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 28 September 2018

AWI Additions ~ the 43rd Foot

My latest figure additions are a unit of Foundry Miniatures AWI British Line Infantry in firing pose, painted to represent the 43rd Foot with white facings. I chose these because I had the flag in house so I saved a few pounds. Back in the day when I started my AWI collection I bought two Army Deals from Front Rank at Salute, when it was still held in Kensington Town Hall. I added further units from the same manufacturer over time until the collection reached a state which suited the scale of our games. Fast forward a few years and Perry Miniatures began to add an AWI range, following on from the range started for Foundry, of which this unit is an example of the latter ~

My expanded collection now includes figures by Foundry, Front Rank, Perry Miniatures and a few Old Glory. When I decided further expansion was needed for the bigger gaming area in GHQ2 I chose to add two units of American Militia and two of British Infantry from the Foundry range. This is the last of those four units. The flags are ones I downloaded free awhile ago, now sold by Warfare Miniatures I think.
I still have two units of Continental Infantry from the same manufacturer and some Perry Miniatures British Light Dragoons. I've started on the first Continental line, the 4th Virginia, and I hope to work on completing at least those next month and see if I can get an expanded game in in December. We shall see...
What I have noticed though is that the combination of arthritis in my right hand and the cataracts developing in both eyes has meant that my finished work does n't really stand up to close examination, as you can see from the pictures. But, the process still brings me some pleasure and on the table I don't think anyone will really notice, so ‘Onward and Upward!'

Thursday 20 September 2018

Mad as a bucket of frogs!

On Wednesday I went over to East Stoke, near Newark in Nottinghamshire, specifically to visit Wargames Foundry and spend some money on figures. You would be entitled to ask me, why? It’s not as if I don’t have anything to work on in The Lead Pimple after all. In fact, at my present rather reduced output of between 30 - 40 figures in a calendar month I worked out I had enough to occupy my painting time until July 2019!
But then I don’t suffer from any delusions about my own approach to the hobby, I’ve always been prone to look either for new periods to dabble in - the VBCW being a prime example - or worse still to expand existing projects far beyond the figure and unit capacity of the table in GHQ - the ACW anyone? In fact, one constant in the past 45 years of being a wargamer has been the constant churn of out with the old and in with the new, though the arrival of GHQ as a dedicated gaming room in 2004 has somewhat ameliorated this trend.
So it no surprise to me that when the budget allowed I was off to shop! This particular expedition had its origins earlier in the year when Phil and I revisited my SYW collection. More cavalry was an obvious development, either by reducing units from 12 figures or by adding new units. I should perhaps confess that the collection itself began entirely by accident, though Phil was indirectly to blame! I had decided to dabble in the First Carlist War with the then new Perry Miniatures range, I’d worked it all out and was ready to splash the cash. Then Phil showed me his latest painted figures! You’ve guessed of course, the First Carlist War range in question! So, effectively on the rebound, I turned up at Foundry with cash burning a hole in my wallet and was seduced by the splendid range of French and British figures sculpted by Rob Baker. I bought the bones of both armies there and then and have added steadily to them over the past few years.
Now, the range itself is to wargamers as Marmite is to toast affectionados, but I’m firmly in the pro-range camp as I feel the figures on painting really capture the mid C18th look of military men stout in heart and body! Whatever, I added to the armies on this visit: French Line Cavalry, destined for Orleans; French Fusileers, destined to be Regiment Clare for my Wild Geese; French Mounted Officers - you can never have too many Commanders after all! For the British: Grenadiers in mitre to stand in for the 23rd Foot; British Dragoons, for the 6th Inniskillin Dragoons; and more Mounted Generals! They won’t be reaching their day in the sun until next year, but in the meantime, here are some I finished earlier ~

Like me, you will have to wait until next year to see the new units hit the table. In the meantime, back to the 43rd Foot for my AWI collection...

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Marching to Glory...or Not!

