Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Review of 2019

Inspired by George over at "Musings on Wargaming and Life" I'm taking a brief look back over 2019 from a gaming perspective...

It's certainly been quite a varied year of painting & modelling projects!  World War 2 has been the front runner with my DAK army getting ever larger.  Plenty of new additions for my desert terrain too.  Really enjoying this project.  Plus I dipped my toe in to Eastern Front gaming by starting to pick up a few figures for a Russian army.  Some of my "French/Belgian" scenery got a bit of a makeover and several new buildings were added.  I have quite a lot of scenery for this theatre but it's still good to keep adding more; Colin at Charlie Foxtrot keeps me well supplied with kits.  Also, my existing WW2 forces (Paras, Panzergrenadiers and British Regulars) all got a few bits and bobs - no army is ever truly complete!

I briefly dallied with Warlords of Erewhon but after a couple of games I decided that it wasn't my thing.  Pity really as I have a large Middle Earth collection of Uruks, Orcs, Goblins and Trolls that enjoy the taste of man-flesh.

Almost from out of nowhere Warhammer 40K appeared on my painting table.  (Thanks Rob 🤣).  It gave a wonderful sense of nostalgia and I really enjoyed building and painting the figures.  It's definitely something that I'll continue with but probably more of a background project.

Sharp Practice continues to inspire so there were further additions to my Napoleonic collection with both Rifles and Redcoats joining the ranks.  The Front Rank figures are beautiful sculpts.  A few scenic items were added too.

Like previous years I was lucky enough to help out at a few shows too.  Always a pleasure to chat to a wide range gamers about their projects plus help them invest in finely crafted MDF kits.  It’s also good to chew the fat with chums amongst the traders.

As for gaming there were Bolt Action campaigns in the desert, Chain of Command in Normandy and several excellent Sharp Practice weekends with old (and new) friends.  As I get my house more 'sorted' I aim to host more gaming weekends with friends as these are always a jolly good laugh.  One thing I learned this year was to not worry about blogging too many of these games simply because it allows me to focus on the games themselves rather than faff about taking pics and jotting notes.  Also, writing up lots of battle reports is quite time consuming and that's time I'd rather spend painting.

As for the gaming year ahead ... well, more of the same I expect!  I'd like to get my Desert Rats completed as then I'll be able to put on games of either BA or CoC and supply both sides - being a GM is always good fun and allows for more complex scenarios.  The scenery collection will definitely continue to grow as I work towards building a more extensive village/town collection. However, my desert terrain will need attention as I hope to add some adobe buildings, rocky outcrops, scatter items, livestock, etc.  I’d like to broaden the scope of this to include Sicily and Italy.  Then there’s the Eastern Front!  But it’s not all WW2... there’s the forthcoming TFL offering of “Infamy! Infamy!” or maybe Osprey’s “Lion Rampant”?

I'll just have to see where my wargaming butterfly takes me 😊

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

First Desert War British

The first of my 8th army roll off the production line.  That’s really how I view this painting project; a production line.  But in a good sense, as it’s quite enjoyable.  Here are a light mortar team, a medical orderly and a junior leader.

These first figures are really a ‘test’ in that I’m figuring out which colours to use for the various items of uniform and kit.
Base colours before the wash
They are very much painted in the “three foot away on a nice gaming table” style 😉 and I’m very happy with that.

Paint recipe:
Flesh - Foundry 5B
Shirts, shorts & helmet - VMC Iraqi Sand
Helmet also in Foundry 11B
Webbing - 11B or English Uniform or Dark Sand
Bags - 11B or Dark Sand
Jumper - English uniform
Socks - 11B
Puttees (?) - Iraqi sand
Can use other colours for socks, puttees?
Weapon stock - GW Scorched Brown
Boots and weapons - black

Wash with Agrax Earthshade, then highlight with original colours.  Webbing can be painted in Iraqi Sand when doing shirts then just picked out with Dark Sand or even Foundry Boneyard light.  Variety is key as new recruits arrive with regulation kit whereas veterans have weather worn gear plus items that have been “customised”, acquired from the enemy, etc.

