Friday, 23 September 2016

Derby World Wargames October1st -2nd. 2016

the Old Glory ECW trange will be going to the show. 

So here we go again . The last big do of the year at Donnington International Exhibition centre DE74 2RP - for those who use a sat-nav.
 This year it is my final event . I'm not doing Battleground in November after last years "suppose they gave a war and nobody came" event. Once is a blip but twice on the go Nah - so 3 times is out of court altogether.
 Anyway back to Derby/Donnington always a fine event with some good games and two days to mull over 'em all. With Triples gone this will now be the only 2 day event we attend and I've always found it a good  one.
we will have loads of Blue Moon 15mm Napoleonics .
Armies and Armies of 'em.

 So we'll be taking oodles of soldiers and plenty of ships.
 Expect to see the following
 Blue Moon 15mm
 All the figure ranges we carry. All the stock we have.
Command Decision WW2 All we have .
Afleet or two for those who don't mind getting their feet wet !! 
 Command Decision Modern range- All we have including all the new American vehicles
All the Drabant that we have in this country will be coming to the show. 

1/600th Naval Pre-Dreadnaught.
 All we have including recent additions- Spanish and US ships.
Drabant 28mm and 40mm ranges- all we have in stock.
 Old Glory 10mm - A selection of Horse and Musket ranges- from ECW to ACW.
Sash and Saber 28mm ACW- All we have.
Old Glory 28mm
Sash and Saber 28mm ACW will be there.
Commadn Decision 15mm WW2 - a huge range -all we have wil be there including new items..
Our incomparable 28mm Landknects and Italian Wars range. I still think these are the best available. - Especially at our prices.  Where else can you get 30 metal pikemen for 25 quid !  

A selection of ranges including Dark Ages- Normans Saxons Vikings, Scot ,Irish ,Norse. Italian Wars
 Landsknechts, Swiss French and Spanish. Wars of Religion ,English ,Spanish French Huguenots. Later Landsknechts.. Colonials- Boxer Rising , Sudan Zulu War North West Frontier..Medieval- Hundred Years War, Wars of the Roses. English Civil War.Oh and of course our spelndid Ottoman Turkish range

 There may be a few others we can get in the Van- possibly Dracula and the Turkish Frontier or maybe French and Indian War  but we'll have to see how much room we have left once the main ranges go in .
 After all who else brings a tonne of metal to the show ??

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Battle of Shyterly Moor- 1643 or 1978- take your pick.

 Saturday 17th October saw 4 T.W.A.T.S gather at our usual watering hole forthis months game. To whit you Gentle Author Floating Jeff, Mechanical Shaun and Andrew the Tekkie.
 I was in the chair  so decided to run and ECW game as I have lots of toys. Not least a bundle my wife Carole bought me for Crimbo a couple of years ago . These have featured on theis blog most recently in the post "Reconditioned Regiments" and also in my ECW article in MWBG some months ago as well as in other ECW posts here. .
 So it was about time they took to the field.
 Most of the models were Hinchliffe or Foremost but with several Garrison and some Minifigs gunners. The White Regt of trained bands were of course my single precious unit of  rare Les Higgins "Jason" 30mm figures- with a couple of Stadden to make up the numbers.(I totally forgot to bring the 7 figure cavalry unit of Jasons that I have. They will turn up next time.  A few Essex and some Old Glory were mixed in where they fitted in stylistically. Both armies were very shiny !
 As they were  mostly figures from the 1970s it seemed appropriate to run a game using 1970s rules so I chose George Gush's WRG set from 1976 . I used to play these quite a bit in the late 70s and had dabbled since but it had been at least 10 years since these had been used in anger,
 It was an intresting and entertaining experience.
 So here are the briefings for each side.

September 1643 or 1978 – take you pick!
Royalist Briefing
 Sir Geoffrey Riche- B’Stard.
Baron Firkham of Firkham Hall

Ye rebels have entered your lands intending to plunder monies intended for his Majesty (minus your cut of course !) You have therefore drawn together your forces to oppose them as they advance from the mill town of Utterly toward Firkham.
 You have drawn up your army on the edge of Shyterly Moor.
 Your army consists of.
 Horse and Dragoons.

