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 28 February 2022

15mm CWGH Project Progress

Given developments in Ukraine of late I'm having second thoughts about posting anything on the CWGH project. But, stuff is there so, yes, we finally have some more Battlefront 15mm vehicles to show you after our recent combined efforts! You'll recall I'm sure that Phil has volunteered to paint the vehicles for this small Cold War Gone Hot project, fitting them in amongst his own and his commission work. This leaves me the task of applying the transfers and basing the models prior to varnishing them - when we get some suitable conditions for that! So, what have we got so far? 

Two Chieftain MBTs
Two Chieftain MBTs with upgraded Stillbrew armour

Five BMP2s to transport the Soviet Union's Infantry

A look at the Command vehicle for the BMP2 group

The Soviet Union's Battlegroup Command BMP2.

Phil has begun work on the next tranche of vehicles for the game, some Soviet T72's and some B.A.O.R. FV432 Mortar Carriers. As I've had to order more 85x45mm bases from Warbases, to collect at Hammerhead, they won't be able to be processed until after then I'm afraid. Patience is a virtue remember.

Friday 25 February 2022

76th Hindoostan Regiment

 Against both my modest expectations and my recent indifferent form with the paintbrush I have comfortably completed the last addition to my Regular Infantry regiments for the Army of the Pendawar Presidency in the shape of the 76th (Hindoostan) Regiment ~

These chaps are Perry Miniatures of course and came replete with all the usual issues of sculpting and casting which I've touched on previously. The flags are from GMB Designs and the bases are from Warbases as ever. I experimented with a second GW Contrast paint for the Colonel's horse, sadly for me no more successfully than with my previous effort. I suspect that I must come under the 'old dogs, new tricks' rule in this respect, so I've passed the pots over to Phil to see if he can make better use of them than I did! 

I still hope to be able to add further elements to this project in the shape of more cavalry for Typoo Bhyka's army. I've got my eye for those on some rather nice Warfare C18th Ottomans which might do a job. Also I'd like some additional baggage from Empress Miniatures, so I'll look at those later in the year I hope. Of course they would also do service then in Indian Mutiny games and even in the occasional visit to Rhanslistan...

Tuesday 22 February 2022

The Battle of Tettenhall Green

 Now Phil and I have eased back into our established gaming pattern of alternate biweekly venues it was my turn to host a game in GHQ. Phil requested a VBCW game set in our alternative time frame in South Staffordshire and Wolverhampton. So, the Battle of Tettenhall Green was the setting for our game. A convoy of supplies for the Manders of Wightwick Manor escorted by elements of the South Staffordshire regiment have paused for a brew near Tettenhall Green. Their presence has been made known to Lord Rawnsley and he has hurriedly raised forces intent on capturing the convoy for his own use! After 6 of the expected 12 Turns the relief force sent by the Manders can come to the aid of the Regulars defending the convoy. The winner is the player in uncontested possession of the convoy when the game ends on 12 Turns. The rules are Bolt Action, less the gaming stupidities it is prone to ~

