Monday, 21 December 2009

Future Gaming Objectives

It's been a surprisingly productive year in terms of toy soldiers. Especially as, for various reasons, I took about 4 to 5 months off any sort of gaming during the year!

This year I've completed the first stage of my EIR, reaching about 1,100pts. Then I completed ~1,400pts of Celts to face them. I've also managed to get my WW1 project off the ground, though not too much has been achieved so far. But I did manage to attend the GB Evesham event back in June which was a real hoot.

So what might I be planning for next year? Well, leaving aside personal objectives like promoting world peace and reducing my carbon footprint, I have...

Primary Objectives
  • Spend more time painting/gaming with my family. I've a stack of plastic figures they can slap paint on, then dip. I've got plenty of Romans and Celts to play skirmish games with. Then there's my fairly extensive collection of LotR figures. It's enormous fun and basically free entertainment. Just a bit of imagination is required to think up some good scenarios and simplify the rules.
  • Expand my EIR to at least 1,500pts, preferably 1,750pts. Then I can always top it up with a few hundred points worth of Celts if I need a 2,000pt army for an event - if required.
  • Add at least 3 more chariots to my Celts, plus another unit of Warriors, possibly the fanatical type. This will give me an army of around 1,750pts thus making possible larger and more fun games of EIR vs Celts WAB.
  • Build a proper WW1 (Late War) BEF force of 1,000pts and try to get along to another event. This has become surprisingly important to me. Probably because taking part made me feel more like a 'proper' wargamer ... whatever that really is!
Secondary Objectives
  • Build some WW1 style scenery - possibly even get on with my modular terrain - though I shall probably make a bunch of barricades, craters, barbed wire sections, etc, for gaming on a 'flat' table first.
  • Build either a Celt farmstead or a Roman villa.
  • Make better woodland and rough ground sections. These will be such that they can appear on almost any battlefield.
  • Attend at least one wargaming show, hopefully two.

However, a lot depends on more important external factors, e.g. family, work, finances, etc. Plus there are also the vagaries of the wargaming world itself. For example, if the new 'WAB 2.0' rules, the 'Rome' supplement for WAB or 'Over The Top' for TGW ever get published then priorities will almost certainly change.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to everyone!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Dipped Celts

Here's a few pics of my recently completed Celts. The figures are mostly Warlord Games with a few Black Tree Design.

The first pic shows the basic painting style I use for dipping. White undercoat and block colours. Only the skin and the metal areas get two coats. For the skin I use a base of GW Dwarf Flesh followed by a quick higlight with Foundry Base Sand Light. The metal areas get a first coat of GW Chaos Black followed by either GW Mithril Silver or GW Burnished Gold.

Celts Pre-Dip
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Now the figures have been dipped using Army Painter strong tone, brushed on. Ooh aren't they shiny!

Celts Dipped
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A quick spray of Army Painter Anti-shine spray (tip - shake it really well) and a nice base makes all the difference!

Celts Completed
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Clearly, to get ahead you ... er ... need to get a head!?

Celts Completed
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Basing - 3mm ply bases (20x20mm) from Litko - highly recommended. Covered in a mix of sand and grit. Base colour of GW Bestial Brown, followed by highlights of GW Vomit Brown and GW Bleached Bone. Add a few clumps of static grass to finish off. For these character types I'll also add a few pieces of woodland scenics foliage, since they'll be front rankers.

I now have just in excess of 1,400pts (~160 models) in my Celt force so I think I'll give painting them a rest for now. I'll try to find time to get them all out and take a few whole-army shots for the blog.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Wargame-o-meter #3

A month since my last post where I list my gaming interests in order of current priority and once again things are quite different...

1. The Great War
That this now tops the chart probably has quite a lot to do with a planned visit to Arras at the end of the month with some good friends from New Zealand.
Anyway, I've dusted off my copy of Warhammer Historical's The Great War and had a good read - again. I know from my experience this Summer at GB's Evesham Front event that it's a cracking good game. I really enjoy painting the figures from Great War Miniatures. Checking my figure collection and the 1917-18 BEF lists I reckon I've got almost 600pts. I'd really like to attend more of these one day events but first I need to get my 1,000pt battalion painted!