The Queens Regt of Horse.
 A class HC ( C) Order Sword and Pistols
 9 figs
Sir Thomas Tyldesleys Regt of horse.
A class HC ( C ) Order Sword and pistols.
11 figs
 Lord Capels Regt of Horse
 A class HC ( C ) Order Sword and pistols.
11 figs
 Sir Haverage Dyce’s regt of Horse
A class HC ( C) Order Sword and pistols.
8 figs
Sir William Blackstone’s Regt. Of Dragoons
D class MC Order  sword  when mounted
 C class Open order musket when dismounted.
 10 figs

The Foote

The Kings Lifeguard of Foot
 Pikemen close order. HI C class
 2 sub Units each of  LI musketeers C class
16 pikes
32 muskets
Sir Charles Gerards Regt. Of Foote Bluecoats
Pikemen close order HI C class
2 sub units each of LI musketeers C class.
24 pikes
32 muskets
 Col. Mythical Smiths Regt. Of Foot Grey/Brown coats
Pikemen close order HI D class.
2 sub units each of LI musketeers D class
16 pikes
24 muskets.

The Ordnance.
 Heavy Guns
 2 gun models D class gunners.
 Guns may not be moved one placed. May only turn on their axis- which counts as movement.
 light gun
1 model D class crew
 May not move and fire
Light gun
1 model D class crew
 As above. Either light gun may be attached as sub unit to foot unit if desired.


Destroy the rebel scum! 

Parliamentarian Briefing 1643 or 1978 –take your pick!
Major-General Jasper Grasping.

That foul malignant Sir Geoffrey Riche- B’Stard has been raiding the mill towns of Utterly and Skintborough to extract contributions for the Kings evil counsellors.  Some of it was your money !!
 Therefore with the help of the Lord of Hosts you shall smite the malignants Hip and Thigh.

The Horse.
Sir Arthur Hazelriggs Regt. ofHorse.
 EHC close order sword and pistols C class
16 figs in 2 units of 8
Col Philip Twistletons  Regt of Horse
 HC (C ) Order sword and pistols  C class
10 figs
Col Edwin Cooke’s regt of Horse
HC (C ) Order Sword and pistols D class
10 figs

The Foote
The White Regt of Trained bands
Pikemen HI Close order C class
2 sub units of LI musketeers C class. Order
25 pikemen
 32 muskets.
The Green Regt of Trained Bands.
Pikemen HI close order Cclass
2 sub units of LI musketeers C class. Order
16 pikemen
24 musketeers
Col Edward Suren’s regt . of Foote
Pikemen HI  close order C class.
2 sub units of LI musketeers C class .Order
14 pikemen
22 musketeers.
The Utterly and Skintborough Commanded shot
Musketeers LI D class Order,
24 musketeers

The ordnance.
Heavy Gun
 1 model D class crew
May not move once placed except to turn on its axis- which counts as movement.
Medium Gun
1 model D class crew
May not move and fire in the same turn-
 Light Gun
1 model D class crew

Objective- Destroy the Malignants!! 

As we had not played this system for some years I decided on a simple encounter battle. I wrote the Briefing deliberately BEGORE checking out the rules to see if my memeoory was at fault- only with regard to artillery movement had I misremembered- Gush allowed artillery more freedom that I would have. For the game we went with Gush..
The armies deployed. Royalists on the right of the picture. Table approx 8 feet by 5 

The Battle.

Both soded deployed  ignoring period formation. Foot were usually 2 ranks deep  insted of the deeper formations of the 17th century. The idea seemed to be to get the most firepower in. ,
 For the first 3 moves little occoured . Each Commander -Floating Jeff for the Royalists and Andrew for the Roudheads- ably assisted by Shaun simple felt at eah other rather gently. The Royalist Dragoons sied a wood on the Parliamentarian left whilst twice their number of  Roundheads in the form of the Commanded Shot simply stood and watched. 
 A prolonged artillery duel ensued in the centre with the Royalists getting marginally the upper hand and causing moderate losses to the White regiment. However the Kings Lifguard were far from unscathed as the duwel continued Andrews artillery dice being marginally better- even with fewer guns.

