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.

Monday 30 December 2019

Canadian Sedentary Militia for 1812-15

The last addition to my War of 1812-15 expansion project, completed right at the end of 2019, comes in the form of a unit of Knuckleduster figures painted to represent the Canadian Sedentary Militias. These were often no more than Company sized formations which when called into action were grouped into what were called Brigades, really regiment sized units. For that reason I've finished them in various facing colours and coat colours too, with the odd individual picked out in different coloured trousers ~

Knuckleduster figures have lots of life and character, details well sculpted for we older types to see easily, and are very reminiscent for me at least with the old Hinchliffe Napoleonics which I began wargaming with back in 1973! On the down side some of the detailed sculpting is a bit variable, notably odd hands on some and oversized belts on others, but I can live with that. After all, on the table in a game they will look fine and that really is all that matters! They are available in the UK from Caliver Books whose service I couldn't fault.
Did they carry colours into action? Well mine will, from Flags of War of course. Did they boast Grenadier and Light Companies? Well, mine do; although the officers and sergeants for such are missing from the offerings, but they are Militia after all so I pressed centre company types into service.  Here are the usual close up pictures to encourage my fellow journeyman painters ~

I've one more unit of Foundry US Infantry to paint and then the three Brigade Games units which came before Christmas. I've decided to leave them aside for the moment and have a refreshing break over January. To that end I've started a band for my VBCW Hilton Main Miners' Collective, by Tsuba Miniatures via Empress Miniatures and the complimentary Warlord F&IW native American character figure. I've also lined up the Grenadiers von Rall for my AWI project, some nice Front Rank figures and a second pair of mounted commanders by the same. If I manage all of that I've some Eureka Austrian Grenze infantry for the FRW collection and even a couple of French Battalion guns and crew! We shall have to see where the muse takes us...

Thursday 26 December 2019

Another year older...

...but none the wiser. Not that these ramblings are of the slightest importance to any passing reader, or even to friends and family really, but in common with other residents of the blogosphere I try to publish some sort of review of the year in GHQ and to cogitate out loud on the possibilities of the coming year. So, without more waffling on, here we go!

Games played, here and at Phil's mostly, though latterly also at Jon's, will be the first item. After all, our hobby is called wargaming for a reason! Over the year I have played in 51 games, ranging from C3rd Romans v Goths, through Late Roman internecine wars, via the Italian Wars and the ECW into the black powder period and beyond to the Great War, the fictional VBCW to WWII in Western Europe, the Russian Steppes, to the jungles of the Far East. Looking back though it seems that the black powder period has dominated GHQ games from the F&IW, the SYW, the AWI, the Wars of the French Revolution, the War of 1812-15 and the ACW. All these played using Black Powder 2 as the rules driver in its many iterations and nuances. Of these I won 25 and lost 15, with 10 drawn and one abandoned as unplayable, so I'm still firmly average (but performing better than Jeremy Corbyn!) During the year though three games moved on from GHQ to find new homes: the 20mm Vietnam War and the 28mm Victorian Pulp were sold on and the 28mm Samurai were gifted to Jon and Phil as I'd lost interest to be honest. I expect there will be further departures from GHQ in 2020 as I look to rationalize my collections in the light of what games we enjoy playing the most.

Turning to painting activities, I've completed 636 figures at this moment in time and doubt I'll manage to complete the few in progress by the year's end. All were in 28mm of course, the hand and eye being as they are I've postponed my 15mm Cold War Gone Hot temporarily. I still hope to get this project done, but I need to finish other ongoing projects first I think. The completion of the Italian Wars joint venture with Phil was a major addition this year, and featured twice in Wargames Illustrated, but I also added substantially to my AWI, SYW and War of 1812-15 collections. Mentioning the Italian Wars reminds me that I added a considerable amount of terrain for the period, some from The Last Valley, Grand Manor and Irongate Scenics, but also a number of buildings and a grand Pallazo in MDF, the latter also featured in Wargames Illustrated. I'm pleased with what I accomplished this year in the light of eye and hand issues and I hope to continue into the coming year!
As ever I made a number of hobby related visits over the course of the year, starting with Penkridge Table Top Sale in January and concluding with Wargamer in December. As well as the usual visits to the shops , at Foundry, Caliver and Warlord Games, and regular shows such as WMMS, Partizan and Barrage, I also made my first visit to Hammerhead and Phoenix. With the exception of the now defunct ROBIN I enjoyed them all and hope to get to the 2020 iterations (DV).

