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 26 February 2019

The 18th Foot, the Royal Irish

The latest additions to my SYW expansion project make their bow here in GHQ today. The figures are from Foundry of course, the flags from GMB Designs, and the MDF bases from Warbases. Here they are in all their glory ~

The colonel and the Colour Party, as usual ~

The rank and file next ~

Of course in the SYW the Regiment was stationed in America, but I liked the flag design with the harp so here they are fighting the French somewhere in Europe. As I’ve said before, my toys, my game. (Lace freaks have my permission to lie down in a dark room until they feel better!)
Next to feel the caress of the brushes will be the 2nd Horse, stationed in Ireland during the SYW, but I liked the standard and red faced green uniforms. After that there are the French Cavalry Regiment Orléans.
If I can face yet more SYW figures then I have two more infantry regiments in the Lead Pimple: a Foundry/Casting Rooms Miniatures French unit , perhaps as the Garde Lorraine, and a Cran Tara unit , the Royal Ecossais in their blue bonnets. We shall have to see how the muse holds up...

Thursday 21 February 2019

Engagement at Pender’s Kraal

Last week’s scheduled game here in GHQ, an Anglo-Zulu War game, was cancelled at the last minute when we were quarantined with the ‘Winter Vomiying Bug’, well Sue was anyway. All is now put to rights, so it was ‘game on’ just one week later. As ever the Imperial Force was lead by that giant of British Imperial talent, Lord Rawnsley, while the Zulus as ever were lead by the gallant, if incompetent, Chief Bykelezi m’Tubii ~
Lord Rawnsley

Chief Bykelezi m’Tubii
Continuing our now established routine of using Black Powder 2 wherever possible for our games the game was scheduled to last 10 Turns when, if no obvious victor emerged, night would have been deemed to have fallen and the Zulus to have slipped away. Shall we see how it went then?
As Lord Rawnsley's column enters the table they are surprised
by the Zulus! Not the best of starts you'd think...
The left flank of mounted troops of varying quality are facing
a charge by the Impi and fire from a group of skirmishers.

The Mounted Infantry charge the skirmishers, who try to
evade, unsuccessfully, and they are ridden down...
To add insult to injury the Impi fail to defeat the mounted
Natal Native contingent! This is not how it was supposed to

Although Shaken, the natives hold their ground and are
relieved to see the Somersetshire Light Infantry coming to their
Meanwhile, blissfully unaware of the disaster on his right,
Chief Bykelezi orders the Impis forward to attack Pender's
Kraal before the supplies can be moved off.

The 80th, the Staffordshire Volunteers, Stand To. "Zulus,Sir,
thaasands of 'em!"

With their fighting spirit well up the Natives rash into the first
Impi. Madness you'd think? Well, the dice gods chose that very
moment to shuffle off...Oh Dear!

Another Shaken Impi fails to Rally! Oh Dear! Oh Dear!

And they are charged by the Mounted Infantry! This is all
coming unstook and no mistake!
Having seen off their second Impi, the Natives ride down a
second group of Zulu skirmishers.

And its all over in Turn 7 with all of the pride of Chief Bykelezi
either Shaken, Routed, or Destroyed. And hardly an Imperial
Brown Trouser moment in sight....

Well, as you can see from that, a resounding win for the forces of Lord Rawnsley! The Zulus plan was sound, but it all unravelled thanks to those fickle Dice Gods, again... Oh well, there is always a next time.

Sunday 17 February 2019

At my age I should have known better...

Well, today Phil and I went over to Nottingham to attend the R.O.B.I.N. show. I had been to the inaugural event two years previously and swore I wouldn’t waste a day again! I was drawn to go by some of the traders attending, especially Warbases, Irongate Scenics and TAG. From Warbases I needed a large base for my remaining Renaissance marquee, picked up at Penkridge Table Top Sale last month, and some other bases. All waiting for me as I walked through the door, you really can’t get better service. From Irongate Scenics I wanted the Bread Oven for our Renaissance town, to add minor life details, but I also got a small mill and bakery odds and ends to bring it all to life. Again, excellent service allied to a fine product. That leads me on to TAG: sadly not one of the packs of figures I’d hoped to see in the round before buying. In fact a rather desultory stand with one pack of what there was, but no complete range I could see. Result? Well, they lost two sales today. Perhaps I’m being unfair, but I got the impression they hadn’t made much effort with stock. I also bought two brushes from ABC Brushes, we will see how my £1.50 a brush turns out, I’ve had good reports from others on their performance.
I’m hardly the last of the big spenders there, am I? Besides shopping I enjoy meeting friends in the hobby, so today was a plus with a long and good natured natter with Duncan Macfarlne, once WI’s guiding light, and now Trent Miniatures, about the as yet still unmade Scots Greys and Heavy Cavalry Command sets. As ever, I live in hope...but I’m not holding my breath! Also a good chat with Laurence of Partizan fame and the chaps from Derby Wargames who were showing an excellent Great Northern War game.
That leads me on to the main source of dissatisfaction with the event, for theirs was the only wargame in the whole room. All the rest were the endless clones of 2’ x 2’ bijou games in a box! Not only that, but they were overwhelmingly of the fantasy persuasion, which you will all know I abhor! I may be a tad unkind, but do these little games lead anywhere, other than to another clone game? I might be persuaded to extend a pardon to the Blood and Plunder game, as at least it has some base in history, and to the sole WWII game using Chain of Command.  It’s no secret, but I am a sucker for the mega game with a cast of hundreds. Sadly disappointed today on that score...Here though is the Derby chaps’ Great Northern War game ~

But, a day out with my chum is never going to be brought low by a disappointing show. We had a grand natter, put the hobby to rights in no short order, and bought a few toys. Now, I have to get those scenic bits painted and based by 7th March, when Dan is popping into GHQ to take the photos to accompany my Italian Wars project article. I’ll be a bit busy I think for a few days.