Closer shot of the Roundhead deployment. Britain's trees once again do the business

 Finally Jeff got moving . The Queens horse charged Twistletons and routed it in short order- Jeff doing his dice thing as normal!! . The victorious Cavaliers then pursued into the somewhat surprised and stationary Curassiers and after a 2 move fight sent then on their way as well and being nutters pursued them from the field. Jeff's dice had scored again helped by a thumping slice of luck when Andrew's dice were the worst possible outcome and Jeff's the best with a plus 4 difference to the Cavaliers !! . Glum faces in the roundhead camp and dark muttering to boot !! 
Sir Thomas Tyldesley's Horse advance. Figures are  mostly retro being Hinchliffe from the late 70s but combined with a few Old Glory and painted as recently as early this year. 
On the Royalist left Dyce's and Capel's horse advance.. In the distance the Queens horse can be seen doing the Roundheads over good and proper ! 

 Left with little choice the Parliamentarians began a belated advance with the commanded shot entering the wood on the Roundhead left to search for the now dismounted dragoons. In the centre a firefight erupted which the  Roundheads had the better of but over on their right it all went very pear shaped very suddenly.
The roundheds begin to advance- Too little too late. 
 Surens Foot fired at Dyces horse- which drove them to a frenzy and they charged. They were however supported by Capels horse who hit the foot in the flank dispersing the sub unit of shot and smashing into the pikemen as they were engaged frontally. After some truly bum reaction test throws the whole unit fled pursued by the royalist horse. At this point Andrew and Shaun conceded defeat with 3/4 of their horse and 1/4 of their foot gone they had little option. So  we all had another pint ! .
The wheels come off AND it all goes very pear shaped for the Roundheads .... 

Post match analysis! 

Andrew had correctly predicted that "he was in for a right smegging" and so it proved.  Back in the day Jeff had been something of a competitor around the country and despite a decade or more cap since the last WRG game it was amazing how fast it all came back. Up to a point this was true for me as well.. Shaun has some experience with WRG too but only with the Ancients.
 However the Roundheads lack of aggression cost them the game at least as much as Jeff knowledge and his uncanny ability to get good dice when it mattered(He throws bum dice too but somehow never at the tipping point as it were !!) .
 There is no doubt that these rules are not perfect for the ECW- I need to put in some period formation rules for a start/ However we will re-visit again  them both for the ECW and  for other pike and shot sub-genres.  We may even visit the Ancients rules.
 Frankly I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the experience. I know its not fashionable these days but you actually have to think about what you do rather than simply roll dice or even pull them blind from a silly little bag like a poor raffle for a box of cheap whine ! (spelling error very intentional) 
A bit of showing off!.The Battle Magazine isd October 1978 and if you look carefully you can see the two units in the photo are now in my collection . 
Another this time matching the figures to the Asquith/Gilder Osprey on Naseby from 1978.

 Oh and the label "Retro- Wargaming" - well frankly "Old  School " reminds me too much of doddery old farts in cardigans with thermos flasks , smelling- as one blogger put it  of "Ralgex and Werther's origonals" . Not the T.W.A.T.S  style at all.
 As always thanks are due to Jean our  landlady for the splendid beef butties and acres of chips and gallons of gravy. Not to mention  more than a  few pints of Consett Brewery's splendid "White Hot" a light ale which is just the job for a decent seession.
 Next game will be sometime in October. I'll start thinking abut it once we get back from Donnington .

Saturday, 10 September 2016

The Treadaway Conundrum.

It is now pretty common knowledge that John Treadaway has taken ove as editor on Miniature Wargames.  magazine.  Henry Hyde's tenure- whilst starting a tad shakily soon made the magazine my personal favourite,  on average, of the 3 glossies. WSS out shone it sometimes and WI out glossed it always but never had the style to treat its readers as if they were older then 14 so all in all it was the best of the 3 .
So Treads has a hard act to follow and frankly a bit of a poisoned chalice. He brings a good bit of experience to the table but knowledge which lies primarily in the Sci-fant arena. Now personally I' ll nerve be a fan of Fantasy gaming - can't see the point of all that Dwarf -fiddling and more importantly the po-faces of many of its practicioners. Also GW- especially 40k just turns my stomach it reads like  a game for nasty little boys who pull the wings off flies ....
However on the ups side Treads has a track record of fine looking sci-fant games in various sub-genres often - and this is much to his credit- avoiding the well trodden paths. Both in Mil -Mod and latterly in MW even though not a fantasy game at all I'd read Fantasy Facts as I do have a small interest in "hard SF" style games as occasional light relief from serious historical stuff.