So that’s my first lot of figures for the painting challenge.  Plenty more to go though.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Eighth Army Ready

It’s that time of year again...

Here are my 8th army figures ready for painting as part of my unofficial entry in to the 10th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge!  I’ve set myself a very modest target of 250 points.

This consists of
  • Lieutenant 
  • Platoon Sergeant
  • 2” mortar team
  • Boys AT rifle team
  • 3 sections of 10 men, each including a Bren team
This is a basic platoon for Chain of Command.  Most of the figures are Perry along with a Warlord command pack. For support there is
  • Medical orderly (with stretcher!)
  • Boys AT rifle team
  • Forward Observer (chap with a radio)
  • Universal Carrier with a JL and a Bren team
The figures were prepped recently and I’ve just completed the basic groundwork.  I also have an AT gun and some armour waiting in the wings.

Friday, 20 December 2019

Allies Slip Up in Marj-Areen

Good chum Mike and I got together for a long overdue game of Chain of Command in the North African desert.  It's December 1941 and Rommel's men are cunningly withdrawing before the onslaught of Operation Crusader.  With Allied supply lines being stretched thin, the Germans decide to make a stand at the abandoned village of Marj-Areen ...

Mike kindly set up a table before my arrival, and then produced a delicious pizza, artisan bread and plenty of tea before we set to.  Here's the table after the patrol phase.

I have JOPs behind the two ruined buildings and the hill on the far left, whilst Mike has JOPs behind the two hills nearest his baseline.  I was impressed by the rugged sandy hills on Mike's table, covered in rocks both large and small.  When many people think of the desert they think of endless sand but much of the North African desert is rather different.  Mike has been there (following in the footsteps of his Dad) and it's very rugged terrain as these photos will show.
Visiting Hemeimat
The remains of a sangar on Ruweisat Ridge are clearly visible

Right, on to the game; it's scenario 3 Attack & Defend.  I had 5 points of support and Mike had 8.  He opted for a Crusader and a Sniper team whereas I took a second Senior Leader, an AT Rifle team and entrenchments (for the AT rifle).  I was tempted to blow all 5 points on a Panzer III but the second SL proved a sound investment.

Mike began by bringing on a few teams which I countered by making a strong central fire-base amongst the buildings.

We agreed that the rocky tops of the hills would offer hard cover so they became almost like mini-fortresses.  A few turns in (yes, Mike and I kept rolling triple sixes!) and the allies are beginning the attack.

Jerry launches a flank attack.  A double turn affords me the opportunity of deploying troops and then getting them to leg it in to a good position.

Mike's chaps take up a good position on the rocky dune and let rip on the Germans amongst the ruins ... taking out the Obergefreiter.  But fortunately this had little effect on my Force Morale.

But, using a '2', my chaps dealt out a world of pain to another British section on a rocky outcrop.

They fell back on their Platoon Sergeant to rally and regroup.

All this meant that Mike's Force Morale took quite a beating.

The next pic is a bit of jump... Mike brought on a Crusader which used its machine guns to wreck the German squad in the central ruined building.  They ran out of the back door and used the ruins as cover to help mount a flank attack on the British hill.

And foolishly pressed their 'advantage'!?

Mike's Sniper did well and twice narrowly missed taking out one of my Senior Leaders.

The Crusader threw up an interesting situation.  I brought on an AT rifle team and a few lucky shots resulted in the tank being forced to reverse off the table.  We checked the rules but eventually agreed that it went back in to reserve, so a few phases later it returned.  We felt that this seemed more fun.

Alas, no more photos as we got rather caught up in the excitement!  Mike's chaps doggedly refused to give up.  I really had to take the fight to the British to try to force a result and Mike played on brilliantly.  My initial gains were almost blunted by Mike's stubborn refusal to retreat.  Indeed, one good round from his Sniper and the Crusader might have carried it for the British, but in the end Jerry pushed the Allies back.

