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 26 September 2020



There will be an Intermission of a few days duration now in GHQ as Sue and I are in Cornwall for a few days R&R. I’ve not bought any painting with me for once as a few days off are the order of the day for hand and eye - and the rest of me of course!

I hope to press on with my Punic Wars project in October and bring it to some kind of playable conclusion before the end of the year. In the meantime, all of you keep safe and well.

Thursday 24 September 2020

Spanish Scutari

 As a functioning 'Billy No Mates' thanks to all this coronavirus malarkey I've been plodding on with painting figures for my Punic Wars project as and when I've felt like it. My usual painting time is sometime between 7.00&9.00am, my hand and eye seem to be at their best then! Sometimes I may paint again during the evening, but not often. I target an average of two figures completed a day, but usually fall short by a few figures each month. At the very least it's something to aim for and helps me keep some focus if things are dragging out.

This approach might be tinged with a touch of OCD for some, but it's been really useful of late in keeping me going on these Crusader Miniatures Spanish Scutari. There's nothing wrong with the figures as such, they're just not very inspiring I've found. Even the shield transfers from LBM seem to be unusually drab! Partly it's my own fault as I changed the method for painting exposed arm and leg flesh tones, only to find highlighting the base colour a real chore! Still, they are done now!

Next in the queue are several Aventine Miniatures Cretan archers which I sincerely hope will be less of a chore! For my Carthaginian army that leaves two warbands of Crusader Miniatures Celtiberians and a third unit of Hanibal's Veterans using Aventine Miniatures' imitation Legionaries and we are done, at least for now! After these I've some Allied Italian cavalry and an Allied Legion, all using Aventine Miniatures figures. I'd hope to complete all of this before the year's end (DV).I hope I'm not tempting fate here, but it will be nice to see these in a game in GHQ, when such delights are back on the agenda of course, and to get back to my ACW and War of 1812 figures in the Lead Pimple! In the meantime, keep safe and well!

Sunday 20 September 2020

Carry on Covid!

 Staring Sid James as Boris 'BoJo' Johnson, Bernard Breslaw as Dominic Cummings, Charles Hawtry as Rishi Sunak, Hattie Jacques as Pritti Patel and so on... Well, at least judging from the outside the current bunch of clowns supposedly in charge might as well be replaced by a bunch of comedians!

Now Wolverhampton has joined much of the Midlands and the North in more restrictions on our freedoms. From Tuesday no mixing with other households in your home or garden! But, you can go to the pub with 100 or so strangers, shops stay open, as do schools, and you must go to work if you can! Frankly I don't think you could make this up if you tried!

Of course all this puts the mockers on gaming face to face again with Phil and Jon. My thoughts on solo games I've shared with you before, so that looks like it in GHQ for a while at least. Meanwhile I'll plod on as and when with painting figures for my Punic Wars project. At present I'm tackling 20 Spanish Scutari by Crusader Miniatures. Not the most inspiring sculpts I have to confess, though more interesting than the 24 Celtiberian figures looming in the painting queue.

For those interested in such things my Punic Wars project gets an airing in the new issue of Wargames Illustrated I believe in the 'What gamers are working on' style pieces started in the Bitesize editions during 'Lockdown Mk1'! If nothing else it may serve to show what even an average painter like my good self can aspire too given the right figures to suit your painting style and the lovely shield transfers from LBM. 

Friday 18 September 2020

Dan? And Doris? Showing my age...

 A command base for my Punic Wars archers. I had originally intended to make these archers serve for both the Carthaginian army and the Republican Romans, but I bought some Cretan archers for the Roman army giving me the opportunity to add a command base to the original two bases for the Carthaginian army.

Aventine Miniatures are proving an excellent choice for the spine of this project. Not only are the figures full of life and detail, as well as being very paint friendly when wielding the brushes, but the firm itself in the person of Keith is a joy to deal with. If you've not considered Aventine before then you are missing something.

Monday 14 September 2020

Appeasing the 'dice gods'?

 As a break from painting fighting figures for my Carthaginian army in the Punic Wars project I've completed a Republican Roman vignette base using the Agema Miniatures sacrificial bull and associated figures and altar. Think of it as a light hearted attempt at appeasing those pesky 'dice gods' who seem to have deserted me big time in our post lockdown games!

I recently received two tents from Magister Militum for my planned marching camp bases, a Legionary tent and an officer's tent, and I'll add this vignette to those camp ones in due course. I'd like to add the off duty Republican Roman figures from Foundry in due course, but finances took a sizeable hit recently care of the Vauban Fort purchase! Next month perhaps?

Sunday 13 September 2020

A second unit of Hanibal's Veterans

 As it says, a second unit of Hanibal's Veterans again from Aventine Miniatures with the exception of a Crusader Miniatures Hanibal masquerading as an officer and a second officer figure from A&A, all have shield transfers from LBM where appropriate and bases are from Warbases as ever! Not much more to say about them really, so best just post some pictures ~

There's a third unit of Veterans in the painting queue, again from Aventine Miniatures, but made up from a mix of Imitation legionaries figures in mail and linothorax. Next in the painting queue now though are a unit of Spanish Scutari using Crusader Miniatures figures. 

