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 27 October 2018

Palazzo Project Completed

It seems to me like eons since I foolishly embarked on this project to build a Palazzo as a centrepiece for our Italian Wars games. But here it is completed and well before the end of the year, which was my target you may recall. As Grand Designs go it is '...on time and under budget...', a very rare creature indeed! Of course, I had some help with the final dry brushing of the buildings' walls, but the rest is as they say, all down to me. Here is a final photo report on the processes and the more of the finished article. I hope that it meets with some degree of approval after all the hours spent on it~

Aerial view to show the planned layout of the Palazzo.
Front view ~ from left to right ~ three Warbases Modular
buildings {Tower, Tall Modular, Small Modular} with
Supreme Littleness Designs Ornate Window added; Warbases
Villa Gateway {front} and Charlie Foxtrot Spanish Tower
{rear}; Sally Forth Tower and Italianate fortifications added;
hidden are the Warbases Modular Low Building and the
Gateway. The Statue is a Foundry Roman Officer on a
Sarissa Precision Plinth.
The whole textured with Fine Polyfilla. Messy and fiddly!
The basecoat of Golden Brown by Crafters' Acrylics.
After successive dry brushing of Fawn and Light Antique
White, a wash of GW diluted Seraphim Brown, and a final
dry brush with Crown Emulsion Lime Wash.
The Wills Flagstones have had similar treatment to maintain
the sense of colour for the piece.

A view from the side rear. The Foundry Madder Red Shade on
the pantiles has been dry brushed with the same firm's Orange
Midtone and Light.

View from the right rear aspect showing the side gate.
View from the left rear aspect to show the small Warbases
Shed filling in a corner.

View from the front left aspect to highlight the Supreme
Littleness Designs Ornate Window added to the Warbases 
Tall Modular Building.
Final view from the front right aspect to show the courtyard
interior, minus the statue which is being Satin varnished by
Phil for me.

To recap if you've just arrived at this final stage, the buildings are all MDF shells: from Warbases; Sarissa Precision; Charlie Foxtrot Models; and, Sally Forth. I can't praise all of them enough for the advice and help offered in the planning and purchase phase of the project, but particular thanks must go to Martin and Dianne at Warbases who cut the base to my specifications and made a number of parts from whole kits available to me. They are the stars of the MDF firmament for me!

BEF Infantry

A good while ago I bought the Warlord BEF deal from their web store. I painted up some of the Support and Command elements but left the poor bl**dy infantry. In truth they would probably have lingered in the Lead Pimple forever if my long time friend and military modeller Ian Bottrill hadn't volunteered to paint them, as light relief from his more usual Soviets I expect! I've done the basing to fit in with my existing VBCW/1940's collections Here they are for your viewing pleasure ~

One of the great things about our hobby I've found is the spirit of mutual help and support, an ethos which far outweighs the moaning minnies thank goodness! In the aforementioned Lead Pimple for this period/Collection/Game I've got three Footsore VBCW Standard Bearers and the Tsuba 'Russian Band' set for paint conversion to the VBCW. I doubt they will be done any time soon though!

Thursday 25 October 2018

A Baptism of Fire!

For our regular Monday morning game it was my turn to host in GHQ and I unsurprisingly chose an AWI game for this week, with a view to 'blooding' my new units on both sides {See earlier Blog posts for details.} Lord Rawnsley, aka Phil, commanded the British and Loyalist forces, Old 'Independence or Death' Bykleigh, my good self of course, the Patriots. We decided on a 12 turn game to give the new Black Powder 2 rules a good run out and fielded almost all of my collection bar the Hessian Brigade. We decided the Crown's forces would attack the Loyalists, so set up accordingly with the Loyalists in three lines south of the road and the Crown's forces entering from the northern table edge, when Lord Rawnsley's orders were, eventually, relayed successfully to his Brigade commanders that is! Three turns of mostly failed Command Rolls is quite amusing when its not you I found! As is my wont, a photomontage to tell the unfolding tale of the action ~

The Loyalists/Rebels took up a defensive posture. It’s much
easier to be amused by failed Command Rolls when you are
not having to make your own!
King George would not be impressed with Lord Rawnsley’s
hesitant start. Only three units have managed to move in
three turns!
Loyalist Militia in the First Line, supported by artillery. They
felt nervous as the lobsters advanced on them! The artillery
duel down the road lasted all twelve moves ~ some indication
of  how deadly our shooting was,
Making the most of the Crown’s tardiness, Continentals
occupy the Farm buildings and line surrounding fences.
They proved impossible to drive out!

The Foot Guards’ fire discipline Disorders the Militia but
they remain unshaken. They are not cowed by tea drinkers!

