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 31 August 2023

The 1st, Royal Scots muster into service.

Well, the title says it all really, I have finished the 1st foot, the Royal regiment, the Royal Scots as they were more commonly known. The figures are from Great War Miniatures via North Star, with the exception being the enthusiastic officer which was a show freebie {at Salute or Partizan?} kindly donated to the cause by Phil.The flags are from North Star too while the bases as ever are from Warbases. Any way, not much more I can say about these, so here they are ~

Both in the comments on this blog and on various Forum Boards I also post picture update on a number of folk have been complimentary about my basing style. Below is a 'from above' photo which I hope gives a sense of what I try to do with regard to colour, placement of larger rocks, static grass, clumps of larger grasses and weeds. You'll hopefully notice the absence of flower tufts in this collection. While basing is very much a matter of individual tastes, and rightly so, I do sometimes look away at bases located in flower gardens apparently. Less is more in my view.

Next up on the painting front are a unit of skirmishing Rifle Battalion figures for the Roosians, though I also have the Duke of Cambridge and a mounted Staff Officer on the go as well. As you might recall I fix figures to MDF hexes for painting so I use these mounted figures to avoid wasting painting time while the PVA hardens. The mounted figures are one piece castings of horse and rider, though several have separate arms which allow for some artistic license. 

Over the weekend I hope to complete the basing of the prodigal Foundry figures making up the Light Division, so look out for these next week sometime. Phil and I also plan a second run through of Soldiers of Napoleon on Wednesday, so I'll hope to report on that too in due course.

Tuesday 29 August 2023

Expanding the Royal Scots and adding a Highland Brigade Command stand.

Despite the wonderful distraction of a Staycation with Arthur and Reuben,two of our grandsons, I have managed the odd few minutes of hobby time to finish off the second of three bases for the 1st, the Royal Scots. With a little fortune and a following wind I'd hope to complete the third base by the beginning of September. In the meantime here are the new and the old bases ~

Alongside these I've also been working on a mounted Highland officer to command the kilted part of my Highland Division {as yet comprising one painted officer!} As usual these figures are all from Great War Miniatures via North Star while the bases are from Warbases of course ~

I hope to be making more progress too over the coming days on the rebasing of the first of the prodigal Foundry figures forming the Light Division of my British army. I have the flags ready now thanks to a kind gift from a long time friend and have restocked on Woodlands Scenics Buff Ballast and rocks.

Thursday 24 August 2023

The Second Roosian Infantry Battalion, ...

...a second Roosian Command stand, and a few thoughts about basing bearing in mind how much is in front of me with this project. Painting battalions of 30 figures is a bit daunting for me I've found so I tend to break down progress into base size groups of figures, which for this battalion has been 10 figures at a time. The figures are all from Great War Miniatures via North Star as are the flags. The bases are from Warbases as ever. The basing texture is my usual mix of Woodlands Scenics Buff Ballast washed with Artist's Acrylics Country Maple. As ever, an end to the waffle for now, here they are ~

The second mounted officer I've completed will command the first regiment in games, although so far I've only completed two of its four battalions ~

As an aside I'd just like to offer up a thought on figure basing. I have increasingly turned over the years to ever lighter shades of basing colours and static grass,clumps and the like. Lighter colours I have found seem to lift the figures, even modest efforts such as mine, enabling all the effort put into painting them to be appreciated. Looking around games at wargames shows and on the internet I find many look much too dark to my tastes. You may of course differ in your approach or opinion. 

With the completion of this battalion my attention with the brush has turned to completion of the Royal Scots. You may recall I repainted some figures I'd received from Colin Ashton and added an officer figure Phil had donated to make up one base as a trial ~

Now I have the figures to complete the battalion so they are now underway! The first four are ready for the highlights to be added so I'd hope to finish them today. A bit of disruption to the routine over the weekend with Arthur and Reuben staying with us, but next week should see the first base finished at least. More as and when, as they say.

Tuesday 22 August 2023

A first run through...

...for Soldiers of Napoleon, using figures from my Wars of the French Revolution collection. Phil and I bought these rules earlier in the year when they were on offer from Gripping Beast: Phil to see if they might suit his forthcoming Peninsular War project and yours truly with a view to using them for the Crimean War project. This first trial run then here in GHQ sees Austrians v French set about 1799-1800 in a fictional encounter against the background of the Second Coalition. Of course the Army Lists within the rule book are for a later period than this, so some creative jiggery-pokery with points and such ensued in creating our forces for this game. In the following annotated photomontage I hope you will be able to follow some aspects of our stumbling progress through the game. In all we played 5 game turns in a session of about 2 3/4 hours either side of lunch. The first tranche of photos represent our opening moves in Turn 1 merely to show the cards in play ~