Over the course of 2020 I bought too much, as I suspect most of us do, so the Lead Pimple remains about the same at three RUBs worth; though all are cleaned up, spray undercoated and stuck to MDF bases with whitetack. Of course there's also a box of 15mm plastics for the CWGH project, but that's out of sight so doesn't count! I shall reach my 70th Birthday (DV) in 2020 and this impending landmark has from time to time induced thoughts of mortality and the fate of a lifetime’s hobby activity stored in GHQ. With that in mind, a modicum of downsizing is planned to continue next year if I can find the right market and price for what I plan to move on. As to further projects, well I like to browse new products and periods as much as the next hobbyist, but I doubt I shall be undertaking any radical additions in the future. But, you never know as they say...

It only remains for me to wish you all a very Happy New Year and much joy of our wonderful hobby!

Sunday 22 December 2019

A quick word...

...from GHQ and all the GHQ Irregulars

 And remember, whatever you are told by others, the truth for all of us is...

 A very Happy Christmas to all who visit GHQ from time to time and best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous New Year!

Friday 20 December 2019

100th Foot, Prince Regent's County of Dublin Regiment, War of 1812

The second of my Foundry War of 1812-15 British Regular regiments, painted for me by John Hill, are now based and ready to be varnished. The flags are from Flags of War and the bases from Warbases. I get my basing texture and static grass from the Tutbury Jinty, a model railway shop in Tutbury of course ~

As usual, following the general shot of the 100th Foot drawn up in line, here are a couple of close up pictures to give a better sense of the detail for the reader to pick up on ~

Recently this range from Foundry, sculpted by Aly Morrison, was described to me as venerable, suggestive in their thinking, I suppose, of ancient rather than worthy of veneration. I would choose the latter myself as the range stands up well against more modern offerings from Knuckleduster and Brigade Games, figures from which companies now also figure in my collection.
On the painting desk, still, are the Knuckleduster figures for a unit of Canadian Sedentary Militia, which I still hope to finish by the year's end, though two Perry Miniatures Mounted officers to portray a General and his ADC have now also been completed and deployed into GHQ to await varnishing ~

I have one more Foundry unit to paint before I reach the three new Brigade Games units which recently checked in from the USA. With the completion of those figures the War of 1812-15 expansion project will be completed for now at least, though I’d like some Canadian cavalry at some stage if I can light on suitable figures.

Tuesday 17 December 2019

1st Foot, the Royal Scots, War of 1812

A quick post to show a further addition to my War of 1812-15 collection. These are Foundry figures representing the 1st Foot, the Royal Scots. They were painted for me by John Hill, a chum of Jon's. The flags are by Flags of War and the bases by Warbases ~

All I did was base, texture, grass and add flags. I'm really pleased by them I have to say. While John's style is different mine I think they fit right in. A couple of closer pictures as usual ~

I received the second unit yesterday from John, via Jon, and they are already based and textured. I'll post them later in the week when they are grassed and the flags added.
Meanwhile, the two RUBs of painted War of 1812-15 figures have been varnished on Sunday last and the whole collection reboxed ready for action early in 2020. On the painting desk I've got the Knuckleduster figures I bought from Caliver which I'm painting as Canadian Sedentary Militia. Oh, and my order from Brigade Games in the USA arrived in under a week! Not bad eh?

Thursday 12 December 2019

Canadian Volunteers for the War of 1812-15

As I plodded on with painting new units for the War of 1812-15 expansion project I reached another unit of US Militia from Foundry. Having already painted these originally as troops from Pennsylvania and more recently as New York Militia I sought out a different colour scheme for this unit. In the end I settled on the Canadian Volunteers, a unit in the US army made up of volunteers from Canada ~
You can read about them here if you are interested ~

I chose a mixture of uniform coats, the earlier brown mixed with the later grey issue. The round hats are usually shown with a green band wrapped around the lower part, but with none molded on the figure my eyes and hand were not up to freestyle painting them on, so I've omitted it. The officer I chose to depict in regulation early war uniform and chapeau just because I had the figure in the lead pimple. I swapped the head on the drummer for one from a surplus militia figure just to maintain the look of the unit ~

The unit in reality was not battalion strength, but hey-ho it's my game with my toys so why not? Now these are done it just leaves the Knuckleduster Canadian Militia in round hats and a unit of US Regulars in the 1813 issue leather tombstone shako. Currently Foundry don't offer any officers to match these, but hopefully they will appear as part of the rediscovered lost molds along with the US Artillerymen in summer dress. I wonder what else Aly made in the later war dress? Time will tell perhaps...

Finally I've taken the plunge and ordered some Brigade Games figures to round off the expansion, at least for now: two units of US Militia, one marching and one skirmishing, and a unit of Canadian Volitgeurs. The figures are sculpted by Paul Hicks I believe, not my favourite exponent of the art, but decent enough on the whole. I hope they will arrive in time for Christmas!

