Sunday, 8 October 2017

Terrain and basing update

We can't always be painting miniatures, sometimes we need to do stuff that's not as exciting but none the less essential.

First up I am restarting my 15mm terrain collection for WW2, I knocked out a couple of Peter Pig farm buildings, I'm avoiding anything too urban and just going for rural stuff where possible.


I've had a bag of Noch fir trees for ages and had started basing them and then moved on to other things, I forced myself to finished them. These are good for 6mm or 10mm and I fancy adding another bag of these.


I have based up some of the cheap Chinese trees, noticeably not as good as the firs but these are pennies per tree. I've more of these to base.


More Warbases skirmish trays for Sharp Practice to save me having to swap figures around.


These are single penny rings that I have added tiny 2mm high numbers, this gives me with this set 8 red and blue big men numbered 1 to 8 and green numbered 1 to 4. Useful in identifying your character figures during the game.



As an example here's red one and two.


Yesterday I popped along to the Derby Worlds show, now sited in rural Leicestershire. The show was well lit but the hall was a little cramped as they run several competition games over both days. 

Success was had as I picked up both my wagon and limber team for my 28mm ACW collection along with the Fall of the Reich supplement for Battlegroup - sorry Stu no stats for your Maus!






Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Battlegroup WW2 - a first run through

The Battlegroup WW2 rules published by The Plastic Soldier Company have been around for a few years, recently they have printed a new core rulebook, a Battle of the Bulge book and a reprint of their Overlord book. A Market Garden volume is next in the works whilst a Cold War version is being worked on. Lots going on there and I wanted to have a run through the rules to see how they played.

Picking a straightforward scenario and a couple of small forces from my collection, we sat down to run through the game. I believe in the couple of hours we had, the rules certainly proved themselves, we had a few questions and I was able to solve those with a quiet read through the rule book afterwards.

Each turn you receive a number of orders, invariably less than you need, orders are used to activate teams, annoyingly called squads in the rules, the turn passes to your opponent when complete. As teams are destroyed or rallied, players draw counters and when the value of your counters exceeds your Battle Rating, your remaining troops withdraw and you lose.


My WW2 collection has been in storage for more than three years and it was good to see it again. Looking at my US vehicles I can see I need to get more decals and add some markings to many of these but it wouldn't take long. I've another 10 Shermans and some more infantry.


The Germans have some unfinished Fallschirmjager, so many plans, so little time. I'm off to the 'Worlds' at the weekend, I'll have a look out for more terrain bits and pieces.


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Colours 2017

We shot down to Newbury for a few hours yesterday, I'd only a few things on my shopping list but the absence of the Foundry Napoleonic racks meant no British Marines, and no Perrys then no limber or wagon for ACW.

Essentials like MDF bases and tufts came first, 15mm walls from Debris of War and then a couple of great character figures from Gringo40s. The surprise purchase was the Sudan scenario book, this will be great for TMWWBK.


I managed to finish the ACW casualty markers, complete with horses, Union and Confederate, all with Minibits 7mm frames.


Last year I bought some great buildings from Leven Miniatures, great models and easy to paint. Here's the first few themed for ACW.


I'm working on some 15mm farm buildings from Peter Pig for our inaugural playing of Battleground, these were a pre order for collection, somehow they still came in the post?  They are all primed and ready for paint.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Summer All Day Game - ACW Sharp Practice

I was keen get some skirmishers painted for my Union forces, a quick order to Perry Miniatures brought some suitable figures through the letterbox. One is a pack of Confederates, but don't tell them - I just painted them blue! Both packs of Berdans were supplemented by the free figure from Warlord which came with the release of 'Glory Hallelujah' which convieniently gave me enough figures to field the officer as a big man in Sharp Practice.



In their first game they did reasonably well, even the Renedra barn managed to survive its first game without being burnt down. Perhaps the curse is broken?

