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 31 March 2020

Sir William Sidney Smith RN

An overlooked naval hero, serving in the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars, as well as in the Swedish navy in the Swedish-Russian War, and now available from Wargames Illustrated in their Giants in Miniature range.
I picked up the figure at the recent Hammerhead wargames show, as my War of 1812-15 sailors and marines lacked a suitable command figure for their landing party. Here he is in close up and in action, as befits a hero ~

Dan has signed off my efforts as regards the photographs to accompany my War of 1812-15 article in Wargames Illustrated, whenever it may next appear of course, so I have been stood down and can revert to my status as keen amateur!

Sunday 29 March 2020

Back in Dixie!

I mentioned in an earlier post on my last ACW unit, the 10th Tennessee, that the figures had languished in the Lead Pimple for a couple of years or so. These good ol' boys shared their wait in the queue for their moment under the brush so I thought it only right to see that they were completed too. As ever they are Dixon Miniatures with flags by Flags of War and bases by Warbases. The base texture is the last of my old pot of Colour Party Basetex, the Dried Earth version. (I've had to buy a new pot, something I thought I'd not have cause to do, but just before the lock down came into force I'd received an order from Dixon Miniatures - a 20 figure Union regiment and an 8 figure Union cavalry regiment.) Anyway, back to the latest addition to muster in to my Rebs, the 3rd Louisiana ~

Continuing my ACW theme I picked up the Redoubt Enterprise's Confederate seated general set from Colonel Bill at Hammerhead, so I thought I'd tackle those next. I've added a few bits from stock to help create a point of interest. After those I have a set of Perry Miniatures Union personalities - Howard, Sickles and Sykes. I'll need other figures to accompany these and as Perry Miniatures are currently closed that will have to wait I'm afraid.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

The War of 1812-15

While this period of self isolation rumbles on its nice  to have hobby related activities to provide both distraction and purpose. As some of you will know I write for Wargames Illustrated from time to time and recently Dan had accepted a piece I have submitted on my War of 1812-15 project. Of course, he can't now drive over to take the pictures to go with the article and so I've had a temporary promotion to acting photographer! I've spent some time this week setting up a table and agreeing a layout with Dan by email, so I thought you'd enjoy a general table view before I get the ok to start the individual pictures ~

I would hope to have all the required pictures taken and emailed off over the next day or so, though when we shall see the magazine again I'm trying not to think about really. I hope you and yours will all keep safe and well and that we can all look forward to The Other Partizan in October!

Monday 23 March 2020

VBCW ~ Vickers 6 ton tank

A while back now, when the world was normal, I posted a picture of a kind gift from Phil. It was an FAA Vickers 6 ton tank, complete with tank commander sporting a leather cycling helmet! I'm not a natural modern vehicle painter, I found 20mm hard enough let alone 28mm, and I'm certainly not in Phil's class when it comes to the finished product. Nevertheless I give it a go and the results are usually ok from tabletop viewing distance at least. Here it is anyway ~

The Vickers 6 ton tank was one of those interwar designs which failed to be adopted by the British army, although it was sold or licensed abroad to several governments, notably the Soviet Union. As such it's a natural for the VBCW genre and joins my three Vickers Light tanks MkVI and my lone Matilda MK1. I've given the commander a bright red scarf/cravat, so you can easily see his political affiliation! Our VBCW games set in Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire are not tank heavy, but every little adds to the variety to choose from in designing scenarios and forces, so it's a very welcome addition to my collection.

Friday 20 March 2020

No Plan Survives Contact With The Enemy 2

Well, when I posted about plans for 2020 games here in GHQ I had not given a thought to likely interruptions I must confess. I don't imagine I was on my own there though, so no blame attached so far. Now though, in the light of recent developments, Phil and I have decided it would be unwise to carry on, at least for the next few weeks. I'm no fan of solo wargames, I'd only be tempted to cheat I think if things went badly! So posts will be limited to stuff I've painted and perchance any insights I gain into our hobby in this time. Do pop by and say hello from time to time if you've a minute.

Thursday 19 March 2020

War of 1812-15 vignette

I really do dislike having to buy figures nowadays in blisters from many manufacturers, much preferring to choose individual figure combinations to suit how I want a unit or group to look. When the most recent phase of my War of 1812-15 expansion project had finished I had quite a few figures from the Foundry range left over. Some of these I utilised in making more skirmisher base markers and a few I used in additional Command bases, but that still left five figures to use up. My solution was to marry them up with a spare horse from another collection, albeit from a later period, to produce a vignette base. Anyway, see what you think ~

Apart from the two remaining units of US Infantry in the tombstone shako I still have some American and Anglo-Canadian command figures left over. I'll keep them for now as the US figures give me the option for a further Militia unit, while the Anglo-Canadian figures will let me create an alternate command base for my de Watteville regiment converting them to British infantry. But that lies somewhere in the future for now. Older folk like me may soon have more painting time than we want I expect...

Monday 16 March 2020

More Good Ol' Boys! The 10th Tennessee.

After two months of mainly painting figures for my War of 1812-15 collection I've taken a break and returned to my main gaming interest, the ACW, in the form of a Dixon Miniatures Confederate unit. These will represent the 10th Tennessee in their distinctive red trimmed uniform. The flags they carry are from Flags of War and the bases are from Warbases. My ACW collection has its bases covered in 'Dried Earth' Basetex before static grass and a few clumps are applied. I really do enjoy painting these Dixons' figures, even though some are like old friends I've painted so many before. It's the character in the faces and the movement in the figures I enjoy, plus the careful attention to detail in acoutrements and arms. For my money they are simply the best figures for the period, but I recognise that others are less keen: it's a bit chalk and cheese really...
Anyway, here they are in all their glory!