The Regulars of the South Staffordshire regiment debus for a brew, taking shelter in the nearby buildings.
In the van of the advance Lord Rawnsley oversees the early deployment of his B.U.F. supported by a Renault tank and elements if Wolverhampton constabulary.
The Chillington Mounted Rifles are moving on his left flank hoping to get around behind the Regulars' position and threaten the road any relief must come along.
Supported by the Renault tank and a metal bashed armoured van, the police and the Three Tuns Irregulars are similarly trying to get around the South Staffordshire's other flank.
The B.U.F. are moving to support the thrust of the Chillington Mounted Rifles.
The South Staffordshire regiment's troops are moving into the buildings as opposition mounts up, leaving the vehicles of the convoy dangerously unguarded.
Unseen by any, the Chillington Mounted Rifles have dismounted and occupied the upper floors of the houses overlooking the main road any relief force must come along!
Still, it's almost opening time and nothing can disrupt that for hardened drinkers!
Elements of the police have got around behind the flank of the Regulars holding St Editha's Mission to Fallen Women.
The Workers' Militias are the first of Manders' relief column to arrive. They can out on the right of the road to block the move of the B.U.F.
As the Vickers crests the rise it comes under fire from the Renault. The shot is close, but misses!
Volunteers from the Wightwick Manor estate, led by the faithful retainer Singleton, arrive to support the defence of the convoy.
Meanwhile the Express & Star Rifles are pushing forward to block any attack down the road by Manders' relief force.
Pressure is building on the Regulars in St Editha's and more police are getting around the flank to threaten the convoy 
The Valkyries of the Tettenhall Women's Institute rush out from their transport and assault the Wightwick Manor Volunteers! The hand to hand fighting is vicious, but the WI prevail! A loud chorus of Jerusalem is heard across the battlefield as they break out the jam rations!
Having captured the convoy under the cover of the gallant actions of the WI the police drive the vehicles away, winning the battle for Lord Rawnsley's forces!
The Vickers tank can do nothing to alter the outcome, retiring under fire from the Renault!

Lord Rawnsley received news of his victory from his B.U.F. commander. Twelve Turns of VBCW madness! What's not to like we wondered?

Monday 21 February 2022

Bikelheim to Groß Bikelberg

 Well, slightly inconvenienced by Eunice and Franklin, I finally managed to venture out into GHQ and try a simple table layout to see how my newly cut out Modern Roads from Geek Villain (a 6'x4' mat) might look in company with my 15mm buildings from LaserCraftArt. Here are two pictures from opposite sides of the table which I hope will give some sense of what a game might look like ~

Looking across Groß Bikelberg towards Bikelheim.
Looking from Bikelheim towards Groß Bikelberg, with a better idea of how the other buildings might be utilised. 
Of course I need to sort out trees, hedges, fences, walls and suchlike not to mention the factory complex. At least I've ordered the base from Warbases to collect at Hammerhead! I note that Warbases have announced their four German rural buildings now in 15mm, so I've asked to see those at Hammerhead too with a view to purchasing the four if they seem compatible in order to build a larger farm complex for the game. In other CWGH news Phil has painted 3 more Chieftains and 5 more BVMPs, so I should be able to finish them off and base them later in the week. He tells me more vehicles are underway, so I'll have an update no doubt from him tomorrow when we sit down to our weekly game, a VBCW outing!

Thursday 17 February 2022

Terrasse von Haus und Geschäft

 The second of the terraced buildings is completed, and with it the first phase of the 15mm terrain needed for the Cold War Gone Hot project. The piece comprises a third terraced house and an end of terrace shop. As with the first piece I've tried to vary the look of the gardens while keeping the buildings themselves consistent with the first pair. See what you think anyway ~

Front elevation: I've misplaced my German shop signs Phil downloaded for me from the Rapid Fire! website. When I remember where they are I'll fit the name sign!
The side elevation giving a view of these two gardens. I thought the German equivalent of Arkwright might save a few Phenigs by growing his own veg! My poor representation of a vegetable garden will have to suffice.
The rear elevation shows that his neighbour just has lawned the lot! Somewhere for the kinder to play perhaps? Or does he help himself to his neighbour's veg?

Finally a second view of the other side elevation. Along with the misplaced shop signage are some 1980's German advertising I found by web searches. I plan to fit one on this side wall and another on the matching pair of houses in the Gartenterrasse.

In my next post on the project I hope to show the prototype layout for the game table that I mentioned previously. Not sure when that will be, lots going on besides hobby related stuff.

Wednesday 16 February 2022


 The first of my terraced houses for the Cold War Gone Hot project in 15mm. From my go-to MDF 15mm buildings company, LaserCraftArt of course. Did German housing in towns and cities include terraces? Truthfully I neither know nor am I concerned as to the answer. They will suit my purpose just as is ~

The terraced houses (and shop) are sold individually and come in two styles. These are the plainer of the two styles of house.
These bases are also sold individually, though a simpler base for a run of three buildings is also available. I used the latter to base the German post war houses, apartments, shops and offices.
The gardens are walled and come with the dividing fence piece.