Here's a couple of shots from our game, Stuart playing the Rebs has written the game up on his blog, the link is after the photos.




http://dusttears.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/wyvern-wargamers-big-bash-2017-acw.html

Monday, 21 August 2017

From one civil war to another

My recent game of Sharp Practice caused me to think about my ACW collections, my 28mm Union troops are desperately in need of skirmishers and my 6mm Confederates lurked nearby mocking me for being unfinished since 2010!

Whilst reviewing old blog posts I found my unboxing post and my first few units. These figures had caused me a few problems, I've based the early regiments twice as I focused on to unit bases and didn't like painting off the black undercoat. Whilst off recently I took the plunge and pulled out the part painted strips and cracked on.

Once I had some momentum up it ceased being a chore and started planning future additions, more of everything!

It's ready for a game now;

18 infantry regiments
4 combined skirmishers bases
2 cavalry squadrons
2 dismounted cavalry squadrons with horse holders
4 cannon w/ 2 limbers
5 brigade commanders
3 division commanders
1 corps commander or CinC




I have some Perrys on the painting table for the 28mm Union, now did I buy some buildings from Joy of 6 last year?

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Escaping the grot box

We all have one, a grot box, a box or shelf of shame, that place where unfinished models go after we've lost interest in them. No don't confuse this with your lead or plastic mountain of untouched kits or figures - this is models we've started and lost interest, perhaps it's a dull sculpt and doesn't inspire, or we've moved on to another project.

There is a good selection of bits in mine and I'm working towards clearing it out, mixing it in with my current projects.

This week I've managed to finish a few bits and pieces. Firstly a Frostgrave bard, also good for D&D.


Next a couple of French officers, originally from Victrix but now no longer in their catalogue.


Finally a Front Rank civilian flanked by two Warlord British Officers suitable for the Peninsula War.




France

Recently I had the opportunity to visit friends who had moved to France, flying to Basel, we drove down the motorway through Alsace, you can see a graffiti covered pillbox in the shot below.
 

The Romans were also here, all that remains of the town of Epomanduodurum is the amphitheatre.



Most significantly, the city of Belfort was besieged three times during the nineteenth century, twice during the Napoleonic wars and once more in the Franco Prussian War. The statue below commemorates the leaders in each of those sieges. 


The city was protected by fortifications designed by Vauban. The city successfully resisted the Prussians and the defenders marched out with their weapons after the armistice. Because of this success, this part of Alsace was not handed over to new German empire.


After the 1871 war, the French built more forts in this area, their large cannon would give mutually supporting fire. This example Fort du Mont Bart was only open to school parties on the day we were passing.


The French like to leave anachronistic vehicles at their historical sites, Belfort had a Sherman, Mont Bart had this Panhard EBR. 






Monday, 7 August 2017

Is there a hole in your (photo) bucket?

The recent change in Photobucket terms and conditions have made massive waves across the hobby. Many forums have had much of their content replaced with the "upgrade your account" message, online retailers have also been affected.

Ultimately we have to wonder to their business model, income was from, I believe, from ads which we were displayed when users accessed online albums. Only problem was, they weren't. PB become the go to site for photo storage specifically so people could host images on forums, in the Internet age storage is incredibly cheap, bandwidth is not and nor is it predictable.

With the Internet as always "If you're paying for the product, you are the product" most definitely definately being true, users are trying to download the photos and move them to alternate sites although they might just be causing the same problem elsewhere, we will have to wait and see.

Years ago, when I started taking digital photos I started using a site called Fotki, currently about half the photos from this site are hosted on there. When I started blogging directly from my iPad I started loading photos directly in to Blogger. Fotki has managed to lose some photos as they have become corrupted in their database, also links to files became broken as some photos had their file paths changed somehow, this on top of a confusing cost structure caused me to give up.

I'm currently replacing all the old linked images with ones uploaded on to Blogger, so if old posts are appearing in your feeds, my apologies. Swapping images out has lead me to read some old posts and remind me of old games and projects.

Here's a couple;


  • Uncharted Seas - Easy to paint models, straight forward rules and still may favourite of all the Spartan games.

  • Lost Worlds - I have cave men, neanderthals and dinosaurs but it's never seen the light of day, I never found rules I was happy with.