Friday 11 September 2020

New toys!

 I received a parcel this morning. I'd placed my order on Sunday. It was despatched Monday and delivered Thursday. From More Terrain in Germany. 

I had intended to make my own version from the Amera Plastics star fort, but it proved a project too far, mainly all the cutting being beyond the strength of my hands sadly.

The Vauban Fort I first saw on Kevin Calder's Iron Brigade display game in photos on the web. There's also one on Simon's Big Red Bat blog too. It's mainly available in grey, as you'd see on Simon's blog, but you can get it in beige. I see it being deployed in the F&IW, SYW, Wars of the French Revolution, War of 1812,Indian Mutiny, and even the ACW. Versatility justified the price to me - €195 including delivery. I feel a SYW game coming on next week!

Monday 7 September 2020

'Hanibal Bicca'

 An alternate Command base for my Carthaginian army comprising the Crusader Miniatures mounted Hanibal figure and two Carthaginian Veteran officers from the Aventine Miniatures range, which Keith very generously provided for me recently ~

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With these completed its back to the second base of Veteran Infantry. The figures are not difficult to paint I've found, but I have had issues with the two available sheets of LBM shield transfers. They are each a mix of six designs for hoplons and six for Scuta, where I would have preferred 12 designs for one shield type and perhaps two sheets of each type to give more variety. Perhaps I'm being too picky, but it's what I'd like to see.

When I manage to complete the second unit of Hanibal's Veterans I plan to paint up a base of archers to bring that arm up to three bases. I've cleaned up and spray undercoated the unit of Crusader Miniatures Spanish Scutari to work on after those are done. I still hope to complete the project before the end of the year, but looking at my productivity over past weeks it will be a close call.

Wednesday 2 September 2020

Carthaginian Army?

 It seems I have a Carthaginian army. It came as a bit of a surprise I have to admit when I laid out everything I had painted for that side of the project ~

Unlike the Republican Romans, which bar one Agema Miniatures Tribune sculpted by Matt, are all by Aventine Miniatures the Carthaginians are sourced from several manufacturers as befits their historical predecessors. Figures are from A&A Miniatures, Wargames Foundry, Crusader, as well as Aventine Miniatures

This is not the end though, but it is certainly the beginning of the end for this side of the project. I'm currently working on the second unit of Hanibal's Veterans and the third arrived from Aventine Miniatures on Tuesday. Besides those I have a unit of Spanish Scutari and two warbands of Celtiberians, oh and another base of archers. After these there is the Allied legion and cavalry for the Republican Romans!

If I'm honest it's a bit daunting when you see it like that in black and white, but, "Onward!" I started, so I will finish, to coin a phrase... 

Tuesday 1 September 2020

Twixt the mountains and the sea

For reasons which will become clear later the West Africa Coast had to be quickly transformed to the Old West for today's game. The town and the associated figure collection had not been out for several years since GHQ relocated. On top of this Phil had a set of skirmish rules based on Neil Thomas's Introduction to Wargaming which he wanted to try out. Two happy coincidences coming together for a light hearted bash in GHQ! Firstly, the town of New Paddock City ~
My group of eight figures represented the good guys, the town Marshall, his Deputies and a posse of townsfolk. Phil as El Loco lead the bad guys. As the home team I disposed my group of figures to cover a number of possible options for El Loco's men to enter the town. Phil wrong footed me by choosing only one entry point!
 First blood to the good guys! One Bandito goes down to the blast of both barrells!
 As I said though, El Loco's men have the local advantage outside the Undertakers, 4 to 2 infact. A hail of lead and the first of my chaps is ready for a wooden overcoat!
 Using Bolt Action dice to determine the order of figure actions meant I really needed a bit of luck. Well, you know me and the dice gods by now. I have three men down now! One more and morale checks would kick in.
 While El Loco and his henchmen dash towards cover by the photographer's I ponder my next move carefully from the window of Arkwright's store.
 I decide to step outside quietly and get a shot off at El Loco. I miss! Again! Meanwhile, two of El Loco's henchmen have crept up behind me. It looks like another one way ride to Boot Hill!
 Of course I should have known Phil would oblige! They miss and we break for lunch!
  On the restart our hero has reached the scene of the action. He fires off four shots in rapid succession but clearly his aim is affected. Perhaps his overlarge white hat has slipped over his eyes?
One shot though is all it takes and El Loco bites the dust! An immediate morale test is called for on the remaining Mexican Banditos! All but one oblige by skeddadling leaving only Juan to fight it out.
 His dice is first out in Turn 7 and he gets off two rifle shots at Our Hero, who now has only one wound marker remaining. Given my dice luck of late I might still loose this. I needn't have fretted, Juan goes down in a hail of lead and the good guys triumph! Well, it is the Old West of cheap pulp literature and Hollywood after all.
Great fun and rules that both have legs and will stand some tinkering! But now the real reason why I chose a Western Gunfight game today.
William is really keen and always ready to try a game. He'd discovered the cowboys in their storage draw and I'd promised him we'd have a game before he started back to school. He won of course...