2. Celts
Almost at 1,500pts now. Just a few figures to finish off, then a big session dipping and basing about 50 figures.

3. Romans
Plan is to quickly paint up the remaining troops for my 1,500pt target using the dip and Warlord's figures. They're built, primed white and ready to paint.

4. Scenery
Earlier this year I had a burst of excitement for building WW1 scenery, but only half finished a number of items. Now I see that Scarab sell very reasonably priced barbed wire sets ... hmmm!?

5. Napoleonics
Still hanging on in there ... definitely a project for next year at the earliest. But I just can't resist those splendid uniforms. Watching 'Sharpe' DVDs doesn't help either. However, my wife is more than happy to watch Sean Bean swashing his buckle!

But ... what with all the build up to the festive season, school plays, shopping, etc I'm not sure exactly how much time I'm going to get for painting in the next few weeks. Perhaps I ought to pull my finger out and post a few pics of all my recent work - after there's only so much Rhubarb that people want to read.

Happy (Festive) Gaming!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

More Thoughts on 'Napoleon'

Now I've had some time to read and re-read the rules I thought I'd post a few comments. It's not a full review - have a look at this for what I feel is a pretty fair view of them.

Basically there seems to be a good game in there, but a few things really need to be resolved / clarified.

1) If the rules had been given a final proof read by someone with an eye for these things then a number of annoying typos could have been corrected and some confusing text could have been clarified - both of which would result in a more polished product.
2) More playtesting with 'new' players (i.e. outside the original group) so as to find the areas of the rules that require better explanation. For example, when do units become 'unattached'? Or, can units that fail to implement an order card still volley fire later in the turn?
3) Some of the army lists are missing key pieces of info, e.g. how many skirmishers are used for different troops. This is irritating as presumably the the playtesters must have spent some time getting the balance right.
4) It would benefit from some extra rationale for some of the rules - perhaps playing a few games would help me understand why some of the rules exist.

None of these issues are insurmountable by anyone who has some experience of gaming, but I would really have expected Wargames Foundry to have produced a more mature product. Perhaps it was rushed in to print in order to get ahead of Warlord's Blackpowder? I would like to find a discussion forum so as to get some wider views on what needs to be improved or how certain rules should work in practice.

In conclusion, I like the rules and they have certainly given me the spur to collect more Naps for larger battles rather than just skirmishing, but it would have been even better if that 10% extra effort had been put in. The 'eye-candy' aspect is splendid and seems to be an essential part of any successful new ruleset these days. I'm sure I can add the necessary extras to the lists and figure out the confusing bits in the rules without too much difficulty, thus ending up with a satisfying game but I really shouldn't have to. Perhaps Wargames Foundry would be kind enough to publish an errata sheet? After all, how many rulesets do not require such things?

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Wargame-o-meter #2

What a difference a few weeks can make eh? ;-)

Following from my first post on this topic, the top 5 now look like this.

1. Napoleonics (28mm)
As you may have seen in my earlier post I'm now the very excited owner of this splendid rulebook. The production quality is awesome, it's full of pics of beautifully painted Napoleonic miniatures, vignettes and complete armies. The rules themselves look to be quite promising in that they are a nice compromise between realism and playability. I'm not going to do a full rules review because I'm far from expert on Napoleonic rulesets (but I know a chap who is ;-)). The rules introduce the concept of orders for units as the armies close for action, and whether the orders are received and obeyed depend upon the proximity of the division or brigade commander - not unlike Warmaster if I remember correctly. Like many rulesets, it has a core set and an optional advanced set for more detailed play. The book also includes a good starter set of army lists to guide players in choosing balanced forces.
All this has inspired me to revisit my first historical gaming 'love' with a view to collecting both sides. My 'Sharpe' skirmish collection will give me a good start, but that's still a lot of fancy painting so my plan is to work out a way of painting Naps figures reasonably quickly and easily to a good wargames standard. I had dallied with the dip idea but having looked at the pics in the rulebook I've begun to think that the dip just doesn't quite suit the style of uniforms, but I have only the strong tone so maybe the soft tone would be better? Anyway, my initial plan is to look at something like the Foundry "two colour" method with some single colour thrown in for areas that do not notice so much. I first bought Naps figures in 1997 and if I'd painted just one figure a month since, then I'd have 5 or 6 battalions by now! It will be a lengthy project I'm sure.