Friday 15 February 2019

Infantrie Regiment 113 Ogilvy

After an enforced break thanks to the dreaded man flu I’ve returned with renewed enthusiasm to my SYW expansion project with the Infantrie Regiment #113, de Ogilvy, a Scottish regiment in origin in French service. (Moral, you ask? Never trust a Jock perhaps?😉) Once again the figures are from Wargames Foundry, sold under the Casting Room Miniatures banner and sculpted by Rob Baker I believe ~

 There are a number of issues in portraying this regiment with these figures, including: the lack of a collar on the Fusileer figures; the buttons on the cuffs; the lack of a shoulder strap on most figures; and lastly the absence of lace loops on the button holes. Pretty extensive really.
Well, the buttons can be cut off if you like, the lace and shoulder straps can simply be painted on and the talented could add the collar with green stuff or similar. Me, you ask? Well, I just painted the figures as is believing that on the table in a game who will notice that? They have the splendid flags from GMB Designs, so everyone will know who they represent and we can get on with the game! Sorry if some lace freak just had a cardiac arrest, but my toys, my game of course!

Anyhow, here they are in all their, incorrect, glory for your delectation. Firstly the whole regiment lead by their mounted colonel and his pet cat, MaCavity! I know, daft, but I had the figure spare and I thought it made a change from hounds ~

A couple of closer shots to give a better idea of what they look like close up, pretty irrelevant really in the great scheme of things as we see them from several feet away during games, but I know folk like to look. Even if it’s just to see how not to do it ~

Next up will be a British addition to the SYW expansion project, the 18th Foot, the Royal Irish regiment. Again using Foundry figures and those wonderful GMB Designs Flags. This will ensure my British army has regiments from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland and give me a sense of completion. After these are completed I have two eight figure cavalry regiments to paint, the 2nd Horse for my British and Orléans for my French. Time to buy some more figures I think...

Friday 8 February 2019

Navel gazing?

The latest bout of man flu has bought my painting to a complete halt sadly. Hard to see the figures and brush through a streaming left eye I found! It left me with some time on my hands and I fell to thinking a bit about our hobby and how we see ourselves...

I guess I ought to come clean about my own stance firstly: I play games with model soldiers. Games rooted in history, not Hollywood, but games none the less. I really have left attempting to recreate specific battles from history behind me now and prefer to concentrate on the game itself. I liked the cartoon below when I found it on the net, I thought it apt to represent the opposite end of the spectrum to me, those gamers who hanker after simulation, as if pushing little lead men about a tabletop battlefield can possibly get near the horror and mayhem of war!
However, our hobby is a broad church and thankfully there is room for all of us under its sheltering eves, though we would all benefit from a dollop of tolerance at times I find. For myself, I really cannot see the point of figures below the 15mm sort of size, but I know Jon has a large Marlburian collection in 6mm I think, despite him happily pushing my 28mm giants about the tabletop battlefield here in GHQ. Tolerance in action of course both ways.
That’s not to say though that I aspire to canonisation, I have my own hobby blind spots I have to admit. I was discussing one such with Matt recently, the endless rise of bijou ‘games in a box’ which I really think are overwhelming my hobby as I understand it. The main culprits of course are Osprey with their almost endless production line of ‘50 figures is an army’ rules and Warlord Games with Bolt Action and it’s ilk and other spin offs from the great evil which is Games Workshop. Matt reminded me kindly that I was almost 50 years down the hobby line and for many starting out the bijou game and the thirty figure army are easier routes into the hobby than collecting and painting the Grand Armee over several years. And you know, I’ve come to realise he may be right, though I may not live to see them fully come over from the dark side! Tolerance you see can even reach old farts like me...
Well, almost. I still can’t warm to plastic figures, they seem lightweight and impermanent to my eye, but having received my free sprue on the last Wargames Illustrated I confess I can see their appeal in creating unique figures and forces for those with the patience, creativity and lack of excess thumbs which affects the likes of me! Tolerance breaking out again it seems... I must be getting soft in my old age! Well, not entirely you will be pleased to know, I still can’t warm to space fairies and gnomes and the like.

Wednesday 6 February 2019

Regiment 119 Royal Deux-Ponts

The latest adddition to my SYW expansion project sees the 119th Regiment, the Royal Deux-Ponts, join the ranks of my French army. The figures are by Foundry of course, though sold under their Casting Rooms banner for some reason or other. Who knows? The regiment drawn up in line lead by their Colonel ~

I chose this unit because there is some degree of confusion amongst sources as to the uniform they wore and the colours they carried during the SYW. This enabled me, with a clear conscience, to choose the light blue faced red uniform coat with white waistcoat, breeches and leggings. A look I'm quite pleased with I have to say ~

It also meant that I could have them carrying the more unusual set of colours which were available from Flags of War. GMB do the more conventional set of colours from the early SYW period for those who want the regiment in the white faced red uniform coat ~

Next to muster into service should be a Scottish regiment in French service, regiment Ogilvy, in French Blue coats faced red with red waistcoat and breeches. Sadly though I have the man-flu, so they will have to wait, as will my SYW game with Jon...