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.

Saturday 29 August 2020

Taxidermes Bicca and others

After completing the first unit of Carthaginian Veterans I wanted something a little more varied, so I turned to Command elements for the Carthaginian army. Four figures kindly received from Aventine Miniatures along with my latest order were perfect to comprise the Army Command base ~
 So, Taxidermes Bicca takes his place at the head of his growing Carthaginian force, accompanied by his retinue of staff, standard and guard. I also completed two mounted sub Generals to command each of the army's wings, this time  mounted figures by A&A Miniatures. Should they have Hoplons? Well, maybe not, but I liked the idea and it covered up a large miscast lump I couldn't remove on one of them. I hope they will have great success in coming games ~
Next will be another mounted Carthaginian general, Hanibal himself by Crusader Miniatures. As I still need to sort out a standard bearer and other figures for Hanibal's stand he may not feature here for a while yet though.

Friday 28 August 2020

The first of Hanibal's Veterans

I've completed the first unit of Veteran Infantry for my Carthaginian army as part of my Punic Wars project. They are Aventine Miniatures with LBM shield transfers, mounted on MDF bases supplied by Warbases as ever ~
 I plan to have three of these units as the core heavy infantry of my Carthaginian army. The second is all cleaned up and spray undercoated ready to start, while the third is expected soon from Aventine Miniatures.
In addition to these I have already completed a unit of Southern Italian hoplites and have a unit of Spanish Scutari in the 'Lead Pimple'. For extra punch I've two warbands of Celtiberians, though I need a base cutting to size as I want them to look wilder and more irregular than the other elements of the army.

Three Carthaginian War Elephants.

Between us Phil and I have completed the three war elephants for my Punic Wars project. Just to recap, Phil painted the elephants and I painted the crew figures and did the basing. The elephants and the crew are by A&A Miniatures, the shield transfers from LBM, and the MDF bases from Warbases. Firstly, the third elephant in close up. I added the officer in place of the pike armed figure. I think he is from A&A, but I'm not entirely sure ~
Now, all three together. They will make quite an impressive sight I hope on the tabletop in future games.
Next in line are some Carthaginian Command bases. I've named the general already, Taxidermes Bicca. After all, I'm regularly being stuffed in games here in GHQ of late...

Tuesday 25 August 2020

On the 'West Coast of Africa' Station

Something a little different this week to tax the brain cells just a little. The British government having effectively outlawed the slave trade by Act of Parliament on 25 March1807 the Royal Navy established the West Africa Squadron in 1808 to police the most active area for the slavers. In 1819 they established the ‘West Coast of Africa' Station as a permanent presence to halt the trade. Our game is set loosely in that period 1808-19 and pits our hero, Commodore Horatio Aubrey Ramage Bolitho Robinson, against the evil slaver Mustapha Malarkhi and the cunning native chief who provides his human cargo, M'tubbi Bykelezi. The rules in use were a slightly modified Astounding Tales with move sequence dictated by Bolt Action dice. A general view of the table layout gives an idea of the look of the game I was aiming for ~
As usual now a photomontage of the game as it evolved with some pithy comments to give a feel for the unfolding story. Will our hero triumph or will the wily Mustapha and the cunning M'tubbi come out on top?
"Boats Away if you please Mr White!"
"Aye Aye, Sir! Boats Away!"
HMS Dianne's launches are away carrying the landing party of Royal Marines, under Captain Aston, and parties of sailors under the hero himself.
The Royal Marines are first ashore, stumbling through the surf to reach the firm going of the beach.
As the boats struggle back to HMS Dianne to pick up their next landing party the Royal Marines struggle into a firing line. They have seen the first natives rushing towards them. Meanwhile Mustapha Malarkhi is driving the slaves towards his dhow.
More sailors are ashore now. The Royal Marines prepare to fire on the body of charging natives to their front.
The slavers are driving their wretched human cargo mercilessly towards the dhow! Can anything or anyone save them from a dreadful fate?
A crashing volley from the Royal Marines fails to halt the native charge and fierce hand to hand fighting breaks out. Things are looking a little tight for Captain Aston and his men!
As the tars of HMS Dianne rush to their support the Royal Marines make light work of the natives. Few men can stand against the cold steel of the bayonet!
More natives are rushing to attack the landing party and Mustapha Malarkhi takes advantage of the confusion to drive the slaves ever closer to the dhow.
Forest pygmies have joined the natives of the village using Theo bows to good effect to harass the sailors and marines.
As the first of the human cargo are driven aboard a party of heroic Jack Tars rush the guards in an attempt to halt their removal!
In the ensuing confusion more slaves are driven aboard. The cries of the wounded and the clash of steel on steel are all that can be heard above their dreadful moaning.
It's suddenly all over for Mustapha Malarkhi and chief M'tubbi Bykelezi. Warriors are dead or put to flight, Arab slavers are rounded up to face instant justice at the yard arm and the slaves are joyously free men and women again! "God save the king!"
In the real world the West Africa Coast Squadron captured well over 100 slaver ships and freed over 150,000 slaves during its active service. Britain has a  proud history in the anti slavery fight and that should be honoured and remembered by all of us today.
For those who are interested in such things HMS Dianne was previously sold by Britannia Miniatures. The RN crew and Royal Marines are old Abbott Miniatures, sold by Redoubt back in the day I think. Our hero is a Giants in Miniature figure by Wargames Illustrated. The natives are all from the Foundry Darkest Africa range. The scenery is a real mixture, but I think it hangs together well in the end. Stay well and safe!

