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.



Tuesday 31 October 2023

Third Roosian Infantry Battalion

I had almost finished these when the virus struck, so as my health improved they were amongst the first figures I completed after the mounted Highland officer. The figures are from Great War Miniatures of course, the flags from North Star and bases from Warbases as always. Not a lot more I can say about them really ~

One or two of you have commented favourably on my basing of this project so I thought I ought to say a bit more in detail about my approach. Firstly, the bases themselves are 3mm MDF rather than my usual 2mm. I hoped this would reduce if not eliminate any tendency to warp during the process. Sadly it seems to have been the former. 

Then I attach the figures with UHU Power with an added spot of Super glue. This produces a strong and almost instantaneous bond meaning handling the base as you go along is reasonably safe. I find that the larger bases mean you can attempt more diorama style bases when arranging your figures. Often the sculptors have done the work for you in designing the range. The Roosians have two useful packs in this respect: Casualties and NCOs dressing the ranks. Both are used to effect in this Battalion. At the same time I fix one or two larger Woodlands Scenics 'rocks' to the gaps in the basing ~

Now I coat the base around the figure bases with School PVA from Hobbycraft,  dipping the base in my mix of Woodlands Scenics Buff Ballast. As the figures are securely fixed you can turn the base upsidedown to loose the surplus mix. I leave this to dry overnight.

The next stage in the process is to wash the base with my preferred Crafters' Acrylic shade of Country Maple. As I mix the wash by eye there is some variation I've found as the ratio of paint to H2O differs each time. It's not an issue which bothers me I have to say.

Leaving the wash to dry off for the next day means when you add static grass there are no damp areas to retain the grass strands where you don't want them. Bitter experience speaking here! I apply the PVA in a sort of camouflage pattern, mainly to disguise the figures' bases and break up the inevitable rectangular look of the base. I use a mix of Jarvis Spring and Summer grasses, though other brands are available. 

While the PVA is still fresh I apply tufts to suit in a mixture of styles and colours. I buy the Gamers' Grass Tufts from Great Escape Games at shows or from Arcane by mail order. You may have noticed there are no flowering shrubs in evidence. I didn't think they'd be suitable for the Crimea so I used the Weeds packs, light and dark greens, to vary the look of the tufts ~

So there you have it, hardly cutting edge ideas, but I hoped a few readers might find it of interest. Next up will be a some Roosian artillery and naval types so do pop back soonish please.

Sunday 29 October 2023

Highland Brigade Command

About two weeks ago I was struck with a viral infection which was so worrying I had to see my GP. Cue appointment, consultation, examination and prescription for very strong antibiotics! A combination of illness and drug side effects laid me low, so little if any hobby stuff was possible beyond posting several preprepared blog entries. Eventually though I turned the corner and managed the odd minutes with figures and brush. I managed to finish the Great War Miniatures mounted Highland Colonel to join the officer on foot I did as a test piece weeks back now. Finally the base is ready to display, despite my only completed unit for the Brigade being the Royal Scots, which have also featured back in the day. Anyway, here it is, Colonel Morrison and his ADC Captain Calder ~

Hopefully things will be getting back to normal as we head into November so I've earmarked some Roosian 12lb guns and crew to paint next. Amongst the returned Prodigal Foundry Collection I found a Roosian naval gun. By carefully checking the figures which accompany the 12lb guns I've been able to assign two figures to man this piece, together with an officer from the Roosian High Command set, which will give me a further artillery option. They are also assigned to the painting queue now. 

Sunday 22 October 2023

Something a little different...

...in the forthcoming issue of Wargames Illustrated, the hobby's leading magazine! Well, as I have often contributed numerous articles over many years I would say that, wouldn't I?

The November issue features the theme of Pulp Adventure Gaming. This is the second article I've penned against the background of P.G.Wodehouse's Blandings Castle novels. The first appearing in #300, the special anniversary issue; Lord Emsworth's Last Stand being one of the themed article. This time the action is rather more 'Pulpy', but you'll need to buy it though to learn more...