The British Legion Infantry's advance falters under fire.
The Loyalist/Rebel position holds firm despite action all along
the front.

New unit syndrome strikes the 43rd! To their rear the 23rd
reform after faltering.

Pressure mounts on the Loyalist left centred on the farm
complex. The 42nd and the 64th advance to support the Guards
detachment who are Shaken and Disordered by Loyalist fire.

The Guards morale crumbles! "Cheer, Boys, Cheer!"

As the Crown's advance falters the Virginians advance to
relieve the battle weary Militia.

The 64th break under sustained fire from the advancing
Pennsylvania Continental troops.

The fighting around the farm is fierce, but the Loyalists hold
their ground despite losses.

Despite losses, the Loyalists go forward and overrun the
enemy's artillery.

The Crown's forces just cannot break the Loyalist's resolve!
A draw after 12 Turns, although Phil conceded the field and ordered a withdrawal. The Militia performed like heroes to a figure! The Guards did not enhance their standing sadly! Too many Command Roll failures in the firth three turns hampered the Crown's forces later in the game, allowing the Loyalists to occupy the farm in numbers.
A decent work out for Black Powder 2, though we realised we had forgotten one rule completely in the post battle chat! Only one though! No games now until November 7th, when Jon and I will lock horns in a Black Powder2 ACW game fought over a modification of the terrain for this battle.

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Palazzo Progress Report #5

Phil arrived very early on Monday with a view to undertaking the final dry brushing of all the constituent parts of my Palazzo build. For this we are using a Crown Emulsion Test pot of Lime Wash, which cost 50p! I had in preparation washed all parts with a watered down Games Workshop Seraphim Brown, which dried a very pale urine colour if I’m truthful ~
As I said, a pale urine colour, obtained by watering down the GW wash, 2/3
wash, 1/3 water. The Crown Lime Wash tester is 50p at Homebase.

Phil hard at work drybrushing the tower. In all it took him about two hours
to complete the whole Palazzo to his satisfaction. Me? I was on coffee duty!

The buildings are all drybrushed to perfection! The Wills plastic Flagstone
Flooring is all glued into place with UHU. I had one spare sheet so I cut it
into small rectangles to level off the buildings where the stone sheets were
not right under them.
The next phase will be to paint in the windows I added to blank walls, black or dark brown I think, and then to paint the base colour on the window frames, gates, and doors. The shutters can be added then, fixed with UHU again and painted too. For the woodwork I plan to use Foundry Bay Brown Light and lightly drybrush with the same company's Spearshaft Shade. The colour idea I got from a recent episode of Grand Designs, one in which some Londoners with money to burn had bought a ruined Italian hill top castle to restore ~ took them seven years by the way! It was in the end a really useful programme and interesting too. If you think Planning in the UK is a messy process, thank God you are not in Italy! In case you are wondering by the way about the statue on the plinth, its at Phil's getting a coat of Satin varnish!

Saturday 20 October 2018

The 8th Virginia Continentals join the ranks.

A second unit of Foundry figures, the 8th Virginia, to join their fellows of the 4th Virginia completed last month. Again I chose the blue faced blue uniforms for consistency if not necessity this time, as the figures I chose for them sport very little in the way of equipment. That leaves me with just three bases of Perry Miniatures 16th Light Dragoons, two of which will make up the regiment in question, leaving the third base to be painted to represent Loyalist Dragoons, an idea I filched from the blog Tarleton's Quarter - thanks Giles! Leaving those aside for now, here are the boys in question, the 8th Virginia Continental Infantry, flags again by Clarence Harrison ~

In addition to these Phil has been painting more guns and crew for me, by Perry Miniatures this time. In this case a Butterfly 3ld gun for the Queen's Rangers ~

Such has been the boost painting and receiving new troops for our AWI games that I have ordered some additional figures from Foundry ~ two units of Rebel infantry and one of Rebel Dragoons. Mind you, posted on Friday week and still not delivered here! I was toying with the idea of starting something new, but, at least for now, the madness past...

Friday 12 October 2018

The Trouncing of Bhykli Pasha...

For our regular Monday game earlier this week with Phil I tweaked the desert table laid out for last Wednesday’s Sudan War game between Jon and yours truly. I replaced the Mahdist forces with my motley crew of Egyptian Regulars and irregulars, bolstered by some Baggara Horse roped in for the game. The British, under Lord Rawnsley, must drive through the Egyptian lines of defence if they are to win the game, the Egyptians just have to hold their ground if they are to win. As ever, an annotated photomontage to bring you the nub of events~
The Egyptian right rested on a small walled farm, fronting on
to the opening of the wadi to their front. The far right was held
by three units of irregular Arab horse, supported by one of
regular Gendarmes.

