Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Tis the season

It’s that time of year when we as gamers tend to look back at what we’ve achieved and then waffle on about future plans for new armies, grand scenery projects and glorious conquests!!! Well, I’m no exception ;o) so here we go...

What have I achieved this year?
  • Attended my first Bolt Action tournament and had a blast! Competitive? Yes it was, but in a very open and friendly way.
  • Played Kings of War – some superb games especially in Steve’s man-shed and with the Cornish crowd :-D
  • Participated in a superb Bolt Action campaign with Orange Dave (ok, the finale is still to play but the five games we’ve had so far have been awesome!)
  • Completed a number of very enjoyable scenery projects, e.g. the Charlie Foxtrot Brasserie, the CFM Signal Box and a scratch built railway, etc.
  • Took part in several gaming weekends with friends – always great fun!
  • Kept my painting ticking along by completing a WW2 British Para force plus added a few more units to both the Panzergrenadiers and British Regulars.
  • Attended a number of brilliant shows (often posing as Colin’s “glamorous” assistant!) such as Penarth and Bovington.

For 2017...

I’d definitely like to get some more regular gaming in (although Jan and Feb are already looking busy!) with Dave, Steve, Mike, Rob, Paul, Colin, etc. This is going to require quite a bit of careful planning and time management.

Completing Ongoing Projects
Inspired by Steve’s sterling efforts this year in getting projects finished I think I may try to do something similar. I don’t really need to buy much – except maybe some more paint & brushes.
  • EIR – finally complete this army (I only started it in 2007!) but there’s still quite a bit to paint.
  • WW2 Germans – more support weapons and an armoured car.
  • WW2 British Regulars/Paras – some armour!
  • WW1 British LW army – more infantry and some artillery. Maybe align a few games with some of the battle centenaries.
This will be high up on the list too! I have some items to paint for others (I will get them done Paul, honest!). Plus, there are several CFM kits that I plan to add to my collection.

Increase my painting rate (but c’mon we all say that don’t we?) – this ties in nicely with getting projects completed.

A couple of friendly competition/tournament weekends would be ideal!

Go along to Penarth, Plymouth, Legionary (maybe) and Bovington – others too I expect.

And finally...

Merry Christmas!!

Best wishes to you all for a peaceful and joyous Festive Season!!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Building the Brasserie - Part 2

My Charlie Foxtrot Models Brasserie kit is complete! As I mentioned before, my intention was to make a 'tile' with outbuildings, etc. Here it is. The back garden even has a little fruit & veg patch.

I've added some signs to both the café and the outbuilding. I've also placed some of the bits and bobs I posted recently.

The basic idea is that the tile can be placed on a corner or junction.

The tiled area is just good quality printed card with a nice matte finish.

Here are a few shots of some of the extra components. First the large shed or outbuilding.

Pics of my brasserie can be found here. A couple of signs/adverts give a nice French theme.

Add a bit of mould and lichen on the roof!

Every café needs a suitable convenience... an outside w/c.

Here's the tile without the buildings or clutter. The brick piers and gate are from Charlie Foxtrot but pretty much everything else was scratch built. The walls are foam-core with individually carved tiles made from plasticard.

A closer look at the garden. The paths are just old masonry paint given a sandy/gritty paint scheme.

A couple of pics without the scenic clutter.

I've tried to strike a balance between a truly realistic looking model and a good piece of wargaming scenery. I could have added all sorts of extra scenic items and clutter but then I'd have struggled to place my miniatures in the terrain.

I hope you've enjoyed these couple of articles!

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Reveille - Show Report

Sunday 27th November saw the LBWS stage the Reveille wargames show in Bristol. Colin of Charlie Foxtrot Models kindly asked me to help out on the stall for the day... So here we are... The "CFM Twins" :-D
Handsome... Dashing... What more can you say? ;o)

The venue and thus the show is a relatively small affair but everything was well organised with plenty of friendly people to help out. The traders included a few bigger names (always good to see!) such as Warlord Games, Magister Militum and Colonel Bill.

Scarab Miniatures were there too (good to catch up with you Rob!) with a demo game of the excellent Zero Hour rules run by Alan and Nigel. Here the Germans have a lightly defended trench with plenty of Stormtroopers waiting off table ready to counter-attack.

The British (with some French help) begin to take the trenches!

More British move up to consolidate the gains made by the first wave

The game concluded with a solid win for the British as the Stormtroopers were smashed by overwhelming British artillery.

Sean from Little Ninja Painting was there too (Hi buddy!). Here's a couple of pics of his superb work!

This table caught my eye in a very nostalgic way... The history of wargaming project showed a game played with 'flats'. The game generated plenty of interest through the day.

All in all a lovely day out catching up with friends, chatting with gamers and generally relaxing at a very friendly local wargames show.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Bolt Action Templates from Charlie Foxtrot

The new second edition of Bolt Action sees the addition of templates for things like HE, so Colin has produced a superb set of templates and tokens (available here) to aid smooth game play. Here's my (slightly customised) set :o)

Here are the 'turret jammed' and 'vehicle immobilised' tokens.