 THE 69th Marine Independent Landing  Force.
I've no actual objection to sci-fant articles within the pages of the magazine though I do have a concern that- due to internal Warners politics it may allegedly  all be slanted towards  one company to whit Mantic games. Now my knowledge of this outfit is severely limited- to one meeting with one supposed  representative at the Scarborough show War Torn a few years back. Frankly he was full of s***. He promised but did not perform. Now I have no reason to suppose that this will happen in the magazine- or that this attitude is normal for Mantic but it does make you cautious.

So Treads has a serious conundrum to  solve. He has to bear with the sometime waspish attitude of historical wargamers to sci-fant ( guilty m'lud!) as well as the narrow minds of some of the "gamin' innit" crowd who can't see past the end of the currently fashionable overpriced plastic spaceship.
 Then of course he can only decide  which article to print from those he has to hand......
I await the first few Treadaway issues with interest.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Reconditioned Regiments.

About a coupel of years ago I bought a load of ECW models from DC- he of Unfashionably shiny fame !  Some at least of these  had been Peter Gilders. Others had been Duncan MacFaralnes. I've been working through them giving them a bit of TLC where needed.
Most of these figures are at least 30 years old and knowledge then was a little more sparse than it is now, so which regiement is what can be problematic. Nevertheless I opted to keep them as stylistically close to the era they were made as I could.So I left the fictional- but very pretty hand painted flags where they were.
Colonel Mythical Smith's regiment of Foote. Garrison Pikemen Hincliffe Musketeers and Command. Beautifully painted but totally fictitious flags.
These units are of course products of their time (the later 1970's) so by todays standards are perhaps not as visually accurate as they would be if I made them now. .

A regiment of Greencoat foot.  .
The Greencoats seem to be parts of two smaller units as the 2 groups of pikemen do not fit together. Maybe in time I'll add to them or split them into 2 units. The important thing here for me is that I retain ther 1970s style.
 As it happens these lads and many others will be on the table for the next T.W.A.T.S. meeting  about a week from now. 

Sunday, 28 August 2016

...And right in the middle ..... WSS no 86

The latest Wargames- Soldiers ans Strategy  dropped on my mat yesterday and it is a good issue.
 Personally I don't have great deal of interest in Russian Napoleonics- not I hasten to add no interest just not that much. This mag went a little way to changing that.  In terms of style it falls between WI and MW but with enough differences to be distinct from both. Articles are fairly short but the pictures do not overwhelm the text and the format is much quieter than WI.
 There are 4 modelling articles- all by different chaps and all in different periods but the end results are- stylistically speaking  almost identical- the  "stock look"  of today received wisdom when it comes to the painting and modelling side- does no-one have any different painting styles any more?

 However there are several articles on the  Napoleonic period featuring the Russians and their enemies- and barely a Frenchman in sight!  so  we get stuff on the Russo- Swedish war in Finland and the Russian Persian war  both conflict of which I knew comparatively little- especially the Persian war.  I quite fancy the Russo-Swedish war- done in 15mm using Blue Moon . Ah well maybe one day.
 If I had a complaint at this point it would be that the mag is "rules orientated"- often for comparatively few sets-  those that are in fashion this week-  though some efforts are made to widen the scope. I've never really understood the modern obsession with rules often to the exclusion of all else The current buizzwords do my head in as well " enjoyable narrative gaming experience" was one thatcaught my eye- in the review of Helions new ECW set- which I may have to buy. Hyperbole or what?? Especially when the reviewer never mentions if the rules follow ECW unit structure  but simply drones on about bloody games mechanisms. Now this may be a good and accurate set - but all I got from the review was that is was "fun" . Oh dearie me the F word again . The only reason I bang on about this in particular is because I know the ECW and this review told me very little about how the rules fit the period but an awful lot about how to pull dice out of a bag !!! .
Of the columns Richard Clarke's had me nodding in agreement. I've tried all of my wargaming life to make historical plausibility a cornerstone of my games. My surprise frankly was that , once again, something so basic needed repeating. These days it seems  such basic stuff is not to the point any longer- perhaps we are all supposed to fiddle with Dwarfs instead don't need plausibility for that !

