Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Italian Wars and other arrivals

 Finally after a week stranded in Gateshead my  latest shipment from the USA has arrived. Aside from the restock I needed it contained the first tranche of Blue Moon's new Italian Wars range.
 Now biased as I am these are a bit special. So far I have perhaps 20 packs out of a 60 plus pack range and I hope to get the next release in stock before Salute.
 These are large 15mm - so 18mm really by today's nomenclature. The couple I have actually measured are 17mm from base surface to eye level.
 The list with photos of the available packs will appear on the website  under the Blue Moon section in the next few days as soon as the Web Mistress  does the deed. US prices are a little higher than the standard packs so these will also have to be a tad bearer- so a 30 fig pack will be £15.00 inc VAT other packs in proportion
 So far I have both Landknects and Swiss  .Command and pikemen and artillery crews. More news as I dig them out of the crates.

 I also have the first of the Blue Moon French Napoleonic Imperial Guard- Old Guard Grendiers and Chasseurs a Pied. together with an American 6 pdr for the War of 1812

All of these new packs are now activated and available 21 packs of Italian Wars(more to come) 2 packs of French Imperial Guard and a pack of American 6pdr guns for the Warv of 1812.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Hmmmm AK47 or AK Complicated

We are told that the famous AK47  is popular amongst some of the less savoury political militias in the even less savoury partsof the world  becasue it is simple to operate and maintain .
 Would that were true of its gaming namesake by Peter Pig AK47 Republic.
Shaun#s splendidly painted Giraffe wait for something to happen. They had a long wait. 

  For our February game Shaun was in the chair and elected to run a game using these rules for the first time along with his rather spiffing collection of 15mm African forces. So enthusiasm was quite high in the pub when the 4 of us arrived Andrew the Tekkie ,Mechanical Shaun ad Theatrical Steve  and myself- your Gentle Author- being unusually last to arrive despite having most- but by no means all - of the scenery.
 Now first off AK47 is not a set of wargames rules for battles in post colonial Africa. A better description would be "A game based  very vaguely on Politico- Military shennanigans in Post Colonial anywhere that might look a bit like Africa".
 Now this was the game's first outing for us  but the amount of faff and farting about even before you get to lay some lead was to say the least significant. Rather than present some scenarios  the rules writer chose to give us a somewhat tortuous dice rolling contest to decide what type of battle we might- or might not- be fighting. The idea was actually quite clever but the execution  long winded.
 Then once it had been decided that I would have to fight a defensive battle against a full blown attack by Andrew and Steve  there was more faffing about with the terrain generation system. The after THAT  there was more faffing about to decide which units of each of our 5 unit "armies" actually turned up on time or even at all.. By now it has to be said I'm afraid my bore-o-meter was reading 11 so it was good that lunch in the usual form of Landlady Jean's fine hot beef butties had turned up  so the four of us set to on those aided by pints of Consett Brewery's fine "White Hot" for those of us not driving motor vehicles. 
After shooting up the square  village to their front the enemy armour moves down the straight African road. 

 After lunch we finally got down to a bit of action but again more faffing as to how we laid out the few troops we had to begin the game with. Now obviously more familiarity with the system would have speeded things up quite a bit but, so far, not a single military or tactical decision had been in the hands of any of the players- though a few landscaping ones had using there gridded and rather stereotyped terrain choice system. The troops any player had in hand were entirely dice controlled and bore no resemblance to the mission in hand for either side. There were some good bits- units which had lost parts in the deployment phase could have some troops back again in a neat little sort of observation rule as - for example the enemies 2 approaching technicals  became 4 as the dust subsided.  Combat mechanisms were theoretically simple but since attacking troops fired first on hidden defenders I never got a chance to find out how it all worked. Except to realise that the one unit at a time IGOUGO system was glacially slow even with tiny numbers of troops on the table.  Tactically this was nonsense as in reality my out numbered and out gunned troops would simply have piled into their technicals and bugged out.
One enemy tank has gone of for a crafty spliff.

