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 29 March 2024

Village church of St Olaf

Four blog posts ago {17 March 2024} I mentioned the Russian church I'd purchased from Ironclad at WMMS. There was no photo of the piece, as I said at the time, because Phil had taken it away to assemble and paint for me. On Tuesday last when we met up here in GHQ for our weekly game he delivered the model back to me, assembled and beautifully painted. I thought you'd like to see it, so without more ado here is the village church of St Olaf ~

You will recall I hope that it's a 20mm model, but it seems to me to fit in just fine with the figures and buildings I have in the Crimean War collection. I have written before of course on the footprint issue of buildings in games, often choosing to go down a size for games in GHQ, so my choice should not come as a surprise to any reader. I will see about a scenic base at some future point as I was rather taken by Dave O'Brien's church on the Gothenburg Gamers display at The Other Partizan, which sadly I omitted to photograph! Fortunately Dave has been able to provide me with just the photos I needed ~

Dave tells me he had to scratch build the various grave crosses as no one appears to make them. Time for Warbases to step up to the plate perhaps? Meanwhile, St Olaf's with some figures to give an idea of the thing in action ~

Now though it's back to painting Crimean War figures for the project! Mustn't disappoint all old Vlad's bots who are deluging my posts with visits!!! Onward I go, the end of the beginning is in sight! Just a small matter of the French then!

Tuesday 26 March 2024

Action at Bickley's Rough

A return to the alternate time line of the Very British Civil War here in GHQ for our regular Tuesday game. To refresh your memory, as if I need to, we set our games in the Wolverhampton - South Staffordshire area with the Liberal-Socialist-Workers Alliance lead by the Manders of Wightwick Manor facing off against the Government-Fascist Alliance lead by Lord Rawnsley. The Manders have got wind of a supply column heading from Shropshire towards Rawnsley's operational base at Chillington Hall. Such an opportunity to deal a blow to the forces of repression cannot be passed up so the Manders lead their men out to action...

All of course recorded by the diligent and utterly impartial folk of the BBC - the Bykleigh's Broadcasting Company!
Local Militia loyal to the Manders have erected two improvised barriers hoping to delay the supply column long enough for Mander's force to arrive from his base at Wightwick Manor.
They should hurry as the supply column is already well underway, it's flank screened by units from Wolverhampton Borough Police and the Chillington Mounted Rifles.
Mander's alliance of Liberals and Socialist Workers are strung out across the countryside, unsure where the bulk of Rawnsley's force has deployed in support of the Supply Column. This was to prove crucial as the action unfolded.
Rawnsley has secured the support of two light tanks, a Vickers MkVI and a Renault FT, in addition to a vintage Rolls Royce armoured car.
Mander is rather light on armour: a Vickers Medium tank and an armoured truck, modified with boiler plate and a turret by the LMS  engineers at Oxley Sidings. 
Watched anxiously by Rawnsley the column steadily advances towards the first of the barricades. The steam road roller can simply crush the hastily improvised road blocks.
The tanks and the Mounted Rifles surge forward on the flank, catching Mander's men by surprise. The Vickers Medium tank has the Renault FT in its sights though...
Boom! First blood to the Liberal-Socialist Alliance!
Despite the loss of the Renault FT, the Supply Column is making steady progress. The stores must get through!
The mounted Rifles dismount and take cover in the Rough while the surviving Vickers MkVI takes up position behind a hedgerow.
It is quickly apparent to Mander that his dispositions have been awry! The Heath-Robinson trench mortar is unable to support the units near the roadblocks. Instead it must engage the Rolls Royce armoured car and the supporting militias.
Before the improvised armoured car can fire a shot it is destroyed by the Vickers MkVI. The accompanying Troops of Mander's Household Guard take what cover they can.
Rawnsley has cleverly deployed his Rolls Royce armoured car to draw the fire of the Socialist Militias who oblige by falling into the trap of exchanging fire rather than rushing to the aid of the depleted elements supporting the roadblocks.
The Heath-Robinson trench mortar succeeds in disrupting enemy movement away on their left flank. This has no bearing on the main action!
Elements of the Wolverhampton Borough Police exchange fire with Mander's Household Guard before rushing their position. 
The Guards are overwhelmed, depleted by losses the survivors throw down their weapons and flee for their lives! Too late to be captured in the lunch time edition of the Express & Star!
The steam road roller has taken advantage of the distractions by destroying the first of the roadblocks and is now bearing down on the second. Fire from the Vickers Medium tank has had little effect on its progress.
The Miners of the Hilton Main Cooperative are alerted to the developing crisis opposite the Red Lion and start to move in the direction of the main action at last 
An exchange of fire with the Chillington Rifle Company sees some losses to the miners but sees their enemy flee (as the result of a FUBAR!)
With no effective opposition to delay it's progress the steam road roller destroys the second roadblock. Mander can see it is all up for his force and gets ready to slip away in his motorcar!
Rawnsley has successfully negotiated a tricky engagement and shepherded much needed supplies through to his base at Chillington Hall. Mander has failed in his plan to highjack the much needed supplies for his own force and must slink away to lick his wounds and plan his next course of action!
A splendid game we agreed played out using Bolt Action v2, with Phil as Lord Rawnsley winning in Turn 11 of the 12 allocated. It was close, despite my initial errors in deployment. All hinged on one last shot from Mander's Light Howitzer which failed to destroy the road roller and block the route of the convoy in Turn 10 and so steal the victory! Two FUBARs in one game though, a record for GHQ! Next up here in GHQ should be a SYW game, rather more colourful than the VBCW!

