Monday, 25 November 2013

Reveille “Show Report”

Last show of the year! (For me at least) On Sunday I joined Scarab Miniatures and chum Steve to help out with a War & Conquest demo game set in Samurai-era Japan. The scenario was that described in Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy Issue 67 “The Battle of Domyoji, 1615”. Both Steve and Rob have colourful Samurai armies and Rob also has some wonderful buildings.

Here are the two armies deployed ready for battle. First Rob’s army (the army of Toyotomi Hideyori)


And Steve’s army (led by Tokugawa Ieyasu)


plus a close up of Steve's troops

I must admit to knowing very little about the Samurai era so I was looking forward to learning about the period plus enjoying a good game of toy soldiers with friends.

However ... things didn’t quite work out as intended. At about the same time as doors were opening to the public, I received a message from HQ that the kitchen was flooding! Cue a quick dash to the car and a 45 minute journey back home.

The culprit was the hot water feed to the recently replaced kitchen tap. In attempting to fix it, the cold water feed was also disturbed and began to leak. In the end I had to admit defeat :o( and simply isolate both taps. A ‘proper’ plumber is coming to fix it. I will freely admit that plumbing is not within my “skill footprint”.

After grabbing a quick bite to eat I returned to Bristol, arriving just in time to see most games and traders packing up. Grrr!

Steve and Rob had, by all accounts, a cracking battle which ended in a victory for Rob’s forces. Oh well, may be I’ll be able to play next time. Hopefully there will be some pics and notes on the Scarab forum or Steve’s blog.

I had hoped to pick up some paint, flock, etc from either “Colonel Bill’s” or “Stafford Games” but both were packing away by then; I could hardly ask them to unpack just so I could buy a few bits and pieces! However, I did manage to collect my order from Scarab – more A/H plus a lovely 1st Corps Romfell armoured car. The latter was a last minute agreement by the finance committee to make up for the fact that I missed most of the day. Thank you! :o)

Reveille itself is one of the smaller wargames shows but has lots packed in to a modest sized venue (Lincombe Barn, Bristol). Logistics seemed well organised, although they could have done with some info on their website about road closures around the venue. The chaps at LBWS were friendly and helpful, especially when we were packing up and carrying stuff out to the cars at the end of the day.

I did manage to have a very quick look round in the morning before the doors opened, although as it was still early many stands and games were still getting sorted. There was a range of traders but what I think the show really needs is for one of the big gaming companies (Warlord for example?) to come along. But I do appreciate that wargames companies cannot have a presence at each and every show. Still, it’s certainly worth popping along if you’re in the area.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Austro-Hungarians for The Great War

For a long time I've rather liked the look of Scarab Miniatures Austro-Hungarian range. A while back I bought a few packs to use as Stormtroops in my 1918 German army. However, after reading more widely about the Great War I've decided to collect an army that did not regularly appear on the Western Front (although I believe some AH troops were stationed around Verdun near the end of the war).

These figures are wonderfully dynamic, detailed and full of character. They've been a joy to paint, especially as I decided to try out the 'dip/wash' technique I used on my Dark ages armies.

Here's an officer with trusty walking stick, bristling moustache and pistol, accompanied by two Austro-Hungarian Storm-troopers. (Please note my lighting/camera/inability-to-take-decent-photos have resulted in some shine on the figures, but they actually have a nice matt finish)

The officer and NCO.

Officer and Private.

An angle that hopefully the enemy will not see too often ;o)

Painting Recipe
Start with a white undercoat - make sure the figures have any last mould lines totally removed or the dip/wash will really make them stand out!
Apply block colours as follows - ensure you have an even coat.
Uniform - Foundry Granite Mid
Puttees - Either Foundry Granite Light or Foundry Drab Light
Rifle - Foundry Spearshaft Shade
Skin - Foundry Flesh Mid
Grenade Bags - Foundry Boneyard Mid
Leather/Wood - Variety of Foundry Deep Brown Leather Mid, Spearshaft Shade and Bay Brown Mid
Metals - very faint highlight with GW Boltgun Metal

Wash with Army Painter Strong Tone using a brush to ensure a thin, even coat. Then leave to dry for at least 24hrs!