 The rule book included a bibliography- of which I own about half or more but missed other major sources out= so while I own Mockler, Cocks and Forsyth  amongst others cited in the rules there was no mention of Hoare, Puren or Reid- Daly let alone Cole or Moorcroft and McLaughlin or many more modern writers I don't yet own. I'm not convinced however that the writer had actually read any of these- or possibly a book ever.
 Yet having savaged the system I still think there is potential here given a little imagination. Although a bit- well a lot- long winded the "Approach to War" preamble has its points if you want to set up a scenario without benefit of a scenario . My main problem with the system is simple. It is once again the lack of "positive freedom" and the idea that dice rolling should take the place of actual thought or knowledge of the period in hand.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Mutiny Colours

Finally the first of the Bengal Mutineer regiments have their colours. According to the sources some- but by no means all of the rebel regiments carried their old British Colours into battle.In style the flags were similar in style- but differing in detail - to British regiements of the day / It was no big deal to download some generic British Napoleonic flags from and the repaint to suit.

I've deliberately hidden the centres of the flags so they could be several yellow faced BNI regiments 
As the mutineer force grows more regiments will be added- though not all will have colours as some were destroyed and other simply left behind.

Figures all 28mm Old Glory from packs CMM 1 ,2 ,OR 3 

Sunday, 11 February 2018

More Mutiny Men

The completed Mutineer artillery battery- san hanging static grass this time.

Despite the ever increasing amounts of Government crap I am now supposed to deal with due to the success tax- sory says he knuckling his forelock  governemnt wars that eould be VAT-  I've still managed to finish a couple more units for my slowly growing Indian Mutiny project. Now to be fair  much of this was basing as the British were painted by  James Main. Though the mutineers are by me. Still the British would be pathetic without the units that Jim painted for me-I have an unbased Punjab Irregular Force unit that is next in line for treatment as well.
  Any how here are the photos.
The 52nd Foot- Light Infantry - one of the Delhi Field force units,

N.C.O and Officer.

More of this stuff is on the painting table. More Mutineers for a start including some Irregulars Barkanzies and sucghlike. Watch this space.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Phew I could do with a breather.

 Van loaded up for the York show all ready to go at half past firts sparrow fart tomorrow morning . I sometimes wonder how the hell I get everything done.
 This last week has been just a tad OGUK is now VAT registered again- the finacial crash forced us out of VAT registry in 2010  but we are now registered again. This has a downside- some prices will HAVE to rise simply to pay the taxes when due. HMRC says they must. Now I will not be putting the complete tax on everything I'm going to absorb around half of it as an importer pays an awful lot of VAT up front .
 Nevertheless prices will rise- for the UK and EU customers. Blokes out side these countries don't have to pay so I'll simply refund them the correct proportion if they order via the website or if the email me directly  paypal them the non vat price.
 Now prices have not yet risen I simply have not had the time to work them all out as the amount of government bullshit is IMMENSE and much of it hidden from view in obscure pages of their website in small print that I as visually impaired find sometimes difficult to read let alone understand once I have manged to read the gobblegook.
 So please bear with me, our 30 figure bags of 25/8 mm figure will need to go up to £30..00 inc VAT  which still makes them cheaper than most of the competition.  Indeed the per figure price will still be just a quid each. Smaller packs will rise in proportion. Sash and Saber and other will also rise. All of the rise will go to our glorious Government. I expect my own margins to drop by 10015%
 Most of the Blue Moon 15mm packs will go up by about a pound though some will not go up at all and a few may rise by a couple of quid

See you at Vapnartak in York tomorrow

Monday, 22 January 2018

Finaloo Shinyloo

Through Rain and Snow and gloom  of Night the TWATS still get a game in. Though it was touch and go . Still 3 of us made it to our usual haunt for the January game. I was in the chair and decided that come Hell or High Water it was time the s"shinyloo" collection had an outing. After all I'd been working on them long enough.
 So I went the whole hog and decided to use "Charge!" as that was the inspiration for the collection in the first place.

The table before the action begins. The low winter sun through the windows to the left does not help. 

 I'd never played Charge before- well maybe once 30 years ago but not so as you'd notice so to all intents it was a new rule set for with all those possible pitfalls. You know what I was very pleasantly surprised. The basic system is so simple and open ended is it refreshing. No farting about with "mechanisms"  but having said that there is a possibility of subtlety in minor tactics that we will be exploring further. The old fashioned move by move order writing was new to both of the player- though I had used it back in the day with London Wargame section Napoleonic rules and again for simplicity it really does have merit.
Calamity. The RHA battery falls to the blood spattered remains of the French heavies.

