Friday, 22 April 2016

Oh dear! Is it really six months?

As someone who mostly writes for a living I am not doing too well at writing my own blog.

I suppose it is a case of so much to do and so little time. Since my last post things have gone fairly slowly on the painting front but buying models and terrain pieces has progressed steadily and thus increasing my personal lead mountain.

I have however gone small - 6mm is making inroads into The Bunker. There has always been 6mm or 1/300 lurking in quiet corners. Last year I 'finished' - yes finished my 6mm Prussian Napoleonic army for Polemos rules. I say 'finished' as I took one look at all I had painted and decided that more cavalry was needed..maybe some more Landwehr? Definitely more officers and artillery and that box of Austrians could do with some attention too. I bought more Prussians and made good progress with the Austrians and then came to a halt about November time.

20mm Valiant WWII had become a priority for some Chain of Command games and a box of 60+ Germans took the field with British infantry close on their jackbooted heels. Americans next.

For Christmas I left subtle hints by making shopping lists of wargames items and leaving them around. It was an unnerving time on Christmas day as presents were revealed and nothing on my lists had appeared - note to self more lists and weblinks next year. However, the last present was on my list a copy of the Team Yankee rules. I was particularly keen to look at these.

Team Yankee was a book about a WWIII scenario set in the early 1980s, written by Harold Coyle. I was lucky to meet Harold Coyle (or HW as a prefence) in 2004 when I went to the Seven Year's War convention in South Bend Indiana and played in his game.  I subsequently bought and read the novel Team Yankee.

Reading the rules over the Christmas break made me realise that Battlefront had made some smashing figures and models but in the wrong scale to my way of thinking. I've never liked the close packed tank formations of Flames of War and although Team Yankee is based on FOW but some different mechanisms the look and feel of the games are similar.

So last weekend I went to Salute and played a game of 15mm Team Yankee - it was quick and fun - but I also picked up the Sabre Squadron rules for modern warfare. I have yet to play these but they have come highly  recommended. I already have Cold War Commander and others have mentioned Fistful of Tows as a good modern set of rules.

So whilst considering which direction I will go in with rules I have been building up 6mm Russian, US and Chinese forces for the 1980s using models from Heroics & Ros and Scotia.

 Today I printed out the Sabre Squadron supplement 'Seven Days to the Rhine' that I bought as a pdf. There are 138 pages of company level organisation for the Warsaw Pact in the 1980s. Yet more reading and more to write about soon...

Monday, 5 October 2015

A SAGA of beginners luck!

It has come to that time of year when the DDWG is once more scheduled to elect or re-elect the committee for the 2015/16 year. The AGM is rarely more than 45 minutes but it means that gaming time will be short; on the plus side my good friend for over 40 years, Paul Martin, will be there for the meeting.
Paul lives in North Dorset and is one of DDWG's affiliate members (a discounted rate for living over 20 mile from Devizes) and only come to the club on the occasional Sunday. The gaming is usually preceded by a curry and it makes a great opportunity to catch up. Yesterday was no different; curry and gaming but what to play?
Not having played SAGA for some time I decided to dust off my Vikings and Normans for a couple of hours of fun. I have almost finished the new huts and fences for my Dark Age village so they made a first outing to the table top.

My Dark Age village is a mix of mdf buildings from a number of manufacturers and scratch built buildings. Wattle fences are from Renadra
Paul opted to use Vikings so I had the Normans and had worked out two matching forces of 6 pts each: 1 general, 1 unit of 4 Hearthguard, 3 units of 8 warriors and one unit of 12 strong Levy bow each.
The fearless Normans deployed for the Viking onslaught
The  Viking raiders prepare their advance
Paul took the initiative and advanced into the village pushing his Thrall bowmen to the fore. The Normans had a fortunate first roll of their Saga dice and managed to fire double their normal range with an ability that killed two of the Thralls facing them. After that it all went downhill for the Normans!
A nice view of the scratch-built huts - maybe the Normans would have been better off hiding in them?
It should not be that difficult to roll high numbers on a D6...but it was yesterday. As for Paul who had brought what he laughingly calls his 'lucky dice' as he normally has dreadful die rolls; well he couldn't throw much below a four for the whole game.
Two Norman units melted away in two moves leaving just four Saga Dice for the Normans to use. The Viking luck held and although two units were down to one man they managed to keep out the way and therefore retain the Saga dice needed to keep the Viking steam-roller coming forward.

Erik the Pink (illegitimate son of Erik the Red and Snow White) leads his unit of Bondi forward to smash the Norman cavalry. The Viking ship grave in the background would not be needed for this game!

It was a fun game and even though the Norman general issued a personal challenge to the Viking leader, deployed as many abilities as he could with four Saga dice he died horribly to the Viking axe.

As it was only Paul's second game of Saga in two years it was a worthy win...or beginners luck? And that is how Sagas are made.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

DDWG Chain of Command weekend

Today is day 2 of the DDWG Chain of Command weekend. At the end of a hard fought Day 1 the British had won a minor victory by achieving their objective. We had to break through the German defences and get at least a section off the German side of the table (at the top of the photo).