  • 6mm ACW - Really disappointed I'd never managed to get a playable force together, messed about with rules and basing before settling on 60mm x 30mm and Black Powder, not to mention I wasn't happy with the black undercoat. Galvanised in to action I have grabbed some started strips and cracked on.




Wednesday, 26 July 2017

A barn and Bluecoats

Here's the Renedra barn, bought from a club member as a kit. This is a very simple job to assemble, primed with some cheap black primer from The Range and then base coated with Halford's brown camouflage spray. Some dry brushing later and we have something that will easily cover 400 years of history from English Civil War to the twentieth century.

It's important to remember those are wooden shingles on the roof and not slate tiles so it might be a little more American than European but it would be an easy task to cover with thatching, if done right it could just pop on when needed. I'll get some cheap towelling and give it a try before popping it on a base.


Next up is the first batch of my forces for The Pikemans Lament, I've started with one of the cheap plastic infantry boxes, I effectively got 2 for the price of 1. The figures are a little simple in places, showing their age but they are a quick paint.

I have managed to get the full 42 figures from the box, the box says 40. The secret is to have the firelocks box, which has two sets of arms for each body as so plenty of spares. This gives me 2 12 man shot groups, a 12 man pike group and 4 command figures which can be incorporated in those groups. 

I settled on a generic blue colour scheme, Blue was worn by both the Royalist forces occupying Evesham during the Civil War and the Gloucester Trained Bands who were part of the Parliamentarian forces who stormed and took the town in May 1645. 


These figures need a varnish, grass and tufts - that's a job for the weekend. Before starting on the next batch I shall tackle a few pieces from the 'grot' box - models long started but never seem to inspire me to complete them.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Finished something at last ....

It's been ages since I've posted, it has been too warm to paint here but I've finally got somethings finished

Last night we dragged our ACW collections out of storage for a run through Sharp Practice 2. I'm told it's been years, this is the first outing under the second edition of the rules and I'm converted to using the chips rather than a card deck. Card decks quickly become a bit tatty with all the handling, chips are so more resilient.

We played the Encounter scenario, in 1864, with the base forces brought up to 100 points, we were quickly in to the swing of it and we took our time with the game. We had a race to the high ground, the Union were fortunate and were able to first onto the Rebel line. Both Rebel groups were badly shot up, whilst their C in C was traumatised by stepping in something smelly.

A lone group of Rebel skirmishers made a break for the Union deployment point, their numbers were depleted by a group racing off after ladies of dubious virtue. At the end of play, A Union victory was declared as they had more troops on table and a higher force morale.

The General about to mess his boots up.


Meet the Ladies


The glue is still wet on the flock


In my last game of Antares, I managed to have my skimmer team crash, Warlord made an objective marker so it seemed like an ideal purchase.


I stocked up on drones, adding Targeters, Batters, Compression and Weapons drones, all in my red Algoryn colour scheme.

Nolzur's Magnificent Miniatures

Earlier this year Wizkids, in partnership with Wizards of The Coast, released the first wave of their primed plastics for D&D. Wizkids had done a similar deal with Piazo, there is also a Pathfinder range, both ranges are quite interchangeable.


Troll


Banshee and Ghost


Displacer Beast


Blink Dogs


Coming soon - the first box of ECW figures for Pikeman's Lament.





Saturday, 17 June 2017

Free RPG day

Today I made a trip to Shadow Games in Rugby to pick up some of the goodies for Free RPG day.


I got the Runquest and Starfinder books I was after as well as the Numerera quick-start rules as recommended by the shop keeper. I did buy the 'Call of Cthulhu' Keepers screen whilst I was there as grabbing free stuff and running out the door is a bit unfair on the stores who participate in this promotion, they have to pay for the freebies.

Shadow Games is a modern, well stocked store with some gaming space and a well stocked board game library.



Friday, 9 June 2017

Games Expo 2017

Last weekend was Games Expo at the NEC, I popped up on the Friday after managing to get a slot in a game of D&D. Expo has grown to be the third largest game convention in the world, after only Gencon and Essen.

