Friday, 3 October 2014

Napoleonics are go

The week at the Wargames Holiday Centre has come and gone. How was it? Well the company was great, another great set of guys to chuck dice with. The after hours socialising was good but not excessive, although we did outlast the night porter at the hotel one night!
The battles were Smolensk and Borodino, using the "in the grand manner" rules. It was the first time I'd even seen these rules and they are not for the beginner. However, if you use Napoleonic tactics you get a Napoleonic result. I spent a happy afternoon charging my light cavalry against a square before it broke on the last turn of the day!
For the refight of Borodino I was assigned Junot's Corps which was redeployed to attack Borodino village. As this is separated from the rest of the battle by a stream it worked out that I and my opponent could just get on with our own battle as it had no impact on the larger conflict. I played three versions of this battle, once as the Russians, and twice as the Westphalians. I managed to loose all three times, so some things never change.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

More thoughts

My recent lack of posts is more to do with being too busy painting than anything else. After the Landsknechts I needed a break so I moved onto a job that I've been meaning to do for a while - rebasing my Anglo-Danish army. It means that from one army I've created 4 factions for Saga - Anglo Danish, Viking, jomsviking, Anglo Saxon and Welsh; especially when padded out by a box each of the Gripping Beast plastics. This means I've got enough to start a campaign with the boys if I can get them interested.
I've also picked up a box each of the wargames factory AWI figures hoping they'd fit in terms of size with the Spencer Smiths. Sadly they are too tall by several millimetres so I think they have to be based singularly for Muskets and Tomahawks.
I'm off to the wargames holiday cente this week for a grand manner napoleonics game. I still want to get back into this period but knowing my luck the minute I decide to go with 10mm then Will at plastic soldier will come out with a range in either 15 or 1/72nd

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

More Landsknechts

Another 16 Landsknechts have crossed the painting table. These were from Foundry and are bracing their pikes. I've got enough now for a little force and I'll probably add to it as time goes on; especially if pro Gloria have a kickstarter for their plastic range.
I got the new crusade Saga rules this weekend and am looking longingly at the gripping beast plastic Arabs. Again my magpie nature is revealed as I've just sold a 28mm Arab army that I hadn't painted in years!
Another new addition is the Rebellion supplement for BP. It really is what you want for a codex type release as it goes into uniform details and orders of battle for the major engagements. Plus it's full of lovely pictures of Perry figures. Although I'm doing the Awi in spencer smiths, I'm almost tempted to get a box of each of the Perry plastics to do musket and tomahawk (the skirmish rules from the makers of Saga), but after the success of the 40mm Napoleonics I'm tempted to go this scale for the FIW.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

I'm gonna wash that man.....

I've finished the Landsknechts and added to them with a box of Perry plastic mercenaries. What was useful was that the perry sprues had pole-arm heads to convert the pikes. I used these to convert a group of GW spearmen from an old Empire box set into halbardiers for my Landsknechts. 
I've finished the airfix modern British and still hate camouflage! I tried to do the latest multi terrain cammo but I think it might be a bit too grey. It darkened nicely with the ink wash (agrax earth shade) but I'm still unhappy. The 40 men make just over a platoon so skirmishing is the way forwards. 

Sunday, 27 July 2014

More thoughts on gaming

I've not blogged for a while as I'm having a crisis in gaming thoughts. I've recently written on here about my magpie nature and it's not really good for either completing projects or the wallet!
I've painted the second unit of perry 40mm French and tried something different. I read a while ago an article about a chap who under coats in white and then uses washes to build up the colours he wants. So this is what I did. I'd tried it before on some space marines for my son , with an ok result. With the large figures it was really satisfying to see the shading appearing as I put the layers on. There where some bits I used paint for, mainly the white, but there I tried to go for the foundry 3 colour approach. Then I topped it all off with a really dilute black ink wash just to give the outline of the various straps etc. I still need to varnish them and in this heat I might be able to spray varnish rather than paint it on which will be quicker!
Inspired by this I've under coated some landsknechts that I got initially for WHFB but increasingly I'm thinkng of doing the Italian wars as then I can use the perry plastic renaissance cavalry, and it should still double as an empire army if needed. I've heard that Rick Priestly is working on a fantasy version of hail Caeser so I may have a set of rules to use.

