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.

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Happy Blogversary!

Well, who would have thought I could keep up these aimless rambles for seven years? Not me, that’s for sure! But, notwithstanding all that, here we are seven years down the line... I wonder how much time I’ve spent on this and related activity that might have been used differently? Well, I guess I can’t know that and it would only depress me more if I knew anyway. I’ll keep going while I think there’s some point to it, for myself or for visitors, but I do wonder sometimes if it has any real validity as an exercise. As ever, views are always welcome...
Meanwhile, a few favourite pictures from past years might be a good way to cut off pointless rambling ~

Or not, as the case may be...

Tuesday 27 November 2018

The Attack on Castello San Phillipe

For our regular Monday game here in GHQ, and the first in December, Phil and I settled on an Italian Wars game using Pike & Shotte rules for only the third time as I’d recently painted up four new Command bases. It was also a good excuse to see my Palazzo and all the related buildings and extras out on the table for the first time. The game saw Phil’s Florentine’s attacking the Papal held town of San Phillipe and attempting to sack the castello. As ever, a few pictures to illustrate how the game panned out ~
Castello San Phillipe and its town environs defended by the
forces of the Papal States.
Florentine forces gather, albeit rather slowly, for the attack to
commence. The Heavy Ordnance opens fire on the defenders!

Florence's finest, though they were not to live up to the
epithet during the battle!

After initial hesitancy the Papal Gendarmes and Elmetti
advance to confront the enemy.

A strong defensive line has been established by the defenders.
Masses of mercenary Landsknechts advance on the defenders

A view along the road to the battle. Cesare is leading from the
rear I see! The shame!

The battle is hotting up now with many of the defending force
being Disordered by handgun and crossbow fire. The pike
do not seem at all keen to engage their foe!

Despite suffering losses in combat, the Papal Gendarmes and
Elmetti sweep the enemy before them! On their left flank the
battle turns against the Florentines!

At last the Disorder is cast off and the infantry begins to go on
the attack as the Florentines falter!

The Garrison of Castello San Phillipe look on as the Papal
force presses forward on the Florentine centre.

All is up for the attackers in Turn 8! The Florentine left is 
broken and the centre is driven back. San Phillipe is saved
once more!

Pike & Shotte gave us a fast flowing and enjoyable game and
may in time supplant Neil Thomas's rules as our go to choice
for the period, we shall have to see.

The figures are from our joint collections and include items from Foundry, TAG, Casting Room Miniatures, Perry Miniatures, Dixon Miniatures, Essex, Hinchliffe, Warlord Games/Pro Gloria, and Steel Fist. I was never one for mixing manufacturers much in the past, but this just seems to add to the splendid Renaissance look of the armies to me. Bases were made for us by Warbases of course while they also provided the bulk of the MDF kits I used to kit bash the various buildings. Other components came from Sally Forth, Sarissa Precision, Charlie Foxtrot, Supreme Littleness Designs, Grand Manner, and Iron Gate Scenics.
We hope to revisit the Italian Wars early on in 2019 giving Phil a chance to add another unit or two perhaps to his Florentines. As for me, I've called a halt to Papal expansion and am back to painting extra units for our AWI games, the 3rd Continental Dragoons at present as I've had the dismounted versions for 20 years but never got around to adding the mounted versions! Typical wargamer I suspect, my attention wandered off to something newer and shinnier!

Saturday 24 November 2018

Loyalist Militia for the AWI

I have been working on a new unit for my AWI collection recently using the Foundry figures I recently purchased. I wanted a generic unit to represent the Loyalist Militias who rallied to the Crown’s cause to supplement my more organised Loyalist and British Regulars in my force. I wanted a rather motley appearance, with a nod to both uniformity and local supply, so I chose a mixture of American figures from three packs: Command; Uniformed Militia marching; and Minute Men marching. I chose a brown faced red uniform for the uniformed figures, painting all those first, then turning to the  Minute Men figures in more civilian dress, though I did try to make a nod to uniforms in the shape of red waistcoats where I could. For their Colour I ordered a ‘Make your Own’ version from Flags of War, a red field with the motto ‘God Save The King’ - a very hard choice for a life long republican! Anyway, here they are, see what you think ~
Loyalist Militia ~ a Standard Unit in Black Powder

