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 30 January 2019

A tale of the Raja's Treasure.

The first game for two weeks for me and here in GHQ too! I missed last Monday at Phil’s due to sudden illness, so I was really looking forward to renewing our gaming this week. I decided on an Indian Mutiny game, using Black Powder as we generally do now of course. The terrain from our recent Rhanzlistan game was still in place, so I merely removed the mountain board and rearranged some of the terrain to create a scene suitable for the scenario I had in mind. Phil would Command the British and HEIC forces and I the Mutineers. The Mutineers are marching to the aid of the Raja of Rhanzli whose small force guarding his treasure is caught holed up in a village by a swift night march executed by the British. The aim for Lord Rawnsley is to destroy the Raja’s Force, though of course if he seizes the treasure while doing so, well, it will chuff the memsahib no end. Think of the hats she can buy...
The Raja's Treasure and his elephant mounted Bodyguards.

The Mutineers arrive from Turn 2 on a successful percentage dice throw, starting at 90% plus, diminishing by 15% each subsequent Turn. They arrive, if successful, on the right flank of the Raja’s position on a random dice throw for point of entry. At the start of the game the Raja has thrown a ragtag force of Hill Tribes, supported by a battery of guns, on his right flank. The village is held by his household troops of musket armed infantry and Lancers, supported by three groups of Badmash,who have one eye on his treasure too! He also has a battery of guns covering the bridge across the Bykla and finally his elephant mounted elite Bodyguards.
Lord Rawnsley and his ADCs, and dog!
Lord Rawnsley’s force consists of two brigades of Infantry, two Brigades of Infantry, a mix of Regulars, HEIC European regiments, Ghurkas and loyal troops from the Bombay Presidency. His cavalry arm consists of Hussars, Lancers, Dragoons and 2nd Punjabi horse, the Loyal Tandooris. They are supported by a battery of Horse Artillery. In addition he has an artillery train, including elephant drawn heavy guns guarded by a battalion of Regular infantry. His problem is to attack the village and defeat the Raja, while guarding against the Mutineers he knows to be on his left flank...
As usual, an annotated photomontage to give a flavour of the game as it played out ~
Lord Rawnsley's force advances with alacrity!

The Raja oversees the disposition of his forces.

An overview of the battlefield.

A Hill tribesman takes careful aim, or not...

On the Raja's right flank the tribesmen hold the high ground.

Lord Rawnsley deploys artillery and his Dragoons in support
of the infantry brigade covering his attack over the Bykla.

An other view of the unfolding action on Lord Rawnsley's
right flank.

The local Badmash have one eye on the Raja's treasure...

Despite temptation they surge forward bravely to attack the
loyal Bombay infantry forcing a crossing by the bridge.

Lord Rawnsley's heavy artillery fires into the village!

The fight rages around the bridge as more Bombay infantry
rush forward to support their colleagues! On the banks of the
Bykla the HEIC Regulars are halted by fire from the Raja's
infantry holding the village.

Mounted Hill Tribesmen clash with the Loyal Tandoori Horse!

While fighting rages around the bridge the Raja's lancers attack 
the Shaken HEIC infantry.

The Badmash are finally beaten and Rout! The Raja's Guard
surge forward to attack the victorious Bombay infantry.

Having lost the melee with the HEIC infantry and retired the
Raja's Lancers are attacked by the British Lancers in their turn.

The first battalion of Loyal Bombay infantry occupy the fort's
ruins and are attacked by the remaining Badmash.

The second battalion, supported by their artillery on the far
bank of the Bykla, had routed the Raja's Bodyguard!

Suddenly its all up for the Raja's forces...
Well, you are obviously wondering by now what became of the Mutineers. I was too! From Turn 2 to Turn 7 they failed every roll to arrive! Now that is extraordinarily poor dice throwing in anyone's book you'd have to agree!
The RHA battery, no hits scored in the whole game!

So, in Turn 7 the game ended with the Raja's army having two out of three commands Broken. Lord Rawnsley's victorious army entered the village so recently vacated in haste by the enemy and were able to loot the treasure! My run of appalling performances in 2019 continues...

British SYW Foot Guards Command stand

Making the most of the muse and utilising other spare figures I have produced a Command stand for my Brigade of Guards in the British SYW collection. They are Foundry figures of course, not to everyone’s taste, but just right in my opinion ~

 I really wish Foundry could see their way to expanding their SYW range. A pack of officers, NCOs and casualties would help bring the regimented lines to life, rather as the rank and file character pack can.
Meanwhile, it's back to the Royal Deux-Ponts on the painting desk! Two bases completed now and a third base of four figures at the highlighting stage. As I might tell myself, “Arise, take up your brush and paint!”

Monday 28 January 2019

The Geese Take Wing

I recently completed a Command Stand using some superfluous Wargames Foundry figures for my SYW Wild Geese. You may recall that earlier this month I added Regiment 93, de Clare, to my SYW collection to supplement Regiment 92, de Bulkeley. The base consists of a Mounted officer, an officer on foot pointing forward, in my view the least useful of the French Fusileer Command pack, and a Fusileer in a casual marching pose from the French Fusileer Character pack ~

It’s not the most dynamic Command Stand I’ve made, but the poses of the figures in this range are relatively limited. Of the three figures the casual pose of the marching Fusileer is my favourite. It’s a shame they don’t do a pack of eight of him! It would make a delightfully different unit I think.