2. Celts
After a couple of splendid games of WAB with Celts vs Romans "oop north" last weekend, I'm totally set on getting the army to 1,500pts as soon as possible. Another 21 warriors are ready for the dip with a further 12 part painted. To reach my target I'll need some more chariots too. I have 3 from Warlord, so may get 3 from GB just for variety.

3. Romans
Same as for (2) really. However, I've a bunch of Warlord EIR that I'm going to 'dip' so as to give me more Romans, they're now built and ready to undercoat. They will be replaced in due course with conventionally painted Black Tree figures to match the rest of the army.

4. Warmaster Ancients (10mm)
Whoa ... where did that come from!? Let me explain... for years I've been trying to get a very good friend of mine to do more than just collect (mainly Napoleonic) rulebooks and unpainted figures, i.e. to paint up figures and enjoy gaming with them more regularly. Various schemes have been tried and this is the latest. The idea arose from a WAB celts/romans post-game discussion about scales and tactics. However, this scheme is largely his idea and it highlights to me an interest in doing things at a grand scale, that is fielding a whole legion not just a few cohorts. I've not bought any figures or rules yet but it has certainly piqued my interest. The start up costs are small which is an advantage - the WMA rules (based on the Warmaster Fantasy set) are about £20, with armies starting at around £40. I shall wait for my chum to take the first step - it's not like I haven't got plenty to paint.

5. WW1
Pushing AoA off the table we have my trusty BEF. Now here's a potential change of plan ... When gaming with individually based 'skirmish' figures they tend to get a bit of a hammering and even the best varnish won't help. So why spend ages painting them really well? I'm thinking of switching to the dip for the rest of the army. It may be the only way they get painted. The figures I've already painted may get a very thin coat of dip just to make them match in with the rest and give them extra protection. Just a thought at this stage though.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


Look what I was gifted recently ... Oh help!


Vive L'Empereur!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Wargame-o-meter #1

Do you flutter from one era to another? Or are you sturdy enough to keep your interests focussed in one area? Like many wargamers I can be something of a butterfly when it comes to gaming/painting/reading, flitting from one era to another sometimes quite rapidly. So I thought I'd record my "fluctuations" on a semi regular basis (this is no 1) for your entertainment. I've given the matter careful thought and the top 5 currently look something like this...

1 British Celts
Having recently completed the first 1,000pts I'm jolly keen to expand the army further. The dip method makes this fairly straightforward so progress should be swift. Only need another unit of 24-30 warriors and 3 chariots to make it around 1,500pts. The first 10 warriors are done and the next 10 are on the painting table. I recently had a big session of preparation and undercoating so there's plenty to paint.

2 Early Imperial Romans
Ever since WAB was first released in the late 90's I've wanted to collect EIR, so Rome has always ranked highly ... (no Monty Python jokes please ;o))

3 Napoleonics - Peninsular French/British
The first historical army I purchased en-masse was Naps French, with a Foundry army deal back in '99 ... then I sold most of it unopened a year later! Recently I've been listening to "Sharpe's Rifles" whilst painting so naturally I want another army!? Those Victrix or Perry plastics look very interesting. Assembling lots of plastics can become a bit of a chore, but I've learned with the Warlord Celts that the best approach is to have a big building session across 2 or 3 nights thus getting a couple of complete units ready.
"Prime... Pour... Spit... Tap!"

4 The Great War - LW BEF & Germans
I've been interested in the history of WW1 for years but had never really considered wargaming it until WH released TGW last year. Having bought a big batch of BEF from Rob at Scarab when I visited Gripping Beast Towers in June, I really ought to pull my finger out and get some more painted. Only 1 platoon completed so far. Added to this are my rather grand scenic ambitions which have stalled after a great start.

5 Age of Arthur
This just won't go away! It's all GuitarHeroAndy's fault :-) Once in a while I pick up the book and look at the Romano-British or British & Welsh Kingdoms lists and try to justify collecting some more figures. I mean, they're so nice they'll almost paint themselves ... ?

