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Thursday, 1 December 2016

My first Union brigade.

 My posts seem to be like the buses, they all come at once. I have been fairly productive lately as regards painting, and I have managed to complete a further three Union regiments. It is an eclectic bunch, Pennsylvanians, Irish and a Zouave unit, the 9th New York. One thing I have noticed is that the Perry twins havent made any lively posed Union troops in metal, so they all are quite sedate, whilst obviously Redoubt Miniatures go for a more energetic pose.
 Each have their individual charms, and I like both ranges. I did include a couple of the new Perry Plastic Union troops which are a tad bigger than their metal chaps but are very nice.
 I am currently doing a few cavalry and a Confederate foot unit. So its onwards and upwards.I never se myself targets or write lists anymore simply because I never have stuck to them. The target is simply to paint up both sides of the ACW and stop when I get sick or my wargames allowance runs out. I think the cash aspect might win the argument in the end.









The IWG Christmas Annual 2016 Issue One.

                                                    INTRODUCTION.
 As a child I always looked forward to receiving a couple of annuals of my favourite comics from Santa Claus, usually it was the Topper and Beano. Well in an effort to reintroduce what was a great tradition, I have produced my own little annual, perhaps not up to the standard of the Beano, but hey ho..............

                                                      RULES I HAVE USED IN 2016.
As I have previously posted and commented upon, this year saw a copious amount of wargames rules released, some good some just a re hash of older rules. I cant comment on them all, simply because there were so many.
 However I was impressed by the following, and in no particular order,
Baroque;

 I was very impressed by their original Impetus rules, and in my opinion Dadi and Plombo have developed an even better set of rules for the late renaissance early lace war period. These rules have some interesting ideas, which keep you on your toes as a wargames general. Deploy wrongly and you will suffer, be impetuous in your movement and again one can suffer. They offer a very intense game which requires a lot of thought. The best idea is to stick to historical tactics and you may actually become a Conde. Well recommended. The rules contain a few quirky ideas typical of the original Impetus rules.

Glory Hallelujah.

As I have previously posted that after travelling to the Gettysberg battlefield, and then re reading the Bernard Cornwell Starbuck series I was inspired to paint up a few ACW figures, however when Warlord released their ACW rules, it became a perfect storm for me because I really enjoy playing with these rules.
 There is an awful lot of content in this book, the rules naturally, some very decent scenarios, eye candy obviously and lists. All for £20.00, but one can normally get a set for £18.00. Cheap by current standards.
 A lot of wargamers dislike Blackpowder for many reasons, and some are probably relevant, but they were meant to be the skeleton on which to hang more detailed supplements. Glory Hallelujah are just such a set because the game captures the period really well. The rules provide a decent amount of detail for all those ACW buffs who love the minutiae of the different weapons used during the conflict without slowing the game down. The troop classifications are also worthy of mention, ' seen the elephant' being a great example of a battle hardened unit that feels it has done enough. Dont expect them to sweep the field, but then they will be hard to drive out of a wood.
 Well worth a try and definitely recommended.

Honours of War.

Until these rules were released I was using Black Powder, Argument of Kings supplement, and whilst they gave a good game, they just didnt have that extra I was looking for. These rules seemed to offer that extra something and to be honest apart from the artillery ranges I thought these were the 'one'. As a consequence we played them to death throughout the summer. However we had a game after a lay off of several months and frankly I hated them? On reflection they provide a fast moving game, but having to rally all the time, kills a lot of my enjoyment. Woe be tide if you face Austrian heavy artillery, which is what I normally field. Some good ideas, but they need some tweaking, well they do for me.

 So after a lot of thinking, Baroque is my rule set of 2016, simply because they give you more than a fun game. One really needs to put some thought into what you want your troops to do, and if you make an error it takes some rectifying. That is if you are allowed. Recommended. Get Santa to deliver you a set.


                                SHOWS THAT I HAVE ATTENDED IN 2016.