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Somewhere in the Po valley...

...in the late 1790's, or if you like in GHQ earlier this week! For our weekly games Phil and I look like being confined to here in GHQ for a while so we are kicking off with a decent sized French v Austrians and Allies during the FRW. Phil commanded the Austrians and I took the French for a change. The table at the opening of hostilities ~
As usual I'll let the pictures tell the story as the action unfolded.
The main route forward is blocked by the baggage train, forcing the French Light Infantry into a detour. The going must have been difficult for them as they advanced but slowly.
The difficult terrain, aka poor Command Rolls, puts the French into confusion allowing the enemy Light Infantry to pour in fire and cause casualties and Disorder! Merde!
With the Hanoverian infantry advancing on their left the main Austrian infantry advance steadily on the French Demi Brigades which are having trouble deploying. (The dice gods truly hate me it seems!)
The 5th Demi Brigade advances in the Hanoverian Light Infantry and forces their withdrawal due to mounting losses from mass musketry.
The Austrians are advancing in the centre where the French are in some confusion due to losses and indecisive command.
The National Guard Battalion rushes forward into the gap in the French lines but comes under devastating fire from its flank and centre! "Mon Dieu, nous sommes finis!"
The 5th Demi Is Disordered by masses enemy fire and in the ensuing confusion fails to halt the Hanoverian infantry advancing to it's front.
The centre is pierced by the Hungarian infantry brigade! Losses are mounting for the French while their own fire proves ineffective in hampering their foes!
Not the best of days for Mon'r Bonaparte to say the least! Perhaps a fine from the band will raise French morale?
As the Chasseurs advance to attack the enemy they see the 5th Demi Brigade break in route. Not the best of omens for their own success!
The Chasseurs are roundly beaten by their Austrian counterparts and flee in route. With three broken Brigades the French withdraw and concede the field to their foes! Beaten inside 5 Turns! 'Merde!' doesn't even come close to summing my performance up in this game!

Saturday 15 August 2020

Spanish Caetrati

While Phil has been motoring along painting the three elephants for my Carthaginian army I've been filling in between painting the crew and casualty figures for each one as it's been completed with a few figures for two bases of Spanish Caetrati. These are Foundry figures found in the Caesarian Romans section of their website and are cast with small shields moulded on. Phil was kind enough to pass on to me some LBM shield transfers which he had left over from an earlier commission. They were actually for Victrix figures but they fitted the Foundry shields pretty well, if you don't look too closely at some of them ~

Along with these I've also cleaned up the first unit of Hanibal's Veterans and spray undercoated them with my usual Double Acrylic White Primer from our local DIY shop. When these are completed I plan a short break from both figures and from the period. I've bought four MDF kits from Warbases for use in our North American settings for games and I plan to work on those while I refresh my enthusiasm for bronze! In the meantime, please keep safe and well.

Wednesday 12 August 2020

A second Carthaginian elephant.

