Saturday, 6 December 2014

Excuses... Excuses... !?

It’s not quite the end of the year but I’ve already been considering what I have and haven’t achieved this year, plus looking at what projects I have on the go, what might be lined up, etc. Rather than bore you with the details I’ll go straight to the conclusion ...

I’m trying to do far too much!

This is not exactly a surprise, in fact I’ve always been inclined to get too carried away with starting one gaming project after another, rather than focussing on finishing something – or at least getting to the point where I have a vaguely decent sized force completed.

So ... I've decided to restrict my gaming attention to a very limited set of rules and/or figures. Yes, I'd love to try out Bolt Action, Dux Britanniarum, Dux Bellorum, Hail Caesar, etc. But I have to be realistic.

On a 'good' week I can only manage about 5 to 6 hours of painting, often less. So I need to limit the scope of what I aim to paint. In the next couple of weeks (i.e the run up to the Festive season) I will very likely have siginficantly less. So rather than stress about getting figures painted and scenery built, I shall be packing away most of my stuff and taking a bit of a break until after Christmas.

This also means that for the time being I am postponing any WW1 related painting/modelling, including my Gallipoli project. I found that last one quite hard to decide as it's something I'm *very* interested in and have given much thought to - especially with the anniversary a few months away. But again, it's all about being pragmatic. I have a few packs of unpainted ANZACs and that's it, no Turks, no atmospheric little vignettes, no scenery and no definite rules. All that would have to be sorted in less than 5 months. It's just not practical for me.

Anyway, I hope you'll stick with the blog. I shall do my best to keep up a decent level of output when things get going again. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Perry DAK

Before I go any further let's get one thing clear ... it's all Orange Dave's fault! ;o)

OK, so he didn't actually force me to purchase a box of Perry Afrikakorps, but he did arrange a game of Chain of Command recently where he clearly stated that he would be using Perry's 8th army figures. What else could I do but purchase some of Rommel's finest?

I only managed to paint a few (I ordered the box just 5 days before the game) but that was ok as Dave had only got a few painted British, so we were about even.

I'm really impressed with this set of plastic figures. Only £20 for 38 miniatures. They're a little fiddly to build sometimes but they're nicely detailed. A few more 'rifle arms' in the box would have been handy though! With only a few additional blisters of metal figures I'll be able to build a very smart force for Chain of Command.

The games themselves (we squeezed two in to one club evening) were visually rather awful - a green table, a mish-mosh of unmatched terrain, mostly unpainted figures, etc, but in terms of gaming fun they were simply splendid!!

It really reminded me of when I first got in to playing wargames way back in the mid-80's. Using whatever came to hand for figures and terrain, then letting your imagination and enthusiasm fill in the rest. All round jolly good fun indeed!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Visit Foundry ... Start another army!

Yes, dear blog reader I couldn’t resist all those packs lining the walls of the Foundry shop!

After seeing some of the lovely figures at the recent W&C National Tournament I just had to make a 'proper' start on another Dark Ages army.

To be fair I have (a) got a decent sized Saxon force done, (b) already made a tentative step towards a Norman force when I purchased some plastics to do Saga force, so it's not entirely a new army. Really. If you think about it. ;o)

Plus I already have a few packs of Normans from Crusader Miniatures in the lead mountain. Then there's the old GW Bretonnians that have a few re-usable figures. So, actually, it made perfect sense to get some Normans from Foundry!

It's not a project that I'll start immediately - I really have to get my CoC Late War Germans done first (otherwise Phil is going to get really cross!). After that I'd be keen to paint a few Normans!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Para Officer and 5cm Mortar

To celebrate the recent birthday of Wargames Table chum Phil, I painted a few figures for him to add to his WW2 collection. Firstly, here's a Parachute Officer with a mug of tea from Artizan.

Phil bases his leaders on octagonal bases with a few red flowers.

Painting recipe: Trousers - Foundry Bay, Vallejo English Uniform. Jacket - Foundry Moss Light, Foundry Bay Shade/Mid, Foundry Dragoon Green Shade/Light. Webbing - Foundry Storm Green Mid/Light.

Secondly, in order to ensure no bias to one side or the other, I also painted up this 5cm mortar team from Crusader miniatures.

Painting recipe: Uniform - Foundry Slate Grey Shade, Vallejo Grey Green. Bag - Foundry Buff Shade/Mid/Light. Mortar & Gas mask container - Vallejo German Fieldgrey (highlight with base + Bleached Bone light)

Sunday, 12 October 2014

First Panzergrenadier Squad

At last! My first complete Panzergrenadier squad for my German Chain of Command army. Here's the Squad Leader (MP40) with one of the MG42 teams.

To make the Squad Leader slightly easier to spot in the thick of the action I've put him on an octagonal base, courtesy of the ever efficient Warbases.