As Fanatics the Irregulars must try to charge the enemy in
sight. Sadly their Command Rolls did not reflect their ardour!

The Hussars and Dragoons holding the British left moved
forward cautiously, supporting the infantry who must storm
the Egyptian lines to win the battle!

The first cavalry clash of the battle was brutal...

One group of Arab Irregular horse is Routed unceremoniously!
A Sweeping Advance by the victors smashes into the
supporting Irregulars...

Who are beaten soundly and Retire 'Shaken and Disordered'!
Still, with two uncommitted Cavalry units still in place the
British victors sensibly Rally Back.

As the British close on the wadi in their remorsely assault on
the Egyptian lines the second Egyptian Cavalry Brigade is put
to flight.

With their right flank now open, the Egyptian regular infantry
reposition themselves awaiting the inevitable assault.

'Some corner of a foreign field...' as the British Cavalry
commander is killed in a fruitless charge on the Irregular
Infantry in the wadi! It will be up to the Royal Surreys now.

As the British Infantry lines close on the Egyptians, their
Cavalry move to threaten the rear of the Egyptian position.

The remaining Gendarmes are Routed by the Hussars and the
Egyptian army is broken before the infantry can close with

As is generally the case we used the 'old' Black Powder rules, for the last time today as, just before hostilities commenced, the two copies of the Second Edition I’d ordered for us from Caliver Books were delivered to our door. I hope the new version will get as much use as the old over the coming years here in GHQ. I really can’t be bothered now to try to recall the nuances of different sets of rules, even those I’ve written myself, so I think you will get to see ever more Black Powder 2 games on the table here.

I ought finally to say a little about the Tiny Wargames Desert Mat before I close. It was made as 7’ x 6’6” to allow it to lie easily over hills and that it managed quite well. However, the material it’s made from, a synthetic cloth it seems, is quite slippery when figure bases are placed in hill sides, in fact they heavy bases slide every time. The colour is also interesting, looking very green from some angles under my LED lighting and noticeably changing hue when viewed from different angles, something you see readily in the photos I think. But, and it’s a very big but, it is so much better than my old felt cloth that I have to say I’m more than pleased by it.

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Palazzo Progress Report #4

Sue has gone away with her sister Ann for a very well deserved break on the Jurassic Coast, leaving me free to potter on with my Palazzo project for our Italian Wars project. The first stage after the base coat of Crafters Acrylic 'Golden Brown' is to dry brush the whole building with Crafters Acrylic ‘Fawn’, which when it’s thoroughly dry can then in turn be dry brushed more sparingly with ‘Antique White’. I’ve taken pictures of those three stages for you to see how it progresses ~
Base coat of Glden Brown for the walls & Madder Red for
the roof tiles.

A heavy dry brush of Crafters Acrylic Fawn is the second coat.
The third stage is a lighter dry brush of Antique White. 

I want the plinth of the classical bronze statue to pop a bit, so I omitted the bases brown colour used on the buildings and painted the first coat Fawn. It was then painted with Foundry Paints ‘Boneyard Light’ and the statue painted with the same company’s Bronze Triad.
The next stage of the project will be to wash all the walls with Games Workshop ‘Seraphim Brown’ before a final drybrush of the walls with Crown Emulsion ‘Limewashed Wall’. When all that is done, the pantile roofs can be tackled next! After that the ornate windows of the tower and the doors, windows and shutters. When all that is done the component buildings can be fixed to the 3mm MDF base and the texture can be added for groundwork. Bit of a way to go yet...

Sunday 7 October 2018

The 4th Virginia Continentals muster in.

Pressing on while I can I’ve been working on a unit of 21 Foundry figures which will represent the 4th Virginia Continental Infantry in our AWI games. I chose to paint them in their blue faced blue uniforms, if I’m honest because I thought I’d struggle with other colour combinations given the amount of equipment on most of the individual figures! I’m actually quite pleased by the final results, given my ongoing issues. The flags I downloaded back in the day free from Clarence Harrison’s website, but I believe they are now sold through Warfare Miniatures. Fortuitously I downloaded the whole range of American flags so I hope to reflag the American army before our next AWI game here in GHQ. Well, enough said, time to let the boys step out smartly ~
The next unit to step up smartly to the Painting Desk are more Foundry Miniatures, this time to be designated as the 8th Virginia Continental Infantry, similarly with blue facings to their blue uniforms. I've just discovered that I have three bases worth of British Light Infantry, Foundry figures of course, so there may be future additions to the British and Loyalist forces next year.