The White blobs are smoke laid by he British 2" mortars to block the Germans' line of sight. The red round poker chips are the British jump of points and the blue ones are the German jump off points.
The White poker chips in the centre of the picture covering the woods and fields mark the barrage laid down by German off table heavy mortars. These caused considerable damage to B platoon, pinning them for several phases and killing the Company Commander - lots of bad things happened as a result.
A Platoon was to the right of the road and came on as a our reserves once the Germans had committed troops to capture the right hand jump off point. They then continued to push troops into that flank whilst our 
C platoon pushed forward on a left flank Attack on the weaker German flank - most of whom couldn't see much due to our accurate deployment of smoke.
Today the table has moved such that the British advance will start amongst the fields and over the river bridge towards a German held village. 
We have been having a lot of fun with this set of rules.
God Save the King.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Exploring l'Arte de la Guerre

Last Sunday I played a new(ish) set of rules called l'Arte de la Guerre for ancient and medieval games. Figures are based as per FOG/DBM so I could also use my 10mm Warmaster Armies to play these rules.

However, for this first game I played using my 15mm Khwarizmian (some are over 20 years old!) against Paul's Sassanids.

The terrain system is quite straightforward and as I was to be the attacker  I had the chance of moving some pieces or removing them totally depending on a die roll. We drew deployment maps before setting out our troops. This is done by placing one corps (you split your army between three corps) at a time with the defender placing the first and then the attacker and so on.

To find out what would happen within this rule set my tactics were basic and simple: advance, shoot and charge. That was about it other than the rout after the first three! Well not with all troops. Charging the Sasssanid elephant is not really the sensible option in most rules but I managed a shot before I closed to attack and I managed to pin it for a second round of melee when I managed to kill it. Fortunately the elephant randomly rampaged through adjacent Sassanids rather than my cavalry.

It was a bloody and relatively quick game all to be lost or won hanging on one melee - the victor would win as we were both within two points of breaking our opponent. I came second! The game was great fun and can be played on a relatively small table so contact is quick. A second game is planned for a few weeks time but using 28mm figures.

Unfortunately I did not take any photos but the official web page is here

There are some video guides on YouTube that give a good insight to the game

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

It's this weekend - Attack! 2015. 18-19 July

We are looking forward to an exciting weekend running our annual club show Attack!
With over 30 traders, 15 participation games and six competitions there is something for everyone.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Siborne's Waterloo diorama

If you read the June 2015 issue of Miniature Wargames there is an interesting article on the Waterloo diorama created by Captain William Siborne at the Royal Armories in Leeds.

This article and some of the photos in it took me back over 40 years and reminded me of the generosity of a lady who lived in the same village as I did.

I lived in a north Dorset village called Pimperne and there was to be a village event one day called 'Pimperne can do it'. Friends of my mother convinced me to take part and give a demonstration of making jewellery - something that had become a lucrative sideline and addition to my pocket money allowance. I dutifully did as I was told - despite being 16 years old.

My display showed the various stages of polishing stones and making mounts and I was quite pleased with how it looked between the cake-makers, button-makers, wood carvers and any number of people who were demonstrating their hobbies. I was caught out when a local man who knew of my military modelling interests asked where my models were? I ended up running home and bringing some back,

The models generated more interest than the jewellery and I ended up on the front page of the local paper holding a model Polish Lancer in 54mm from Airfix. However, a lady who had recently retired to the village with her husband asked me lots of questions about my hobbies and the next day arrived at my parent's home with a box.

The box contained her father's mineral collection - he had been a geologist and worked around the world. It was a great addition to my own collection as I once had aspirations of being a geologist myself. However there was a smaller box too.

The smaller box contained four lovely looking French Napoleonic figures about 25mm scale - 1" from sole of foot to top of the head and they are based on thin brass sheet.

The four figures that I have had for over 40 years were old when I got them

The lady, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, told me that she had inherited the figures from her grandfather and all she knew was that they had come from a large diorama of Waterloo that was displayed at an exhibition. Could these figures have come from Siborne's display? Maybe we will never know but the similarity is certainly there.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Advance of the Austrian cavalry

It has been a busy work week - four evening meetings and Friday night out with friends for dinner, so painting has been slow.
I've caught up a bit this weekend and finished off a couple of units of cuirassier that I had started and finished two units of hussars from scratch.
The foremost unit CR2 is from Adler Miniature and everything else from Baccus
I have been working my way though the Baccus Miniatures Austrian Napoleonic starter army but found I had an old unit of Adler Miniatures cuirassier that I had never finished. Not sure why I had these as my Adler armies are Napoleonic French and Bavarian.

As you can see from the picture above the Adler figures are quite a lot larger than the Baccus. I like both makes but don't think they sit well together in the same army.

Austrian hussar regiment no7 to the front
I have another two units of hussars to paint but need to buy more dragoons and cuirassier at some stage. So next will be more hussars before returning to the infantry.

One for the woad...

Not Napoleonic but I umpired a great game of Warmaster Ancients at the Devizes club yesterday. It was an Ancient British civil war using 10mm Pendraken and Magister Millitum figures.