Friday 22 March 2024

A Command stand for the Jaeger regiment

Just before we journeyed 'Oop North for a few days dodging the monsoon-like weather I started on two more Roosian mounted figures to serve as a command base for my Jaeger regiment. They are finished now and so I thought you'd appreciate a quick peak before they join their command in their RUB in GHQ ~

The figures are from Great War Miniatures of course, a mounted officer in cap and a Dragoon trumpeter in helmet. The latter was a part of Colin Ashton's generous gift package at the outset of this project last year. I thought the trumpeter would be a nice addition to the officer in making a Regimental Command base for the Jaegers, so I hope you approve.

I fixed the first eight Jaegers for the third battalion to their MDF hexes ready for painting on our return and can report that they are finished, varnished and fixed to their final base ready for texturing tomorrow. The next eight are now in their place on the MDF hexes ready for their turn under the brush.  They are from the Firing Line posed packs, a mix of figure poses, available in helmets and caps. Wish me luck with all those cap bands, seven done on those so far!

Tuesday 19 March 2024

A Loss of Innocence

This may come as a surprise to those who know me well, given that I have always been wary of Kickstarter projects, thinking if the originator did not back their own idea why should anyone else? Simplistic I know, but that's me. When you add in the horror stories of no delivery after months/years/not at all I felt justified in continued avoidance of same. On Sunday evening all that changed when I nervously signed in to Kickstarter and pledged to support one part of a project and a few additional add ons.

 What has brought about this transformation from sceptic to supporter? Well, the project is from Footsore Miniatures, a reliable and established company I know and have bought from; the project is for an extensive range of relevant figures which I know the masters lare already all made; the figures will blend seemlessly with my existing 1066 & All That collection. They are Matt Bickley's Vikings of course!

I have chosen one of the four available Kickstarter packages as you might have guessed from the first image, with the Add On packs of several mounted Vikings, my Saxons being undone in the last outing by loosing their only mounted unit! The Kickstarter was fully funded within minutes of opening and I learned from emails that I had already qualified for two of the free Stretch Goals within an hour! 

As I typed those words the first seven bonus Stretch Goals were revealed as unlocked, as were a further six figures, the Valkyries!

Of course now I have to wait not only for production moulds and such before I receive my figures, but also more immediately to see what other wonderful figures will emerge from the silhouettes! I think that I can just about manage that unwargamer like position...just about! For any amongst my readers who have missed Matt's splendid figures shown above and who wants to back the project the link is below. You know you want to...Go on, Go on, Go on!


Sunday 17 March 2024

WMMS 2024

Back in the day Phil and I might have visited over 20 shows in a year, with WMMS often being the first of the campaigning year. We had even been it's organisers from the mid 1970's to mid 1980's. So I'm sure you will understand that it holds a special place in my hobby interests. Nowadays it's held at Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton, an Olympic qualifying stone's throw from home, so it's an easy visit. Usually traders are plentiful and varied, while games are almost all of a high standard and wide genre. Add in the modelling societies' inspirational displays and even several groups of uniformed reenactors and you get good value from the modest entry fee. You could ask my grandson William if you don't believe me. He had a whale of a time being a proper wargamer, buying troops, tank, bases and paint all himself. He managed to find the Star Wars game pretty smartish too!

As ever there were lots of really splendid games on show. Well done to all those clubs and individuals involved in bringing such excellent and varied a spectacle for visitors to enjoy. Being a bit constrained by time I took just a selection of game pictures to give a sense of the spectacle on offer. First up Wellington in India by John French and friends. Some good looking figures and terrain items, just right for Pendawar I thought ~

Next some American Civil War action, of course. The Battle of Frederick in this instance. Marvellous figures and terrain here I thought! There was a second game I liked as well but I couldn't get a decent picture of it as it so popular.

Followed by a splendid AWI game which came complete  complete with a splendid log fort! I covert that feature, just no storage space in GHQ sadly!

Lots of splendid forts and castles on show in fact!

William and Phil liked the desert war game located just as you came in to the hall ~

As ever Dave and friends from Kinver were there with a typical 20mm game offering in their own unique style. I wish I had his stamina to put on games at our age!
I hope you agree with me that these are enough to inspire even the most jaded wargamer, and there were many more splendid offerings I didn't have the time to photograph. Well done to all concerned!
Now though to a different matter. There was a good range of traders selling their wares providing pretty much every period and scale you might fancy, but not some who have supported the show down the years. If traders don't have a physical presence at shows, using the excuse of the cost of living crisis perhaps, they have noone to blame if they subsequently loose customers. I appreciate each and ever trader who makes the effort to attend any show and deplore those who declined. Some like stalwarts Dave Thomas carrying Perry Miniatures and Andy at The Last Valley travel considerable distances to shows without complaint. They get my thanks and respect every time, not to mention my custom! The show was busy and buzzing during our time there and traders seemed very busy taking customers' money. On that note though my purchases were small I must confess. My excuse is that I was helping William with his choices! So, from The Last Valley, a collection of small gardens for India and three trees ~
From Ironclad Miniatures a Russian church for the Crimean War (which Phil has spirited away for painting, hence no picture!) and from Athena Miniatures a mounted French officer for my embryonic French Crimean War brigade ~
 Not a great spend I admit, but every little helps I am sure. This was the 46th WMMS held in the last 48 years - two years missed by the Plague of course. I have missed only two of those forty six and I'm already looking forward to next year's offering, which I'm confident will be just as splendid! Well done Paul and Dave and the members of the Alumwell Wargames Society!