Sunday 8 May 2016

It's Been a Long Time

It's been a long time since I updated the blog with a post.  I really need to try and get into the habit of posting at least once a week!  So what have I been up to?  

Most of my hobby time has been taken up in getting ready to put on a game at the Royal Armouries 100 Years War event.  Our game (using Lion Rampant) was based on a French raid on the English siege lines at Harfleur.  As well as painting the relevant forces (mainly Perry HYW plastics) the game needed a representation of Harfleur.

I have had a few wall sections in the garage for years made by Hudson and Allen and these would make a good basis for the town walls.  Luckily I also had a copy of the Osprey Agincourt book and this had a nice double page spread of Harfleur.  This provided me with our table representing the Leure Gate.

In order to neatly fit the walls onto a terrain tile they needed to be cut up and joined.  The light foam the walls are made of made this really easy and as the walls were to be plastered it was easy to use filler to hide the join.

Next the moat had to be carved into the tile and then smoothed out using filler.  I used really watery filler so it would level out nicely.  It worked pretty well but took a few layers and a lot of time to dry.

Next textured wallpaper was glued down to represent the cobbled streets of the town.

To replicate the Osprey illustration the walls needed to have timber hoardings added to the battlements and the towers needed to have conical roofs.  The hoardings were simply made with foam card, mounting card and balsa.  The conical towers with card and then tiled with card.

Conical roofs in progress.

Hoardings and 2 of the towers done.

Finally the earthwork used to protect the gate was made with a polystyrene core, balsa for timber and a generous layer of filler.   Oh and the walls were plastered with filler.

All that was needed now was painting.  

Here's some shots of the finished article ( minus some final reeds added to the most from broom bristles).

And finally he whole set-up in action at the Armouries.

We are taking the game down to Partizan in a couple of weeks and will be running participation games all day.  If you are down there please come and say hi and join us for a game.

Monday 8 February 2016

Vapnartak 2016 and Dragon Rampant

Well it's been sometime since my last post.  I really must try and blog a bit more regularly.

Been quite busy on the gaming front since last time.  I've rebased all my Normans from single bases to multiple bases.  Originally I had based them for Saga but appetite for these rules seem to have dropped off at the Club.  I still like them but they do work best in a competitive 1:1 game.  Most of the games we play at the Club end up by necessity being multi-player games.  The introduction of Lion Rampant and now Dragon Rampant has also taken over the niche held by Saga.  I know it's not quite a match but a greater ability to have multi-player games and a simpler but engaging system seems to have made LR/DR a hit.

With the larger numbers of figures in a unit for LR/DR and the individual positioning not being important there I really no need for single basing in LR.  This is especially true with DR which introduced the concept of strength points and divorced casualties from figure removal.  Hence I've settled on Impetus sale bases.  The ability to make small dioramas appeals to the modeller in me.  I can now use my Normans for Impetus, Hail Caesar, LR, DR, and Too The Strongest.  At a push I could still use them for Saga as well with a bit of a fudge.

Here's a couple of quick snaps.

Knights are on 60mm by 80mm bases.  I really like the extra depth which allows a less regular positioning of the figures.  For the sharp eyed there are a couple of bases of late medievals in the background but they are for another post.

The spear men are on 60x60 bases.  Again 2 bases.  Having said I like the large bases I decided that splitting them was a good compromise.  Went completely off-piste with the crossbow men.  Wanted a looser formation than the spears.  That's fine for the HC, TTS as 8 figures on a 120mm works fine.  However I wanted 12 figures (for a LR unit).  3 60mm frontage bases was a little too big.  Hence went with 4 figures on a 50mm square base.  I like the look and can field just 2 bases for HC or TTS.

Is it just me who agonises about base sizes?  It's not helped in wanting a system that looks good but is also flexible enough for different rule sets.

So back to Vapnartak.  This is the York Wargames Club annual show.  It really seems to have established itself as one of the leading shows (certainly in the North).  It is helped by being one of the first shows of the year and has a sort of "coming out of hibernation"feel.  At the Harrogate Club we'd discussed putting on a game and given the York Club were looking for more participation games I came up with the idea of Dragon Rampant game.  Given the timescales I wanted something we could put together fairly quickly, would be easy to play but give an engaging game and take about an hour!  Not much to ask really.  I'd been impressed by the game David Imrie (of Saxondog blog fame) put on at Salute a few years ago which was based on the opening scene from the film Eagle and I thought (like all good ideas) I could borrow it.  I had managed to acquire a lovely Roman marching fort from Paul Darnell while he was still producing models under the Touching History banner and this would make a nice centre piece.  I then remembered that I had made a wicker man many years ago for a WAB demo game and everything fell into place.

I had recently rebased all my Romans onto large Impetus bases and the majority of my Ancient Britons were on 60mm square bases anyway.  The flexibility of troop types in Dragon Rampant allowed me a reasonable representation of the 2 armies (while allowing for a spell casting Druid and a pack of war dogs).  We played a test game at the Club and it seemed to work a treat so we were on.  The multiple bases also worked really well.  They were easier (and quicker) to move and just using micro dice to mark casualties worked perfectly well. Not actually made Courage tests easier as you just has to subtract the dice number!

I had most of the terrain and all the armies done but I'm very conscious that if you are going to put a public game on, it should look the best you can make it.  In addition, it's the little touches of detail that make the difference between a good demo game and a club game.  So with a week or so to go this involved re-modelling the river section on the TSS terrain tile and painting it.  Basing up the Ancient British village buildings and adding wattling fencing (the Renedra fencing is great, not cheap but very flexible), painting up villagers, wild life and (thanks to a free postage offer from Warlord) a pack of English mastiffs.  I was highlighting the flock on bases at 5am on the day of the show but I got it all done.