I'll post about this topic again in approx 2-3 weeks ... plenty of time for me to flutter around!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Wargaming Terrain

In my opinion a great wargame needs good scenery. With that in mind I've been gradually building a collection of ... er ... buildings. Many of them were built some years ago when I played mostly WFB, hence they have a slightly Empire-esque style. They proved especially useful when we developed our "Warhammer Ahoy" (link) game.

The buildings are scratch-built from foam core, card and balsa, along with a selection of extra bits and bobs. A number were inspired by the drawings in the original Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay source book.

I've added a few handy figures (mostly Foundry and Front Rank Napoleonics) to give a clearer idea of scale.

Ye Olde Barn
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Fetch! (Hovels resin)
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Some sort of yard
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A farmhouse
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Another shot
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The Coaching Inn - just don't ask how long this took to make - but I really enjoyed it. The pattern behind the windows were made using car repair mesh. Plus there's more than 1,000 individual roof tiles.
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Another shot - note the officer in arch under the inn.
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Rear shot showing the kitchen.
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The roof!
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This became known (perhaps unfairly) as the 'Water Tower'. Definitely a fantasy piece.
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More recently I've added a Peninsular style building or two - certainly gives my small collection of British and French something to fight over.
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The other end. The roof and upper storey lift off to allow models to be placed within the building. This is how I shall be doing all future buildings as it makes the scenery much more interactive.
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A fantasy-medieval style shop and small house.
Shop and House
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Another inn in the same style.
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This where it all began ... GW's White Dwarf did an article years ago (issue 127 perhaps) about building your own scenery. In fact, I still have the article somwhere! This was the first building I made.
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I'd thoroughly reccomend having a go at making your own buildings and other scenery. If you can paint models then you can make scenery, no problem. Additionally, you'll have a totally unique item built exactly as you want.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Celts vs Romans Battle Report

What better way to celebrate the completion of 1,000pts of British Celts than by having a battle against 1,000pts of invading Romans.

Yes, it's taken a bit longer than planned but the first stage of my Celt horde is now complete. In truth, the amount of painting time wasn't that much, probably about 3 months thanks to the dip method. But an almost 3 month break from painting during the summer rather delayed things. The figures are mostly Warlord, with a sprinkling of Gripping Beast, Black Tree and Foundry. Regular readers (with good memories) may notice from the photos that the hounds have switched sides. Whilst they were in my initial 1,000pt EIR army as a Barbarian support unit, I decided that they weren't very Roman so replaced them with some Gallic Celt skirimishers and a Scorpio.

15 Legion CSM (Centurion, Standard, Musician)
15 Legion CSM
15 Aux Infantry LSM (Leader, Standard, Musician)
15 Aux Infantry LSM
12 Aux Archers
9 Gallic Celt Skirmishers
1 Scorpio

Warlord, Army Standard Bearer, 38 Warriors LSM
Chieftain, 33 Warriors LSM
10 Light Cavalry LSM
3 Chariots LS
10 Slingers
2 x Packmaster and 5 Hounds

The Celt army is slightly more than 1,000pts but I had a few extra painted models and wasn't going to leave them off the table!

I haven't played WAB for more than year so getting things ready for this game was both exciting and slightly daunting in a way. How do the rules work? What is my plan? ... What is a 'plan' anyway? The best thing was to just get on with it! Here's a few pics, not quite turn by turn but near enough.

Here's a few shots of the armies. The Romans.

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The Celts.

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The Celt infantry and chariots.

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The Celt Cavalry.

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The Roman plan was to anchor one flank against the wood and use the Auxiliaries to hold the other flank whilst the Legionaries got on with the business of slaughtering Celts. We used secret maps for deployment - my favourite method - so I kept one unit of Auxiliaries behind the centre since I knew the Celts would try to outflank me. The Celt plan was to use the Cavalry, Chariots and Hounds to attack the Roman flanks whilst the Celt warbands overwhelmed the Legions.