Nevertheless a good mag- perhaps the best of this month's crop.
 Nice one Guy!!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Contrasts of style.

2 of this months magazines plopped onto the mat this morning and they show such a massive contrast in style that- were I a newcomer I'd wonder if each magazine did not showcase a different hobby were it not for the use of the word "Wargames" in each magazines title.
Wargames Illustrated.
 The usual busy SHAZAM-KAPOW  style and mostly short  lightweight articles for the hard of thinking. Fantasy/Sci-Fi heavy but also with a few short rules reviews/infomercials - the one for the new Napoleonic set "Over the Hills" actually being of considerable interest though written by the rules authors.. There were pretty- but small- articles on Flodden and the siege of Athlone. My good friend Mike McNally's books on the Boyne and Augrim which I have made this article a bit superfluous for me and to be honest more than a little lightweight  but not a bad starting point .
 I suppose the 3 fantasy/sci-fi skirmish articles might be fun if you are 14 (or have a similar mental age)and indeed might be fun once at any age but the joke wears thin pretty quickly.
 There is good stuff in the magazine but as usual it is obscured by the flashy style over content outlook.
perhaps my tastes are changing but I really do find the over reliance on eye-candy rather wearing. Despite its thickness in pages its content is somehow thinner and rather lightweight.

 Miniature Wargames

Now the contrast here is considerable- it actually feels as if this magazine is at least in terms of content put together for adults. I actually found myself reading it pretty thoroughly.. Again there is considerable non-historical content but presented by someone who is not 14 and expects you to be able to read a few hundred words without looking at a pretty picture.. Not that this issue is short on pictures but they add to the articles rather than overwhelming them.
 I particularly liked the Sci-Fi article -though I don't play that particular set of rules. The Terry Wise"Nostalgia" ACW game was fascinating- and chimes in a way with my own "retro" shinyloo project  differing in the.main only that the author Mike Batten wanted to recreate something he did 40 or more years ago whereas my retro project is an attempt to do something I could not hope to do 40 years ago. Nevertheless a fine article more especially sine I had been re-reading Wise's book myself recently .
 Henry's own fictional countries campaign continues with lovely maps again. This time we had a little of the Umpires perspective and yes as someone who loves "active umpiring" the Lucy Tanner affir is just the sort of scurvy trick I'd use on any player who is so thoughtless as to draft his orders in such a slipshod manner !.
 Except in matters of detail I find my own approach to the hobby is quite similar to Steve Jones'. Again a nice piece
 Oh and by the way Henry thats not a library THIS is (about 1/8th) of a library-  though you probably have more wargaming books than I do !!

My wife Carole  upon seeing the photo of Henry's bookshelf- one of several I assume-  asked me to count my own bookshelves. There are 16 in 3  different rooms plus a few square feet on the Office floor. I keep thinking I must thin out the collection but frankly I'd rather sell off an army or two.

Anyway  this only goes to highlight even more the  differences  I perceive between to two magazines. I'm not sure that WI is actually targeting people who can read a whole book .

PS -The following day. Sharp eyed readers may notice I've upped my bookshelf number to 16 . This is simply because I missed a wall full  when I (mentally) counted up. Said wall had my KRRC Chronicles and a good chunk of my "India" section, not to mention my JSAHR journals and most of the actual "wargaming books"-a mere half a shelfs worth and ALL of my full run of Tradition magazine. So I should have gone upstairs and counted the lot in the first place- memory is a falliible thing.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Painting figures -Can't Paint Won't paint.