Friday, 4 July 2014

More magpie gaming

I've just finished painting some rohan figures which came as part of a job lot. You can tell they are Perry sculpts as the features are perfect and they take paint really well. Now I've got two units of 12 foot and a unit of 5 cavalry. They are very dark ages like and make me wonder if I could use them in Saga. A quick search online shows that I'm not the first to have these thoughts. There are lots of posts on the studio tomahawk forum discussing which battle boards to use. So I might have to paint up some more to get a 6 point unit. I think I can use the Gripping Beast Dark age warriors as levy, and perhaps mix in some of their Saxon Thegns as hearth guard.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Painting Table update

So although I assembled the modern British I've not got them to the table yet as I thought I'd clear out some minor projects first. That meant some 15mm SYW British from Old Glory that I got from eBay very cheaply. Sadly the mix of figures leaves a lot to be desired with too many grenadiers and command. There were only enought Fusileers for three stands so at the moment there are 3 bases of 8 castings to a regiment. One base is of grenadiers and one of commad leaving only one of Fusileers . They're based on 60x40 as are my ACW, so this might be my preferred basing for 15mm, although I stil am considering doing the West Wind Ancients on 40x20 or even 40x40 dependent on the army. That way I can match facings but represent blocks of troops better.

The other small project was the Dads Army set from Warlord for Bolt Action. I have to say it was the civilian figures that are the selling point of the set as I already have the Foundry versions in uniform. These are good castings and will be great for VBCW, and can pad out my Meibion Glendwyr forces.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Painting magpie

As i may have mentioned I'm trying to decide which scale and type of battle for Napoleonics. So far I've only painted the 40mm Perrys and have enjoyed doing it. I'm tempted to try using washes for the French I have left after an recent experiment on some space marines I found at the bottom of a pile. These were done for my youngest son who's decided he wants to an Ultramarines force like his big brother. I normally use a black undercoat but had read an article on a white undercoat then painted with the GW washes; so thought I'd give it a go. The results are ok but I'm not sure that they are any different than my normal way but I have grown to like the use iof a satin or gloss varnish then a matt over the top.

A local hobby shop had a sale and I managed to pick up 40 1:48 scale modem British for £25. Even though I hate building models these weren't too bad and are ok with my existing Taliban and Russians. They are a little bit taller and thinner but look ok on the table top which is the important thing. I'm just dreadeding doing the cammo, but after some success doing SS pea dot I'm hopeful it might be better than my previous attempts.

I've also managed to blitz my way through several packs of 15mm ACW limbers and guns, which I'm quite pround of. The more I do of the 15mm Old Glory or Blue Moon the more I like the scale. I can see the 10mm Napoleonics going on eBay at this rate. I've under coated them using the Army painter French Blue but have no great desire to progress beyond this stage. 

Monday, 19 May 2014

He's only gone and done it

After worrying about the scale to go for Napoleonics, I found myself converting some recent eBay earnings into more 40mm Perrys. Whilst on their website I treated myself to a copy of Mike Snook's book on the Sudan. So at some point this week another 10 each plus officers will arrive for the 40mm forces. This will give me 21 aside excellent for skirmishes.
I'm beginning to feel that 15-18 mm might be the correct scale for mass battle  Napoleonics. Although the Pendraken figures are beautiful I'm not sure that they'll give me the asthetic I'm looking for. I've tried multiple basing schemes and can't get the "look" I want, which is very frustrating as I'm not sure I know what it is, but I'll know it when I see it!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Tabletop sale

