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, 16 May 2022

If you go down to the woods today...

 ...you might meet some French-Canadian Woodsmen! These two bases, each of three figures, are the last of this stage of my expansion for the F&IW collection, to facilitate games using Black Powder 2 as the rules set {in preference to the 'figure fiddling' sets we've flirted with previously}! It took me a while to work out how I had tackled the existing six figures, but in the end I got there! Memory certainly isn't my number one attribute lately when it comes to colour schemes at least! Anyway, no more on that! The figures are from Redoubt Enterprises again and will allow me to make up a Regular unit of four bases or two Small units of two bases depending on the scenario we are playing out. Here they are now for your assessment ~

While I was working on these figures I'd also got two First Nations warriors firing muskets underway. Once again these figures were from Redoubt Enterprises and had come as an unexpected freebie with my first order, so I finished those off as well. Here they are for your inspection ~

Although I said that this is the final stage of integration of new figures with old to make up units that's not entirely true. I have purchased Grenadiers for my two French Regular Infantry Regiments together with Grenadiers and Light Company figures for my two Regular British Infantry Regiments. While they will need to match their parent units I plan to use them as independent elements in the game. To that end the Grenadiers will be based on 80x50mm MDF bases of 6 figures to match the one I've already got in the collection, while the Light Company figures will be 3 figures to a standard 40x50mm MDF base, but with two bases per Regiment. That will give me again one Regular unit of four bases of two Small units each of two bases. The British Grenadiers are all cleaned up and spray undercoated white ready to start, once I finish the 3 Jesuit missionaries who have somehow worked their way onto the painting desk!

While all this is going on I have 144 15mm plaaaastic Cold War Gone Hot Russians to process! Then I have Lynx helicopters and Hind gunships to think about... Nothing new for '22 eh Phil?

Thursday, 12 May 2022

The Languedoc Infantry Regiment's Second Battalion in New France

 The second of the French Regular Infantry Regiments, created using spare painted figures already in the collection together with new figures from Redoubt Enterprises, represents the second Battalion of the Languedoc Regiment. The flags are from the web resource Not By Appointment and in my opinion are fully the equal of commercially available versions. The bases are from Warbases, who else? Tufts from Great Escape Games and static grass from Jarvis via Phil. See what you think anyway ~

I hope the effort expended on this second attempt to merge the new with the old painting style meets with some degree of approval! I'm working on 6 French-Canadian Woodsmen now, using figures from Redoubt Enterprises again to match the 6 I've already got in the collection. They will completed the 'new merged with old' phase of the expansion. Beyond them lie entirely fresh figures and units to be added, including: Grenadiers for the two French Battalions and Grenadier and Light Companies for the two British Battalions; Compagnes Franches de la Marine; a large War Party of Stockbridge natives; and,  lastly, a base of French Jesuit missionaries! For a scenario objective if you are interested!

Of course this expansion of the French & Indian War collection in all probability won't stop there, I'm a wargamer after all! I like the look of the Galloping Major figures I've bought for the Stockbridge natives, so further acquisitions from that source of French-Canadian Militias and Provincials for the British are likely I'd say when funds allow, post Partizan expenditure on preordered terrain additions from The Last Valley! (Wooded stream sections and vineyard pieces for anyone interested.) In the meantime though, on with the French-Canadian Woodsmen! À Bientot Mes Amis!

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Rewind and Press Play

 For this week's game with Phil here in GHQ a rerun of the Wars of the French Revolution game from last month, pitting Austro-Hanoverians against the uppity French! I took command of the former force, Phil taking the latter. As is my custom with these AAR things, a photomontage conveying some sense of the unfolding action. Rules were Black Powder 2 and the game length set at 12 Turns, with a break for lunch, as is our custom here in GHQ ~