These are the 'snap to action', 'air strike' and 'hidden' tokens. The snap to action token allows you to clearly note which units are being commanded by putting the newly drawn order dice in the token. No danger of muddling them up with units that have already been given a dice.

Here is the blast marker template. Note the double 1" token in the centre, just like it's shown in the diagrams for HE in the book.

The set also includes dice holders for continuing fire weapons such as mortars - helps to avoid the dice being picked up during play.

All that for the very reasonable sum of just £7.50, so why not grab yourself a set?

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Scenic Bits and Bobs

I like to be able to decorate my tables with a few extra little scenic items to help give the impression that the buildings are 'lived in'. Here are a few I completed very recently.
Boxes and a crate of tomatoes.
They're a mix of resin (Ainsty and Grand Manner), plastic (Tamiya 1:48) and metal (Foundry) figures.
Lettuces and apples... fancy a fruit salad, Sir?
The paint scheme was simple block colours, a bit of wash then some highlights. The oil drums were just VMC Russian Green. I may base these as a little vignette. Think I might get some more too! They'd make a great little objective marker.
Oil drums and fuel cans... perhaps not ideal cover?
A couple of my buildings have proper gardens so I thought a wheelbarrow for the gardener might be a good idea. Clearly the owner of this one enjoys a glass or two whilst trimming the hedges!!

I've based it to match the paths on the buildings with gardens. Nice little figure I thought. That Tommy has his eye on the crate!

I've almost finished the Charlie Foxtrot Brasserie so will post that up soon!

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Bolt Action Second Edition

At last I've finally got my grubby paws on a copy of the new rulebook!! So I thought I'd publish a few of my thoughts on the latest incarnation of what has become pretty much my favourite game.

There's a superb video from Chris Harris on YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjTgxG-RgDk (well worth subscribing too!!)

There's also a demo game from Beasts of War here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aJGzJDiKMg not the most exciting viewing ;o) but quite instructive.

Warlord have some articles too:-

The production quality of this hardback book is exactly what you'd expect from Warlord & Osprey. Sumptuous colour photos, superb artwork and top-notch graphic design; it's a pleasure simply to browse through it.

In no particular order, here are some highlights of the new rules:-

Rally - Troops can now rally on their basic morale rather than including the effect of the pins they're trying to shake off. This is a good move as troops with many pins were effectively out of the game most of the time. Now you have a chance to get them back in the fight - they might miss a turn or two whilst they sort themselves out though - fair enough.

Down - Troops going down are now -2 to hit plus if they keep the Down order through to the next turn they lose D3 pin markers.

Ambush - At the end of the turn, if your ambushing unit still has its dice then you can either keep it in ambush (as per v1) or flip it to a fire order and take shot. Nice.

Officers can now activate the men around them. For example, a 2nd Lt is activated so he can immediately draw a dice for a unit (within 6") and activate them too. The more senior the officer the more units can be activated. This is a brilliant improvement! All to often I'd felt that officers in v1 were of too little use, occasionally offering a morale boost. Now they can actually lead their men and directly influence the battle.

These oft overlooked vehicles are now going to become more attractive I'm sure now that they can fire one weapon after moving - the rules assume that one the crew man the gun. So your SdKfz 251 can now drive forward, the squad can de-bus, then the vehicle LMG can pour shots in to any nearby enemy. All very cinematic and in keeping with the spirit of the game.

Tanks & Flak
Like putting a 50 cal on your Sherman to help hose down enemy units? Well think again, doing so will make your tank 'open topped' for that turn - after all some poor guy has to climb out of the turret and operate the weapon. Beware of then getting pinned by small arms fire!

HE & Templates
When templates for HE weapons were first hinted at there was quite a bit of whining on the interweb. Frankly I think this is a good move. I've never had issues with templates in other games and I don't foresee any issues with Bolt Action. A big bonus of templates is that it will encourage players to use more historical deployment and formations. I've often seen (and done it myself too!) troops bunched up in mobs rather than being dispersed in more linear formations.

HE & Buildings
In v1 how often did you look at your Sherman parked near a building occupied by the enemy and think "I'd really like to put a shell through that wall and give those naughty Germans a jolly big headache!" (feel free to insert your own aphorism there ;o)) Well... rejoice for now you can do exactly that! No 'to hit' penalty (aside from range/movement) and the troops inside no longer get the 6's to wound. Oh... and gun shields are a bit less effective too so I think we'll see more players putting their artillery in more cover - another nod towards improved 'realism'.

MMGs and LMGs
More shots and a greater range, what's not to like? Now paying 20pts seems a bit fairer for these weapons. The Hitler's buzz saw rule still applies so those MG42s will pack a whopping 5 shots.

All in all I think the changes add up to a much improved game that better incorporates historical details, but it's still a game though. There's plenty more so grab yourself a copy and give it a thorough read! Also make sure you check the weapons tables, etc otherwise you may carry on using v1 details.