This past weekend I took the eldest lad to the tabletop sale at Lincombe barn in Bristol. The site was easy to find and well set out. We got there around 1030 so might have missed the real bargains but we were happy with what we found. I got 2 books from John Curry - Charlie Wesencrafts practical wargaming and a don Featherstone book on airborne ops. Also there were Chris Scott and Paul Wisken who I know from the Featherstone weekend. They were clearing out some stuff so I relieved them of an old hex and chit version of Sealion, and some NW frontier castings from Don Featherstones collection, painted by hd great man himself. Even if that had not been the case, at £15 for 150 castings it was a bargain! Tom used his pocket money to get some Chaos Terminators for his slow growing Alpha Legion. Just before we left I got chatting to Rob Broom of Scarab Miniatures and before I knew it if bought a copy of War and Conquest. 
As I've invested in the West Wind ancients kickstarter I'm looking for a go to set of rules. I had thought of using Hail Caeser but you can never have too many sets of rules can you? The thing that really sold me was the news that on the forums were rules for using WHFB figures in a varient Rob termed War and Sourcery! If this means I can use the WHFB armies that have sat gathering dust against my remaining ancients then it must be a good idea.
I have moved all the wargaming stuff into its new home of the shed. With the insulation in I think the price of being warm in winter will be playing with the doors open in summer. 
Painting continues and this week I have completed some more Spencer Smith artillery, as well as the French Perry Napoleonics. I have to say that althought I've not done much more than I would for a 28mm casting, I'm much more impressed with the results on the larger scale figure. The British are on the painting table and I found myself watching youtube videos of sharp practise. If I do go down this route then the main choice will be whether to use Sash and Sabre for the rank and file or stick with the Perrys. As I want to get the Sudan book whilst it's on offer I might get a couple of more Perry figures then decide.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

More thoughts on Napoleonics

I've almost finished the 40mm Perrys, and I haven't found them much more difficult than 28mm. As they're slightly larger I've taken my time to experiment with the 3 colour method proposed by the likes of Kevin Dalimore. Well, sort of; I've taken the effort to do some highlights and washes whereas with a 28mm figure it's just base colours and dip. I'll try and post some photos to illustrate the difference.
I've tried arranging the 10mm army on various bases but I can't seem to be happy with them. 8 on a 40x20 base will make 2 stands per regiment ( 4 grenadiers, 4 voltagiers, and 8 line) but then do I include command in that 8 which will make a low number of line castings, or do I go down the route I've gone for the ACW with generic infantry stands and seperate command stands? Given the need for grenadiers and voltageurs I'm not sure this is ok. I'm still looking sideways at the Blue Moon 18mm, but resisting so far.
I did but some 15mm Mexican American war figures after listening to a podcast on this period and realising that I could do both sides with not a lot of figures.

Friday, 25 April 2014

This months MWWBG

It seems I'm famous! An article on the Featherstone Weekend was published by Henry in this month's magazine, and it had several photos of yours truly in it. I have to say I think the best shot is of me accepting the prize for "best attitude" which captures the back of my head - undoubtably my best side!

Thursday, 24 April 2014


The Napoleonics have arrived. The Perrys have gone straight on the painting table as I'm keen to see how I do painting the larger scale.
I'm still not sure about the 10mm. They are very good sculpts but it's the scale that may be the problem. I have this nagging suspicion that no sooner will I have painted them then the plastic soldier company will release theirs. I've heard that similar to their ww2 range it may be in multiple scales, so then I'm tempted by their 1/72 range as I've built several of these kits for my son who's playing ww2 in that scale. If the ratio if figures is anything like that of the ww2 range then it might be possible to get large armies cheaply ( 150 15mm or 60 1/72 for £20 or so). Even using big battalion rules ( 40 men regiments) a reasonable brigade will be less than £100 in 1/72 and much, much cheaper in 15mm.
Either way I'll probably end up painting the 10mm first to see if I like the aesthetics etc once they're based. 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Take 2 scales for the same period?

I recently told you how I've sold all my 28mm Napoleonics as I hadn't used them. As you could have predicted, no sooner had I done so then I wanted to game in that era. This wasn't  helped by looking at all the beautifully painted Napoleonics lining the walls of the Wargames Holiday Centre. Before I new it I was looking sideways at the new Warlord plastics, but managed I resist. The main reason for getting rid of them in the first place was that I didn't have enough for a reasonable sized game, and I've got limited space. So I wasn't going to reinvest in 28mm. Then a little voice said,"you've liked the 18mm blue moon ACW so why not look at their Napoleonics?" 
For some reason, I don't think the way I've based the ACW will work for Naps so I want keen to go down this road, yet. I've previously tried 6mm and didn't like the amount of effort needed to get a good look; I probably also didn't have them based properly. 
At the same time most of the rules that are exciting me currently are for skirmish games. I keep toying with the idea of going down the road of Sharpe Practice. So finally I decided to order some 10mm Pendraken French and some of the 40mm Perry French. I'll paint them up and see which I like the best both in terms of finished product and the process. I think it's likely that I'll keep the 40mm for skirmishes and go to 15/18mm for massed battles but don't want to pre-empty myself. I think the deciding point will be when the Plastic Soldier ones come out. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

