Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Bristol Big Uns Club Night

Sunday night is club night for the Bristol Big Uns and we really couldn't ask for a better venue than the superb Iron Acton village hall. We've recently splashed out on some of the new mouse pad style gaming mats and very good they are too.

My visit on Sunday last was only a flying visit but it was still great to catch up with everyone and have a little natter. I couldn't resist taking a few pics to share.

First we have a game of Lion Rampant between Mike and Simon. The figures are all Mike's (20mm Zvezda I think), I reckon they look splendid! The beauty of this game is that you don't need masses of figures and you can fit a couple of games in to an evening. This has rather caught my imagination :o)
French vs English
Both sides getting stuck in!
What beautiful knights!
Archers and billmen

Next is a very characterful game of Kings of War between Dave S and Dave G. It's Forces of Nature trying to thwart the advance of the shambling Undead.
The game in the balance
Figures emerging from the water. Both sides had lovely looking units!
Excellent tomb in that unit of Undead

Alan and Nigel created a little slice of Normandy for their Bolt Action game of Germans vs US Airborne. Both sides were attempting to capture the objective (the crates in the centre).
Both sides converge on the objective
That tank (somehow) survived 8 faust shots, a 'shrek and a heavy howitzer hit!
US Airborne making good use of cover

Finally, another game of Kings of War, between Matt and Steve. Orcs vs Kingdoms of Men. Again, both armies looked excellent - Matt was using his former WHFB Orc force whilst Steve fielded his Samurai-era Japanese.
Only one or two turns to go
Steve's cavalry :o)
Gunpowder armed troops!
Matt's Orc General and his "Orc Air Force" - yes, those are flying warboars!
Hope you enjoyed the tour. Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

More Romans

Yes, I've been at it again with the brushes! Just a few figures this time to bring one of my 18 man cohorts up to a more durable 24 figures.
The recipe is as follows

GW Black Spray
Tidy up any 'gaps' with a little GW black, slightly thinned helps.

Base of GW Leadbelcher
Apply black wash e.g. GW Nuln Oil
1st highlight GW Leadbelcher
2nd highlight GW Mithril (now Runefang Steel) for the edges of the armour
Then GW Gehenna’s Gold for the brass fittings. If you have it then a dark brass/copper colour like GW Tin Bitz makes a good base coat for the gold.

Tunic (and scarf)
GW Khorne Red
1st highlight GW Mephiston Red
2nd highlight Foundry Bright Red Shade
My Legion have a range of reds for their tunics, some have the Foundry Madder triad for example, other Foundry British Redcoat. Try making some of the scarves a dirty off-white with any light brown and the Foundry Boneyard.

Foundry Flesh triad.

Base of GW Mournfang Brown
Apply Agrax Earthshade wash to pick out the details
GW Mournfang Brown to highlight
Base of Foundry Bay Brown shade
Highlight with Foundry Bay Brown light

Leather (straps, scabbard, etc)
Practically any browns you like using! A simple base colour followed by one highlight is usually sufficient on these smaller areas.

Foundry Spearshaft triad.

Front – spray white (for transfers) then tidy the edges with black and then silver or gold/brass.
Back – Foundry British Redcoat shade, Agrax earthshade wash, highlight with redcoat shade.
After applying the transfer you may have to tidy the edge with a little dark red.

A good coat of brush-on gloss followed by a couple of coats of brush-on matt.

Have a look here

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Imperial Roman Rally Point

Here's my latest bit of modelling - a rally point (or objective marker, etc) for my Early Imperial Romans! For War & Conquest it's a rally point, but other games systems often require similar "objectives" or it can just be a nice piece of terrain.

The tent is resin, from Grand Manner. The stack of supplies came from Bad Squiddo Games, the shield from Black Tree with the excellent LBMS transfers. MDF base from Charlie Foxtrot.

Painting recipe: Tent - Foundry Spearshaft shade, a wash of Agrax, then the shade / mid / highlight, ie the full triad. Supplies - The darker wood was painted Foundry Bay shade, the 'parcels' in Foundry Buff shade, the jar in Foundry Conker Brown shade, the basket in Foundry Butternut shade. Then give the whole lot a wash of Agrax. Then highlight with the original base colour followed by the rest of each triad respectively. Note - for the dark wood just give it a light dry-drush of a light cream like VMC Dark Sand to bring out the texture.

Here's a closer shot of some of the details.

The fire pit was simply a circle of small stones with some short lengths of thick broom bristle glued in place. All ready to cook dinner on after a hard day of slaughtering barbarians!

The basing is exactly the same as the rest of my sandy/arid desert themed Romans: VMC Gold Brown as a base, then highlights of VMC Tan Yellow, VMC Dark Sand then some Foundry Boneyard light. Followed by a little static grass, a few tufts and a bit of clump foliage.

The reverse view.

Home from home whilst on campaign!

Thanks for looking!