 I like Wargames Shows, I always have. From my early attendances at Northern Militaire and Sheffield Triples, I just like walking around looking at wargaming goodies.
 This year was no different, but somehow I only managed eight shows? York, Salute, Middlesbrough, twice, Gateshead, Fiasco and Partizan twice.
 All had their good points, and most fed my need to be at a wargames show.
 The best by a long way was the Vapnartak show at York racecourse. It is a signal that the new wargaming season has started, the venue is very good being well laid out with okay food and decent parking.
 The last few years there is a definite buzz about the whole event, and it was nice to meet up with wargamers I only see now and again.
 Salute 2016 on the other seemed somehow very flat for me, whether it was the dearth of quality wargames and a marked increase in very small skirmish type games or just the sheer immensity of the whole event, I dont know. One thing I didnt appreciate was the fact that all seating inside the hall was taken out? stopping one from having a sit down in the main hall and just getting your second wind. I managed to blag a chair in the hall, but when I went to sit down near a large roller shutter door I was informed I couldn't, for Health and Safety reasons? I suppose had there been a fire the 24' wide space would have been jammed with zimmer frames. This is something that will need to be considered at all wargames shows, in that there are a lot of old farts like me who, well get tired and need a pit stop, so get a few seats in the halls where the action is please.
 Getting back to Salute, I just felt the show had dipped from its usual high standard, Steam Punk? not really a wargames theme for me.
  Of course my other gripe was the painting competition which was wargames lite, and led to some strange decisions. [my personal view]
 So I think Salute in 2017 stands at a bit of a crossroads, will it continue in its current vein, or will it return to mainstream wargaming? I will give it one more go, then rethink my views.
   So the show of 2016 for me was Vapnartak.



                                     RULES OF WARGAMING. [ Advice from an old fart]
   


 1]  Wargamers will always occupy every wood or town within march distance of them, and then refuse to come out of the other side. Even if there is no point in being in there to start with.

2] Wargamers will occupy every hill, and put their only artillery on them, even if it is out of range of the enemy.

3]  Never think, I don't want a one or a six, because that is a guarantee to get them.

4] Always tell your opponent that he needs a one or a six when he doesn't want one.

5] Never stop your opponent from making a really daft move by rolling your eyes, sneering or any other tell. In fact attempt to look or act worried.

6] Be magnanimous in defeat, and modest in victory, [until you get home]

7] Throw a dice if no one can agree, it shuts up most arguments. [ But not at your opponent, well only as a last resort]

8] Admire an opponent's newly painted unit, and then concentrate all fire upon it, morale is everything and losing a new unit is a killer.

9] If your opponent has a guard unit, shoot it at any opportunity, again morale is everything.

10] Enjoy the spectacle of lots of soldiers on a wargames table. A lot of effort will have gone into the set up.


                GREATEST CONTRIBUTORS TO WARGAMING. [My personal view]

 10]  Charles Grant Jr.

  9]  Stuart Asquith.

 8]  Hal Thinglum.

7]  Terry Wise.

6]  Harry Pearson.

5]  Duncan Macfarlane.

4]  Peter Gilder.

3]  Charlie Wesencraft.

2]  Donald Featherstone

1]  Charles Grant Senior.

As one will see it is quite an eclectic list with a number of wargaming personalities missed off. Because The Wargame had such a profound effect on my wargaming Charles Grant had to be number one. I regularly return to the book for inspiration, and probably to reminisce about how it all started for me. Harry Pearson's inclusion was also a given, because his wonderful book Achtung Schweinhund is another book I continually return to.
 I did consider creating a top 20 of influences and contributors, to include Rick Priestley and co, simply because of the way they have transformed the whole wargaming ethos as regards rulebooks, rules, presentation etc. Perhaps that could be a future more cogent post.
 Anyway if any would be wargamer is looking for a late Christmas present then I would suggest any of the books authored by most of the above. But definitely buy this, and give it to your partner in an effort to explain why.


        SO WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR 2017 IN THE WARGAMING WORLD?
                                          Predictions, Guesses, and wild supposition.


Following the trends used in the media in general I thought I should include an opinion [ opinionated] piece of what I see in my crystal ball for wargaming over the next year or so.