Next up in the SYW expansion project will be a German Regiment in French service, the Regiment Deux-Ponts. As this is my project I’ve taken the liberty of showing them in the light blue and red uniform and carrying the rather more swish version of their Colours, available from Flags of War. No doubt somewhere a lace freak has had a seizure reading that! My toys! My game! As I’ve said before...

Sunday 27 January 2019

Command Stand added

After a mad 30 days or more of SYW figure painting I’ve veered back into the Italian Wars briefly, with firstly the addition of the camp scene or two, previously featured here on my Blog, and secondly an additional Command Stand for when we use Pike & Shotte for games ~

The two figures are from Bicorne Miniatures, the first I’ve bought from them for this project. They appear to me to be the former Connoisseur range sculpted back in the day by Peter Gilder I presume. By contemporary standards they would have been fine figures but frankly by today’s standards of figure design and sculpting they appear primitive. Never the less they will do the job just fine for me and I would add that the mail order service was nothing short of fantastic, turning round in three days from order to receipt just after Christmas. Other firms might take note of this!

In the Lead Pimple now I have two additional Italian Wars units, both early Landsknecht pike blocks from TAG. I hope to add these to the project during the Spring. For the interested they were partly the reason I bought the two figures from Bicorne, as I ordered three packs of steel pikes from them, the North Star ones having changed to what seems to me an inferior product.

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Bits and Pieces...

...added to GHQ and to my SYW armies. First up, for the latter project, two spare figures I had in the Lead Pimple painted and based now to act as ADCs, since Black Powder2 has changed the role of the Commanding General. Although you don’t strictly need an ADC figure, I had these in stock and they are a quick addition, so here they are, a French and British ADC. Both are from the Foundry SYW ranges, though for some reason the French appear under the Casting Room Miniatures label ~

As some of my loyal readers know I have from time to time over the last 20 years contributed articles on various themes to Wargames Illustrated. I was pleased to receive a mystery present from Dan for Christmas last year, and even more pleased when I opened it to see it was a canvas print of the first two pages of my recent Wargamers’ Spaces article. Where better to hang it than in GHQ?

And whilst on the theme of decoration I finally got around, with Sue’s invaluable assistance, to mounting my small collection of ACW bullets garnered over the many visits to battlefields and museums in the 90’s. Some may recognise the backing picture too I think ~

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Camp Italians!

As my regular reader will recall, I lighted on several old Battleground hard foam tents and marquees at the recent Penkridge Table Top Sale. These are part of the late Ian Weekley’s catalogue and I’ve been hoping to find some ever since the Italian Wars project got underway. I’ve repainted and based three of them now, adding some figures and scenic scatter items to give a bit of life. I hope you like them ~

The three figures are from TAG and I’m sure you can work out who they are based on. If not, well, “I have a cunning plan, my Lord.” The Other scenic additions came from my boxes of individually based items: the cooking fire from Irregular Miniatures, but I’ve no idea where the other items originated! A close look at Baldricco hard at work ~

I’ll probably add other free standing items in due course, but I’ve other things on the go for this project which I need to finish this month, including a piece for Wargames Illustrated on how it all evolved.

Back to work then! No slacking, as Jon tells me!

Saturday 19 January 2019

Some SYW Additions

I’ve recently completed the first of my additional infantry units for our SYW games here in GHQ, in the shape of the 23rd Foot, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. As with all the collection to date the figures are from Foundry, a range which embodies the phrase ‘Marmite for Wargamers’ probably more than any other I’ve come across. I used the Grenadier figures to proxy Fusileers and the British Infantry Command set to make up the unit, together with a mounted Officer from the Generals set as the Colonel ~

This is a considerable compromise in terms of accuracy, but that doesn’t worry me overmuch, these being toys in a game after all! With hindsight for the mitres I might have been better to fill in the Royal cypher rather than simply overpaint the Prince of Wales feathers, but on the table I’d be surprised if anyone noticed. Alternatively I might have used the Crusader Grenadiers as I’ve seen elsewhere on the net, but I stuck with Foundry for the sake of the look of the game ~

Clearly the decorative embellishments on the mitres are beyond my skills and patience, so they are best viewed from the usual gaming distance, for instance I omitted the greenery flanking the central motif as well as just suggesting the white horse at the mitre’s base. Not for purists and lace counters, but they will do for me, and I hope for my chums who command them.
I’ve also added a cavalry regiment to the British in the shape of the 6th or Inniskilling Dragoons ~

For the French part of the project I’ve added a second Irish Regiment in the shape of regiment 93, Clare. Again these are Foundry figures with flags by GMB and MDF bases from Warbases, who else ~

I use the same red foundation and old Games Workshop red ink wash as for all the other red coated units, though in this case Foundry Bright Red mid tone rather than their British Redcoat mid tone for my British figures, then highlighted with the same colour. My Wild Goose element is now Wild Geese! I’m planning to add a command base for the Wild Geese next, but I’m short of some undercoated  Officers on foot, so that awaits completion in due course ~

Originally I aimed at 12 figure cavalry regiments, but found things a bit crowded on our table here in GHQ at times, so in the expansion phase I’ve reduced this to 8 figures in a Regiment. There will be another British regiment in the form of the 2nd Horse, despite them serving in Ireland for the duration, and a further French regiment, Orleans, merely because I liked the white faced red uniform coats! I should probably stop there before I upset SYW enthusiasts further...