The show is massively different from the wargame shows I'm used to, not only three days and a big focus on gaming but the audience is very different with a good mix of ages and sexes. The trade is now all together in Hall 1, a massive hall which is quite easy to lose yourself in, perhaps exit signs up high would be a good idea.

There was a few familiar faces like Warlord, Magister Militum, Crooked Dice and War Bases but I'm not sure how they would have done with the additional costs of all the hotel costs, people were loading up on board games and RPG books.


After an enjoyable game of D&D fighting off kobolds, I did a little shopping picking up the keepers book for Call of Cthulhu ( a tenner off retail! ) as well a book of short scenarios from Chaosium. They had PDFs in my inbox before I went to bed - excellent service. I also managed to pick up a couple of packs of drones for my Gates of Antares Algoryn army.

Ian Livingstone, of GW and Fighting Fantasy fame did a great seminar on his career in the industry with some great slides.



In all a great experience, next year I'm planning for two days!



Sunday, 7 May 2017

More local history ....

Pershore Bridge was the centre of a skirmish in June 1644. King Charles was returning to Worcester from the siege of Oxford with Parliamentarian troops in pursuit. Charles ordered the bridge destroyed but the task was only partially complete when their pursuers caught up with them. In the ensuing melted the bridge was blown and 40 men drowned.


With the outbreak of WW2, the bridge was blocked with concrete anti tank obstacles.



Managed to get a little painting done, some more skimmers and drones for my Algoryn forces for Beyond the Gates of Antares.


I've started work on the ECW forces for The Pikemans Lament and I have another Stryker book to read on my hols for inspiration.



Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Keeping our military history local .......

We can find the inspiration for our gaming in many different places, we often overlook the most local sources. Living in Britain we are never far away from history, when you think of Evesham, my home town, the obvious thought is of the Baron's War battle in 1265. That battle took place on the hill outside the town, however in 1645, Parliamentarian forces stormed and captured the town.

Evesham, stood out in Worcestershire as being one of the few towns to favour Parliament over the King. The town itself lies in a strategic location, not only is Parliamentarian Warwickshire just a few miles away but it lies on Parliament's route to Gloucester and the west country from Coventry, and on the major Royalist supply route between Worcester and Oxford.

This area also proved to be an excellent recruiting ground for the Clubmen movement, several thousand were known to have congregated on Bredon Hill for a meeting in 1645 before declaring their support for Parliament.

Malcolm Atkin, a former county archaeologist, is a respected author on the Civil Wars and I have four of his books, covering the events in Worcestershire and in a slim volume, on the storming of Evesham itself. There is some great detail to be found here, raids and skirmishes were commonplace during this time, just the sort of thing to be recreated with The Pikeman's Lament. Some of my books are shown below;


Michael Arnold writes a series of books based in the English Civil War, with a 'Sharpe' like character called Stryker, a veteran of the Thirty Years War in mainland Europe. Lots more inspiration and ideas for scenarios here. In the fourth instalment, Assassin's Reign, Stryker finds himself down the road at the Siege of Gloucester. Knowing the city I've had fun looking at Google Earth and seeing where the defences were located.

Unbelievably this isnt this first time I tried to do ECW, over the years I bought 6mm, 10mm, 15mm and 28mm both twice. Previously I have been focused on the big battle but Im more motivated zooming down to skirmish level. I've started putting my figures together ( currently all Warlord) and what I've built and undercoated so far is shown below;



As with my WoTR project, I'm going to cover both sides, luckily all this needs is additional command figures painted with their Red or Tawney Orange sashes and the figures can swap sides. I'm going to paint up the troops in fairly generic colours.

My first box of the plastics are going to be blue, (not only were the Gloucester Trained Bands dressed in Blue but so were some of the opposing Evesham garrison) I'm thinking of green for the second box, the Dragoons will be in red and the firelock armed troops perhaps grey.

I'll post another update on this project as I move it forward, luckily Amazon have delivered the next two paperbacks in the Stryker series.