A 'Make You Own' colour ~ from Flags of War

Mixing Uniform and Civilian dress

And again, a mix of dress

I had four figures left over from the Command pack but no other figures, so as I’d missed Warfare due to illness I decided to treat myself to some figures from Perry Miniatures to make up another American unit. I chose Firing Line figures, one pack in uniform coats and one in Hunting Shirts. In addition I ordered the Mounted Officers in cut down coats and three packs of Volunteers of Ireland, the latter whose flag I also had bought from Flags of War. They are all cleaned up and spray undercoated white now, ready to take their place in the painting queue!The Lead Pimple never seems to diminish these days you know, strange that...

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Action Replay!

No game here in GHQ this week as it was my turn to travel to Phil’s for the third game in our ongoing Fall of the Reich campaign. Phil has blogged our efforts so I hope you will pop over to his site News From the Front, via the side bar link, as I always admire the look of his games. Last week though we did play an ACW game in GHQ, a slightly expanded version of the Wednesday night game Jon and I had fought the week before. Again the game was pretty much nip and tuck right to the end of the allotted 12 Turns. While the Union, commanded by old  Useless S Bykleigh, could not quite pull of a clear victory, they did manage to turn back the Rebel tide! Phil 'Mudwall' Robinson did concede that his army would quit the field due to their overall position at the game’s conclusion, so a winning draw for the Union! I took a handful of pictures just to give a feel for the action ~
Opening moves see the Rebs attacking all along the Union front. Some Union
troops are slow to march out of camp!

The Union camp is strangely calm now the boys have finally moved off to
march to the scene of the fighting!

The Rebs are pinning the Union left flank while attacking the centre and right
vigorously! Old Useless is quite concerned at this stage that his centre may

As it happens the centre holds firm against the odds as Reserves arrive in the
nick of time! The Reb right is forced back and some regiments in their centre
are Whipped!

The Reb's left flank crumbles away and 'Mudwall Robinson' orders a tactical
withdrawal, leaving old Useless in possession of the field!

Buoyed up by those two ACW games I have finally got around to cleaning up the three Regiment’s worth of Dixon Miniatures I bought way back last year. I now replace the cast on flagstaffs with wire pikes as I’ve had old ones simply fail if you just caught them. It’s a bit fiddly for me, but much easier than doing it post paining and basing!!! They will end up as one Union Regiment, the 20th Mass, and two Confederate ones, one each from Virginia and Georgia to make up those State's Brigade numbers. I hope to get one at least done before the year’s end...

Sunday 18 November 2018

Further AWI additions and related ponderings...

Phil has recently finished painting up the last of the AWI gun sets I bought in the summer on a visit to Foundry in East Stoke ~
Of course, the set was sculpted by one of the Perry twins while they were working for Foundry and before they set up their own rival figure business. As I’ve said before, I really do prefer painting their Foundry sculpts over their own Perry Miniatures figures, but I recognise that’s a matter purely of personal preference as well as the rather larger range the latter offer now.
As it happens, as I didn’t make Warfare due to illness, I have just ordered some figures from Perry Miniatures for the AWI expansion project: Volunteers of Ireland; American Firing Line in a mix of uniforms and Hunting shirts; and lastly, Mounted Officers in cut down coats. None of these were in their earlier range, so I bit the bullet and steeled myself for the painful business of cleaning up hundreds of vent runs and irritating bits of flash, not to mention the awful packing material they use, which sticks to all those offending bits!
At present though I’m painting up Foundry AWI figures to make a rather informal Loyalist Militia unit. I have in my mind a generic unit, so I’m using a mixture of uniformed Militia and Minute Men with Continental Command figures, as I wanted a more local cut to the dress to delineate the unit from the other units. To help with this I ordered my first AWI flags from Flags of War, from their ‘Make Your Own’ range. I chose a nice red field emblazoned with the words ‘God Save the King’. Very hard choice for a long time republican!
I notice from the Foundry website that they have a decent sale in progress until January 7th 2019. I may take advantage of this to further expand the AWI and the SYW projects, we shall have to see. I’d still like to plan a new project though beyond that and am attracted to their Casting Room Miniatures War of the Spanish Succession range, but don’t want to buy any without seeing them firsthand. If I go down this route then the SYW expansion will be curtailed, so we shall see where we go...