Here's the other MG42 team.

The whole squad.

The whole squad again.

I used basically the same painting recipe on the rest of the squad as I did on the first three figures I showed in the previous post. I've just completed two Senior Leaders (a second SL is a support list option) and almost completed a Panzershreck team. Then it will be on to squad number two. More soon ... hopefully!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

First WW2 Germans

My first attempt at World War 2 figures and the start of my Panzergrenadier force for Chain of Command! A chap with an MG42, an NCO with an MP40 and a rifleman.

It's also my first attempt at any sort of real camouflage scheme - "Splinter Pattern". All the figures are from Artizan Designs.

I found the following links very useful in getting to grips with what turned out to be a relatively straightforward (if a little time consuming) camouflage scheme.

Here's a couple of slightly closer shots.

I used the following painting "recipe"...
  • Grey - either Foundry Slate shade followed by Vallejo Grey Green, or just Grey Green highlighted with a Grey Green / Foundry Boneyard mix.
  • Fieldgrey - Vallejo German Fieldgrey highlighted with the base colour and a little Boneyard.
  • Camo - Rawhide light, wash with Agrax Earthshade, highlight with Rawhide light, then apply the pattern using Foundry Bay Brown shade, then highlight with Bay Brownlight. Then either Foundry Forest Green or Foundry Nap Dragoon Green shade/light.
  • Skin - Foundry Flesh triad.
  • Rifle - GW Scorched follwed by Foundry Conker Brown shade.
  • Knapsack - Foundry Buff triad.
  • Belts/straps/boots - mostly black highlighted with some very dark grey.
  • Basing - Sand/grit painted with (all Vallejo) Leather Brown, Flat Earth, Goldbrown and Dark Sand.
I've nearly finished the rest of the first section and have also started on the Leutnant, Panzershreck team and a 5cm mortar team. So plenty more to come!

Hope you like them!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Telegraph Poles

Telegraph poles are one of those items that really seem to make a wargames table look like a 20th century battlefield, so I really had to get some. I considered making them from wooden dowelling, etc but then I saw these from 4Ground.

They're advertised as ready painted but I decided that they needed to look more "concrete-y" so I painted the main 'post' black then layered on the Foundry 'Slate Grey' triad. They also make good places to put signs advertising shows - as this keen eyed subaltern has noted.

Here's a closer shot of the different styles of 'tops'. The kit includes enough parts to make 7 posts with up to 2 of them being like the post on the left.

Oh - and one more thing - pay close attention to the construction diagrams when building them! They're fairly easy to build, as long as you read the notes first.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Chain of Command - Mine Counters

A quick post to show you some counters I made today to represent minefields in CoC. Here are the Allied counters.

German counters.

They're simply 50x50mm GW bases covered in sand and flocked etc to match my other terrain items. The posts are just chunky matchsticks and the signs were created in Microsoft Word and printed on a decent quality laser, then backed with thin card. I chose 50x50mm bases as, being effectively 2 inches by 2 inches, it should be straightforward to imagine a further 2 inch 'zone' extending around them. I had initially planned to make some 6 inch by 6 inch bases in MDF but realised that, given the often very scenic nature of CoC tables, they might be quite tricky to place amongst hedgerows, etc.

As you can probably tell we're getting quite 'into' CoC here at the "table". Plenty more figures and scenery to follow. :o)

Monday, 22 September 2014

Gaming Weekend - Chain of Command 1918

Saturday evening... With two defeats already under my belt I was keen to do much better in this game. It's 1918 and the German Spring Offensives are in full swing. Two patrols encounter each other somewhere in the French countryside east of Amiens... Here's the table.

And again from a different angle. Phil had kindly brought along some of his ruined buildings and other scenic bits & pieces.

Here we see that the Germans have quickly occupied the ruined church and brought forward an MG08 to support the advance. My wife Jenny started leading the British in this game but as time was getting on she went to bed and Phil (who up until that point had been busily polishing his dice) took over. In the background you can see some BEF behind the wall - probably eyeing up that house as a good point to launch a flank attack against the Germans.

More BEF in the centre of the field. They have brought up a Vickers to try to keep the German's heads down! Note the little shock marker - a yellow dice in a scenic 'pot'. Phil forced his poor children to work for nothing to produce these - what a slave driver eh?

At this point in the game both sides have brought on all their forces (basically a platoon with an HMG in support) and are inflicting shock, but very few casualties.

"It's no use chaps ... the blasted Boche are already in the farmhouse ... let 'em have it!"
The Germans quickly occupy the ruined house - an ideal vatange point from which to shoot at the Tommies.

This part of the battle became a close range firefight in which (amazingly) the British gradually gained the upper hand. It's Phil and his bl**dy dice again!!!

The BEF bring a section across from the centre to decide the issue against the Germans in the ruined farmhouse.