I opted for two styles of garden layout, one lawned with a simple flower bed and one half lawned with a vegetable garden. They seem to look alright to my aged eye, though the window and door frames won't thank you for close examination. I plead age, hand and eye if anyone is rude enough to mention it! On the table they look just fine!

There is a further terraced house and shop to do now and then as I said in an earlier post the first phase of buildings will be completed! I'll have a layout at that point on the table in GHQ with the modern roads so we can all get an impression of what it might look like as a game.

Monday 14 February 2022

Das Blaue Haus

 The latest addition to the buildings for the Cold War Gone Hot 15mm project is another of LaserCraftArt's Large German house ~

The sharper amongst you will have seen that it's the Small German House basically with an added storey and a different side wall ~

I'm not sure what kind of business LaserCraftArt is, perhaps a hobby sideline, but the addition of a small house with that sidewall would add variety to the range, as would adding the Office's second storey to the run of Modern Shops.

I'm left now with some terraced houses and a shop to paint and that will be the buildings finished in this phase. I may have some vehicles by then from Phil to finish and base before looking at the factory complex which needs a bespoke base or bases cut by Warbases for me. Then of course there is the thorny issue of painting up some of the 15mm infantry...

Saturday 12 February 2022

Roads to Nowhere?

Well, to Groß Bikelberg and Bikelheim perhaps at some stage? As I've said previously my Cold War Gone Hot project in 15mm is both a small project, at least it's intended that way, and a bit of a back burner. Phil has undertaken to paint the modest collection of Battlefront plastic vehicles, fitting them in amongst his own projects and his commission work, so naturally they will arrive in GHQ for basing as and when.

As for the figures, well, I bought the PSC 15mm plastic Russian Infantry box and hope that the corresponding B.A.O.R. box will arrive this year sometime. I do have Battlefront's metals, but they are an uninspiring bunch of lumps of metal to my old eyes set next to the exquisite plastic Russians. I'd wager a few folk might think that a strange comment given my general antipathy towards plaaaastics! 

Leaving that aside for now at least, I've been making, painting and basing up MDF buildings for the game, having no terrain at all in 15mm size, besides a few small trees from The Last Valley which will do. Warbases let me down when their Prussian 28mm buildings didn't appear in 15mm as I'd hoped but fortuitously a web search lead me to LaserCraftArt and their small but exquisite range of post war German buildings. All are now assembled and most are painted and based ~ just the two bases of terraced houses/shops still to paint!  Of course I do have some industrial buildings for a factory complex, from Sarissa Precision, but these will be a later project in terms of painting and modelling even though they were the first 15mm buildings I bought - at WMMS pre plague!

With all this in mind Phil and I have been discussing roads, having concluded my venerable universal Scenic Effects rubber dirt roads (above) simply won't cut the mustard for this game. After much searching of various options I've settled on a set of roads printed on a 6'x4' mat by Geek Villain at £45 plus £5 P&P. 

I'm confident this will give me all I might need and more for the games on my 6'x6'6" gaming table here in GHQ. They will also do service of course in some 20mm WWII games and in our 28mm VBCW  and occasional Blandings games.

 The company offer these roads and other types of road in two  width sizes, mine being the larger at 100mm road widths. As the vehicle bases are 45mm wide this seemed the best choice for the overall look of the game. When Sue has carefully cut them out for me I'll do a small preview layout complete with the finished buildings to date to give us all an idea of how the games might look. More on that next week I expect.

Wednesday 9 February 2022

Two Days...