The Hanoverians advance, their left covered by the Damas Legion infantry and a unit of Austrian Grenz. The rest, you ask? Still off table!🎲🎲🎲🎲🎲🎲
A battery of 12lb guns seize the ridge, supported by some National Guard. The Demi-Brigades show no such enthusiasm. The battle is off to an oh so slow start!
Turns out I spoke too soon. The leading Demi-Brigade of infantry occupy more of the ridge line. The Austrian Heavy artillery deploy while their infantry are just not moving as yet!
The Hanoverians are making hard work of things on the left! At least the Austrian infantry is finally shuffling forward, just!
The French have taken up a strong position in the centre. It will be hot work shifting them I fear!
Out numbered, but not outclassed, the Austrian Heavy and Light Cavalry brigades begin to manoeuvre forward...
...while the French Heavy Cavalry and Dragoons are very reluctant to move anywhere!
Herr Morrisahn urges his Austrian infantry forward, joining the Hanoverians in pouring fire into the French lines.
The Austrian composite Battalion of Grenadiers gallantly charges the French Grand Battery! Surely this can only end in tears?
The Heavy Cavalry clash on the French left flank. The clash of steel on steel, the shrieks of the wounded, the sound of the trumpets fill the air! 
Back in the Centre the composite Grenadier Battalion sweeps the French Grand Battery aside at the point of the bayonet! Confusion reigns along the ridge and the French cannot plug the gap! The Hanoverians surge forward to drive off the confused French Horse Artillery.
A desperate struggle is unfolding on the French left flank as their cavalry begins to give way to the Austrians!
The French are driven back Disordered and Shaken leaving the infantry in their centre exposed to attack from that flank.
The Austrian cavalry meanwhile is regrouping ready to charge again. Their dander is definitely up!
Driving unopposed through the French centre the Grenadiers seize the farm complex and begin to fortify it, meanwhile firing at targets of opportunity in their sights.
Making no headway on the French right flank, driven off in the centre and routed on their left the French army folds and quits the field in Turn 7. All over before lunch! 

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Head Scratching Moment

 As the more alert amongst you will readily recall I have undertaken an expansion of my F&IW collection as my new project, beginning with rebasing of my existing figures from single bases to multi- figure bases to match my SYW collections. That part of the project went seemlessly, but it did leave me many painted figures surplus to requirements at that stage. Not a problem really, extra figures ordered up from Redoubt Enterprises filled in the gaps and will allow the creation of a second line infantry regiment for each side.

Now, that's where the head scratching came in of course. I'm not one for keeping notes about painting and allied with that there have been changed in my approach and my use of colours in the intervening years. I have to try and paint the 'new' figures to match the 'old' as close as I can. For the 15th Foot who are now completed it's been less of a problem than I anticipated as the new additions were entirely confined to the rear rank! I think they are close enough 'to do' as Phil might say ~

For the French additions, just started by the by, it's a tad more difficult as 'new' figures will perforce be in both ranks to maintain the regular look for the second line infantry regiment. The first thing I noticed is that my approach to faces and hands is different now. I need to mix a lighter flesh highlight for these as the original Foundry triad light flesh colour is long gone; First World problems, eh? I've eleven figures to paint for this unit's part of the French expansion and hope to have them done by the middle of the month. The other French unit I've expanded is the Woodsmen with the addition of two bases planned next. As they are mostly clad in all shades of brown I hope that will be slightly easier to match up. I've not looked at their flesh style yet though...

When those are completed that should see me moving on to new additions entirely for both sides of the conflict, including my first Galloping Major figures. More as and when as usual!

Monday, 2 May 2022

My B.A.O.R. 1983

Here are the elements of the B.A.O.R. I have  completed to date ~

Two Chieftain MBTs with Stillbrew armour upgrades.
Two Chieftain MBTs
Two Scimitar Light Tanks, providing a Reconnaissance element to the force.
Two FV432 Mortar carriers
The Infantry elements of the force.
Two Swingfire armed FV432's.
Two of the six FV432's to provide the transport for the Infantry elements, the Commander's on the left and the Milan Section's transport on the right. Four more are in process along with two further Chieftain MBTs to complete the force. 
To recap and thus avoid any misunderstanding: Phil painted all the vehicles for the project, I painted the infantry, based everything and applied the transfers to the vehicles.
There remain 5 T72's and the Soviet infantry to paint in this initial stage, so no firm idea as yet when we might try a game beyond the second half of the year. In the meantime, aspects of the project appear in the new issue of Wargames Illustrated under its 'Quick Fire!' section heading.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

The Battle of Sala Giochi

 A second game in GHQ this week! A fictional battle set somewhere in the Norther plains of Italy, perhaps in the Po valley. The game pits a French Republican force against an Austrian Allied force. The game is to welcome new 'GHQ Irregular' and old Alumwell Wargames Society chum Paul into the fold. The rules will be Black Powder 2 to introduce them to Paul and the figures drawn from my FRW collection, which you will have seen numerous times before I expect! Paul would lead the French to victory as it happened while the Austrians stuttered to defeat under my guidance...

A few shots from the game to give a sense of events. I was too wrapped up in helping Paul through his BP2 initiation to take more, sorry about that.