One unit of Auxiliaries moved to the right in order to hold the flanking chariots and dogs. The Legions and moved forward whilst the skirmishers and left-most of Auxiliaries edged forward a little, whilst the Gallic skirmishers went further forward in order to tempt the smaller warband in to a charge later. The Celt slingers proved quite handy by inflicting a small number of casualties on the Legions, not many but enough to remove a rank bonus!

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The Armies moved closer and the smaller warband did indeed roll a '1' for it's warband test. The skirmishers fled leaving the unit just within charge range of the Auxiliaries. I should have waited for support but instead I threw them at the Celts. Alas the Celts proved too much and the beaten Auxiliaries fled and were destroyed. The archers and scorpio proved fairly useless but I hoped that would improve as the enemy came closer.

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With the Auxiliaries fleeing, the smaller Celt warband pursued in to a unit of Legionaries and subsequently the other Legionary unit piled in on the flank and wiped out the Celts. The Celt flanking forces continued their envelopment, though the other unit of Auxiliaries held firm against the Chariots and Hounds.

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The Legionaries manoeuvred to get a clear charge at the larger warband. The nearer unit received the charge and held, whilst the other prepared to charge in next. The Scorpio crew were slaughtered by the Light Cavalry, but the Auxiliary Archers managed to shoot a few. The Chariots and Hounds continue to fight the other Auxiliaries but once again they remain steady.

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The flanking unit of Auxiliaries finally succumb to the fearsome Celts. The Legionaries make hard work of the larger warband - even when both units engage the Warlord and his retinue - they falter and are routed!

After this it did not take long for the few remaining Romans to be mopped up. The Auxiliary archers did surprisingly well, seeing off the light cavalry and taking out another chariot.

A really fun game! A great reminder of why I love to play toy soldiers. Bothered about losing? Not me ... I play to win, but what really matters is that a fun game is had by all. Winning is a bonus.

Basically, a poorly co-ordinated attack by too few troops spelled disaster for the Legions. The superior numbers of the Celts ensured that they could prevail against better but smaller units of troops. The flanking troops were held off ok but the centre fell apart.

It's certainly given me a lot to think about in terms of army composition, plus it has really inspired me to expand both armies asap! I need more Legion and fewer Auxiliaries. Also, I'm not sure about the viability of a single Scorpio, such weapons to be deployed as a battery or not at all.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Normandy Report

As promised here's a few pics (from the very many) and some notes about the historical aspects of our recent holiday to Normandy. As you might expect from a family holiday, the amount of time that could be spent visiting historical sites can be limited so there's still plenty of places to visit another time.

It's not our first visit to Normandy so we have already visited some of the sites like Pegasus Bridge, the British beaches, etc. But they are well worth a second visit.

As with many such sites, particularly the WW2 sites, these places have a feeling or atmosphere (for me at least) that is very hard to put in to words. Standing in the very spot where many famous and brave men and women have stood, seeing some of the landmarks they saw ... well, if you're into military history then I reckon you'll know what I mean.

Pegasus Bridge & Cafe Gondree
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The site of one of the most dramatic episodes of the Normandy campaign, Major Howard's men landing in gliders to make a surprise attack on the river and canal bridges. Today the cafe is also a museum and is run by Mdme Gondree, the daughter of the owner at the time of the Nazi occupation. I believe she was about 4 or 5 when the invasion took place. Great atmosphere, if a bit busy plus excellent coffee and cakes too.
Whilst there we saw the (newer) bridge raised to allow boat traffic to pass, very impressive.
Across the river the sites of the gilder landings are marked by small monuments and it's well worth taking a moment to imagine how exposed the position appears. Very brave fellows indeed.

The nearby museum is very interesting and definitely worth a visit. It now houses the original bridge, complete with bullet and shrapnel damage, along with a re-constructed Horsa glider.

After that we headed for Sword beach, found a great little restaurant then played on the beach for the day. There's pony rides and go-karts too!

Having been to some of the British areas before, we decided to find out more about the American landings. First stop of the day, St Mere Eglise, the site of some of the US airborne landings.

St Mere Eglise
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The church has a model of one of the US paras (John Steele) who managed to caught on the steeple. Wounded, he pretended to be dead to avoid being shot by the Germans.

Airborne Museum at St Mere Eglise
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Adjacent to the church is the US Airborne Museum. Very good and packed with detail. Here's a shot of one of the displays.