For what turns out to be our last game here in GHQ this month I chose a War of 1812 setting and borrowed a scenario loosely from Steve the Wargamer - see his post on Abundance Farm, from the sidebar blog link section. Two equally balanced forces are tasked with capturing abundant supplies located in a farm on the table edge. Both enter down the road on the opposite corners of the table to the farm edge. Phil commanded the American forces and yours truly the Anglo-Canadians. Each side had two Brigades of Foot and were supported by artillery. In addition each side had one unit of cavalry. The rules used were, as is usual for us now a days, Black Powder while the figures were Foundry from my collection. We set the game length at 10 Turns and allocated Victory Points to features on the table, ranging from 1 for the entry point, through to 3 for the hills and for the crossroads, to 6 for the farm itself. As is my wont, a photomontage follows to tell the story of the unfolding game ~
Abundance Farm is occupied by the Paddoquoi war party in Turn 2.

The Anglo-Canadian forces advance on all fronts: the Regular Infantry on the
farm, the Militia and Fencibles on the right flank, supported by the Light 
Dragoons and an RA 6lb gun.

American Light Dragoons are Shaken by fire and nervously await their
supporting Infantry from Scott's Brigade.

The Paddoquoi are joined by the 4th Foot and their combined firepower is too
much for the US Sharp Shooters who fall back Disordered.

The American Light Dragoons are routed and the Infantry forced into square
by the British cavalry. The 2nd US Artillery is left exposed!

The American left flank collapses and the Anglo-Canadians prepare to go on
the attack. Columns of Militia and Fencibles at screened by the Glengarry
Light Infantry.

"Follow Me!" American infantry charge forward but are met with withering
fire from the 4th Foot and the Paddoquoi, while the 10th Royal Veterans are
hurrying to their support.

An overview of the battlefield: the Anglo-Canadians hold the farm while on
the nearby high ground the Glengarry Light Infantry skirmish with elements
of Scott's brigade.

The 10th Royal Veterans advance to take the battle to the retiring Americans.

The American left has collapsed and though the 1th Royal Veterans' attack
has been repulsed, the Anglo-Canadian's grip on Abundance Farm and all its
wealth of supplies is like iron!

The American's concede defeat! Their Regulars fared badly against the Militia
and Fencibles while their own Militia never made it into the fight!
A grand game I thought, perhaps coloured by my victory! It is true that Phil's Command Rolls were frequently poor and mine not much better, but I felt my own tactics more likely to win the game, drawing in his Regulars with my weaker Militia and Fencibles, leaving my own small Regular brigade and Paddoquoi support to seize the objective. No doubt Phil will pop up in due course with a different perspective on the flow of the action!
Next up in GHQ should be a WWII game with Jon, using Rapid Fire!2, on the first Wednesday of October. In the meantime for me its back to painting the 43rd Foot for my AWI collection. Foundry figures of course. Eight finished so far, leaving 13 to do, plus 4 Light Company figures if I get that far this month!

Saturday 15 September 2018

Palazzo Progress Report #3

When I wake early some mornings I like to use the quiet time for hobby related activity. I do find though that on occasions the old eyes are not up to figure painting, so the Palazzo project (and associated other Italian Wars buildings) are a suitable alternative subject to occupy the time usefully. So, I’ve managed to progress the Palazzo project a little in that I have painted the base colours on the walls and pantile roofs: Crafters’ Acrylic Golden Brown for the walls and Foundry Madder Red Shade for the pantiles (& for the large windows on the tall tower) ~

In addition to the Palazzo I’ve got two other buildings in progress for the Italian Wars project: one large and imposing building made from WarbasesModular Buildings range, enhanced by a Supreme Littleness DesignsOrnamental Window; the second made from the central section of the Charlie Foxtrot tall Italian tower, with the spare resin roof Colin kindly sold me, serving as a stand alone defensive tower. I’ve got as far as texturing the walls on both of these buildings and adding the Wills pantile sheeting where needed but need a new pot of Golden Brown before I can start painting them ~

I’m aiming for a decent wargames table standard with these, to match the four already completed. Frankly I know both my limitations as a modeller and in respect of the time I’m prepared to spend on such projects, so I cut my coat according to my cloth so as to speak and am generally content with the process and the end product.

Friday 14 September 2018

Progress, of a sort anyway...

