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 29 October 2019

Using up a few spare figures.

While I was working on the two mounted Officers for my Canadian Militia I was also dabbing paint onto half a dozen US Infantry in Summer kit which had been left over from raising the last addition to my rendering of Scott's Brigade. The keen eyed may have noticed in previous 1812 battle reports that I have several small round bases of 2 or 3 figures already. They are useful to remind me when skirmishers are deployed and for garrisoning the fort or other built up areas. So now I have two more bases, each of 3 figures ~
 A couple of closer studies now, which should encourage my fellow journeyman painters. The figures are from Foundry of course and were sculpted by Aly Morrison ~

I have also got the first three bases, each of 3 figures, for my Anglo-Canadian army. I plan to paint each group of 3 figures with the facings of different Regular battalions which were serving in the Canadas in 1812 and utilize them on the table in a similar manner to my US bases.

Monday 28 October 2019

Canadian Militia Officers

The latest additions to my War of 1812-15 expansion project are two mounted officers to form a Command stand for my Canadian Militia regiments. The figures are from Perry Miniatures, the top hatted figure from the British in Egypt range and the ADC from the later period Napoleonic range I think ~

At the moment I have three Militia units in my Anglo-Canadian army. I have another two in the painting queue at present, both sporting the iconic top hats - which seem to have struck a chord with visitors to earlier posts on this theme.
The first of these is from Foundry and its just made its way on to the painting desk, while the second is by Knuckleduster and is a little bit further back in the queue for its turn under the brush. As I mentioned in an early reply to a comment I've bitten the bullet and ordered some more American figures from Foundry to make two additional infantry Militia regiments. Perhaps next year I'll add some more Militia in hunting frocks, I'll have to see how the hands, eyes and bank account hold up!

Thursday 24 October 2019

Back to Rhanzlistan

On Tuesday Phil and I should be playing another of our loosely linked games set near the NW Frontier in Rhanzlistan, our fictitious province permanently locked in the early 1920's. The game report will feature next week sometime over on the project's dedicated blog ~


In the meantime I thought you might like to view the table layout before it's clogged with figures ~
View towards the high peaks from the Rhanzlistan Field Force’s lines
View along the SPIFF’s front from the east
View from behind the SPIFF’s left flank
I hope to post a full AAR over on the dedicated blog later next week when the dust has settled over the field of conflict.

Wednesday 23 October 2019

New York Militia

These are Foundry figures, sculpted back in the day by chum Aly Morrison. The drummer has had a head swap to fit in better with the unit's tall hats and a standard bearer has been adapted from a pointing officer.  As an earlier post detailed, I made the colour myself after a bit of web searching and fiddling with some desk top publishing!
As many will know the Militias often wore Revolutionary War style coats with coloured turn backs.The clever sculpting pose of the figures' muskets and various equipment straps means that these details are obscured, which is one less thing to worry about. On the other hand, it made the actual painting a bit fiddly for my old hands and eyes! However, I'm quietly pleased with how they turned out, but you can judge for yourselves here ~

Next up for the War of 1812-15 expansion project are two mounted officers to command the Canadian Militia, six US infantry for a couple of additional skirmish bases and a unit of Canadian militia. The mounted officers are from Perry Miniatures, the others are Foundry figures again sculpted by Aly. I hope to add a second unit of Knuckleduster figures after, which I obtained from Caliver Books, but that will be that then in this phase for the expansion. I'd like to add further US Militia units in the hunting shirt at some point, but the very mixed packaging of the suitably dressed Foundry figures is a nightmare for these types! Not to mention their impending price rise!!!