Utah Beach
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Next was a visit to Utah beach. Very moving to stand amongst the ruined bunkers and think back to the events of June '44.

Tank at Dead Man's Corner Museum
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I think the museum here is a relatively new site. Highly recommended as it's full of items from soldiers who took part in the landings, along with the stories associated with them. Such as the damaged helmet of a US para who was shot in the head twice but survived with only minor injuries. When offered a replacement he refused! There's lots of other such artifacts such as actual kit worn by famous soldiers, e.g. Dick Winters from Easy company. (Band of Brothers). Outside are a very small number of exhibits including this French tank. Oddly, the armoured turrets have no comms system so the driver and commander communicate using a series of coloured lights ... who 'designs' these things eh?
However, I found the museum shop slightly disturbing with it's extensive range of Nazi memorabilia, both original and modern re-makes.

Point Du Hoc
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The monument on the Point Du Hoc. How on earth did the US Rangers manage to take and hold this isolated and precipitous spot? The ships may have pounded the cliff top gun emplacements in to rubble but there was still a hard fight that inflicted enormous casualties on both sides. Alas, the rangers found that the guns had been moved in land to avoid being knocked out by the ships. But they did subsequently manage to locate and disable them. Due to coastal erosion the dagger-like monument is off limits but there is a plan to move it further inland. From here it was possible to see the remains of the Mulberry harbour at Arromanches.

Omaha Beach
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No visit to American sites in Normandy could omit this infamous beach, the last stop on our itinerary for the day. The photo does not truly show just how imposing those cliffs are. But it's good to see the beach being used for more conventional and fun purposes.

A busy day but very interesting.

William the Conquerer's Castle at Falaise
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I was really looking forward to this ... and so were my little'uns. However, read on ... the castle is being gradually rebuilt as part of heritage restoration programme, this is generally a Good Thing and the gatehouse will look splendid when complete. As you can see from the pic the keep now has a (rather ugly IMHO) concrete addition. I assumed it was temporary but on closer inspection it's definitely permanent - yeugh! Once inside you get to see some rather sparse 'arty' exhibitions, about chess for example, but no suits of armour, or anything you'd expect to find in a 'normal' castle. In the end we were rather disappointed with the castle especially as we'd driven for about 1.5 hours to get there.

Bayeux Tapestry
No pics of course. Second viewing, and it's awesome. Take your time with the audio guide and really soak up the history. They also do a children's version of the audio guide so they were well pleased too. The museum now has some magnificent displays (10-20mm scale I think) of highly detailed Norman scenes, e.g. castle building, a village, etc. It also runs a short film explaining more about the tapestry and Norman history. Brilliant. Now I want to collect a Norman army for WAB (!?)

If you're visiting Normandy with a young family then I recommend the Frommers guide - not perfect but still very useful for finding out if places will keep little ones happy. I'd also highly recommend the Major and Mrs Holt Guide to Normandy, packed with useful and interesting information.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

I am still here ... !?

Yes, I'm still here and I have been rather busy ... honest! Not as busy with a paintbrush as I would like but I have spent a bit of time working on my Celt army. After the buzz and excitement of gaming WW1 at GB's "All Quiet..." event earlier this "summer" I decided that I really ought to get to the point where I have a playable Celt army before I plunge in to yet another era. So that's what I've been doing. The chariots seem to have taken ages to paint (now awaiting dip and final assembly) but that's because in recent weeks I've only managed 1 or 2 evenings of painting. There always seems to be something more urgent that requires attention - how some of the more prolific painters out there manage it I just do not know. There's still about 30-40 figures to base properly, plus all the shield transfers. But at least all the painting is done. I'll blog some photos when the horde is assembled.

In fact I've been so busy that I haven't even managed to blog the Normandy report I promised way back! To be fair I took 800+ photos on hols so they'll need quite a bit of sorting out. But I will sort it out.

Added to that, I'd like to blog some photos of my scenery collection. Having recently re-organised my garage (a.k.a. my gaming gear store) I found several boxes of buildings that haven't seen the light of day for far too long.