Thursday 19 October 2023

Lord Lucan and ADC

Though I have yet to rebase any of the British and Roosian cavalry from the Prodigal Foundry Collection I have completed a Command stand for the British cavalry in the collection. The figures are from Great War Miniatures of course, being Lord Lucan and a figure I have preferred for my ADC figures on Command stands, even though it's listed as General Cathcart ~

Four views of the Command stand so noone is fooled into thinking I'm anything more than a journeyman painter. At game distance in the heat of battle this will do the job for me. Next up on the 'filler-figure front' of the painting schedule is a mounted Highland officer. Mind you, all hobby progress has been somewhat disrupted by recent illness. Hopefully I'm on the mend now, I even painted for a short while this morning.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

🎼🎶"Sing tow-row-a-row, etc

For the British Grenadiers!" Or in this instance the third and last of the units for my Guards Brigade, the 3rd Battalion, the Grenadier Guards. These are Great War Miniatures of course with flags from North Star and bases from Warbases as ever ~

I added two figures from the British casualty pack to give the unit a little more character. As the casualty figures are Line Infantry and not Guardsmen I have painted the facings yellow to emphasise that perhaps they had fallen in an earlier attack ~
I seem to have been painting these figures for eons, mainly because they were interspersed with the refurbishment and rebasing of the Foundry figures. I feel relieved I have to say rather than pleased that they are finished now!
I have Lord Lucan and an ADC well on the way to being finished as well, though I've not rebased any of the Foundry cavalry as of yet. The Third Battalion of the Roosian infantry regiment are underway too, with four figures finished to date, though the rest will take me a while to work through!



Sunday 15 October 2023

🎼🎵🎶"I'm never ever sick at sea!"

 The Royal Navy shore contingent {from HMS Pinafore} man the 32lb naval guns hauled inland from their saucy ship ~

Bases in a style which could be used on either sea or land deployment in my view. These were based by Jon before the collection returned and was not one I would have dared attempt, hampered as I am by ten thumbs when it comes to conversions.
Captain and crew deployed as skirmisher bases to defend their guns. All the figures of course painted back in the early 1990's and from the Prodigal Foundry Collection of course. As are these last few Roosian infantry making up a few skirmish bases ~
And channeling my 'inner Jock' and not wanting to waste any figures, a Command stand for them ~
And with these remnants all the infantry, Command figures and artillery have been refurbished and rebased leaving only the cavalry to process over the winter months. Next up here for you, the Grenadier Guards.



Saturday 14 October 2023

British Heavy Siege Artillery

My most recent efforts at refurbishment and rebasing of elements from the Prodigal Foundry Crimean War collection saw the last of the British artillery processed. They have given me a large 32lb artillery piece and a 13" mortar, both with their crews ~

Not a great deal more I can say about them really, you must be wearying of it all by now, I know I am.
Finally, by way of a diversion, a small camp vignette using up three spare officer figures and I think the photographer from Britannia - now Grubby Miniatures - while the subjects are from Foundry of course. The three officers are having their picture taken, to send home to loved ones perhaps, and include my favourite, a stout Turkish officer. As I have no other Turks in the collection then he must date back to the 'good old days' when figures could be bought individually. I really do miss being able to choose the figures I wanted for the look I wanted my units to have! I detest figures in packs!
I realise now that I have been mistaken in attributing these to the early 1980's, mainly because of the Greeks Matt painted shown in the previous post. They were in fact painted in the early 1990's, so just 30 years ago. Sorry if I misled any readers, you will excuse me I hope as I put the error down to age...👴🏻


Thursday 12 October 2023

Greeks bearing gifts...

Some further refurbishment and rebasing of the Roosians from the Prodigal Foundry Collection has given me six useful skirmish bases of Greek volunteers. I've no idea if these are an accurate representation of the Greeks but they are wearing traditional costume it seems. They were painted for me by Matt when he'd be about 13 or 14. You can see he was already better than me even then ~

In addition to these I've also now assembled two useful Roosian command bases and a further base of an Orthodox priest bearing a religious banner ~

All Foundry figures of course, but the priest not from the Perrys' range. He's bulkier than their Crimean range as you can see.
You can never have enough command bases in my view! A closer view of the Orthodox banner bearing priest below ~

Probably a spare Cossack artilleryman I'd think added to one of the figures from the High Command pack as is now. Basing on all three of these was done by Jon and I think that they fit in quite well with my current style of bases. Just some skirmish bases of a Roosian Rifle battalion to finish off and all of the infantry and artillery will have been refurbished and rebased. A bit of a rest and a return to painting mainly is on the cards for now.