I’ve turned from MDF construction for the moment and back to figure painting. I wanted to let myself down gently from the riot of colour in the Italian Wars project so I turned first to some Trent Miniatures Austrians I had in stock, left over from my earlier 28 figure units. In all I could muster only eight figures, so I decided to paint them as Grenze Regiment Number 4, putting two figures on a 40 x 40mm base and giving me four bases for a Small Unit in Black Powder terms. Now, I realised that the cuffs were the wrong cut, but I will accept that deficiency in my games as the overall look of the units will be fine on the table during games and that is after all the only point to painting anything! My friends, of course, will be too polite to notice or comment anyway.  So, no more waffle or wittering, my take on Grenzer Regiment No 4 ~

I’ve also completed a small mule and muleteer vignette for the FRW project, both pieces from Foundry. If you squint you’ll see it’s a Roman era mule, but then it will do for me. Both pieces in Ian’s gift package I mentioned earlier in the summer~

On the theme of useful bits, but this time in more than one setting, I’ve finally got around to painting my Warbases Hay Cart and Hay Load. ~

I was over in Swadlincote on Sunday last weekend, visiting long time friends Ian and Ann who we met pretty much 50 years ago to the day as it happens. Ian’s not a wargamer but does enjoy painting 28mm figures, vehicles and such and builds splendid dioramas, so I enjoyed seeing his excellent work and received an unexpected gift in the shape of some VBCW Footsore Gardeners! In addition, Ian has kindly offered to paint some Warlord BEF British Infantry for me over the winter! I thought you might like to see the Gardeners ~

After these I feel I can take on a larger unit in figure terms, so back to the AWI next, where the Lead Pimple contains significant numbers of new units by Foundry and Perry Miniatures. First up a further British Line infantry unit I think. More later in the month on these I hope.

Friday 7 September 2018

The Second Battle of San Philippe

I modified the table layout slightly, mainly adding more elevation, and moved the walled farm further to the edge of the playing area. I thought I might try the same game with Warlord’s Pike & Shotte rules, to see what differences, if any, emerged to the game and whether of not our one base equals one unit approach would suit the rules. Of course the armies are slightly smaller, missing four bases a side, as Phil’s contingent was not present. Each army consisted of 15 units, including a Command Base to represent the army commander. I took one or two pictures to try and illustrate how the game developed using the rules ~

At the end of Turn 1 ~ the most obvious difference? Well, not every unit
moved due to failed Command Rolls! Jon's pike blocks the main victims.

Turn 2: One of my Gendarme units looses a combat to Mounted Crossbows!
One of Jon's Blunders to its right! Jon's Pike blocks still won't move!!

Turn 3: Most of my Gendarme units have lost and are Routed! Lots of
shooting going on to little effect, the Dice Gods were not happy!

Turn 4: I have too many Shaken units for my sole General to Rally but my
pike blocks may swing it my way, or not!

Turn 5: My Landsknechts fail their Morale Roll and, being Mercenaries, quit
the battle! I really should have paid them!

Turn 6: I hoped my Halberdiers might yet save me. No chance, even though
Shaken  and Disordered, Jon's Handgunners see them off!

At the end of Turn 7 its all up for the Borgias! My army is Broken and Jon
carries the field!

All in all we played seven turns in about an hour and three quarters, not bad given our vague grasp of the rules from one previous ECW game earlier in the year! Jon won in the end as over half my remaining units were Shaken and I quit the field. One memorable moment came when my Mercenary pike block failed a Morale Test while Shaken and went home! Obviously I forgot to pay them!!

As I enjoy Black Powder games I think I could warm to Pike & Shotte if I played the period more often. That seems unlikely though given my focus in the main on the period of the 1770’s through to 1914, so Phil and I will probably stick with our mash up of Neil Thomas plus mods rules, but no doubt Jon and I will revisit Pike & Shotte from time to time, though our next game will be a 1944 set Rapid Fire 2 game! Variety being the spice of a wargamer’s life here in GHQ at least!

Tuesday 4 September 2018

The Palazzo is Plastered!

Progress on the Borgias’ Palazzo project has far exceeded my expectations to date, in that all the external walls have been plastered with filler. I used about half a tube of the extra fine quality filler, the sort all DIY outlets stock in their decorating products. It dries to the touch in about an hour and is hard in about half a day I’ve found.
Front face: Wabases Modular building with Supreme Littleness Designs
ornate window added; Warbases Roman Villa gateway; Warbases Large
Roman Tower with Sally Forth Italianate crenellations.

Left face: Warbases Modular two storey, High Walls pillars as Butresses,
Shed and single storey Modular Building, Roman Stone window surrounds.
Pantiles by Wills/Peco.