I didn't go to salute

Due to a variety of factors I didn't get to go to salute this year. I've been checking desperately online but haven't yet managed to find if there were any new items that might prove to be the next big thing. I had hoped that the PSC Napoleonics would be out or at least previewed, but not a sausage. Hopefully at Warfare?

Monday, 31 March 2014

The itinerant gamer

The painting continues. I've finished the BUF and Welsh Nationalists for VBCW. Although I enjoy the setting, I can't agree with the way the Welsh are portrayed. It is really unlikely that people would switch from non-conformist chapel to Catholicism. I can see them seeking aid from the Irish nationalists but that would be union of convenience rather than bound by religion. 
For my birthday I was given some vouchers for my local game store, which were used to get a box of the PSC 15mm Cromwells. This together with some half tracks and infantry will form the basis of XXX Corps. I've already got the paras and will move onto the German forces soon. The plan is to do market garden as a summer project once the shed is built.
If anyone remembers the shed is to be the gaming zone for my boys and I. I've decided that it needs to be a little smaller so have gone with a 16x10 area. This will still allow a 6x6 or 6x8 table, plus a good area for storage. It's being delivered today and assembled tomorrow so hopefully soon I can post some pictures. It's all coming together at the right time as the planning application has gone in for the rest of the building works.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The secret of great wargaming

In my last post, I mentioned that I'd been to the Wagames Holiday Centre with amongst others Henry Hyde and Charlie Wesencraft.  The game was regimental fire and fury refighting Gettysberg. I had several divisions and although I didn't know the rules , by the end of the second turn I had a good grasp if what was going on. I liked the d10 mechanics as the role of a natural 10 had many consequences such as leaving your troops out of ammo, or your commander being killed. The main drawback is that the results of fire are such that it mainly acts to disrupt your opponent so frustrating their plans. To kill a stand you need either to concentrate the fire of several regiments and batteries or charge several regiments into the same combat. The removal of the disruption is normally a matter of course so tends to be a temporary hindrance at best. What I did like about the rules was the way defensive fire went before offensive and have you the chance to stop that charge going in due to disruption.

Nevertheless I've ordered the rules from the company and intend to have a go at them with my new 15/18mm armies when their done. One idea I'm going to steal from Mark is the idea if generic stands with seperate command and the use of little labels on the stands with most of the stats needed on. This really sped up play and wasn't as obtrusive as I'd feared.

Now that I've played some ACW I'm on a painting drive and hope to have some Union brigades painted soon. I need to get some command figures, but will wait to see if my current eBay sales go before denting the paypal balance again.

As a backer of their new Russo-Finnish war I got a 10%discount from Baker Street and used it to pad out my VC force for Vietnam. 90 28mm Castings arrived the other day and they're up I the usual standard. I think that I'll probably have a unit of 15 and 28mm on the painting table at the same time for now and hope to crack through quite a lot, well, enough to beat last years painting stats anyway

Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Featherstone Weekend

This weekend I've been at the Wargames Holiday Centre in Basingstoke for the Don Featherstone weekend. 12 gamers including Charles Wesencraft and Ron Miles re fought the Battle of Gettysburg. I had the honour of commanding Heth, Pender and Pickett's divisions. I fought 13 turns and al mostanaged to break through to the Emmersburh Pike, and indeed the Corps next to me managed to breach the Federal line, so the game was declared a confederate victory! The other ahistorical fact was that Jeb Stuart arrived around turn 9 of the 13 we played. 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Old School Wargaming rules ok

I'm in Basingstoke for the Don Featherstone Memeorial weekend and a have just had the pleasure of spending the last 2-3 hours in the company of Henry Hyde and Charles Wesencraft.