 Anyway on with a short narrative of a short but interesting little affair,
 British forces- Andrew the Tekkie commanding
 3 and a half companies of line infantry
1 company of Rifles
1 Battery Royal Horse Artillery
 1 cavalry regiment- The Scots Greys
 The French were a bit more numerous. Mechanical Shaun as Napoleon Shinyparte!
 3 and a half infantry companies- though they were 18 man companies in 3 ranks the British being 16 men in 2 ranks
 1 company of Light Infantry
 2 cavalry units 1 light 1 heavy
 and a battery of Guns
The British under pressure. The Scots Greys belatedly move.

The French kicked off with a general advance- Light infantry in skirmish order covering the front of their main mass of Line Infantry. However their heavy Cavalry immediately advanced towards the RHA battery which was somewhat isolated on the British left and coming under fire , expected to be turned into horseburgers-. Andrew picked up his dice with glee the  gamely rolled snake eyes!  The next move the Cuirassiers and Carabiniers took the bit between their teeth  and then declared a charge.
 Canister blasted them  but not quite enough to get and"under strength" result and the RHA battery was taken by the survivors.
A beeter view of the whole action

 First blow to the French.
In the centre the French mass advanced an it's skirmishers took a steady toll on the uncovered British Line as the rifles were off to a flank covering the Footguards company on the other hill  on the British right.
. Belatedly the Scots Greys began to move and advanced against the French Light Cavalry. The resulting two move melee ending in a draw with both units withdrawing- each side thew totally bum dice. The French in the first turn of melee the British in the second and neither side had quite enough losses for the other to claim victory. In the context of the game this meant a narrow success for the French.
The cavalry melee after the first round.

 The decision however was to come in the centre. As the French skirmishers withdrew all of the French line advanced against 2 damaged companies of the 44th foot.who came down from their hill and were swallowed up by the French 3 rank mass. Belated fire into the flank of the Imperial Guard being only enough(just) with their melee losses to take them under strength.
 At this point Andrew  decided the day was lost.

Andrew begins his flanking move but it will be too late.

So what did the players think. Neither has encountered "Charge!" previously but both were interested in another bash, as am I. I suspect hat next time I may put in a few amendments such as
 Musket armed light Infantry will fire as line infantry in 8 man groups so light companies will be the same strength as Line.
Rifle armed troops may not be able to move and fire- not sure about this one though.
 I may lower the threshold for under strength or possibly introduce a more "featherstonian" morale test- still thinking about this.
Allow artillery crew to defend their guns in melee- albeit with penalties.
The French - doubtless chanting "There's more of of us than you"(in French obviously) swallow the British. and it is all over bar a few beers.

What was clear here is that these simple- but far from simplistic rules give you far more "positive freedom" than many more modern limited games. I can, should I wish, tinker around the edges for a bit more "Napoleonicness"  without unbalancing the game. The longer than usual movement distances and the move by move order writing force the players to think tactically rather than merely "gameyily". The cavalry melee method does allow for subtlety in minor tactics if you choose
 Suffice it to say that all 3 of us were  more impressed than we expected to be.
 As usual thanks go to landlady Jean for superior Beef Butties and chips and to Landlord Eric for fine pints of White Hot. Roll on the February game.

Because of the weather Andrew and I took a cab to the pub- so scenery was of the simplest. the hills are wood blocks under the cloth and the trees  fences haystacks and hedges are Britians or Johillco (these last from the 1950s). The only post 1980 items are the roads and the farm.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Bits and Pieces.

3 40mm Imperialist Officer for around 1630 
Still painting away though as you might expect always slower than you'd like. The first of the Mutineer Artillery is finished- with more on the way and I've also finished a few more 40mm 17th century figures- with luck I'll get a game on using them towards the end of the coming year- assuming nothing new takes my attention... well you never know. First "Shinyloo" game this coming Saturday- assuming we don't get snowed off.

Mutineer artillery crew and 6 pdr gun.