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.

Thursday 29 June 2023

How strange?

Well, it's like this: Phil has decided on a new adventure in his gaming universe. I can't say more than that at present. Meanwhile, in my equally strange new-old project the Scots Fusilier Guards are nearing completion with two bases of eight figures finished and the bases textured while four of the last Guardsmen are under the brush. I've also been intermittently cleaning up and undercoating more figures to build up a 'Ready For The Brush' stock ~

Obviously l took this trial picture before the texturing! So far I've prepared the Coldstream Guards and a Highland infantry regiment for the British, together with two 9lb guns & crew and 9 bases of skirmishing Rifle Brigade figures as well as some mounted personalities. While for the Roosians I've got three infantry Battalions ready for the brush alongside two 12lb guns & crew. I'm due for a rest I think after all this activity so I'm off to see Matt this weekend down in Herefordshire. Of course Matt lives conveniently close to Hay-on-Wye, Britain's second hand book capital, so some Crimean War inspiration is on the agenda.

Finally, and completely off message, I took advantage of a Gripping Beast offer combined with my Wargames Illustrated voucher offer to buy a set of rules ~

I don't have any armies for the period the rules cover but I thought they might be interesting and make a change from Black Powder if I could adapt them for either the FRW or the Crimea...

Friday 23 June 2023

Colonial Militia for the F&IW

I realise I've  probably said this somewhere before but when I attended the recent Partizan show I went unencumbered by The List. So it was on nothing more than a whim that I bought some F&IW figure blisters from North Star. To be strictly accurate these comprised the pack of Colonial Militia, the pack of British regulars in campaign kit and the single British officer. In my mind they were going to make a Colonial Militia unit and now they are finished you can see whether you agree with me or not ~

I hoped that the mixed mostly muted colours would do the trick and create in the viewer's mind the illusion of a Militia unit with very mixed kit at their disposal. I think myself it's been successful but I'm sure there may be those who disagree. Let's hope they are amongst the invisible throng who never comment! I'd like to add a similar unit of French Canadian Militia to the roster at some point, those by Galloping Major look suitable. Sadly though the war chest is bare for now, depleted by the acquisition of the basic requirements for my Crimean War project as detailed in the previous blog entry!

Half a League onward?

Well, not yet I have to confess but the project is coming together slowly. As I mentioned in an earlier entry I had a Crimean War collection back in the day. I sold the French element on to Dave Imrie I recall, while the Russians and British I traded away in a deal fraught with issues I'll just skate over if noone minds. So, I wanted to go on painting for mental health and enjoyment but didn't want to go on adding to already overlarge collections. Solution? Start a new project instead. I've done this on several occasions before, in fact my SYW project is featuring in the new issue of Wargames Illustrated. I did consider the Peninsular War but in the end I plumped for revisiting the Crimean War. I thought I'd give the Foundry range a miss as I'd done them before and chose Great War Miniatures from North Star in preference. Then I spied some of the same at Colonel Bill's, ordered and we were off! Twenty-four Highland infantry and seven Coldstream Guards ~

In the meantime I'd ordered what I hoped would give me the bones of two forces from North Star and within the week they duly arrived ~
So, I started to sort them out and clean up a couple of infantry units a side and some guns and crew. Some Russian infantry first of course ~

Russian infantry seems to have deployed into three ranks when in line compared to the British two rank formation. I want to recreate this in the figure bases and this is my first layout attempt. Remembering that Russian infantry tactics favoured the column I thought 80*60mm bases would work well to give a real sense of depth and solidity to the column. They'll need to be 3mm rather than my usual 2mm thickness and an order is already winging it's way from my go to supplier at Warbases!
Then, out of the blue, I got an email from chum Colin Ashton asking if I'd like some surplus figures he had. Of course I said yes and the next day they duly arrived on the doormat ~
I've had a brief look through and have identified many usable figures including Highland Command figures, Russian Dragoons, two 12lb Russian guns and crew ( by Warlord), and several British infantry in shako advancing. Other useful figures are there too and I'd hope to work those in as the project evolved and develops. In the meantime I've painted a few test figures from the Scots Fusilier Guard ~
The next figures are already underway and I'd hope to have them finished over the weekend ready for their proper bases of 80*50*3mm to arrive.

Tuesday 20 June 2023

The Triumph of Typoo Bhyka...

...and celebrating Paul's new phone to boot. The second game set in the Subcontinent, the Jewel in the Crown, last week saw Paul, as Major General Watson, leading the forces of the Honourable East India Company, assisted by a smattering of Regular units, against the rebellious ruler of Pendawar, Typoo Bhyka, the Tyger of Pendawar. 

Rather than the usual anotated photomontage I thought I'd weave the pictures Paul sent me into this blog post as they do show this collection in a strong light. The table layout you will recognise as substantially that of the previous Mutiny game fought earlier with Phil, some of the units even straying across time if not space! 