Crikey!  What a splendid game.  Even on a morale of 3 Mike's chaps were fighting hard and might yet have won the day. My thanks to an excellent host for a lovely lunch and a marvellous afternoon of gaming.

Saturday, 14 December 2019


Brmm, brmm! Dakka, dakka!  Rommel's finest now have some hot new wheels to race around the desert.

Prepared and ready to paint, the riders with tabs were glued to some old slotta bases to make them easier to paint.

The motorbike and sidecar combos are Perry, whilst the other is a Warlord kit.  Have to honest here and say the Perry castings were less than stellar and were quite fiddly to build and position.

In the pic above the handle bars have yet to be eased into a better, more natural position.

Painting and basing was exactly the same as all my other DAK infantry and vehicles - have a look at the "Painting" tab above to find some links if you're interested in the paints, technique, etc.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Sharpe Practice & Chain of Command Playsheets

Both Chain of Command and Sharpe Practice have quite a few tables in the rules so a playsheet comes in quite handy.  There are a few 'out there' on the interweb but I fancied doing my own thing.  I've got the PDF versions of the rules so it was easy to cut & paste my own playsheets.

EDIT Thanks for the big response! You can now download these from
CoC: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1444501242432741/
SP2: https://www.facebook.com/groups/583159251850065/

They are both just two sides of A3.  Here are couple of them nicely laminated.

Page 1
Page 2

The SP2 random event tables aren't included but I think pretty much everything else is.

Here is the Chain of Command playsheet.  At the last Clotted Lard event Rich dubbed these "the bed sheet of rules".

Page 1
Page 2

Having everything you need on just one double-sided sheet should make for easy reference.  If you'd like an electronic copy then please just email (see top of blog).

Friday, 29 November 2019

Tabac Part 2

Buildings don't just stand around on their own (well, sometimes!) so I've decided to add a yard to my recently built Tabac from Charlie Foxtrot Models.

Top chum Colin custom cut the 'L' shaped base for the yard plus he also made an additional storey for the tabac itself as I wanted it to look a little different to the 'standard' model.

The walls and outbuilding are made from 5mm foam-core.  The gates are made from coffee stirrers (again!).

The gable boards and door are also coffee stirrers, with match sticks as the door frame.  The roof is made from an offcut of Wills textured plasticard.

I found some spare window frames (possibly Warbases?) in the bits box. 

The walls are capped with individual pieces of thin plasticard with the edges carved slightly to give a more stone-like look.  A bit fiddly but fine for small quantities.  The cobbles in the yard are textured wallpaper.  I trimmed out a couple of small areas so as to give a slightly untidy look.

The capping tiles are spares from a Charlie Foxtrot kit.

Best to check the fit before applying any paint.

The finished yard painted in the same style as the tabac.  I've also added some tufts, foliage and static grass.

I have plenty of resin and plastic items of scatter terrain (crates, boxes, barrels, etc) to add some ‘clutter’ to the yard.

I re-painted the ridge tiles on the tabac to match the outbuilding plus I added some roof lichen tufts.  I may add a few spots of bird wotsit too!

Friday, 22 November 2019

Desert themed Jump Off Points

To play CoC in North Africa I needed some suitable Jump Off Point tokens.

Looking through my bits box and existing scenery I decided to use the two Allied signs as JOPs, then add a few more to match.

So, Rommel's chaps also get a sign plus some odds and ends of equipment.  All were spare items from kits or resin bits from a variety of companies such as Debris of War and Grand Manner.  To help differentiate the JOPs from any other scatter terrain these are all on 30mm rounds whereas the rest of my scatter items are on rectangular bases.
The raw ingredients
Painting was a basecoat in suitable greens, greys or browns followed by a wash of Agrax Earthshade.  Then re-apply the base colours and follow up with a very light drybrush of any light sand colour.  For Bolt Action they can just be additional items of scatter terrain.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Thatched Hut and Water Trough

Painted up a couple of "Hovels" items for a friend for his Peninsular collection.