But by the time they arrive it's clear that the Germans are on the back foot, so they head off along the road towards the German centre - accumulating shock as they go.

As they near the Church they go "tactical" - hence the corrugated iron counter.

During this time the Germans in the centre have not been idle. The MG08 had dealt with the Vickers but was then itself eliminated by concentrated British rifle fire. Another German section had advanced on their left flank and took their bayonets to a detached Lewis Gun team - but at what cost!! The Lewis was eliminated but the casualties inflicted on the German section were horrendous. This, along with other incidents across the field, were taking a heavy toll on the German morale. Soon I was down to 4 command dice, then 3.

The pig makes a run for it!

The key moment in the final stage of the battle was a grenade duel in the ruined church. But again the British had the best of it. With that the German morale was reduced to zero and it was a win for the British forces ... and Phil.

A simply spiffing game! Thoroughly good fun all round, played with a gentlemanly air of good grace and fair play. Chain of Command is rapidly becoming my absolute favourite set of rules.

The final report from the weekend - a big game of Dark Ages War & Conquest from the "Age of Alfred" - will follow in a few days. After that ... well, it will hopefully be something slightly different ;o)

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Gaming Weekend - Vikings vs Saxons

Saturday afternoon saw us clear away the Romans (with a dust pan and brush?) and Germans and bring out the Saxons and Vikings. This time it was 3,250 points per side. As Phil kindly noted in a comment on my last post, my dice rolling had been frankly appalling in the morning so I was hoping for some kinder dice in this game ... Hmmm?

Here's the deployment. I concentrated my Danes on one flank hoping to overwhelm part of the Saxon force before the rest could arrive to help out.

Phil has most of his units fielded as a front rank of good/expensive Thegns, backed up by 2 ranks of the weaker Ceorls. All nice and historical. But that does mean there seems to be rather a lot of them!

As Phil's skirmishers advance, one of them stops of enjoy the local leisure facilities. Yeugh!

With both armies keen to get to grips with one another, it soon was time for a clash of shieldwalls. Here we see a unit of Hirdmen led by a Jarl plough in to the shieldwall of a unit of Thegns/Ceorls ... get 'em lads!

Then I rolled the dice ... Hmmm. The two hits (the '5' and '6') failed to achieve any kills. Then the Saxons struck back ... and hard!

The red 'Retreat' arrow in the picture here tells an all too familiar story. Only on the Viking left flank (ironically held by allied Saxons!!!) did they give as good as they got or better.

Alas, the few other pictures I took of this game were all a bit rubbish, but safe to say it was a sorry tale of woe for the invading Danes!

A solid victory to the Saxons of Kent and another for Phil ... this was starting to become something of a habit!? Another good game - if slightly depressing for the Vikings at certain moments!!! ;o)

We cleared away the carnage and began setting the scene for some Chain of Command 1918 style. More on that in the next post!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Gaming Weekend - EIR vs Germans

As mentioned in the British Paras post, a few of us got together last weekend for some gaming fun. Saturday was a mix of War & Conquest and Chain of Command. Sunday was purely a big game of War & Conquest. I'll cover these in a short series of posts - please don't expect detailed battle reports though - I was more interested in gaming than taking lots of notes.

Here's the first of Saturday's games: Phil T's German "Barbarians" led by the fearsome Warlord "Philarminius" vs my EIR (with Gallic allies) led by the newly appointed Legate Gaius Maximus Bellendicus. The game was 2,500 points per side. Here, somewhere near the Rhine, the armies deploy for battle.

A couple of turns in and both armies are manoeuvring for advantage. Crumbs that's a lot of angry Germans!

Phil's left flank: His Nobles square up to the Roman Auxiliary cavalry (although they're actually spare Germans - but hey!?)

A view along the lines.

Now, apologies for the slightly blurry photo (my camera occasionally goes in to "special mode") but I wanted to show you two things here: firstly how games of WaC often develop in to a series of long-ish lines of troops - especially in the centre - which seems quite "realistic" to me. Secondly, my "plan" - use the centre legions to break the German centre, whilst the other legions hold the centre-flanks. Hmmm ... plans are nice aren't they.

Well bang goes that theory - as La-dee-da Gunner Graham used to say - the centre legions both fought like wombats and were routed, the legion on the left (out of shot) held, but the on the right they legged it to!!!

"Run lads" ... I roll the 3D6, the two lowest being the distance fled by heavy infantry ... they rolled 1, 2 and 3. Needless to say the barbarians had little problem running them down, including the General.

The other centre legion was caught in a subsequent turn - in WaC fleeing troops are very fragile so if you can get your own troops in to them before they rally then they are slaughtered.

A solid and well deserved victory to Phil, and a good game to boot! Next post will see me trying to avenge the defeat by hurling Vikings at Phil's Saxon shieldwall.