on the Trent horses. However, my wife remarked on seeing the finished figures that the poses of the riders actually made them look like riders in motion and I tend to agree. You will have to judge for yourselves ~

I’ve settled on a style of painting my figures for this project which suits my hand and eye at my age. I use just the base and highlight shades generally in the Foundry Paints triads, with the exception of faces, musket stocks, standard shafts and horse flesh. I still paint in the eyes where I think it will work for me, not the Austrian Hussars you’ll note this time. We need to remember that for the majority of us our hobby is wargaming not warpainting. I enjoy seeing the beautifully worked figures of the painters out there but my figures, and probably yours too, are viewed in the game from several feet away mostly. In that context, as Phil is wont to say, mine will do! As I termed them, the Painting Fascists nearly stole my hobby but I rallied just in time! (Mainly because my work wasn’t good enough or enjoyable as an experience. ) Now I find Painting more relaxing and less pressured. If I don’t feel like it I don’t do it and I certainly don’t suffer angst over the finished item! No doubt you’ll have your own views on this...

Monday 9 October 2017

Lead Belt Fest!

I’ve been away for a couple of days in the East Midlands area between Nottingham and Newark mainly, the Lead Belt as wargamers have dubbed it, but also visiting the Derby Worlds Wargames Show, now confusingly in Leicestershire! I had a really good time I have to say and enjoyed both my visit to the show and my expedition to some of the Lead Belt’s major players. I met and chatted with several good chums, saw some half decent games and browsed the aisles of the show taking in much wargaming goodness. I also took the opportunity to move the Lead Lump up to Lead Swelling status. Before I give any comment on the show though I’ll show you what I bought ~

Mostly Trent Miniatures as you can see for my Wars of the French Revolution project: French Dragoon’s; French Hussar Command; British Light Dragoons; British Royal Artillery and Military Artificers. From Dave Thomas I bought some extra Perry Miniatures British Light Dragoons in Tarleton helmets and some American Militia in firing line and casualty poses, for my AWI expansion next year. From Coritani some new brushes; MDF bases from Warbases and Grass Tufts from Great Escape Games; from Redoubt a Mounted ACW Union General with an enormous beard!A decent haul I thought!
Turning to the show itself now, the first thing you’ll notice I hope is that I took no pictures of any of the games. Were they poor you might ask? Well, no; in fact there were some first class games on show and all being vigorously played! There simply just wasn’t the space around them for players let alone geriatric photographers!!!  Move over to the Traders’ area, and let’s face it that’s the main reason many folk attend these events, that again seemed very cramped between stands. I found it difficult to browse without being knocked and almost impossible to stand or sit and chat to folk I know. I didn’t venture into the Competition area as it holds no interest for me at all. But, I do wonder why this two day event survives as it seems to me Traders are being charged to subsidise folk who want to play in a competition. I’m sure Traders and the punters would happily see a better one day event with more space for both Traders and gamers! Just my two penneth as a former organiser of WMMS you understand, nothing more.
Despite my feeling about the cramped space I enjoyed my visit, but I did leave earlier than I planned as I was uncomfortable with the crowded aisles. I drove up to Nottingham and booked into my hotel for the night, The Village if you’re interested, right next door to WI HQ! After a satisfactory dinner and decent night I set off on the Lead Belt part of my tour, starting with a visit to Dan at WI HQ to discuss what I might contribute next year amongst other topics. Then, off to meet Duncan at Arcane to thank him for the Trent figures and to buy some Footsore VBCW figures from Steve: the new City Types and Gardeners and some more Militia Standard Bearers, as Pete Barfield is even as I type finishing his latest flag creations for my VBCW in Wolverhampton & S Staffs project!
From there it was a short drive out to East Stoke and Wargames Foundry. I always enjoy going there, even if I don’t buy much. I just marvel at all the figures they’ve bought to us down the years and the great skill of the myriad folk who’ve painted the display figures you see in the glass cases, those you see on their web pages of course. The welcome I find is always warm and genuine, encouraging the wallet open with little pain! I’d budgeted for a decent spend, mainly on AWI figures which I intend to work on next year (DV) to expand my AWI game’s size. You can see what I bought in the picture below. The odd piece is a 6lb Artillery piece for my RHA as they’d had none when I was there in the summer ~

Figure acquisition wise that’s probably my lot for 2017. The Lead Swelling has expanded to five Really Useful Boxes. I may go to Warfare in November with Phil, but doubt i’ll buy more lead, and Wargamer in December to see chums before the winter hiatus that breaks at WMMS. I think I shall need those new brushes I bought! But for today, that’s it, I’m off to bed. Night!

Saturday 7 October 2017

When they were up...

...they were up, so as to speak, but mostly it seemed they were down! The latest games here in GHQ featured figures from my Wars of the French Revolution collections. Phil in his guise as Lord Rawnsley, scion of that family of military nobodies, Jon as Lord Walton, and yours truly as the inept French General de Bykli, of whose military prowess the less said the better! I played the game twice you see: on Monday against Phil, and on Wednesday against Jon. I won neither game! Well, now that’s out of the way I feel free to say a few words about each of the games in turn and to show a few pictures I took of the action. So, back to Monday first and the game with Phil ~
Turn 1: the Allies win the Initiative. They succeed in all their Command
rolls and advance all along their front.

On the French left its a familiar story: Advance? Non!

Turn 2: the Alies decline to move at all. The French centre and right
advance full of elan, or something...

Turn 3: the French right left finally moves forward but the centre stalls. On
the right the cavalry get stuck in to each other to little effect!

Turn 4: French Light Cavalry swirl forward on the left while the infantry
decline to move in their support. The Hanoverian brigade awaits the enemy

Turn 5: the French Chasseurs a Cheval see off the British Light Dragoons.

Only to be thrashed by the Hompesch Hussars in their turn. The French
Hussars decline to move, again!

Turn 6: an overview of the battlefield. The Allied centre is too strong for the
French and both flanks are stalled with neither side feeling strong enough to
win a decisive advantage. We called it a draw and retired for tea and cake.

Fast forward to Wednesday evening and the second incarnation of the Wars of the French Revolution game herein GHQ saw Jon, as Lord Walton, seeking to do better that Lord Rawnsley had. A fiercely contested game was the result with a decisive win for the British after Turn 9 when the French army's morale finally failed in the face of overwhelmingly Disordering fire over four turns. Jon's ability to throw 6's beggars belief at times, and with my dice too!
The French are advancing in the centre and on the right. But for the Allies the
Marines have occupied the farm. French Light Infantry advance to contest the
building complex.

French cavalry surge to the attack on the left but the infantry decline to move.
Sound familiar?

On the French right the Heavy Cavalry is doing well forcing the British
Heavies to fall back. The Marines still hold the farm though and give flanking
fire on any cavalry passing by!

The French cavalry falls back and the right flank becomes a rather non event.
The Marines still hold that farm!

Turn 9: the French army has four Broken Brigades and retires from the field!

Two very different games and two different outcomes. French Command Roll failures in both games hampered their attacks on the left while Disorder did for them in the second game. I half joked with Jon before the second game got underway that I often spend half our games in a state of Disorder: I should have kept my mouth shut! No games now in GHQ or elsewhere until the end of the month as Phil and Di are away in the USofA on a touring holiday of the Deep South! I hope to get some painting done and will have something to show early next week.In the meantime I'm of the Derby Worlds tomorrow, so time for bed I think!