Wednesday 16 October 2019

RM Rocket Battery Command

Having sourced a rocket wagon from Hinds, the venerable Hinchliffe model, I've been able to finish off a small command vignette for the 32lb Royal Marine Rocket Battery. I must say here that the service from Ian at Hinds was first class: good communication and very brisk delivery.  The figures in the vignette are a Foundry Royal Artillery officer and a spare Eagle Miniatures RA officer with a Trent Miniatures head. I think it makes a useful looking base to supplement the two rocket frames and crew ~

While I'm on the War of 1812-15 theme I'm still struggling on with my latest addition, a New York Militia regiment. So far I've completed three bases of figures and have a further base of four underway. I still hope to finish these by the end of the weekend but I'm finding them hard work. Perhaps my hand and eyes issues are taking their toll? Still, onward, while I can!

On the road to nowhere...

It was Phil's birthday on Monday, so he chose what game we would play in GHQ on our regular slot as a treat! He chose to play a WWII Bolt Action game set in 1943 in Burma. Phil took command of the British and Empire troops while I commanded the Imperial Japanese Army forces. The lull before the storm ~
As usual our games are scheduled for six turns, plus a possible seventh decided by a dice throw. In this game the British and Imperial force is defending from a Japanese attack supported by tanks. The British have seven areas of dug in defences they can utilise. The Japanese enter from either end of the road crossing the table east to west: the small recon force entered from the west, the main attacking force from the east. The British deploy south of the road not knowing this.In the end Phil managed his defence better than I coordinated my attacks, as I hope the few pictures will show ~
The main Japanese force enters from the East to find the Gurkhas dug in on
the hill to their front.

The smaller Japanese Recce force enters from the west and makes a
diversionary attack on that flank of the British position.

British troops are redeployed towards the threatened eastern flank of their
position as the Japanese attack has been blunted on the western flank
The mountain howitzer deploys and begins to shell the Gurkhas holding off
the attack on the British eastern flank .

British armour moves forward to engage the Japanese tanks supporting the
infantry attacks.

The Japanese call in off table artillery fire on the Gurkha position as they
mass for the attack. The mortar fire has proved ineffective, the men cannot
find the range it seems!

A suicide attack on the old Matilda proves to be
unsuccessful sadly!

"Banzai!" The hardened jungle fighters charge the Gurkhas dug in on the
eastern flank, despite their supporting tank being pinned by friendly artillery
fire! In the fierce hand to hand fighting no quarter is given or asked for! The
Japanese are beaten off despite heavy losses and the attack is called off.
With the repulse of the hardened jungle fighters by the Gurkhas the Japanese called off the attack. The loss of one medium tank and the pinning of the second robbed them of much needed fire support, while the Japanese bombardment of the Gurkha position did little to soften them up, and pinned their own tank support! On the western flank the demonstration by the Recce force of two light tanks and an infantry squad was ineffective due to very poor firing dice initially, allowing Phil to transfer support to the threatened eastern flank.
All in all a fine game, proving once again how versatile Bolt Action is as a game system. Next up in GHQ? Well, you will need to drop by again and see what we decide on...

Saturday 12 October 2019


A couple of posts back I mentioned my aborted order for some Militia flags for the War of 1812-15. If you recall I baulked at the £6.00 P&P charge! Well, we pensioners need to watch our pennies you know! I solved my flag needs by a few minutes browsing on the net and a few more on a desk top publishing program. And here are the two sheets I came up with, essentially for free ~
Now obviously they are not in the same quality bracket as those from Flags of War or GMB Designs, but they will look just fine on the table when viewed at gaming distance. I've already deployed one for the Foundry New York Militia I'm working slowly on at the moment. Hopefully you can see that next week sometime when the unit is completed. They will do, as someone I know well might say.

Sunday 6 October 2019

The Rockets' Red Glare...