I've another Dixon Confederate unit still awaiting painting, as the 3rd Louisiana Infantry. I hope to get them done this month along with a small vignette I've put together from more surplus Foundry War of 1812 figures. In addition I bought a pack of Perry Miniatures ACW Union Generals at Hammerhead because, well, there is no such thing as too many Command stands! I also got a Giants in Miniature from WI, Sir Sydney Smith, who will command my naval landing party and marines in War of 1812-15 games, when he's finished of course.

Tuesday 10 March 2020

Encounter at Matz

For our regular Monday game this week Phil and I had settled on a small SYW game, using Black Powder 2 as the rules driver. For a change Phil opted to fight the French cause, leaving me as the British commander. The French begin the game in their encampments, the cavalry away to the west, the infantry to the east. The French Commander, the Comte du Merde, is only just arriving on the field (in Turn 3). The vedette from the Hussards de Bykli are stationed at the crossroads in the hamlet of Matz. The French in Turn 1 must despatch the vedette to alert one or other of the camps to the British presence. In their Turn 1 the British can only make one move onto the table, if they pass their order test that is. From this point the action will evolve, with neither side being assured of getting into action as quickly as they might like. Read on now to see how our respective little lead alter egos managed their forces...
The hussar on vedette makes his way slowly towards the French cavalry encamped to the west to raise the alarm.
The larger of the two British infantry brigades makes its way slowly. The spring rains have been heavy and the going is slow.
Full of vigor, the British cavalry advance boldly on the French cavalry encampment but soon come under artillery fire.
The second British infantry brigade makes its belated arrival from the north west. It finds the going slow at first on the muddy roads.
The alarm is finally raised and the French cavalry deploys to face the British. The Dragoons can be seen in the background moving towards the inn.
Over on the British left the lead regiment of the brigade is devastated by French artillery fire from its flank and flees the field in rout!
Away on the right the British drive off on French cavalry regiment and sweep forward to attack the French dragoons!
The 8th Dragoons engage the Orleans cavalry! It's looking as if the British cavalry will get the upper hand for once!
I spoke too soon! Both cavalry melees favour the French and two British regiments break in rout! Oh dear, and it all looked so promising. The British infantry are bogged down on the roads and are moving too slowly into position to attack the French infantry still struggling to deploy from their encampment.
In the face of heavy artillery fire and with two regiments in rout the British cavalry falls back on its supporting artillery. Will the French attack?
The French are finally deploying for battle as the British infantry make their way steadily into position. It may be too late for the French unless their artillery can delay the British advance.
As the French deploy in number at last the Regiments Normandie and Royale Deux Ponts come under fire from the British infantry. French artillery replies with devastating effect allowing Normandie to deploy into line. Deux Ponts though is caught still in column and falls back in confusion.
At the rear of the larger British brigade the combined Grenadiers have faltered. The Grenadiers de France and the Grenadiers Royale are seen advancing in column trying to turn the British flank. Can the Grenadiers save the British position?
Finally the last British regiment arrives just in time. "Follow me boys!"
The Grenadiers are Shaken and Disordered! Can the late arrivals save the day?
It may be too late to save the army anyway as one cavalry brigade is Broken and flees the field.
The Royal Irish, having endured long periods of heavy infantry and artillery fire on the British left flank, finally break, joining the Welsh Fusiliers to break another British brigade!
Eight out of twelve game turns played and the British have lost! With two Broken brigades out of the four being enough to signal a withdrawal. The game was always going to be close, especially given the appalling Command rolls by both of us and the complete ineptitude of the cavalry on both sides, who after early exchanges spent most of the game rallying off shooting hits from artillery fire. Nevertheless, a grand way to pass a Monday!

Sunday 8 March 2020

WMMS 2020

When Phil and I, together with other members of the Alumwell Wargames Society, organised the first WMMS show in 1976 I doubt if any of us had even a fleeting thought to where the show might find itself in the life of our hobby almost 50 years later. {In fact on a purely personal note it now takes place at Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton, little more than a mile from my front door.} The show used to hold the distinction of being the first in the year, where gamers from all over shook off the lethargy of months in winter quarters and queued in their hundreds to spend cash with the hobby's leading companies. Now of course there are rival shows before and around the date which have impacted some traders’ attendance if not yet diminishing the punter footfall. When you couple that with the growth of the internet it's almost marvellous that not only has WMMS survived so long, but that it still enjoys a reputation as the friendly show with super games, model stands, hosts of traders and even re-enactors! Considering how many other shows have expired, thinking about Triples, Derby World's, Midland Militaire and Northern Militaire for example, it is to the credit of the current organisers that the show goes on each year supported by so many folk across the region and beyond. Together with Phil I popped along this morning to meet old friends and spend just a little, but mostly to enjoy the visual offerings of my fellow hobbyists. A gallery of unattributed pictures to give a flavour of what the show can offer, in addition to the many traders and modelling clubs supporting this, the 44th WMMS ~
Apologies for not having attributions for the many games and societies, but time was limited today by extranious factors. There were other games I simply didn't get around to taking a picture of too. All this, plus traders and more for £4. You can keep Salute...