Now of late there has been quite a lot of comment about how- for some the painting and modelling part of the hobby is either a chore or completely irrelevant.
 Honestly I find this a bit thick. My reasoning is as follows
 1/. If you are primarily a games player and don't actually LIKE the models/toys then why bother with them in the first place. There are plenty of ways to game without ever setting hands on a model  grenadier or a Hoplite- without even knowing what these actually are. Even if you know there is no need to use models/toys/miniatures at all. Some of these games may even be termed wargames,
 So why are there a considerable number of  chaps who claim to use said miniatures but  somehow  seem to hate them? Perverse or what? Perhaps even a sniff of fashionable  hypocrisy? The bit I really don't get  is why you would choose to use models and then not give a s""t about how they look.
2/. Even if you hate painting there are plenty of ways around it. Painting services are legion and some are very good indeed and by no means all require the sale of a kidney to fund a painted army(well not all at once anyway !).

40mm Napoleonic French Hussars. These cost me the largest per figure price I ever paid for a painting service at £25.00 each
 I still think it was worth it.. The lad who did them has packed it in. 
25mm Old Glry Normans. Painted by me around 20 years ago. They'll never win any prizes but at least they don't look as if they were painted by a man with a bag on his head. 

 As an aside one wonders if the current popularity of so called "warband games" has been in part influenced by the cost of some  painting services. After all some silly one-off steampunk gang for In Her Majesty's name or whatever  can still cost you the thick end of a ton for a decent paint job and with the figures knocking on the door(or even smashing it open) of a couple of quid each you don't end up with an awful lot for your money,. So you do wonder if part of the move to these small limited, narrow, games is driven by economics .....
However back to the plot.
 3/.You can buy stuff from Ebay or from Bring and Buys at shows- though this IS hit and miss and does take a little effort and with ebay beware the jargon . "Well painted" may only mean "covered in vaguely the right colours not necessarily in the right order" and photographs do not  always tell the whole story. I've had both very good and very bad via ebay so Caveat Emptor !

 Of course a lot will depend upon your personal standards of good and bad. for me "BAD" is when I need to repaint the bloody things-even though this is often easier than starting from scratch. "GOOD" is when only a little touching up is needed. "Very Good" is when only rebasing is needed- which it always does as the bases need to match existing forces. Sometimes -not often- but sometimes "VERY GOOD"  means "better than I can paint" always with the caveat "and I didn't pay painting service prices either !"

 Mind you there are also some truly awful painters out there masquerading as "services" as well as the odd one who is so far up himself that he has disappeared into the requisite orifice- When razzing one painter for his 6 weeks  delivery time turning into 6 months I was told- nose in the air "I paint for important people" Needless to say I told him to shove his brushes where the sun does not shine- I near as a toucher did it for him! Back in the 1990s we also had to pursue one painter through small claims court.

Nevertheless there are plenty of good painting services out there. My favourite is Shakespear Studios which offers good quality painting at a pretty reasonable price and most importantly efficient delivery. Jez has painted a fair few 15mm for me and is a dab hand at camo - amongst other things.
Fireforce Miniature Falklands War Brits. Painted by Jez of Shakespear Studios..
 He really is a dab hand at Camo. I couldn't get even close to this quality. 

Now speaking personally its no secret that I have poor eyesight- I can't for instance drive because of that. Over the year many other avenues have been closed to me because of this. The Army being only the most obvious.. Yet I've taught myself to become a competent figure painter. I even enjoy it. For me it is part of  being a "Compleat Wargamer" in the same way as studying the history, understanding the period, fiddling with the rules etc etc etc.

Jez also did these Blu Moon 15mm Austrian Hungarian Grenadiers- so it's not just camo he is a dab hand at. 
Boney on a camel- 25mm (or28 if you prefer) Old Glory Napoleon in Egypt range painted by me. 
Now I'm  not, never have been and never will be a professional painter. I don't paint for money. I simply don't have the mental make up for it. For me however painting and modelling IS a part of being a wargamer so whining about how hard life is does not solve the problem.... In the40 or so years I've been at this I've heard all the excuses  a xillion times over and they are only true if you choose to make them so.

A bit of pure self indulgeance. A version of this picture appeared on the front cover of Miniature Wargames a few years back. All the figures were painted by me. Not a professional in sight..
 If I can do it .....