Monday, 18 September 2017

War and Conquest Weekend (with some Bolt Action too)

The recent weekend saw a number of us gather at the Bristol Big'uns club venue in Iron Acton for a weekend of War & Conquest gaming organised by Scarab supremo, Rob Broom. Now, rather than try to give you a blow by blow account of all the games, I've taken a few pics so that you can get a flavour of the fun had by all. There were several EIR forces, Dave's Carthaginians (who thrashed my EIR in a warm up game on Friday evening), plus several Successors forces.

My first opponent was Barry, a relative newcomer to WaC, fielding his own EIR force. The figures were lovely old Citadel Romans.
Our Roman armies close for battle
That's a lot of Romans!
We had a great game! Neither of us achieved our objectives but Barry edged a win.

After a superb lunch (thanks to Barbara :o)) we set to again. And again I was facing more EIR, led this time by Nick.
Deployed for battle
Nick's Foundry Roman army
My EIR decide to take the fight to Nick's men
The pic below shows the result of the roll off at a decisive point in the battle. I threw in three strategy points, Nick added just one. Grrr! :-D
The lines grind against each other
Our very evenly matched armies slogged it out against each other for several turns with the advantage switching back and forth. However, one of my cohorts managed to rout their opponents, smashing a hole in Nick's line and swept away a nearby unit of Auxilia too. These men carried on to occupy to Nick's deployment zone and gain me a victory by achieving my objective.
Fighting almost to the last man
An absolute belter of a game! My thanks to Nick (and Barry) for two great games.

On Sunday, the WaC fun continued but a few of us wanted to squeeze in some WW2 action too. Rob was very accommodating and allowed a whole corner of the room ;o)

Orange Dave organised the games; he and I would be the plucky British whilst Nigel led the German war machine. Dave picked D-Day as the theme so the first game would be Commandos landing on Sword beach.
The landing craft head for the shore

Dave couldn't find the sea that he'd made previously, however he did find a roll of blue wrapping paper that made for a very effective stand in!
The ramp goes down and here come our heroic men!
Needless to say the Germans had prepared a warm welcome. Nigel landed a mortar round in one of the landing craft which left is stranded in deeper water for several turns before the men aboard regained control.
More British reach the shore
Things were looking pretty grim for the Allies until the artillery finally arrived in spectacular style! The Germans took an enormous beating so we agreed that the surviving Allied troops on the beach would be able to get inland, giving a narrow victory to Dave and me.

On to game two... Staying with the D-Day theme what else could we do but our own version of the daring glider landing to capture the Orne bridges! Dave folded the paper to make a very effective canal.
Dave's glider template came in quite handy!
The troops have safely exited the glider and prepare to tackle the Germans
We're on the bridge but the Germans are more than ready
A vicious close range fire-fight ensues!
Bayonets, knives, pistols and grenades!
A tense and thrilling game with some real moments of drama! The night fighting rules really add to the atmosphere of the game - highly recommended. However, as we shook hands it was a draw, the Germans were still vigorously contesting the bridge.

My thanks to Nigel for being a superb opponent and also to Dave for organising the scenarios and being a staunch ally. We still have game three to play; ideal material for a future blog post.

All round an excellent weekend of gaming. It's great to meet up with old friends, make some new friends and play some very enjoyable games of toy soldiers. Looking forward to the next event.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Roman Casualty Markers

Various rules require a way to track the status of units during the battle e.g. Casualties, Fatigue, Push & Shove, Shock, Momentum ... whatever! Anyway, I decided to make some dial counters to represent this for my EIR and here they are.

The casualty figures are from Black Tree Miniatures; a mix of Auxiliaries and Legionaries.

As they're casualties I decided to skip my usual layered painting style and instead opted for a block colour and wash effect, followed by some basic highlights. Here they are with the armour painted black and given a dry-brush of GW Leadbelcher, the rest of figure is just one colour, i.e. Foundry Flesh B, Foundry Boneyard B, GW Mephiston Red, VMC Leather Brown, etc.

Now for the wash... GW Agrax Earthshade of course! I'm sure something like Army Painter wash or ink would be just as effective.

After that I simply applied a few highlights of the original 'block' colours. The completed figures were matt varnished - you might like to add a little final highlight to the armour as some matt varnishes can leave the metal looking a little dull - it's up to you.

I picked the numbered dials up at a show some years ago but many styles are available. Tip - use a little bit of blu-tak to block the window in the top dial when applying texture as this helps to avoid getting any bits in the dial itself. The dials were then based, flocked, etc to match the rest of my army. I may add some discarded weapons or shields at later date but I think they're fine for now.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Normandy D-Day Campaign - Game Four

Our D-Day campaign marches on! Game Four is loosely based on scenario three from the Chain of Command supplement Kampfgruppe von Luck, entitled "Attacking the Corridor of Death". The Germans have gained the upper hand after driving in the Paras forward positions during game three of our campaign. For this game Orange Dave would be starching his upper lip, waxing his moustache and commanding the Paras. The Germans would soon be heading in to the heart of Le Bas de Ranville.

Here's the map from TFL's supplement.

My own take on it is slightly different; mainly because it was easier to find the church than dig out other buildings! Anyway, I think it looks okay.
Dave has deployed half his force on the table, although (very sensibly) you can only see the odd figure. He placed his mortar behind the church with the spotter in the stone barn.

