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.

Sunday 30 June 2019

I have been to...

...the Phoenix Wargames Show, held in the Rheged Centre, near Penrith in Cumbria. Just in case any of you think I have taken leave of my senses I should say that Sue and I, together with Phil and Di, have been holidaying up there for a few days. We enjoyed grand weather on the whole and saw a good deal of the area. The short hop up the M6 to Penrith for the show was just prior to coming home  earlier today.
The show is typical I would think of a small, local event supported by local clubs and traders, boosted by a few of the bigger beasts who could no doubt fit the event in after the show in Glasgow yesterday.  There were a number of display and participation games, of which I enjoyed Matt Crump’s Rebels & Patriots ACW game and a larger SYW in India game with two very nice forces on show.
The bigger trade beasts attending included Warlord Games, Colonel Bill’s and Sarissa Precision. Others I recognised were ABC Brushes, Hoka Hey Wargames and Irongate Scenics. There were a number of smaller and local traders in attendance as well as some flea market tables available for hire.

My haul from this show consisted of: the free Dark Age figure given to the first 200 entrants; 9 new Pro Arte brushes from ABC; a pack of Redoubt Highland Grenadier Firing Line for the F&IW from Colonel Bill; and the new F&IW Supplement from Warlord Games, “A Dark and Bloody Ground”. To top it all off I met two North Western chums, Matt Crump and George Anderson, and enjoyed a really good hobby chat with them. A grand day as we were in the area! And finally, arriving safely home I found a parcel of Eureka Miniatures AWI figures waiting for me, sent on from Colin Ashton! Not a bad day by any means! Now I have another local show to look forward to next Sunday in the form of Barrage, at Blessed William Howard school in Stafford

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Start as you mean to go on!

I'd not bothered to clear away the recent 'Rebels and Patriots' F&IW game here in GHQ as Phil and I had decided to play it a second time now we understood the rules a little better. So, when William and Emma wanted to see Grandad's soldiers, there they were for them!

I have encouraged all of our Grandchildren to take an interest in what Grandad does. Three of the four have enjoyed painting their own figures with me and William has moved on to being interested in playing a game. (Emma just likes to paint at present!) We have a simple rule set using a Dx6 for firing and fighting: 6 is always a kill, 5 gives you a reroll chance. Movement is in base depths and Morale is down to 50% losses meaning no advancing! He seems to enjoy it and has beaten Grandad twice so far! 
Will any of them follow the hobby when they are older? Well, only time will tell. At least they have seen what fun it is at an early age. Remember the Jesuit maxim: Give me the boy before he is seven and I will show you the man. I'm hopeful I will have lit a spark in at least one of them to carry the torch forward when eventually I step off this mortal coil.

Friday 21 June 2019

War of 1812 US Infantry

Although it's not a major game played here in GHQ my War of 1812 collection does see action from time to time. I felt that to give a better game on the larger table it could stand a little expansion and so on a trip over to Foundry I added a few figures. Specifically: two units of US infantry (one in full kit marching and one in the grey uniform of Scott's Brigade in a firing pose); a gun crew; and a pack of mounted officers to make an additional command stand.
As a start I've been working on the additional regiment for Scott's Brigade. Now, the original two I already have were painted perhaps 20 years ago or more in a style I used then and probably with a make of acrylic paints I no longer use. It seemed foolish to me to try to recreate an old style and so I've settled for a decent match of colours but in a more contemporary layered style. I'm quite pleased with how they have turned out ~

Next up was the additional command stand I sorted out from the Generals pack and a couple of spare officers sporting top hats. This will be the Command base for any Militia I deploy in games ~
The second infantry unit in marching pose and in full kit is now at the head of the painting queue! I hope to finish them off over the next week or so, hands and eye permitting as ever.

Wednesday 12 June 2019

French and British artillery for the SYW

As I mentioned in an earlier Blog entry, I've been painting up some additional artillery for my SYW collection. The British crews were a gift from George Anderson and I've paired them with a couple of Foundry guns I had. The French, which are also by Eagle Miniatures, I bought by post as the British figures fitted right in with my Foundry figures. Turned out to be a bit of a mistake because the French figures are tiny by comparison, as you can see ~
The guns themselves though are nice models and paint up easily. They come with some assorted extras to make the scene more convincing. I toyed with the idea of replacing the French gun crew with Foundry figures, but in the end I couldn't really justify the additional expense. I'm hoping in the game we won't notice it so much!

