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.

Friday 26 May 2023

By His Command!

 That is to say rather that at Phil's forceful suggestion this blog entry has seen the light of day. A bit of background here: I like to take advantage of days like Friday - warm, light breeze, low humidity - to spray varnish figures in the 'done but not done' queue. So I got out the kit and sprayed my 12 Brunswick Grenadiers. Seemed such a shame given the conditions not to have anything else waiting it's turn. So, into GHQ, where the AWI game was still out on the tabletop battlefield. Most figures we'd used are relatively recent and are matt varnished, but their storage boxes contained many other  more venerable figures either satin or gloss varnished. So, can and boards are deployed and off we went spraying gaily all afternoon. The result, well, somewhat surprisingly I have to say, a whole collection reinvigorated ~

The core of these Front Rank figures originally came into my collection starting in about 1984 when I bought two 'Starter Armies' at Salute in Kensington Town Hall. Back almost in the dawn of time Alec Brown the then owner attended many shows with his Front Rank trade stand so I must have added to these down the years, but I've no recollection of that. It's an age thing I'd guess! 

More recently though I'd added Foundry, Perry Miniatures, Eureka and even more Front Rank figures to the collection but I don't think I fully realised until now how it had grown - and there are still three Continental Dragoon regiments in another box! Anyway, Phil has ordered a parade, so here it is, starting of course as is only proper with the forces of the Crown ~

After the forces of the Crown, those of the Revolutionary Americans ~

It's a bit of a surprise, you might even say a shock, to realise how projects can seem to grow with a life almost independent of your own. I had no idea that down the years I'd acquired this many AWI figures as we usually play smaller sized games. Another thing I noticed as the figures were drying in the sun was that they were rather better painted than I thought, though I've long moved on from black lining figures! Having got them all in the same varnish finish now has the effect of drawing the whole collection together more satisfactorily to the eye. So, it seems only right that we might have to move up a size in coming battles...

Wednesday 24 May 2023

Liberty or Death!

Enthused and invigorated by Partizan Phil and I set to in GHQ to fight an AWI game this week. An encounter battle fought over the rolling Virginian countryside sees ol' "Liberty or Death" Bykleigh confronting his nemesis Lord Rawnsley. The Americans fielded four small brigades of infantry, two of Continentals and two of Militia, supported by a battery of 9lb guns and two 3lb galloper guns accompanying the two Continental battalions, the Philadelphia Light Horse and the 4th Continental Light Dragoons. Lord Rawnsley commanded two infantry brigades, one of Regulars and one of Loyalists, together with two small cavalry brigades, one of Light Dragoons and elements of Tarleton's Legion and a second of Loyalist volunteers. In addition he was supported by De Whit's Hessian mercenaries comprising four infantry battalions, two of Light Troops and the force's only artillery, a 3lb gun. Phil won the initiative and opted to move first, though in true style not a lot entered the field of battle for him in Turn 1!

Slow progress by the Virginia Continental battalions on the American right from the off rather set the tone for the game with hindsight...
Lord Rawnsley had more joy of his subordinates hastening to carry out his wishes, excepting De Whit's Hessian mercenaries of course. Had he forgetfully omitted to pay them I wondered?
In the American centre the first Militia brigade take up position behind the fence line while the Continental battalions struggle to get moving at all. 
The Continental Light Dragoons face their British rivals along the lane, a rare outing as Small units was going to catch up both out as the game progressed!
The impetuous Philadelphia Light Horse charge the British Light Dragoons. It might have worked, but for the dice... The advancing Loyalists behind the melee are halted by Disorder resulting from the Militias' opening volley.
The Continental Light Dragoons have charged the King's Orange Rangers, my second mistake with a Small unit!  Old 'Victory or Death' has carelessly lost all his cavalry!
On the American right progress is still glacial with the Hessians slightly edging the movement stakes! The Virginia Continental battalions are very slow to get moving!
Rebel militias confront Loyalist battalions and losses begin to mount as they trade volleys.
On the American left the New Jersey Blues and the 3rd Maryland mimic the tardiness of their Virginian compatriots on the right. Thankfully Lord Rawnsley's advancing Regular brigade is equally cautious as it suffers losses from the American artillery battery.
Finally both sides get into position and the delayed fight for the left behind in earnest.
As it does on the right, with the Hessians and Virginians trading volleys across the fence line.
Despite being Shaken and Disordered the Militia put up unexpected resistance in a long melee with the Regulars! Four Turns passed before their morale finally broke! What I might have given for their dice elsewhere in the unfolding action, or for Phil's Saving Throws?
The American right is the first to crumble, the Virginians finally broken by Hessian volleys! In the centre the first Militia brigade has finally fled leaving the second to its fate as Lord Rawnsley's attack presses forward 
With the loss early on of his cavalry brigade compounded by the mounting infantry losses Bykleigh finds his army has lost the will to carry on with the fight and concedes defeat in Turn 9. With hindsight the battle turned on a combination of slow deployment and mishandling of cavalry on the American side while the steady build up of momentum by the Crown's forces continually pressed home their localised advantages: Black Powder at its best we thought!

Tuesday 23 May 2023

Some Figures: Old...

...and New, all for the '1066 & All That' project. Firstly the 'Old', some Norman and Breton infantry. Normans are Foundry figures while the Bretons are from Black Tree or Renegade, an eBay purchase early last year I recall.  They have made up one base/element of Heavy infantry and a couple of skirmisher bases (Bretons) ~

Next I made up two bases/elements of Medium infantry (Normans). Phil painted them of course, at OAP/Mates rates, thankfully ~

The first of the 'New' in the shape of some Foundry Norman armoured/heavy archers in rule terms. Of course Phil painted these for me I should say. I had thought to purchase a second pack but in the end decided against it this time round ~

And lastly then, some Footsore Miniatures Late Saxon slingers, sculpted by Matt and painted by yours truly, to deploy as skirmishers for Harald Bikersson's army ~

I might push the boat out and buy a pack of his/their Dark Age Welsh slingers too, though at £9.50 for 4 figures I find that they are on the steep side of expensive. I'm only a poor pensioner after all... especially after my Partizan spending spree!

Sunday 21 May 2023

Personal Partizan Perusals

Phil and I have been over to Newark Showground in the East Midlands for the much anticipated Partizan wargames show, nay, extravaganza. 

I have taken random photos of aspects of games which pleased me, no mean task this in what is beyond a shadow of a doubt the very pinnacle of historical wargames events. A large and airy venue, acres of free parking, the hobby's leading traders and the very best of games both participation and display. Without more ado my take on the visual extravaganza on offer to the visitor for in my case as on OAP the laughable sum of £2.00, about the price of a tube of Pringles! My preferences for visual appeal in games can be enjoyed in the following pictures I offer for your viewing. Games in 28mm, 20mm, 15mm & smaller still were on display, not to mention the many crowded Participation games, the Societies and the Authors' Corner ~

On the downside the continued lack of 'rest seating' remains for me the biggest criticism of shows in general. The main casualties of the day being my wallet and then my...

At almost 73 I would welcome somewhere to sit and rest for a spell without intruding on my friends and their game. (Thank you anyway Kevin and Peter. See you at Claymore!)

Finally, as I mentioned my wallet in the butcher's bill, my swag from the day ~

Oh, and a copy of Sharp Practice & Card Pack for Paul!