Paul won the initiative at the onset of activities and from the off the battle was intense and involved. So much so that we only managed two Turns before lunch and after the break only a further two before Major General Watson's force was broken by a combination of poor luck on his part and aggressive action on Typoo's, accompanied I must say by more than decent dice when it mattered most. A more conventional view of the action for those readers who enjoy seeing how the battle developed ~

Typoo Bhyka's Regular Infantry supported by artillery and hordes of horsemen.
Fanatical swordsmen supported by artillery and rockets!
The inexorable advance of the forces of the H.E.I.C. bear down on Typoo's centre while the Horsemen await developments on the left.
Almost mirroring Phil's earlier dilemma, the H.E.I.C. right wing just cannot get into position.
The centres clash as Typoo's war elephants lumber forward in support.
On the right of his line the hordes of mounted warriors get into action. The H.E.I.C. artillery is ridden down in an heroic charge!
Fanatics driven off and the rocket battery destroyed by an explosion on firing! Typoo's left is looking weaker suddenly. The Voluntaires de Bykli and the Raja's Household Guard press forward to stem the tide!
Buoyed by success Typoo's forces surge forward across the battlefield restricting Watson's ability to manoeuvre effectively to make the best of his superior infantry firepower.
Where his forces can deploy their devastating volley fire sees off Typoo's lightly armed infantry.
Typoo's guns are silenced but still he drives his men forward, determined that he shall prevail at all hazards!
The hordes of mounted warriors sweep away Watsons left wing putting both Regulars, Sepoys and Volunteers to the sword. 
Turn 4 sees Watson's forces crumble as the H.E.I.C. army reaches Break Point. Paul graciously concedes defeat to a modestly jubilant Typoo Bhyka. A cracking game from the off and another example of the strengths of the Black Powder system. No game here for a while now S both Phil and Paul are away on R&R and Jon continues to be AWOL...

Monday 19 June 2023


Phil has kindly painted more Foundry Norman infantry for my '1066 & All That' project, delivering them into GHQ for basing last Tuesday. As you'll recall I hope I have based the collection so that one {or more} large bases can represent a unit using Hail Caesar as our current rules of choice. This base then represents a unit of Norman Heavy Infantry in mail ~

Phil's also working on a second batch of Norman infantry which I hope will be received towards the end of the month, other commission work permitting. After those and when he can fit them in I have a pack of Foundry archers and some Gripping Beast heavy cavalry, both groups for portraying the Breton allies accompanying William the B*stard in his invasion of Saxon England.

Thursday 15 June 2023

Action at Badli-Mhawled

The first of two recent games set in the sub continent, the Jewel in the Crown, saw Lord Rawnsley's column take on the mutinous scum commanded by the the renegade Raja of Rhanslistan, Bykli Singh. In other words an Indian Mutiny game using Black Powder as our rules guide. As ever, a photomontage which I hope will carry you down into the action and give a sense of the unfolding drama ~

Bykli Singh sizes the initiative! The fanatical Badmash rush forward to engage the approaching enemy.
In the same vien the 1st Brigade of mutinous Sepoys advance boldly on Rawnsley's Heavy Artillery battery.
The Raja's Rocket Men fire off a salvo to support the attack, but sadly the rockets miss their target, and everything else besides!
Rawnsley Royal Naval rocket fires off its first salvo in response. Disaster! It explodes on the ramp and destroys the battery! Thankfully for his Lordship no other unit is Disordered by the disastrous event!
The Sepoys, inspired it seems by the demise of the RN Rocket battery Sweep forward taking the Heavy Artillery battery in its flank. In short order the battery is overrun and Neil's Blue Caps threatened by enfilade fire. In support Bykli Singh's Household Guard advance steadily.
Rawnsley just cannot get his troops moving and now a second Sepoy infantry regiment from the 1st Brigade advance on the Horse Artillery battery and deliver a devastating volley.
Around the ruined remains of Badli-Mawled the fanatical Badmash are engaged in vicious hand to hand combat. To much cheering they defeat the Regulars seeking to dislodge them and further hamper Rawnsley's room for manoeuvre.
Despite the 1st Brigade consolidating in the centre the story on their right is different with the mutinous Sepoy Light Cavalry being driven off in rout by their opponents.
The Badmash consolidate their hold on the ruins as the Regulars flee in rout from combat!
At last Rawnsley's luck seems to be changing and his infantry advance on the enemy. In an attempt to harass the advance the Raja's Household Guard Cavalry charges the Gurkhas who are Shaken as a result of casualties received.
More Sepoy infantry advance in the centre despite the fleeing Light Cavalry on their right flank. 
The Gurkhas have held the centre for now but to their left the 2nd Sepoy Brigade steadily advances on Rawnsley's left wing held by his Light Cavalry Brigade.
Despite initial failure the Raja's Rocket Men continue to fire salvos on the enemy seeking to further disrupt their formations by Disorder.
They score a direct hit on the Gurkhas who break and flee as a result!
Devastating volley fire from the leading Sepoys of the 2nd Brigade rout Rawnsley's Light Cavalry Brigade unexpectedly.
Despite mounting losses elsewhere across the battlefield Neil's Blue Caps drive of the Raja's Household Guard infantry.
Their triumph is short lived though, broken by mounting losses from Artillery fire and from an enfilading volley. "Events Dear Boy, Events..."
A second direct hit from a rocket salvo is the final straw for Lord Rawnsley's morale. His relief column is defeated and driven from the field! In truth Phil never recovered from the first two Turns' outcomes and the game was over in Turn 5. A resounding win for Bykli Singh, who was rewarded for some impetuous decisions supported by some kind dice throws for once. The second game staged later in the week pitted Major General Watson's British East India Company against the wily Tipoo Bhyka, the Tiger of Pendawar. More on that action in due course.