The next run of painting is a bit mix and match. I've got a War of 1812 American infantry unit in summer kit in progress at present; probably they will be followed by the first of my Perry Miniatures AWI marching southern militia units and then perhaps some Casting Room/Foundry Italian Was light cavalry. Then there are the recently arrived Front Rank Hessian additions I might be tempted by! We shall see how it goes, hands and eye permitting...

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Drums Along the Rawnsley ~ a Rebels & Patriots game.

Its probably not a secret that I'm no great fan of the rules by Two Fat Lardies. Phil and I have tried, God knows, to warm to Sharp Practice but I just don't enjoy all the faffing about for an occasional game. Let's face it, if you need a guide book to create a back story you are probably not the most imaginative type. So, I bought a copy of Osprey's Rebels & Patriots to try out with my F&IW collection with Phil for our regular Monday game. (There is always the new Black Powder supplement as well to consider.)

I set up a French raid along the Rawnsley River, with the objective of carrying off animals, crops and supplies, as well as burning the farms. We were more interested in trying out the rules than seeing who might win as it turned out. Phil as Jean-Philippe Dumbass, commanded the French raiding party while I, as John Henry Bykleigh, commanded the British troops and Rogers' Rangers. I did manage a few pictures this time to allow any passing reader to follow the game and perhaps make sense of my rule reflections ~
The main farm, an old friend if you are a regular visitor here, and a prime target.

Along the river bank a less salubrious dwelling still makes a good objective.

Nearest the French point of entry the livestock make a tempting target.
As you will all know I'm no lover of points, lists or balanced games, preferring to make do with what is to hand and chance my luck. The British force therefore comprised: three 8 figure elements of the 38th Foot; the regiment's Light Company of 6 figures: a light artillery piece and three gunners; and two 6 figure elements of Rogers' Rangers. The French force comprised: three 8 figure elements of the Royal Rousillon regiment; 6 figures of Canadian Woodsmen;two 6 figure elements of Canadian Militia; a light artillery piece and three gunners; and finally, a large element of 18 Indians.
After rather indifferent Activation rolls for both sides, the 38th begin to cross
the bridge and deploy into line opposing the French regulars.

The woodsmen are covering the French left as they cautiously advance. The
Indians are making straight for the main farm in numbers.

Jean-Philippe leads his men forward, rather tentatively it must be said.

The main action gets underway.A firefight between the regulars saw the French
having the worst of it and falling back, with little help from the Woodsmen on
their left! The Indians were eventually driven off, though taking three women
prisoners with them! The Militia on the far  right had initial success in rounding
up the cattle, but were blocked in the field by the farmers when the game ended
in a British victory.

I'm far from mastering any set of rules now-a-days, even Black Powder which we play extensively, but I felt these rules flowed quite well for a first game. The main elements are quite straightforward and we soon found we knew what was needed on the dice without too much recourse to the written page.Of  course in my opinion Osprey rules suffer from really poor layout, perhaps due to shoehorning everything into one common format, or even not realising how things could be better laid out  or the player. These thoughts are perhaps reflecting the lack of experienced wargamers in the company? However, the lack of a proper playsheet is inexcusable really from a major rules publisher.
We shall replay the scenario in two weeks, when Phil has had the time to digest what we did in the game and if/when we got things wrong. For myself, I've no real interest in the minutia of any rule set, games flow pretty much with just the basics in my experience. Of course, that's more to do with the wonderful folk who are my friends and opponents, if you are stuck with rules lawyers you have my sympathy! For example, we like the idea of the officer being a separate figure as within a unit he is too easy a target! Jean-Philippe was wounded and carried from the field by his men as I rather unsportingly targeted the base he was with every time I could.
Elements which I did really warm to were the Double 1's and 6's rules. John Henry lost two Honour points as a result of poor throws after the Double 1's! Mind you, he gained an extra 6 figure element as a result of the Double 6! If I'm honest though,there just aren't enough figures on the table for me in this sort of game. I shall buy the new Black Powder supplement for the F&IW later in the year and see if I prefer that format for games {We have already had one or two earlier on using BP}.
In the meantime I have some Foundry War of 1812 US troops in summer kit on the painting desk and received today new reinforcements from Front Rank for my AWI Hessians,so plenty to keep me occupied! Hey Ho!