The opening moves looked favourable on the whole for the Austrian Cavalry on the right and Infantry in the centre, though the Hanoverians were hesitant in the centre and the Austrian light infantry on the left were immobile!
A bold advance by the Austrians just fails to secure the ridge to the front of the French position!
The French skirmishers swarm over the ridge with support close behind from their parent columns. On their right flank the battery of 4lb Horse Artillery guns play havoc with the approaching Austrian lines!
Early successes by the Austrian Heavy Cavalry are soon reversed, while the Light Cavalry steadfastly refuse to move to their aid. Despite one French Dragoon unit routing the French have the upper hand on this flank. The Austrian centre is stalled too and is soon assailed but multiple French columns. On the left the Light infantry, confronted by the Light Cavalry are unable to make any impact!
Well, here's the final position with the Austrian right in retreat and the French columns smashing through the centre to great effect. Three out of five Austrian Brigades are Broken and the army quits the field!
No game in GHQ next week as it stands, but you never know...

A Small Tribute...

 ...to the gallant Ukrainian people, long may they give Mad Vlad a bloody nose!

I don't often do serious here in GHQ but just felt right now this was warranted.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Carrying on Up the Jungle...

 ...for our weekly game here in GHQ, a return to Burma 1943. Pitting elements of the Japanese Imperial Army, lead by Colonel Onomoro against the British & Empire Army commanded by that well known military incompetent, Major 'Tubby' Bykleigh. We had originally planned on using Bolt Action, but discussion over a pregame coffee lead to a decision to try Rapid Fire Reloaded instead. As ever, a photomontage to try and convey some idea of how the game played out ~

A view across the tabletop battlefield from the Japanese side. Pretty much all the appropriate terrain I have for jungle games.
Some Japanese Type 94 tankettes lead a reconnaissance towards the heavily defended ford across the river. Here it can be crossed by vehicles and infantry without penalty.
Encountering no opposition they press forward, supported now by an elephant drawn anti-tank gun and the first of the Japanese infantry!
Fighting breaks out in the centre first as the Gurkhas dug in along the river banks come under mortar and infantry fire from across the river.
Both the Gurkhas and the Japanese take early casualties, the larger Japanese infantry groups somehow disguise the scale of their losses more than the smaller Gurkha groups 
With the Gurkhas defending the ford now coming under machine gun fire from the Japanese Type 94 tankettes the British Grant rumbles forward, its opening shot destroying one tankette!
Emboldened by his success, the tank commander orders,  "Driver, advance!" The second shot damages the remaining tankette but fails to drive it off!
Gurkha resistance is crumbling under sustained fire, enabling the first Japanese to cross the river and occupy the deserted positions (callously bayoneting the wounded of course!)
The British infantry occupying higher ground in support come under intense mortar fire! Casualties are mounting alarmingly and the response is desultory at best.
The advancing Ha-Go gets the first shot in and brews up the Grant! Things are looking more than a bit rum for our boys right now.
More Japanese infantry are across the river, effectively splitting the Empire troops' position. Casualties reach a critical points and morale collapses! The decision of the Dice Gods brings 'Surrender or Rout', neither being a welcome option here! A hard fought win for Onomoro, but a win never the less! Tremendous fun of course for both players, but very bloody from the off. I still find myself pining for the second edition Rapid Fire! rules. '10 pts on Table 4!' is etched on my memory it seems!

Saturday, 23 April 2022

B.A.O.R. Mechanised Infantry

 This is my representation of the B.A.O.R. Mechanised Infantry about 1983ish, based on the diagram below lifted from the net ~

Although the diagram represents the Platoon organisation in our games it will be a Company by the addition of 51mm mortar and GPMG teams, or even a Battalion by adding a second 51mm mortar and GPMG team.! As I'm sure you recall I'm using the Battlefront metal figures for these. Since I posted them as a work in progress in the previous entry I've reworked the helmet covers and also completed the whole group. I've yet to decide how to grass 'n tuft their bases though, largely thanks to Phil offering a suggestion I'd not considered. More on that when I've made up my mind on it. In the meantime here's a group image ~
In addition to reaching this stage a number of vehicles have exited the paint shop and had markings applied before being based and textured. They now also await washing, followed by grass 'n tufting. A word on the transfers; it took me over an hour to do four vehicles! The transfers, just over two years old, kept disintegrating in the water! Poor show! Finally, William came by for another of his 'wargames with grandad'. The result was never in doubt given his ability with the dice ~