As they lost the last game, the Paras could only fortify one building rather than two, so Dave chose the old cafe. This meant the building took on 'bunker' status. This was beefed up with a Vickers MMG.

Here's the mortar, plus the sniper in the top right corner of the church yard.

The barn had the spotter and a section of Paras.

Downstairs in the cafe was another section.

Here come the Germans, throwing almost everything in to the attack! That's two veteran squads, two regular squads and one inexperienced squad supported by an MMG, a sniper, a flame-thrower and ... a Stug. This is the first time armour has appeared in this campaign - it's mid-afternoon and the Germans are beginning to get some more significant support in this sector.

An early German dice allowed me to activate the Stug and it promptly put a round in to the barn. The Spotter wasn't in the least bothered but the section of Paras took a beating. Had they won the previous game then I expect that the barn would also have been fortified - then it would have been a very formidable position indeed!

Apart from the Stug's shot it was a pretty quiet first turn. In turn 2 the Germans pushed forward quickly to try to overwhelm the troops in the barn and the right-flank farmhouse before more Paras could come forward. Again the Stug hammers the section in the farmhouse with some astonishingly well aimed HE.

The Paras respond by moving the section in the cafe out towards the orchard, whilst behind them the light mortar and the CO also dash forward.

Turn three and the forces are starting to get within small arms range as the Germans really push their luck (or should that be their "von Luck"? - sorry) and dash forward. The Stug has put a second HE round in to the farmhouse which has all but destroyed the Para section - only one Para and the Sergeant remain. Those tankers will get an extra ration of Schnapps!
You can also see that the flame-thrower team were getting ready to leap the hedge and roast the Paras but the Stug has almost beaten them to it!

On the left flank the Germans are using their numerical advantage to good effect - one squad lays down fire whilst the other two dash forward. The Paras in the house fire away but the pins they've accumulated (2 or 3 , I think) mean that their shooting is pretty ineffective.

During turns 2 and 3 Dave has tried to drop a mortar shell on the top of the Stug. To avoid the -1 to hit penalty I've left the AFV in place and kept firing - after all it's only a 3" mortar ... !? He also used the free artillery observer for the same - 'so what' I thought - it's great for pinning infantry but I have a Stug ... bwah-ha-ha-hah!

Turn 4 - Another run of German dice meant that they could go on the offensive yet again. The regulars move along the lane (shaking off a pin from earlier Para sniper shooting) whilst the flame-thrower team light up the building. They do this in spectacular style, wiping out the inhabitants and setting the building ablaze.

You recall me mentioning how I didn't think the mortar would be an issue for the Stug? Well - it wasn't ;o) But what I hadn't considered was how effective the 'freebie' artillery spotter might be! At last - after many delays the big guns delivered.

Dave's recent zombie-like dice rolling suddenly came alive! He produced a series of fantastic dice rolls. The squads near the Stug took a real beating in terms of pins but clearly the Stug commander had momentarily opened the hatch only for the shelling to land plum on top. Scratch one AFV! We both had a bl**dy good laugh about this I can tell you!

Turn 5 and the Paras are suddenly resurgent. With the threat of the Stug removed and some of the more exposed German squads taking pins it seemed that the Germans might be repulsed. The barn continues to be a tough nut to crack - two Germans squads pour fire in to it whilst a third seeks to outflank it. However, British reserves are moving up to the church yard and cafe. It's all in the balance.

Here you can see Paras in the cafe courtyard. In the orchard are a small Para section with a Bren who have been picking off Germans advancing on the other flank towards the barn, plus the light mortar (using smoke to obscure German long range shooting from the MG42) along with the PIAT team - no doubt relieved that the Navy's big guns have sorted out the Stug.

Last turn or two now and the Germans hold the advantage in terms of casualties caused (i.e. dice removed from the bag) but it's still not "in the bag" so to speak. The two German squads in front of the barn have finally dislodged the Paras although they've taken frightful casualties doing so and are no longer effective squads. However, this has allowed the squad of regulars on the far left to take up a position behind the church yard walls ready for another Para section coming forward.

A slightly better view of things. The Germans continue to have the advantage of numbers but those veteran Paras are as hard as nails!

A mini-battle for the church yard begins with the Germans (regulars) fluffing up their shooting as the SMG armed Paras blaze their way between the headstones.

Amazingly, this combat went to second round before the Germans were annihilated. But the remaining Paras were few in number indeed.

As the last shots were fired the embattled Paras were forced to withdraw. It was a narrow victory for the Germans. What a game! In the early turns the Germans were awesome but the loss of the Stug and mounting casualties/pins meant that the Paras were firmly back in the running for a couple of turns before yet again the Germans gained the upper hand.

Another superbly entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable game of Bolt Action with Orange Dave. Thanks buddy! :o)

So... Our campaign sees the 6th Airborne's bridgehead in real peril. More German armour is heading for this area and it's still some hours until the second 'big lift' for the Allies. Perhaps the Paras will launch a daring counter-attack to try to halt the German steam-roller?