Tuesday 15 January 2019

Visit Rhanzlistan!

Just a brief advert for a new post on the parallel blog, Tales from Rhanzlistan, with an account of the latest exploits of Colonel Corbinski and Captain Hardly-Standin ~

A full photomontage account of their epic struggle can be found at ~
So pop on over for another ripping yarn and tales of daring-do...

Thursday 10 January 2019

“I likes a bargain, I does!”

On the ‘first Sunday after soap and backa’ issue I found myself in the company of Phil and Jon at the biannual Penkridge Table Top Sale. Penkridge, a village in South Staffordshire, is about 8 miles north of Wolverhampton where I live so it’s a very short journey up the A449 to the venue in the Peace Memorial Hall. Admission is free and there’s usually ample parking on a Sunday, except around the immediate area. It’s a real scrum inside and superficially looks full of Games Workshop plastic tatt, but saying that I’ve never failed to get a bargain or three. Mind you, you have to be prepared to hunt around a bit! Past scores have included Redoubt F&IW painted figures at metal prices, obscure early Napoleonic medical figures, the GW Historical Waterloo and most recently four Ian Weekly Battleground hard foam Medieval/Renaissance tents and marquees for £10. I’ve already repainted two and glued them to a Warbases Terrain base I had left over ~

I need to assemble suitable detritus and figures next, a b*gger of a task since Irregular no longer do shows and their website is Steam Powered! I shall gird up my loins and manfully struggle through to get the bits and pieces I want for the task, though it may take a while...

The two remaining tents I’ve put on individual MDF bases, which size I had already in stock, so that the whole becomes more versatile on the tabletop. I need to process this in the next few weeks as Dan is coming over next month to take photos to accompany a piece I’m working on about our Italian Wars project, which may appear sometime in the late Spring I’d guess given lead in times at Wargames Illustrated ~

For those interested, the next Table Top Sale is usually in June, just before Barrage in Stafford last year for example. In truth, would I travel any distance to it? Well, no if I’m honest with you. But at a few miles up the road it’s doable in a couple of hours on a Sunday morning. If you are one of the saddos though who does fantasy games and likes GW plastic tatt it’s probably an excellent event.

Friday 4 January 2019

By Air to...bottle it!

As promised for the start of the new campaigning year a second WWII Rapid Fire2 set too. I kept the table layout largely the same, but switched the forces around. This scenario saw a British glider borne assault holding Le Grand Bains against a German counter attack from Kampfgruppe Whytt. The Airborne had no armour support but did have a battery of howitzers, another of 17lbers and a 6lb antitank gun. They also enjoyed air support after Turn 3 in the form of a Typhoon with 2 Medium Bombs and one straffing run. As usual now a days, a series of captioned pictures to give a sense of the unfolding action ~
A game changing error: deploying my 17lb anti tank battery in
the only position the German spotter could see it!

Amongst the ruins Brigadier General Bykleigh considers his

Artillery fire was to be the Airborne's only hope against the
German armour. The 6lb antitank gun is already retiring!

The Stugs are out of sight of the Airborne's spotter and the
infantry dug in around Rumfordeville.

Herr Whytt considers his next move while anti aircraft gunners
nervously scan the skies!

Airborne hopes are raised when one Panzer IV is knocked out
and a second heavily damaged by HE. A false dawn sadly as
it turned out!

A cautious advance by Infantry supported by Stugs on the
Airborne's extreme left flank is worrying!

In the German centre infantry go into action supported by their
battalion artillery.

Jabo! No cause for alarm though...
The bombing run fails to destroy the advancing Stugs!

As the Typhoon readies itself for its second straffing attack it
proves too little too late and its all up for the Airborne, failing
their second consecutive Morale Test at the start of Turn 6!
"For you, Herr Bykleigh, the war IS over!"

 I can’t really claim it was a ‘game’ in the sense of an event in which each did their very best to win though. I made a fundamental error in my first two turns from which I miserably failed to recover, though Jon’s subtle play kept me on the ropes I have to say and I was thrashed in six turns! On reflection I think that ‘Personal Morale’ as out lined by Robbie Roddis on his Blog last year played a big part in my defeat ~
I realised my error but was paralysed by what I could do in response and bottled it frankly! Not my finest hour!
The Allied version of the Field Hospital as the German one in
the last post proved popular! Once more though, the busiest
chaps on the Airborne side!

Next up in GHQ will see a long overdue return to Rhanzlistan where another scion of the military incompetents who are the Bykleighs will pit his wits against Robinski and his S.P.I.F.F. Meanwhile, its back to painting SYW figures!