Wednesday 11 October 2023

A Brief Diversion into the Italian Wars

 For our regular weekly game it was my turn to be the host. Thinking about all the lovely games I had seen at The Other Partizan last Sunday I found indecisive was my middle name when I had to choose a game. In the end I plumped for the Italian Wars as it had not had a run out of late. An encounter battle between the forces of the Papal States and those of Florence using our combined collections. The rules would be Hail Caesar in their second iteration. As ever, an annotated photomontage to give a sense hopefully of how the action developed over the course of the game ~

All roads lead to Rome, or so the old saying goes. Baldini's Florentines are encamped alongside the old Roman road preventing Pope Alexander VI, Borgia from returning to the Vatican from one of his summer retreats. Cesaré Borgia leads a relief column to dive off the encroaching Florentines.
The Heavily armoured Conditerri slowly advance on Cesaré's right flank.
The main body of the force advances decisively in the centre while the Florentines hesitate - three consecutive turns of inaction drive by Phil's dice 'luck' 🎲🎲🎲🎲🎲🎲
On Cesaré's left the light gun and crew deter the Florentine right from pressing forward and threatening the centre 
Baldini's Conditerri are massed on his left but are holding back alongside his dithering centre division, handing the initiative to Cesaré's bolder knights!
It seems Baldini's right division is more intent on defending their encampment than they are on engaging Cesaré's weak left division.
Cesaré's left division is composed only of lightly armoured cavalry deployed to defend the Light Artillery piece.
At last Baldini's men begin to advance, but find the going far from easy - 🎲🎲🎲🎲🎲🎲
Cesaré's strong centre division soon dominate the battlefield while the massed Conditerri of his right division are also steadily closing on Baldini's hesitant knights.
Finally the two forces clash as Cesaré's leading elements crash into their Florentine foes.
Disaster! First blood to Florence as Cesaré's knights are overwhelmed in combat!
Normal service is resumed in the next period with Baldini's Conditerri being first driven back and then routed. His left Division is destroyed and the remnants must retire.
Cesaré's Conditerri, having destroyed their opponents, are free to play havoc in the rear of Baldini's army. The writing is on the wall and Baldini quits the field avoiding total disaster for his followers. Game over in Turn 7 thanks to complete destruction of Baldini's Conditerri by their opposite number. A little like games with Phil's Spanish Civil War collection I always get the itch to paint some figures for this collection, but I must resist the siren call for more Crimean War figures are clamouring for their moment under the brush...


Monday 9 October 2023

Royal Artillery from the Prodigal Collection

I've been putting in some time on the refurbishment and rebasing of figures from the Prodigal Foundry Collection over the last week or so, the results of which I've been showing on this blog for any interested visitors. The latest efforts to muster back into GHQ are elements of the Royal Artillery in the shape of two 12lb guns and crew together with a six horse limber and riders. It seems that I never completed a Command stand for the battery, an oversight I hope will be forgiven after 40 years ~


They've had a coat of Humbrol matt varnish and have taken their place in the RUBs I use for figure storage in GHQ until we are ready for a game. In addition to this battery the Royal Artillery contingent also includes a 24lb siege gun and a mortar, both with crew figures. More of them when they are ready to be revealed.

Sunday 8 October 2023

Am I getting too old for all this?

All this being getting up before sparrowfart to travel to Newark Showground and attend The Other Partizan? Standing in a queue even to get in...

I really thought that I was past all that, rolling up at 11.00ish more my style. All to miss the anticipated but non existent traffic queues with multiple events staged across the showground. Any way, enough moaning. In just after 10.00 for £2.00 as an OAP, can't complain at that. A quick visit to The Last Valley to collect two terrain items, to Colonel Bill's to hand over some surplus painted figures I'd sold him, and to give some more Crimean War figures to good friend Dave O'Brien, whose Gothenburg Gamers group were staging a Crimean War display game, Turks v Roosians!

Then on to see The Bodkins' Medieval extravaganza - best game in the show it transpired and best vignette award too for my son Matt! Well done all! The standard of games was exceptional this year, surpassing all previous in my view. In fact, almost too much really to take in. Anyway, The Bodkins ~

The Boondock Sayntes with another magnificent game table featuring so much talented brush and model work ~
So many other marvellous games to OD on! A few more pictures from those I particularly enjoyed in whole or part ~
Shrewsbury Wargames Society. A long time since I'd seen this special model of Stokesay Castle.
The Bunker's WW1 in Palestine game.
The Back of Beyond, according to the League of Extraordinary Kriegspielers anyway.
A rather spiffing Anglo-Zulu War game 
Long Range Desert Group, or SAS?
THE western Front! Trenches, tanks, biplanes! Very evocative!
The Very British Civil War, a stiff upper lip is mandatory...
Vietnam, a small but beautifully formed game.
Well, that's my take on The Other Partizan 2023 games, no doubt you will have your own. Roll on Partizan 2024 hoping folk can top even these!