Rear face: Warbases Modular single storey buildings and Shed with Charlie
Foxtrot Tower, omitting middle section (Resin roof comes with the kit).
Sally Forth wooden staircase to tower first floor visible in courtyard.

Rear face (2): Warbases Roman stone window surrounds added to the long
single storey Modular Building.

Right face: Warbases General Purpose Gateway between Large Roman Tower
and Single Storey Modular Building. 3mm MDF  base custom cut by Martin
at Warbases.

The next task will be to plaster the internal faces of the crenellations atop the large tower and paint the inside walls of the tall tower as they are visible through the larger windows on each of the four faces. I might even add some frescos if I can download something suitable and scale it accurately, as I managed with my Roman villa.

In the meantime I’d like to get a few figures on the painting desk. I have a few Trent Miniatures Austrians I plan to render as Grenzer to give something a little different to that army. I also have some Perry Miniatures AWI units in the queue, both British and Continental infantry, and some British Light Dragoons. We will have to see what develops in the next few weeks.

Monday 3 September 2018

The Battle of San Philippe

Well, as I mentioned in my last blog post, things on the family front thankfully have settled down enough to allow the resumption of some hobby activity. Phil and I managed to fit in our scheduled Monday game here in GHQ, a second battle for our Italian Wars armies, using our mash up rules again with some refinements added after the first encounter. An encounter battle between two fairly evenly matched forces with the prize being possession of the Great Ordinance lodged in the village of San Philippe. As ever, the pictures try to carry the sense of the action over the twelve turns we played in the course of less than three hours ~
The field of battle from the Florentine perspective, San Phlippe in the far
distance, a walled farm in the centre.

And again from the perspective of the Papal States' forces.

San Philippe is covered by a Pike block with handgunners in support and a
piece of light ordnance on the flanking low hill.

Supported by mercenary pikemen and Italian handgunners the heavily
armoured gendarmes move forward on the flank of the farm, hoping to turn
the Florentine left flank.

The Florentine centre advances steadily with handgunners and crossbowmen
covering the ponderous pike blocks.

Papal casualties start to mount as the handgunners come under fire from the
enemy ordnance. In the distance the Papal left wing emerges from the tree

The desperate and bloody struggle between the Gendarmes of both armies
continued unresolved for several turns. Neither side seemed able to make a 
decisive breakthrough!

Ordnance from both sides damages their opponents' foot, but despite losses
each side presses on with their attack. The Papal army's left flank looks to
envelope the enemy's right.

On the Papal army's left flank the action is getting more intense as halberdiers
close with a mercenary pike block. Despite mounting losses the Papal centre
continues to press the attack.

On the opposite flank the gendarmes continue to struggle for the breakthrough
while reserves and supports await their opportunity.

Losses begin to mount for the mercenary pike block as the halberdiers cut and
slash their way through their ranks. Fire from hand guns and crossbows begins
to effect the Florentine centre.

A unit of Italian spearmen punch a hole in the Florentine right flank while the
mounted crossbowmen harass the halberdiers holding the right flank.

After an epic struggle the Florentine gendarmes at last defeat one of the
enemy gendarme units.

But gendarmes in Papal service break through the remaining weakened units
to engage the supporting elements.

Though weakened by several rounds of hand to hand combat, the leading
elements of the Papal gendarmes are cut down by the fresh enemy units.

While the struggle to break the Florentine left continues to occupy the
remaining gendarme units, away on the opposite flank the Halberdiers have
destroyed another Florentine unit while the Italian spearmen make short work
of a unit of Florentine halberds.

The Florentine right is almost destroyed, its beginning to look all up for
their attempt to win the great ordnance of San Philippe.

The Papal army presses hard on the Florentine centre, while on the right the
gendarmes have almost succeeded in driving through the Florentine flank.

The Florentine cause is lost! The great ordnance of San Philippe can be
carried off by the victorious Papal army!
All things considered, it was a grand tussle which might have gone either way at times during the battle. Phil has gone off now to rewrite some areas of our rules in the light of our post battle discussion over coffee and cake. We shall try to fit a further in through in next month. Finally, for those who, like me, knew little of the Italian Wars, I found this useful map and timeline on the net ~