Thursday 15 November 2018

Command Stands for the Italian Wars

When Jon and I played our first Pike & Shotte game with my small Italian Wars collection recently we found there weren’t enough Commanders for the game to run smoothly. So, I ordered some figures from TAG and set about painting up the figures when they arrived and organised them into three Command stands to add to those I already had.
The flags each base sports were a gift from Robbie Roddis who I met for the first time at this year’s The Other Partizan. His blog, Aut Cesare Aut Nihil, lead me to discover his outstanding and inspirational Italian Wars collection. Give it a visit if you don’t know it already!
These three Command stands give me two additional commanders per side now, as I have already completed one other base earlier ~
In addition to the main TAG  Army Command stand for the Borgias ~
I plan to rebase the earlier Command base I made using Casting Room Miniatures in a similar style and size to the TAG one pictured above, but that is a little way down the to do list right now...

Saturday 10 November 2018

Reviewing the Lead Pimple

I’ve been mulling over a new project for 2019, having raised funds by selling off my 20mm Vietnam Wars collection recently. In the light of that thought I took a few moments to review the contents of the Lead Pimple here in GHQ. Here's what I found in stock in the three Really Useful boxes which I use to store the units in various stages of preparation to join the painting queue ~

Box 1 contains the Foundry/Casting Room Miniatures SYW figures I bought earlier in the year, along with a Cran Tara Ecossaise regiment to expand that game. Two new cavalry units, one French, one British; two new infantry regiments, Clare and the 23rd Foot{besides Ecossaise}; four new Command stands - three French and one British.
Box 2 contains my recent Foundry AWI purchase - 2nd Maryland, Loyalist Militia and Continental Dragoons; three Dixon Miniatures ACW regiments I bought last year; a Tsuba Miniatures band, Footsore medics for the VBCW and 1st Corps Vet and Farmer.
Box 3 contains the remnants of my FRW project: a regiment of Trent Miniatures British Light Dragoons and some Scots Greys, still waiting for a Command set!!!!! There's also a tent I picked up and a spare French cannon. 
In all that's about six months worth of painting I'd guess, making a new project seem a bit superfluous at least for now. Perhaps I shall wait and see how the year runs out before I decide what to do? Thoughts are always welcome. In the meantime, some Italian Wars Command stands to finish off first.

Wednesday 7 November 2018

“Stand fast, boys, stand fast!”

For our regular monthly game on the first Wednesday of the month Jon and I decided on an ACW game, giving Black Powder 2 another run out and incorporating some rule suggestions from the Glory Hallelujah supplement. The Rebels were commanded by Jubal E Whyte and the Union were lead by that military incompetent Useless S Bykleigh. As usual, a photomontage of the game to give a flavour of how things panned out ~
The Union artillery on the right flank opens fire to signal the
start of the action. The target is the Rebel Brigade closing on 
the farmstead in the distance.

The Brigade on the Union left marches out of camp to secure
the left of the line around the Brecher House.

The Rebels mass for an assault on the Union left while their
centre shows less of the aggressive spirit. Jubal E Whyte was
not pleased!

On the Union right flank the 5th New York steels itself for
the Rebel onslaught!

A fierce fire fight erupts all around the Brecher House, but the
boys hold fast and trade lead with the Rebels!

On the Union's right flank determined resistance holds up the 
Rebel attack amongst continuing Disorder!

Around the Brecher House the Rebels are taking casualties in
number. The boys are warming to their task it seems at this
stage in the battle.

By Turn 10 the fortunes of war had turned first one way and
then the other. It was too close to call now as both armies had
Broken and Shaken units across the whole field.

In Turn 11 it is the Union army which finally cannot absorb
its losses any more and streams to the rear. The exhausted
Rebs have won the day, but at what a price? All along the 
Rebel front men reflect n a victory hard one and count the loss
of friends so dear.
As ever Black Powder delivered an excellent game, with fortunes constantly turning first one way and then the other. In the final analysis the Union only succumbed in the penultimate turn, so close was the contest. Its not over until the fat wargamer sings it seems!