Monday, 24 February 2014

More 15mm

The great 15mm change continues. I've painted and based the Boxers, finally going for 3 castings to a 40x20mm base. This gives a good compromise between an unruly mob and regulars merely by the position on the base.
I've also put together 4 Tigers and 5 Panthers from the Plastic Soldier Company for my mid war German army which I'll use with the battleground Kursk rules, having sold all my flames of war books after realising that despite investing heavily in army books and rules I had never played it! I've also realised that I didn't like the codex creep or the Rock Paper Scissors approach to army lists. 
I think next onto the paint table after the tanks will be some VBCW figures before I go back to the Spencer Smiths.
The eBay clear out continues. Next to go are my Crimean and 1866 armies. The FPW armies have a reprieve as I've got enough to run some small scale battles. I'm toying with the idea of rejigging the force on force rules or perhaps looking at the tfl rules for the ACW based on sharp practice.

Monday, 17 February 2014

15-18mm the new hotness ?

Having nailed my colours to the 28mm mast I've realised that most of my recent purchases have been 15-18mm! I've broken up the ongoing spencer smith saga with some 15mm Boxers from Lancashire Games. They are really easy to paint and I'm happy with the results, especially as it gives me a chance to use the more exotic colours that have been lurking in the paint tray for some years.
I've also done a unit of foundry 28mm home guard, which can be used either as designed or will form part of a VBCW force I'm building. I've got some workers militia from Musketeer and will probably get some BUF soon, to go with the blitzkrieg Germans I've already got.
I've also finished the 2 squads of 20mm early war British and Germans my youngest son bought at Crusade.

Speaking of crusade, I have to say that I'm sad to report that the show is getting worse. The number of traders is around the same, but none of the "big" boys are there anymore. When I started going 12 or so years ago, people like old glory were coming, but now even the local store (Firestorm Games) is reducing their commitment. I'm not sure what has changed except the economic climate. The venue is small and perhaps suffers from the lack of facilities ( it's held in the main hall of a local leisure centre), especially the lack of catering options. It's very disappointing as I don't get to go to Salute and with Colours off the next show near me is Warfare but that's not till November and the Rugby season will be on again then! Still it might allow me to make a dent in the lead pile.....

Friday, 7 February 2014

Hello, my name is Melvyn and I'm a wargamer

You may wonder why there's been a sudden increase in the amount of posts, but I've downloaded the blogger app to the iPhone and am away on a course for work at the moment. As there are coffee breaks programmed in and I don't drink coffee, ( the tea is awful as well), so I've been using the free time to ruminate on the wargaming life. 
The more I think about it there more I'm feel that I've chosen the wrong scale for the late nineteenth century warfare. I managed to get a lot (nearly 500), of castings of 1866 Austrians, which have sat in the lead mountain for a few years. They are beautiful but even if I do them justice I'm only going to have enough for a few brigades so I might keep some for skirmishing but the rest might find their way to eBay. The same can be said for the 28mm FPW figures. Then again I might change my mind and get 15/18mm armies as well knowing me!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Pictures of recent games

The Royal Welch Fusileers I painted for my youngest son, whilst Ww1 British advance behind a Mark 4 tank

The panzer grenadiers run away from the British Paras

The times they are a'changing

The clear out of the lead mountain continues.
I've realised that having backed the West Wind ancients kickstarter then it made no sense to hang on to the few 28mm armies that I have so they've gone on eBay. 
I received my swag from the Wild West Exodus kickstarter and I have to say I'm not very impressed. The hired hands figures are very awkward to put together. The rule book is mainly fluff (and I mean over half the pages) and the rules themselves are not the greatest. I'm quite happy with the battlefoam bag but there is one bizarre bit of foam that I think is meant to take terrain pieces but I'm not sure. I think I'll put it on eBay and buy a pick and pluck tray to replace it.
If you'd asked me a year ago what I'd be most excited about then I'd would never have guessed it would be VBCW! I think the release of the dad's army figures from warlord games is to blame. The civilian versions scream VBCW. So I've got some militia figures from musketeer and some foundry home guard with a view to doing a Welsh Natuonalist list. Watch this space for pictures!