On Monday I collected the second Carthaginian war elephant which Phil had painted for me. The crew of three, together with a couple of casualty figures, were already at the highlighting stage, so I knuckled down and finished them off straight away. The elephant and all the figures are from A&A Miniatures, though I've added a Roman shield from Aventine Miniatures to one figure. The shield transfers are from LBM of course and the MDF base from Warbases ~
Phil tells me the third elephant will have a yellow cloth scheme and a sun forehead decoration. I don't have any news though as to when this third one will be ready to add the crew and casualties on the base, so in the meantime it's on with some Foundry Spanish Caetrarti which I bought along with the Celtic cavalry a while back. Phil had some LBM shield transfers left over from a commission, and although not designed for the figures they fit quite well. As he's wont to say, "They will do!"

Monday 10 August 2020

Greeks bearing gifts?

Rather Southern Italian hoplites bearing rather nice LBM shield transfers on their Hoplon shields. While Phil is painting elephant number 2 for me I thought I'd press on with the first heavy infantry unit for my Carthaginian army, namely a unit of Southern Italian hoplites. The figures are from Aventine Miniatures and were a joy to paint, although the new Hoplon shields, with rear surface details added, proved a little tricky at first to fix to the figures after painting ~
One compromise I had to make was to cut down the length of the spears. This was to ensure the figure bases could be stored safely in their RUB. I think I probably made them too short in the last analysis, but I can live with that. I'll collect the second elephant from Phil this week, so I'm working on the three crew figures and the two casualties for the base next. I've also cleaned up and spray undercoated the first unit of Hanibal's Veterans, lovely figures from Aventine Miniatures once more. I've also sent off for a few extra figures, to supplement my skirmishing archer bases, along with some standards for the Veterans.

Thursday 6 August 2020

Baldinus at the gates!

Pressing on with face to face games, while they are still permitted, Phil and I had settled on a return to the unending struggle for the purple between Pompus Maximus and the usurper Baldinus. The two sides differ markedly, with the two forces tailored to suit the scenario I had settled on. Of course, what you can't factor in is the fact that your dice just hate you! A few pictures which will suffice to illustrate my latest thrashing. I really should just draw a veil over the details, memory is still raw...
Table layout at the commencement of hostilities. Baldinus has a balanced force of Dark Age Infantry, Warband, Skirmishers, Heavy and Light Cavalry. Pompus has put his eggs in one basket, relying on his artillery and archers to whittle down the approaching enemy. Big mistake!
The right centre of Pompus's battle lines resting on history's most incompetent artilleryists!
The enemy, thousands of them and all heading straight for me!!!!!
Opposing cavalry and horse archers are the first to clash. Despite initial losses my men stood to the task and halted the enemy's attacks. More than could be said for, well, you know by now I'm sure.
Baldinus's Warband overwhelmed the centre and destroyed the artillery and archers. Moving my victorious cavalry to shore up the collapsing centre proved a fatal error as they were caught in the flank and destroyed.
Seeing all is lost, PMaxImp heads for safety, escorted by the treasure and the remains of his best infantry.
The victorious Baldinus decides against pursuing his foe and heads for the comfort of the villa! He may regret that decision in some future encounter...

Tuesday 4 August 2020

Celtiberian Heavy Cavalry

While my Republican Romans for the Punic Wars project are almost exclusively recruited from Aventine Miniatures my growing Carthaginian army is much more cosmopolitan, as befits it's it's historical predecessor. The latest addition of which is some Gallic Heavy Cavalry which will proxy for Celtiberians in future games. They are from one of the several Foundry ranges, sculpted I think by Rob Baker. Their rather chunky style suits my eye and hand, so I hope you'll go along with me on these ~

As ever, their bases are 80x50mm MDF from Warbases. The texture is my mix of Woodlands Scenics Buff Ballast. The shields accompanying the figures were small and not to my taste, so I added a mix from A&A Miniatures with shield transfers from LBM. After painting twelve I needed a return to simpler clothing so currently I'm well on with some Greek Mercenary heavy infantry.
Over the weekend I was sorting out the Lead Pimple, mainly to ensure I had enough bases of the right dimensions to finish the project. I now know how many figures I have to paint, 212 as it happens. As I'm averaging about 55 figures a month I could finish by the end of November, but realistically I expect to be finished by the turn of the year all being well ~ which is a big IF given all that's going on around us. In the meantime, a game with Phil beckons, so I'd better be off into GHQ to deploy the armies! Keep Safe all of you!