Finally, I really must get around to going along to my nearest gaming club, Mid-Somerset Wargamers. We moved to the South West more than a year ago so it's high time I found myself some more local gaming buddies.

Do please keep checking back occasionally, as I find it quite motivating to see that plenty of people visit the wargames table.


Sunday, 26 July 2009

Some Old Figures

Sorting out my figure collection a bit the other day ... and I found these.

Boromir & Aragorn
Boromir and Aragorn
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Gimli & Legolas
Gimli and Legoloas
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Sam & Frodo
Sam and Frodo
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Merry & Pippin
Merry and Pippin
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Quite enjoyed painting these, even if I don't play GW's LotR SBT.

Might be a while until I blog again as I'm off to Normandy next week ... will give a full report upon my return.

Have fun.

Friday, 17 July 2009

More Late War British

I've been busy with the paintbrush recently. Here's the first of a new batch of 1918 BEF.

More LW Brits (1)
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More LW Brits (2)
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The pics aren't great due to the rotten weather, but I hope you like them. I'm certainly very pleased. My earlier efforts ( took about 4-5 hours each in total, whereas this latest batch took about 2 hours for each figure.

Key elements were painted as follows
Uniform - GW Charadon Granite, Foundry Drab Shade, Foundry Drab shade/mid mix
Webbing - GW Khemri Brown, GW Kommando Khaki, GW Bleached Bone
Puttees - As uniform or with a highlight of Foundry Moss mid
Rifle - GW Scorched Brown, GW Scorched/Vermin Brown mix, GW Boltgun Metal
Leather straps/holsters - Foundry Tan shade then Tan mid
Helmet - Foundry Forest Green shade then light drybrush of Forest Green mid

More on the way!

Monday, 29 June 2009

All Quiet on the Evesham Front - Report

What a brilliant day! Top marks to the chaps at Gripping Beast (Andy, Darren and Soapy) for organising a superb event. Plus many thanks for loaning me an army of Late War British.

There were 10 players at the event, 5 Allied armies (4 British and 1 French) and 5 armies of the Central Powers (4 German and 1 Austrian). There werethree rounds where the brave Allies were pitted against the fearsome Central Powers. The action begins with the Allies launching a major offensive, with subsequent rounds reflecting how the earlier battles went. Each of the 5 tables had a specific themed scenario, plus great looking terrain supplied by GB.

I'm delighted to say that all three opponents were superb sportsman, plus extremely helpful in explaining the rules to me, giving tips and advice, etc. I had three thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining games. I'm not really sure how I managed to win two of them (mostly by sheer luck I think!?) but they were certainly very close.

Game One vs. Mark's Germans
My first ever game of TGW ... my battalion were tasked with making a diversionary attack so as to keep German reserve forces from reinforcing the areas of the main Allied attack. German artillery provided a smoke barrage but this proved to more of a help to my chaps, allowing me to advance closer to the German lines before his Maxims and MG08's could open up. My Mark IV
male Tank was superb, heading right in to the heart of the German line and causing havoc whilst providing further cover for my troops. I managed to close with the enemy and keep the pressure on them right up to the final turn. Thus winning the game, but it was close. Enormous fun and a very enjoyable game for us both.

The results from turn one were generally not good for the Allies. The main British attacks had all been soundly defeated by the Germans, only the diversionary attack (me!) had succeeded in its objectives.

Game Two vs. Darren's Germans
With the Allies on the back foot, this game saw my battalion attempting to retreat in good order from a determined German counter attack. Most of my troops were strung out across the middle of the battlefield and had to retire to the allied baseline, the rallying point, and have more than 50% of the units intact by the end of the game, turn 8.
I quickly figured out that Darren was an experienced player and he certainly didn't hang about when it came to the attack. He craftily kept units in reserve so that they could mount a flank attack (note to self - read the scenario properly - doh!?) and these units mostly arrived on my right flank and tore it to shreds, particularly that flamethrower detachment! In the centre and left flank things were going a little better. I managed to get a Vickers HMG team and a rifle platoon with Lewis Guns in to a ruined building where they could cover the retreat. My tank once again proved its worth by engaging the German tank (a captured Mark IV, those cheeky Hun!) and immobilising it with a well placed 6lb shell. However, that did not stop it later returning fire and destroying my tank in a spectacular explosion.
Darren pressed on with his attack but somehow I managed to keep just enough of my battalion together to claim victory (if you can call a retreat a 'victory'), but it was very close indeed. Another hugely enjoyable game and a brilliant opponent.