Having the Initiative the French first Dance their Light Cavalry brigade on their right flank to protect the anticipated infantry attack in the centre.
The Austrians open by advancing their First Brigade of infantry shielded by O'Donnell's Freicorps. {Note the Division command stand has only gained one action, as had his French counterpart.}
The French advance their Second Brigade in the centre but progress is slower than anticipated as the Legeré in Line move at a lesser rate than the Columns of March.
In the centre the Austrian Second Brigade advanced with the Grenz shielding the advance in Extended Line.
The First French Brigade advanced on the left supported by a battery of 12lb guns.
The Austrian Light Cavalry brigade advanced with élan in response to the French threat. Their more numerous stands were to prove a problem for the French in early exchanges.
The French Light Cavalry gets a second card and advances on the Austrians who have reached the road earlier.
Similarly the First Austrian Infantry Brigade gets a second card and moves forward to seize the cross roads, the objective of the French attack.
In response the First French Brigade gets a second card allowing the artillery battery and one supporting battalion to advance to counter the Austrian threat.
Finally the Austrian Second infantry Brigade gets a second card and moves to consolidate the Austrian defensive line.
It's the end of Turn 1 and the Austrians have achieved their initial objective and claim one Victory Point, only another 12 to go!
Turn 2 opens with a rather rash charge by the French Hussars. They take a beating from the Chevaux Legeré and withdraw giving the Austrians their second Victory Point.
Not deterred in the slightest the remaining regiments of the French Light Cavalry continue rashly to charge the Austrian Hussars. They enjoy greater success sending their opponents reeling back and gaining the French's first Victory Point.
The French take advantage of the first Special Event with an off table artillery bombardment of the Austrian Hussars. Disruption is building rapidly for the Austrian Light Cavalry brigade!
By the end of Turn 2 the French have the better of the cavalry exchanges on their right flank while the Austrians have consolidated their position around the crossroads with their 12lb battery deployed to threaten the flank of any French assault.
Moving forward into Turn 3 the second French Infantry Brigade manoeuvres into Ordre Mixte screened by the advancing Legeré. The main business is about to commence!

Things continue to go well for the French on their right with the Austrians having to sacrifice Stands to remove Disruption and hand more Victory Points to the French. 

Now, if you've got this far you deserve a biscuit with your cup of tea! We certainly did! The final photo shows the table at the conclusion of Turn 5 when we called "Time!" Although the French are on the attack along the front a final tally of Victory Points showed 11 to the Austrians against a French Break Point of only 13 to the French's 13 against an Austrian Break Point of 19. We awarded the Austrian commander a winning draw as they also held the objective of the crossroads. Well done Phil!

Some closing remarks are probably appropriate, though I'm not one for 'reviews' after one play through, so with that in mind, here are our main conclusions. 

As you'd expect we estimate we spent about 1/4 of the playing time looking things up in the rules, though we did get noticeably quicker towards the end of the session. 

We both enjoyed the game, feeling that as it unfolded it became both more demanding and more rewarding in making tactical decisions. This was especially true with respect of rallying off Disruption to avoid the loss of units with more casualty markers than stands.

The cards become increasingly important as the game evolved when hard choices need to be made to keep the momentum of the attack going while avoiding units being lost to Disruption. This certainly hampered both the Austrian Light Cavalry brigade and both French Infantry brigades as the game developed.

The rules themselves are intuitive we felt, though the layout of the interleafing aspects might be better served by a clearer Index. Mostly we found what we wanted in the end and of course if you played these regularly the aspect of consulting the Rule Book would diminish in importance. No doubt of course we got things wrong in places, but experience teaches that generally that evens out over the game. So, overall I'd give Soldiers of Napoleon a solid 8/10 on this first play through. With that in mind I'm confident that we will revisit the game later in the Autumn.

Saturday 19 August 2023

Make Do and Mend...

...with the returned Wargames Foundry Crimean War British infantry has been on my mind while I was 'Oop North earlier in August. Having found a home with a good friend for some Scottish infantry figures and agreed a sale for the surplus Foot Guards figures to Stuart of Colonel Bill's I was left with five infantry regiments of 16-18 figures. 

With careful attention to the figures' paint jobs I first removed them all from their vintage card and filler bases: fiddly, messy and leading to sore finger tips but not difficult and only taking about an hour. Two of the regiments have yellow facings and a further two blue facings, though one was a Fusilier regiment. The remaining regiment had red facings. With a little artistic license in allocating figures to bases I was left with only four yellow faced figures to repaint with red facings as you can see in the first picture ~

 Back in the early 1980's when these were all painted you could still buy the figures individually, which accounts for the many casualty figures and the plethora of mounted Officers. Not wanting to waste a good resource I've pressed two of the surplus mounted officers into duty as a Brigade Command stand. While I'm on I shall replace the flags on these units with the North Star ones after I send off my next order ~

I also have some Rifle Brigade figures which I may rebase onto round bases in due course but these are enough to be going on with while Phil is away in a week or so. I hope that with my rebasing, new flags and a spray of matt varnish they will fit in with my newer Great Wars Miniatures units despite the discrepancy in figure size and heft. In separate units I really think few would bother to comment adversely. Anyway, a couple of closer pictures to remind us of earlier paints and painting styles, not to mention gloss varnish. The regiments from front to rear seem to have been the 33rd, the 23rd and the 38th ~

While I'm on the subject of painting I'd like to report that I'm making good progress on the second Roosian infantry battalion. Two bases of figures need grass 'n tufting while the first four figures of the third base are well on. Look out for them hopefully near the end of next week.