Tuesday 6 November 2018

AWI Additions

Following on from my 'Billy No Mates' post, see previous Blog entry, I've been plodding on painting six Perry Miniatures figures to represent the 16th Light Dragoons for my AWI British collection. I find their figures very hard on my brushes, having so many sharp edges, in comparison to those they made back in the day for Wargames Foundry. But, things move on, so there is little point in whinging overmuch about it. I'll just add some extra brushes to my shopping list for Warfare the weekend after next.

While I'm on the subject of a good moan: I've recently had not one but two hobby mail order purchases fail to arrive. Firstly from Foundry, which they replaced without too much fuss I might add, and secondly from Flags of War, also promptly replaced. Now, one loss I might accept as MIA, but not two so close together. With an ever changing postman/woman on our walk it does make you wonder...

Returning to the replaced Foundry order, I've acquired more of their Perry sculpted AWI figures: six Continental Dragoons; another unit of Continental Infantry; and finally, a unit of uniformed Loyalist Militia ~ hence the Flags of War order, taking advantage of their 'Make a Flag' range. I hope at Warfare to acquire some Volunteers of Ireland from Dave Thomas's Perry stock, if he manages to restock after Crisis that is! In the meantime I'm painting TAG Italian Wars figures to make three more Command bases for a go at Pike and Shotte. Two figures are finished, two more are ready to start, leaving three for the third base. I hope to get these done by the weekend, but I'm very busy in the real world right now...

Saturday 3 November 2018

Billy No Mates

I've been passing the time since finishing my Palazzo project for the Italian Wars project painting various outstanding pieces from the Lead Pimple. With Phil away for a few days and Jon not due for a week for our regular monthly game I’ve been free to dabble unencumbered by the need to prep a game. The result has been pleasing progress on odd figures or bases of figures for various projects. Basing up the Warlord BEF infantry Ian painted for me provided a background task when I didn’t feel like picking up a brush. (You can see the result if you missed them two blogs previous to this.)
Keeping with the Italian Wars theme, I’ve painted another base of TAG Mounted crossbowmen, this time choosing the ‘At Rest’ pose; you may recall that I didn’t much care for the firing ones! TAG figures seem to love the paint, although I might wish the horses were sculpted in a bit more relief to help the old eyes! Here they are anyway ~
I also managed a piece of TAG Medium Ordnance and a crew of four figures, not the most interesting poses though! Unlike the Light Ordnance I’d painted earlier my gun came with no extras, leaving the base a bit sparse for me. I shall have to rectify that on another occasion if opportunity presents itself ~
Continuing the Italian Wars theme I’ve painted the Foundry Collectable Mounted Knight Jon so kindly gave me and base’s him to be a General in any future Pike & Shotte Games in the Italian Wars genre. I’ve also bought figures from TAG to make up three more Command bases with the same thought in mind ~
Leaving those to one side for now I had the Perry Miniatures AWI 16th Light Dragoons skirmishing languishing in the Pimple. They are an example of something I bought on a whim as I liked the figures without any idea of how I was going to utilise them in my games! Fired up by painting several Foundry units, featured in earlier blog posts, I decided they would make a Small Unit base of cavalry in Black Powder terms. Following on from Giles’ lead (See his wonderful Tarleton’s Quarter Blog) I’ve created a suitable Loyalist unit, the Woodbridge Light Dragoons commanded by Major Moore of Irish descent. I’ve also got six figures of the 16th in the more usual poses and indeed they are next up for painting ~
As a terrain interest filler I also completed a Romany fortune teller vignette I bought back in June at Barrage in Stafford. It was sold as a Reaper figure, but if it is its a fairly crude one. I added an Irregular cauldron and tripod owner a fire I already had and a fairly crude cat sculpt Phil managed to source at Colours ~
Finally, a Warbases Dovecote, a piece of terrain of so many period applications I felt it was silly not to have one ~
Now, two games to look forward to next week! WWI at Phil’s on Monday and ACW here in GHQ on Wednesday with Jon. Meanwhile, back to the Lead Pimple Reduction project!