Happy gaming :o)

Sunday, 9 October 2016

A bit of World War One

Wargames Table chums Rob Broom and Orange Dave put on a rather splendid Somme inspired WW1 demo game for Dave's superb Zero Hour rules at the Worlds show, Donnington (01/10/16). Now, I couldn't make it along but I did supply some scenery and troops so I was kind of there in spirit! ;o)  Here's a few pics... (slightly dodgy lighting made good pics quite tricky)

British mass for the attack on the German trenches
From the German side
New technology makes it's debut ... a tank rumbles into the line!
Not to be outdone... he comes the RFC
The French also attack
The tank proves useful at cutting through obstacles
A shattered farm somewhere on the Somme
Every battlefield needs a river
The British reach the trench lines! Hurrah!

Hopefully this demo game will gradually expand and feature at a few more shows!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

SAGA - Age of the Wolf Campaign

At last!!! Orange Dave and I have got our calendars sorted and played the first two rounds of the club Saga campaign which brings me nicely up to date. My faction is a Viking War band led by the indomitable Magnus Håkonsson. I rolled for his traits and got "Learn'd" and "Hard Ruler" - both great for boosting my war band before and after battles, plus the special rule "The Conqueror". Magnus is clearly a man to be reckoned with!!

Dave has been busy painting some lovely Foundry figures. The photos are a bit shonky but hopefully you can see how good they are!
Some of Dave's lovely Anglo-Danes

Game One - I decided to raid the territory of Dave's Warlord, the Anglo-Danish Leofstan the Bastard. The scenario came up as "Scout" so we both cautiously advanced in to an abandoned village. Now, it's been ages since I last played (that's my excuse anyway!) so I was a bit vague about how the game worked, but I soon picked it up.
The action in the abandoned village... Ouch!

Anyway, Dave's Warlord has a great ability to move two units with his freebie move so he was able to swiftly bring his forces to bear with superior numbers. My Vikings gave the Danes a bloody nose (metaphorically speaking!!) but with two Hirdmen units gone plus a unit of Bondi, my warlord signalled a withdrawal.
While over on the flank the levy throw sticks at each other!?

Post game we sorted out the campaign stuff. This went well for Magnus as his unit of Thralls were upgraded to Warriors and most of the casualties were replaced thanks to his traits.

Game Two - sorry no pics - was a simply ambush on a forest road. Dave's Anglo-Danes were ambushing. I sacrificed a unit of Bondi (and ultimately a unit of Hirdmen too) in order to allow the rest of my force to escape the ambush and head off in search of plunder. Again the post game campaign rolls were fairly good, giving Magnus a 5pt war band of 2 x 4 Hirdmen, 2 x 8 Warriors and 1 x 8 Thralls. Plus a campaign point in to the bargain too - a good start for my Norse Raiders!

A big thank you to Dave for coming over and sorting out a splendid introduction to Age of the Wolf. Really enjoyed it mate! :o)

Friday, 16 September 2016

Bolt Action - Germany vs Russia

With the second edition of the Bolt Action rules almost upon us, Wargames Table chum Steve and I decided to have one more go with first edition! Steve would be fielding his beautiful First Corps Russians whilst I would once again be trying to stem the advance in to Germany with my Panzergrenadiers. Here’s the field of battle.

The scenario was simple: German forces must stall the Russian steamroller in this sector long enough to bring reserves up, however this can only be done if the crossroads remain in German hands. So, the usual 6 (or 7) turn game and the winner would be the one controlling the vital crossroads near the centre of the board at the end of the game.

Steve and I both decided to commit our entire forces in turn 1 ... no faffing around with reserves here!! First blood went to the Germans as my tank rumbled on to the table and took aim at the only viable target, the Russian sniper in the church belfry... Boom!

Steve had an alarming number of troops at his command! They begin to advance around the farm, through the orchard and across the church yard.

Steve took a shot with his tank against mine. The shell missed by a whisker, so rather than risk another volatile tank duel I pushed my Panzer forwards with the intention of blocking his shots to it and also being able hose down the advancing Russian hordes at short range.

On my left Steve had a unit of veteran scouts holed up in the farm house so I pushed a couple of squads forwards to try to dislodge them. Surely they would not stand against three MG42s at short range?!?

Amazingly they not only held but shredded one of the German squads in reply! What had these Russkies eaten for breakfast??

With my tank well forward my squads also pushed onwards to support it but not before a pesky (free) unit of inexperienced Russians managed to dodge the twin MGs and get close enough to plaster the Panzer with anti-tank grenades… Boom! Steve and I were both laughing our heads off!

This left his tank free to roam around the table, backed up by fearsome SMG wielding tank riders, annihilating anything remotely German!

So, another solid victory for Steve and his Russians, and another superb game with plenty of laughs and more than a few dramatic moments. My thanks to Steve for a great game… and a superb chocolate cake! Looking forward to lots more fun with the new rules.