Friday 7 June 2019

Lord Walton succeeds to command.

It's not been an easy time for Jon over the last few months, but he has kept up with what gaming he could fit in as it all helped him cope. He came over on Thursday evening for our monthly game here in GHQ despite all he was dealing with. As the AWI armies were still out on the table, I reconfigured the terrain and disposition of the forces to reflect an American follow up attack on the British after Lord Rawnsley's recent defeat.
The new commander of the Crown's forces must rally his disorganised forces and dispirited senior officers and beat off the rebel's attack. To reflect their situation the CinC may only try to reroll three failed command rolls during the game. I usually take a few pictures to reflect the game in a  photomontage and give a flavour of the unfolding battle, however I failed to do that for this game. You are entitled to ask me why of course. The game was just too intense really, drawing us both fully in to the table top action. The game swung first one way, then the other in an intense fire fight all along the front. In the end it was the Americans, who despite having their dander up, finally wavered and then broke to end almost three hours of intense fighting. I did manage one picture, right at the end of Turn 2 ~

On the broader hobby front I've put aside starting my two new AWI units, other than fixing the figures temporarily to their MDF bases and sorting out their flags from my stock. I have some Eagle Miniatures SYW artillery I've decided to work on next. The French are finished now and the British begun. I mention this now as the disparity in size between the two nationality's gun crew is extremely noticeable. The British crew scale in well with my Foundry figures but the French; well, they are so small by comparison they look like children! I can't help but think it odd that the owner hasn't corrected this. When I finish the British I'll post some pictures and you can judge for yourselves.

Tuesday 4 June 2019

The 2nd Connecticut Light Horse

As the occasional reader may recall, Colin Ashton and I made a joint order to Eureka Miniatures for collection from them at Salute. Amongst my part of the order were the American gun crew, featured in the previous Blog post, and a number of ragged Continental Light Dragoons. I say a number, because three arrived safely, while the remainder are apparently still en route. It might help jog my memory as to how many had not both of us lost our order lists!
What may be, I have now finished the three that did arrive. I browsed the web one evening looking for suitable small units to depict to make use of the ragged appearance of the figures and lighted on two depictions of the 2nd Connecticut Light Dragoons, Captain James Green's Troop. Little seems to be written about them, so they were an obvious choice in our largely fictitious battles here in GHQ.

The three figures I received comprised an officer, a trooper and a negro trumpeter. One print had shown the trooper on a grey horse, so I took that as the base colour idea, making the officer's horse rather more white than the trooper's. For the negro trumpeter I chose a dun-like colour scheme. All three were washed in a strong Agrax Earthshade wash from GW as a base colour. The trooper's horse highlighted in Foundry Boneyard Light shade, the Officer's in Foundry Arctic Grey Light over Austrian White Dark shade. The negro trumpeter's horse is highlighted in Foundry Rawhide Light shade and the mane, tail and lower leg areas washed in Foundry Brown Armour Wash. Anyway, lecture aside, here they are ready for action in GHQ ~

My Perry Miniatures order arrive on Saturday. True to form they were bristling with bl**dy vent runs and covered with bits of kaypok from the packaging. Unsurprisingly I've not got round to prepping them yet for painting! I do however have a new enthusiastic recruit to our hobby, my granddaughter Emma, aged 3 ~

Saturday 1 June 2019

Major Moore and the Woodbridge Battery take the field.

The latest ‘post-finishing’ additions to my AWI expansion project have mustered into GHQ in the form of the third of the Perry Miniatures Mounted Militia Colonels and a new battery of artillery, the crew from Eureka Miniatures and the gun from, well I’m not sure as I found it in the spares section of the Lead Pimple!

I’ve also been working on an additional base of British Light Company figures from Foundry which I found during the great painting desk clear up. I’ve rendered them as from the 33rd Foot, with a little licence on the chain helmets. Perhaps I shall add the Centre Company elements of the 33rd at some stage, I’m sure I’ve got the flag sheet, somewhere.
Enthused as I am by my hobby post Partizan I’ve ordered some new figures. Mad, I know, but there you are. Despite my ongoing detestation of vent runs by the score they are from Perry Miniatures too! They will give me two further Militia units in a mix of shirt sleeve order and civilian coats, augmented by some men of color for a change. I found several flags free to download on the internet which I can use for them too. A kind of birthday present from myself if you like.