Painting Recipe
Walls -- Americana Honey Brown, Agrax Earthshade wash, then re-apply the Honey Brown followed by highlights of Americana Fawn, VMC Dark Sand and Foundry Boneyard light. Similar to the kiln etc I painted a while back.
Roof -- VMC Flat Earth, Agrax Earthshade wash, heavy drybrush of VMC Flat Earth, a heavy drybrush of VMC 877 Gold Brown, highlight with VMC 847 Dark Sand then a final very light highlight with Foundry Boneyard Light
Base -- Americana Honey brown followed by highlights of VMC Tan Yellow and VMC Dark Sand. The foliage is Colonel Bill's Winter static grass with tufts, etc.
Wood -- Americana Dark Choc then highlights of Americana Milk choc and Americana Honey
The pump was base coated in black then given a drybrush of GW Brass then GW Leadbelcher.

Friday, 4 October 2019

Probe Amongst The Hedgerows

Game 2 of the Kampfgruppe von Luck Pint-Sized Campaign for Chain of Command

For this encounter I could call on a whopping four points of support.  No prizes for guessing what I opted for, yes a Rifle Team and a Bren Team combined (with freebie Junior Leader) to form a whole section.  Re-organising the lads I now had three full sections (incl the support) with one of the platoon sections having an extra bloke.

All Dave has to do is get a team off my table edge!
The outskirts of Ranville (Para table edge at the top)

The cobbled track denotes the sunken lane - up to the buildings

View from the Paras side

The Patrol Phase resulted in the Paras having jump off points on the left flank by the fields and amongst the buildings on the right.  The Germans did well to push one right forward alongside the narrow track with the other two in the orchard (upper mid left in the pic).
JOPs in place

Dave brought on plenty of troops in quick succession so as to put pressure on me right across the line.  But the early part of the game went well for the Paras as they inflicted plenty of hits on the Germans their morale took a heavy beating.
Paras pop up behind the wall to hammer the Germans in the open
Dave’s cause was not helped by a squad getting stuck on the road and repeatedly being unable to clamber over the embanked hedge due to shock and low dice rolling.  The Paras amongst the farm buildings poured magazine after magazine in to their hapless foe.  Indeed at one point Dave felt that the Paras would hold his lads off... but numbers (and the associated firepower) began to tell.
Dave's men avoid the road! (eventually)

Fresh targets German squads arrive

After some “re-deployment” Dave put everything in to a concerted push down the middle of the table, along the track.  One squad advanced whilst everyone else in a grey uniform targeted the Paras.  I brought men across so as to hit any advancing German squad with crossing fields of fire.  That would also probably have meant the Germans losing their last couple of points of morale.  But Dave was able to get a CoC dice and interrupt me at a crucial point.  With a superb movement roll a squad of Germans sprinted over the line to win it.
The Germans gather to rush along the track

Thankfully I had only a few casualties whereas Dave’s men took something of a beating to secure the win.

The Butcher’s Bill
Paras, 3 casualties so 1 dead, and 2 missing the next game.
Germans, 16 casualties so 8 dead including a Junior Leader, 4 missing the next game, although again Dave can use a fresh platoon.

CO’s opinion: Down by 1 to -1
Men’s opinion: Up by 1 to +2
So whilst the CO isn't too happy, the men were pleased to give the enemy a thumping.

CO’s opinion:  Up by 1 to 2
Men’s opinion:  Down by 2 to -1
The CO is delighted but the men are most definitely not!

Lessons Learned
Not much here for me really, I think I played fairly well. But after the debacle of game one I just didn’t have enough chaps to cover all the approaches.
Next time I reckon Dave will view my cheery "Oh your chaps will be fine running up that road" with more reserve!

Another fab game against a splendid opponent! Many thanks Dave :o)