...as they sped through the air. Well, I'm sure you get my drift there. The latest additions to my War of 1812-15 expansion project in the form of a 32lb rocket battery of Royal Marine Artillery ~

As I mentioned in an earlier post I picked these up from Eagle Miniatures at Colours last month. The owner kindly exchanging the RHA crew figures for RA gunners and officers.
I removed the heads and replaced them with some spares from Trent Miniatures, from the Artificer sets. Now, they are not quite right, but close enough for me in a game. Different sources in print and on the web show the gunners in blue jackets and the officers and sergeants in British scarlet and red, with the additional difference of the gunners having either a fatigue cap or artillery style stovepipe shako. I chose to portray my gunner figures in Marine hats though, just to emphasize their provenance. Doesn't bother me, but no doubt some lace freak just exploded somewhere...
In addition to the two 32lb rocket frames and their crews, I wanted a small command vignette base. So far that comprises two officer figures and a couple of additional rockets. I'm trying to source a rocket caisson for the base, so more of that in a later post I expect.
Meanwhile, as Sue is away for a week's R&R with her sister, I'm indulging in a bit of rebasing of my War of 1812-15 figures; the Canadian Militia and the American Rifles and Volunteer Militias. So far it's three Canadian Militia and four US units rebased on new MDF bases at a cost of one tube of UHU glue and several sore finger tips!

Thursday 3 October 2019

Those who the 'Dice Gods'...

...ignore! Well, over the last almost 50 years of wargaming I've seen a fair few odd things occur during games, but I don't recall anything as unusual as the unfolding of our latest game here in GHQ, a Black Powder 2 FRW game pitting Austrians and their various Allies against Republican French!

After 7 turns Phil and I decided to call it a draw. Why you might ask? Well, in all those years I alluded to earlier I have never, ever seen a run of such awful dice by both players in a game! Hardly any units moved in the early phases due to inept command rolls. Those that did get into action hardly covered themselves in glory. Shooting was poor, hand to hand in those few encounters almost as useless. In all the Austrian heavy cavalry was repulsed, but the French suffered losses which lead them to caution rather than Sweeping Advance moves. The Austrian Hussars swept the French Hussards away, charged a Light Infantry unit in the flank and was promptly sent packing to the rear despite causing 6 casualties and suffering only one. While the Hussars of the Damas Legion sabred the gunners of a French 12lber battery only to retire Shaken and Disordered!
The objective of the game, the central low ridge found itself half occupied by Austrian Infantry, half by French Light Infantry, neither side being able to dislodge the other!

Well, it looks pretty, but as games go it really was a none event! As I said, those who the 'Dice Gods' ignore can't really do much about things, just a Gallic shrug of the shoulders and on to the next game.

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Additional US Infantry for 1812

The disruption to time spent at the painting desk caused by redecoration, allied to a few days away which Sue and I enjoyed up in Matlock, Derbyshire ~ where we met as students in 1968 ~ means that it's taken an unusually long time to complete the next addition to my War of 1812-15 expansion, in the form of the 5th US Infantry. These are Foundry figures, sculpted by chum Aly Morrison back in the day. The bases are from Warbases, of course, and the flags from Warflag's free site.

Mentioning flags brings me to the fine sheets of flags for this war produced by Adrian's Walls. At £10 for several flags, both for the Anglo-Canadians and the US Regulars and Volunteers/Militia, they look good value. That is until you add in £6 postage and packing. Are they having a laugh? Well, not at the expense of my pocket! A few minutes searching the net and a few more on desk top publishing and I have two A4 sized sheets of flags for the Militias from New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and New Jersey. Cost? Well free but for a tad of Lazer jet ink and paper I suppose!

Next in line for the project is a battery of 32lb rockets on the ladder frame. I got these from Eagle Figures at Colours. The owner kindly swapped the RHA figures for RA figures for me. Off with the heads last Sunday and new heads added from Trent Miniatures and in my book they will pass on the table for RM Artillerymen!
After these I have more Foundry figures in the shape of New York Militia in Round Hats. I've converted a spare drummer via a head swap and bodged a standard bearer from the pointing officer in Round Hat. After these, the 100th and the 1st Foot for the Anglo-Canadian forces. It keeps me off the streets or from chasing loose women I suppose...