Game Three vs. Rob's Austrians
I was really chuffed when I heard that I'd be playing Rob in round 3. He'd been very helpful in assisting me with choosing an army, plus his Scarab Miniatures Austrian army looks fabulous. In this scenario the Central Powers were on the offensive hoping to capitalise on the British withdrawal. The aim was to capture and hold ground, the winner would be who controlled more of the battlefield by the end of the game. I must say that I dithered slightly, not sure whether to take the bayonet to the tough Austrian troops, or use my Lewis guns and HMG's to soften them up a bit then counter-attack. In the end I didn't really do either and Rob exploited this ruthlessly. His assault troops, accompanied by a dreaded flame thrower, rushed forwards mounting a well coordinated attack and completely destroyed a whole company and its HMG support for little loss in return - almost half my army. The denser terrain on the other flank meant that the troops engaged more cautiously but again Rob made the best use of it and by the close of play the Austrians were firmly in control of the battlefield. Yet another great game and a brilliant opponent too.

Thanks also go to Rob for doing me a great deal on a big batch of Great War Miniatures, now available from Scarab, and for the excellent character figures of a downed pilot and soldier carrying a wounded comrade. They'll certainly be featuring in my army!

You might be wondering why I haven't any pics? That's because I didn't have my camera. Since I was going to drive all the way to Evesham for a day of toy soldiers, the rest of the family came along and went on to Warwick Castle and they had the camera. Hopefully Rob will put some pics on his website, or perhaps on the WAB forum.

Friday, 26 June 2009

WW1 Terrain Project #1 ... Digging In

As you may be aware, things have gone a bit Great War-ish recently. I was torn between many different eras and projects. It was a very close run thing with collecting an Age of Arthur army, especially after buying some of those wonderful Romano-British figures from Gripping Beast, highly recommended!

Anyway, I decided that if I'm going to collect WW1 figures then they'll need some nice terrain to fight across. Initially I considered making or buying some trenches and craters to put on my ordinary battlefield (GW mat glued to two 4' x 3' boards) but I then remembered my modular battlefield that has been packed away for quite a while. Here's a picture of each 4' x 2' module

Battlefield module 1
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Battlefield module 2
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Battlefield module 3
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Battlefield module 4
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I built this in the winter of 2003/4, spending many freezing hours in my garage. It cost about £150 all up. The most expensive part were the 2" thick wall insulation boards (like dense polystyrene). Basically I made four 2" deep trays from plywood and timber. The insulation foam went in to the trays then scenic features like roads, hills, etc were sculpted on. The rock face in the last module is made from oak bark (the in-laws have a open fireplace so that was free!). The whole lot was covered in PVA glue and sand along with a few rocks. I took a pot of Bestial Brown along to my local DIY store and they made a litre pot for the basecoat. The highlights were done using a few pots of GW light brown colours. Some flock and Woodland Scenics foliage finished it off.

I intended to use the boards mainly for skirmish games such as GW's Lord of the Rings, my own
Napoleonic rules, etc. Playing games on good terrain really adds to the fun.

For my World one table I've chosen two of the modules to become a small sector of the western front. The other two modules I'll keep for other games ... for now. Here's a couple of pictures of the work so far. Anyone who has seen the Great War rulebook should be able to easily spot my sources of inspiration.

WW1 Battlefield
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A close up of the trench section.

The Trenches
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The next step is to make all the trench revetting from strips of balsa wood, carved to look like planking. I also need to find a good source of finely corrugated card to represent the corrugated iron that was also used to shore up the sides of trenches. Then I'll go crazy with all purpose filler to sculpt the trench and crater edges. Sandbags I'll make from modelling clay. Cocktail sticks and thin bamboo will be used to make posts for the barbed wire, which will either be GW 'razorwire' or just plain wire. Twigs will do for blasted tree trunks.

Plus I need to get cracking on painting some soldiers too!