So how was the show?  In a word great!  I arrived nice and early just after 8am and at that time could park ride outside the entrance.  We were a little tucked away at the end of the top floor but with floor to ceiling glass it was lovely and light.  I think we missed some of the passing traffic but we managed to coral enough willing participants for 4 games during the day.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves as well.  The rules were great.  Easy to pick up, giving a nice quick game, but definitely fun and some hidden depth.  All the games were incredibly close and ran out 2 games each after the day.

I was so busy during the day I didn't take any photos but here's one taken by one of the team mid-game.

With a few of use to run the game I was also able to get a quick look round.  I didn't get much of a chance to look at the other games but I did notice another Dragon Rampant game with an impressive fantasy castle and a nice Crusades Lion Rampant game.  My favourite was the wonderful 1920s Back of Beyond game.

I'm hoping to take the Wicker Man game down to the Hammerhead show in Newark at the beginning of March so if you are there please do come along and say hello.

Friday 8 January 2016

Painting World War 2 German Armour

For our Christmas game we returned to 20mm and this inspired me to dig out some old projects.  

First was the need to crew my German half tracks.  As my 20mm collection is somewhat old the models are a varied selection and my half a dozen Sd 251's comprise some old matchbox 1/76 scale models, some resin models by Frontline (don't know whether they are still around) and a couple of Dragon models.  A couple of years back I decided the models really needed crew and I bought a selection of crew from various manufacturers.  And then put them all on a shelf and forgot about them. 

Inspired my the forthcoming game I took the opportunity to finish them.

Here's a couple of finished shots as a late war German kampfgrupp

Really pleased with the results.  The crew really lift the models in my opinion.

As our game was a hypothetical 1946 game I also wanted to include a couple of paper panzers.  I had picked up a Dragon kit of the Panther F and this again was a good opportipunity to complete it.  Here's a step by step walk through.

Kit built, grey undercoat and then base colour applied.  Vallejo Middlestone for the hull and Foundry Madder Red for the turret (I wanted to represent a really late war model with the turret left unpainted in the red oxide primer).

Panel highlights applied by hand and then a thin oil paint filter applied.

Varnish applied and then pin wash to shade the panel lines.

Matt varnish then weathering.

Based and commander added.

Again really pleased with the result.  Made an interesting diversion from 28mm figures.

Saturday 12 December 2015

Black Ops

We had an opportunity to try the new Osprey rule set "Black Ops" last Thursday at the Club.

A high ranking diplomat had been kidnapped by local rebels some where in Central Asia.  The rebels were a mix of poor quality militia, mercenaries and an FSB team on site to interrogate the prisoner.  A special forces team supported by regular troops were despatched to rescue him.

We played the stealth game with 5 guards in position and the rest of the defenders unable to act until the alarm was raised.

Overall table layout.

In the first game the attackers hadn't really got to grips with the stealth concept.  They ran (which created noise) and tried to take out a sentry with a shotgun!  In addition the support squad couldn't hit a barn door and with some 16 noise tokens in very short order the defenders were soon up and ready. Seriously outnumbered the spec ops assault team were soon taken out and the attackers called it a day.  The mission failed, casualties were heavy and questions were asked in the House!

By the second game things had improved.  The assault team moved in quietly while the support sniper quietly took out three of the guards.

The bulk of the defenders were taken out before the alarm was raised leaving the FSB team, who were quartered on the other side of the village, to try and get away with the hostage.

It looked like they might have got the hostage to a landrover but this was quickly destroy by the support team when they realised what was happening.

The game came down to a great final scene when inches away from the table edge, the final 2 FSB agents with the hostage were chased down by the assault team leader.  With 2 shots pistol shots he took out both agents and avoided hitting the hostage.  

Hostage rescued, minimal friendly casualties and commendations all round.

These really are a fun set of rules. We did somethings wrong and the rules are a little vague in some places but a quick look at a couple of posts on the Lead Adventure Forum has cleared these up.  I highly recommend these rules to anyone who wants to play small action modern games.  Equally they would work for a whole host of scenarios and periods.

Highly recommended!

I used my Copplestone Future Wars figures but am seriously tempted to invest in some of the Empress and Spectre Miniature moderns.

Here's a few more shots of the game

Hostage (with briefcase) in the central building

FSB agent faces off against the Support Team while an RPG armed rebel cowers behind cover.

Support Team in cover.

Rebels, mercs and FSB defend the village.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Ships of the Desert

One of the projects I have been working on this year has been 1880s Sudan.  I haven't posted anything about this project yet but I've almost finished my first round of painting.  To this end I've just finished off a unit of camels and cavalry and thought I'd share a couple of snaps as a teaser.

Hope you like them

As usual Perry figures.  A bit of a pain to clean up but you just can't beat them for wonderful animation.

Friday 27 November 2015

Wednesday 25 November 2015


Earlier this year I dipped my toe into the Napoleonics period.  Inspired by the anniversary of WateNapoleonicsrloo I started to build up a small French and British force for 1815.  Along with a number of friends at the Harrogate Wargame Club we managed to pull together enough painted 28mm models for a scaled down battle of Waterloo (with 1 unit representing a brigade).  Now any refight of Waterloo has to have a model of Napoleon himself and I managed to dig out the Wargames Foundry model that I had squirrelled away many, many moons ago.

It's a lovely model with so much character.  The expression on Napoleon's face is just priceless and along with his whole posture just seems to capture the moment when he realises the battle is all going wrong!