Monday 9 December 2019

The Battle of Palmer's Cross 1643

Games hosted here in GHQ have been somewhat disrupted here; a combination of holidays, illness and domestic work combining to restrict opportunities to gather the chaps together at any one time. So this Monday's game was anticipated more than usual I felt, at least it was by yours truly! I settled on a fictional ECW game, pitting once more Sir Marmaduke ' Gaylord' Robinson against that stout Parliamentarian Obadiah Bykleigh. So, to the Battle of Palmer's Cross in our ongoing loosely linked games set in the south of Staffordshire around Wolverhampton. First, the field of battle before any troops are deployed ~
The buildings making up the hamlet of Palmer's Cross are from Conflix, the trees and hedges from The Last Valley, Phil made the terrain boards for me and, lastly, the animals from a host of sources too numerous to mention. {Pay more than usual attention to this layout as it's going to feature again later in the month, with some C20th additions, in a VBCW game, Incident at Palmer's Cross, 1938.}
Back to the C17th now though with some images from the game. We revisited Victory Without Quarter for the rules in a real nostalgia fest ~
Three turns into the game and the Parliamentary army is finallyunderway.
The cards were not favourable to me in the early phase of the game.

The Royalist infantry have advanced with gusto, supported by their Horse.
The first clash is on their left flank when the outnumbered Parliamentary Horse
counter charge their opponents.
On the Parliamentary left the Horse clash and the first blood is to their cause.
More Royalist Horse hurry to their support as the guns are threatened.

On the Royalist left the Parliamentary Horse sweeps all before them. The rout
exposes the infantry to destruction.

On the Royalist right their Horse is also routed and the guns are in jeopardy.
Only the Lifeguard of Horse are between the Royalists and utter defeat.

Parliamentary Foot surge forward supported by fresh Horse. The situation is
grave for the Royalist's cause.
It was all up for Sir Marmaduke Robinson in Turn 7 as his cavalry on both wings was routed by the Parliamentary Horse, leaving his artillery and infantry at their mercy! As an adjunct to the main action a number of vignettes which gave flavour to the table ~
"This may hurt!" The surgeon set by Foundry.

"I'm sure if we attack there we shall find a weakness!" Figures
from Foundry & Redoubt with Irregular furniture.

She had a cunning plan I suspect. He should have listened!
Foundry figures and dog with more Irregular furniture.

"For want of a shoe the
 battle was lost!" 

No game here in GHQ now until the end of the month when we shall be playing a VBCW game across substantially the same terrain, although the canal and railway might be a bit of a C20th giveaway. Next week the action switches to Phil's Olaf's HQ for the final game in the Strontium Campaign with both Goths and C3rd Romans tussling for final victory.

Wednesday 4 December 2019

The Lafayette Rifle Volunteers

As I promised you last week, some pictures of the latest additions to my War of 1812 expansion project.These are Foundry figures once more, sculpted by Aly Morrison to represent the US Regiment of Rifles. Having already deployed the regiment in my American army in the original project, started when Foundry moved into Nottingham under one roof, I was keen to use the figures in a different guise. To that end, after much uniform research in books and on the net, I decided on a fictional unit which I've called the Lafayette Rifle Volunteers ~
Their uniform is grey with green facings, on the whole, though some are wearing hunting shirts due to a shortage of cloth caused by those damned Limeys and their naval blockade! The yellow cords and plume on the shakos are a nod to the dashing French Voltigeurs, much admired in some American circles it seems. I've wanted to use the Warflag green colour for a long time and finally I've been able to do so with a clear conscience ~

I just hope that no lace junkie out there has had a coronary as a consequence of my tinkering with reality!

Next in line for the War of 1812 expansion project are more American Militia, again by Foundry, and then a second unit of  Knuckleduster Figures, this time some Canadian Militia in round hats. I hope to complete both units in December, festive disruptions permitting of course.

Sunday 1 December 2019

From deepest, darkest Brummagem.

I've been to the nether ends of Birmingham today, where never have I set foot afore, all in aid of visiting Wargamer, the last show of 2019. It was held in a new location, King Edward Sheldon Heath Academy, in Sheldon. Not the most convenient location from GHQ but much better for the visitor I thought. I took a few pictures of the games (see below), chatted with several friends and a former work colleague, and spent the princely sum of £8, including Senior admission and a coffee. I enjoyed the visit, a good end to the campaigning year before hunkering down in Winter Quarters. Anyway, pictures of the games, excepting the couple of fantasy ones not to my taste. No idea which group is which game on the whole, so just enjoy the spectacle that was on offer ~

The show programme says it will be held once again in 2020 and,DV, I hope to be there. Now though it's back to painting more War of 1812 figures in the form of the Canadian Volunteers.