Monday 14 August 2023

'Quick Fire!' Reward

Earlier in the 'summer' I sent Dan at Wargames Illustrated a few photographs and a short piece about dressing the interior of Western Gunfight style buildings. In due course it appeared in the magazine, along with the bigger piece on my SYW collection you may recall. These 'Quick Fire!' pieces are generally rewarded with a free copy of the magazine and a Giant in Miniature of the author's choice. Being cheeky, and having a subscription anyway, I asked for some 3D prints I'd noticed in an earlier issue. I'd not been in the house an hour on returning from our trip 'Oop North when I found a small packet on our door mat ~

The contents of the packet some of you may recognise from Wargames Illustrated where the painted versions have been featured once or twice. They will make interesting side projects when I'm sick of Roosians I hope. I expect to utilize them as objective markers in games as well as set dressing in WWI, VBCW, WWII and Pulp games. I'm not a fan of 3D prints when it comes to figures but vehicles and terrain are another matter. Keep an eye out for painted examples as we move through the year. Meanwhile though, the first base of figures for the second Roosian infantry battalion is moving towards completion.

Saturday 12 August 2023

Here's One I Did Earlier...

Blue Peter viewers of a certain vintage may recognise that phrase. Before Sue and I set off on our journey 'Oop North I had managed to paint a second GWM British Command/ADC figure for my expanding Crimean War {Mk 2} collection, but ran out of time to grass and tuft his base appropriately. So, twelve days later, here he is ~

I modified him slightly by replacing the separate arm waving a cocked hat with a spare Trent Miniatures arm with sword from their Irish rebel leader. It works for me if for noone else. 

It occurs to me that I never said over much about my acquisitions at Claymore and also later in the trip. I had made and prepaid for an order from Warbases: Eastern European House #3, Animal Pen; and Village Well with a view to depicting a farm. Let's face it, very many wargames you see will feature a farm or two. In addition I got 3mm bases for the cavalry and hexagonal bases to fix figures to for painting. I ventured once into the Flea Market, a prime location to catch the Tartan variant of the Vid I'd say, crowded, hot and stuffy. But, I got away it seems, and with the Fosten's The Thin Red Line uniform plate book. Later in the holiday, back down near Carnforth I picked up two Napoleonic books for interest: Bukharin's French Napoleonic Line Infantry published by Almark and Armies of 1812 by von Pivka/Digby Smith ~

Not content with attending a show, making purchases and sniffing out books I also visited my chum George Anderson {of  the blog 'Musings on Wargaming and Life' fame} and was privileged to explore the Warton War Room in its developmental stage. I am green with envy at its potential I have to confess. Back home now though so time to set to and tackle the second battalion of Roosian infantry...

Monday 7 August 2023

The Battle of Falkirk 1298 ~ with Wofun-games plexiglass figures

At the Claymore event recently one game I spent some time at chatting with one of the players was the Falkirk and District Wargames Club's Battle of Falkirk 1298 game. It caught my interest because it was played using the 2D Paper Boys figures, but those printed directly onto plexiglass and marketed by Wofun-games.com On the table viewed from the player's perspective they looked really good I thought. They come ready coloured front and back, with separate bases, need no sticking nor gluing , just press out, organise and you're good to go ~

Here's a shot of an individual 18mm set and their bases, which I received as a gift...
...and pressed out and fixed in their bases ready for battle.
I can see this as a really attractive option to get playing in a period, especially for those who are time poor hobby wise, with 48 or 96 figures plus bases for about €11 in 28mm or 18mm respectively. I could see me getting some for games with my grandchildren but I also can see me then wanting to paint traditional figures. Old Dog, New Tricks perhaps, or perhaps not... Whatever, the chaps' game was different and I liked the overall look, so maybe it is part of the plaaastic figures future ahead, particularly for you younger chaps and chapesses.

Saturday 5 August 2023

Claymore '23

As my regular reader know, I have been to Claymore, the principal Scottish wargames show, a show I attended regularly before The Plague. I had a grand day meeting up with many friends from North of the Waall. I took some photos of the games that took my fancy, starting with the Iron Brigade's Winter is Here demo game, the justified winner of Best Demonstration Game ~

Brother Bykleigh getting in on the action!
It was for me such a noisy convention that I can't actually attribute most of the other games that took my fancy. It's no fun being deaf in large crowds. The games I chose ~
Barry Hilton's Mad for War Participation Game.
Finally The Invincibles' C18th game featuring some lovely terrain and figures ~

Purchase wise I was not the most extravagant punter: from Warbases a heap of 3mm bases and some Eastern European buildings to service the Crimes; from ABC Brushes three new sable brushes and a mixing pallet; from the Flea Market The Thin Red Line book. Still, a grand day out and now mistook!