 ...two SYW games, two defeats! Not my greatest showing as a wargamer, going from heroic defence finally overwhelmed by weight of firepower in the first game, to abject failure and a short order thrashing in the second! The first game saw the French under my command going down to defeat in Turn 9 after an heroic defence, while the second game saw the British under my command soundly thrashed by Phil in Turn 5! Though even Phil will admit the 'dice gods' did play more than a bit part. The table layout for both games saw the French defending their lines between a roadside Inn and a low ridge, their front protected by gabions manned by French infantry reinforced by batteries of heavy guns. Meanwhile the British and their Hessian allies were trying to force the position and drive back the French, who have little room for manoeuvre ~

A view along the French lines shows the strength of their position and the general disposition at the start of both games ~

In the first game Jon, in his persona of Lord Walton, commanded the Allies, while as the Comte du Merde I commanded the French defenders. As usual now we set the game at a maximum of 12 Turns using Black Powder 2 as the rules with some modification suggested by the supplement Last Argument of Kings.
Two regiments of Grenadiers move to protect the French right flank beyond their camp. These heroic units were to live up to their status beyond expectations as the game developed 
Lord Walton sent forward his British foot en mass in an concerted effort to turn the French right flank. The guns played their part in softening up the defenders.
The French Grenadier regiments look as if they will be easily overwhelmed by Turn 3! Strange how wrong you can be...
While the decisive action develops on the right the Guards mass to attack the French centre, a daunting proposition against entrenched infantry supported by batteries of guns.
The Comte du Merde positions himself alongside his Guards who he hope will be able to attack any breakthrough of his lines and restore equilibrium to the defence.
A host of redecorated infantry! Somehow it just looks overwhelming from the defender's perspective as they come on steadily, undeterred by enemy fire 
On the lied right von Weiß leads his Hessians forward, supported by combined battalions of British Grenadiers.
The British attack struggles to make progress against the French right. The Grenadiers' courage and tenacity under fire draw admiration from their foe! Encouraged by their example Du Merde sends forward support from the second line of French infantry.
Shaken, but not stired, the French right refuses to buckle trading volley after volley with the British regiments massing against them.
On the French left though the Light troops defending the tavern are driven off by the British assault, taking with then the supporting regiment of Regulars. 
Despite this reverse Du Merde orders up his Second line of Regular Infantry before the enemy can crest the line of gabbions! He has no troops to spare though now to protect their left flank beyond a battery of artillery on the hill.

Finally on the French right the Regiment Normandie breaks and flees to the rear. Du Merde commits the Swiss Guards to attempt to plug the gap opening in his lines.
Too late! The French right is broken and with it the army's will to resist. In a close and bloody struggle Lord Walton and von Weiß have carried the day, but at a cost...
In the second game Phil took the role of the French commander, the Comte du Merde, while I commanded the Allies as Lord Useless! You'll see why if you read on ~
Having witnessed the British struggles to turn the French right in the first game I opted instead for a head in attack on the centre but combined regiments of Grenadiers, supported by the Foot Guards, while demonstrating against the two flanks.
You see I had consulted a luck gypsy before settling on my plan and she saw my coming victory as the mists cleared!
The British demonstration against the French right seems to be going well as the Dragoons on foot manage to hold up the Grenadiers De France. A false hope as the French Guards move smartly through the camp to block the dithering British. The 'dice gods' showing their hand, again...
The British Grenadiers' attack goes in, though the support from the Foot Guards is sadly absent, a Blunder sending them in retreat! Those pesky 'dice gods' again...
Well, unsurprisingly that ends in the destruction of the Grenadiers. Hard after all to beat -7 in a Morale Check!
Still, von Weiß' has finally got the Hessians in position to assault en masses! If only...
It's only Turn 5 but the Allies are Broken and retire from the field. Du Merde has carried the day, though I'm sure Phil will admit that those blasted 'dice gods' did play their part...
Now, can the Comte sneak off from his wife to enjoy the 'company' waiting in his tent I wonder?
Better smarten himself up first then perhaps?

Two grand gaming sessions with two good friends. Games played in the spirit of wanting to enjoy the experience whatever the outcome, that's the true winner amongst we GHQ Irregulars. Back to Olaf's HQ over at Phil's at last next week for a WWII encounter. It's been a while, but normality is creeping back for us all I hope.