Apply a matt varnish. I use a W&N 'brush on' variety. If spraying then make sure the area is well ventilated and warm/dry to avoid clouding.

Then apply some quick highlights, mostly using the original base colour. For the skin I did an extra highlight of Foundry Flesh Light. Any black areas tend to look better for a light highlight with dark grey.

Spending a few extra minutes picking out details such as moustaches or gas mask eye pieces is well worth the effort.

Basing Recipe
Attach figures to Warbases 25mm round 2mm thick bases with super glue.
Using good quality PVA (slightly thinned with water) glue sand and grit to the base.
Base coat the sand with Vallejo Leather Brown, then highlight with Flat Earth, Tan Yellow and finally Dark Sand.
The flock is GW Scorched Grass. Finish off with a few grass tufts or clump foliage.

I've painted the base edges black as having seen the splendid figures on Sidney's blog (Roundwood's World - see link on right) I think it sets the base off nicely against the table.

Right! I'd better paint a few more... oh wait a minute - I need to get the Hobbit set painted up for a Chrimbo present! Look out for more A/H troops in a few weeks.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

King Harold ... Triumphant!

This rather splendid vignette of Foundry's King Harold was painted up for me as a gift from all-round jolly good chap and Wargames Table chum Phil. Naturally I was delighted with such a lovely present.

I think the pictures speak for themselves.

A rich, red, fur-trimmed cloak, only the best for the King!

The shields and the banner pole are both striking and very pleasing. The palette used ties all the figures together very well. Plus the basing is superb.

Another aspect that I really like is the subdued chain mail colour. Seems to give the armour real depth.

Thank you Phil! :o)

Of course, in his first battle he was slain by a horde of Danish warriors, but isn't that always the way with newly painted figures?

Monday, 11 November 2013

Lest We Forget

Here is a pic of a Rememberance Service held in Essex yesterday.

It was good to see so many people turning up to pay their respects.

As a painter, modeller, gamer and blogger with a keen interest in military history, especially the Great War, I believe that remembering the fallen and the wounded from past and current conflicts is particularly important.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam
From "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon, 1914.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Digging In ... Again

About 10 years ago I built a modular battlefield. Then a few years back, after getting interested in gaming The Great War, I started converting it in to a small section of the Western Front. However, following the conversion of the garage (in our old house) into a spare room I no longer had anywhere to do all the messy work so the project rather stalled.

Anyway, we now have a proper garage so I've been making some space to re-start this project. Here it is.

I'd like to be able to do a some in a "little and often" fashion as it's going to be quite a lot of work! A couple of hours per week should keep it ticking along nicely plus allow some time for other projects.

This is one of the 4' x 2' (approx 1220mm x 610mm) sections. In background of the first picture you can see the other section that I've started - that will be the cratered ground in front of the trench section, i.e. placed to the left of the board in the picture below.

The boards are 50mm deep so I can have 'proper' depth trenches with fire-steps too.

I have two more 4' x 2' sections that are still rolling green wilderness so these will eventually be added to give me about 32 square feet of modular Great War battlefield.

Inspiration for this table has come from many sources: visits to Belgium and France, the Great War rulebook, the Gripping Beast table (by Wyn Rogers?) that I saw at the Evesham Front event and last, but by no means least, the Great War table created Sidney Roundwood - check out older posts on his blog for details.

All tips and suggestions most welcome!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Wargames Table in the Press

OK, it's not exactly a direct mention but I can say that some of my figures have appeared in the latest 'Miniature Wargames / Battlegames', specifically some of my Great War British.

Scarab Miniatures supremo Rob Broom has written a rather good article for the 'Command Challenge' topic, all about the battle for Papadopoli Island on the River Piave; part of the war on the Italian front in 1918. This lesser known theatre of the Great War has some very interesting history and is often overlooked in favour of the western front. A great article and a thought provoking scenario - definitely worth reading!

As you can see from the photo I also picked up the latest 'Medieval Warfare' and 'Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy'. The former because it has several good articles on the Danish conquest of England; the latter because it's still my favourite all-round wargaming magazine.

Happy reading!