  Well I am definitely getting no younger, so its a given that I will become more of a moany pain in the backside, but that aside, Wargaming in general seems to be pretty healthy in a lot of respects.
 Granted the days of wargamers buying and then collecting very large historical armies is in a decline, if simply because the veterans are getting no younger and probably have got everything they actually need to fight that one big battle.
 It is pretty clear that wargamers want to be able to play a game that is easy to set up and fight in a couple of hours, so games based on Dragon Rampant, Lion Rampant, Saga, Bolt Action, etc, etc will continue to thrive. I think I understand why they are popular, but it would never have satisfied my urge to play on a beautifully set up large table with loads of figures moving around the place. Its like a Chinese meal, fine for a short time, but you soon become hungry again [ well I do ]
My ideal was a Peter Gilder type layout, which clearly reinforces how old I am.
   I can see issues with companies that only sell their figures in regiments simply because a lot of newer wargamers want less figures for their games, I hope I'm wrong in this.
  I fully expect the release of even more rule books aimed at this market as witnessed by the new Osprey, Rogue Stars rule book released this month.
   Certainly there will be an increase in more detailed figures and models,ie Warlords new Konflikt 47 ranges to cater for this trend. Looking for a positive spin, at least it means that the hobby should catch a few wargamers who progress onto other types of gaming.
 On the historical figure front things are much harder to predict. I would love to see Warlord finally release their plastic Landsknects and Gendarme ranges that they purchased from Pro Gloria, having watched that small company develop these figures it would be wonderful if they actually hit the market.
 Clearly Colonial figures are showing some signs of becoming fairly popular, but then that has happened before and then they have disappeared from sight. But certainly the Sudan campaigns offer a fairly evenly matched pair of combatants.So perhaps more figures will be released.
  I hope Graham of Crann Tara fame succeeds in releasing his Saxons Seven Years War range, but that's a purely selfish wish, and of course is quite a niche market.
 It always struck me as incomprehensible why the Seven Years War era never became a major wargames period, strange that.
 So the trend for me personally is hopefully more painting, playing and buying, which shows how much I am off message, [ which is a satisfying thing really]
 But from a general wargaming point of view there needs to be a concerted push to capture more bored people looking for good company, laughs and a bit of competition.

  Anyway, I think this post is long enough for the moment. I hope someone likes at least a part of this Annual, so a Happy Christmas to all, and remember a 28mm Garde Grenadier is not just for Christmas.




Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Post Script to Battleground November 2016.


 Modern Life for me is a constant confused fug. I read and watch as things occur around me and wonder if its time to throw myself off a cliff like some daft lemming. [which apparently is a fallacy]
 So its probably none of my business, [no actually it is ] but I have a small rant that I would like to get off my chest.
   Leon of Pendraken fame is a top young man, keen, clearly enthusiastic and probably the type of boy you would like your daughter to bring home. He took over the Battleground Wargames Show and accepted responsibility for running it. Without people like him, most hobbies couldn't function.
 One idea he brought in was that all women and children under 14 would get into the Battleground show for free.
 A simple idea, and one that seems perfectly logical and very reasonable. But oh no, apparently in the United Kingdom the basic English words, 'Women and children under 14 get in for free' became controversial??? Was it the wording Free Women?
 As a consequence this year in an effort to stop any controversy???  this was changed to Families get free entry. [ No I dont get it either]
 This is the question I would like to ask, what moronic no life would think the offer was worthy of any type of comment that would force a change of wording to encourage wives, girlfriends, young children to spend a couple of hours with their 'life partner' and then inform the organiser of their concerns, and upset feelings.
I could understand any sort of upset if Leon had said ALL WOMEN should pay TWICE what men have to pay or even more controversially, NO ENTRY for WOMEN to go to a wargames show. Maybe that's where he went wrong, because any publicity is good publicity.


 In a former life I was a member of my local Workingmens club, and women couldn't drink in the bar,  the clue was in the name ' Working men'. God did that get the Femicists in an uproar, until they were let in. It must have been a huge disappointment when they saw a bunch of old men, and young drinkers [me] sat playing dominoes and living the life [not] The clubs closed, and that way of life has now gone, sadly for me.
   Couple this minor irritation to Partizan's badges that have been issued the last two years, requesting that the wearer does not want to be photographed whilst at the show?????
 Which I must admit got my sad imagination working.
 Did some wargamer, tell his 'life partner', ' Oh I'm just off to my cookery class Hunny Bunch [sic] and will be back later, before surreptitiously dashing to Partizan to buy some toys, and then rushing back with  a small amount of flour on his clothes, and some Greggs pasties in a basket to perpetuate the lie.
 Only to be found out when his mush is plastered all over the latest edition of Miniature Wargames, which his partner 'always' reads.
 So to all complainers, whiners etc, please engage the brain before taking to the moral high ground.
 Oh and if someone can provide me with a reasoned explanation of these two diktats then feel free to comment.

        And a little joke, to allow someone to get the vapours................and be 'devastated'

                           'I know its an all male bar, but Im a bit worried about the stripper.'













Sunday, 27 November 2016

Battleground 26 November 2016.

          Colin puts some final touches to our game, prior to the general public coming in.

Well I'm safely back from Smoggyland, in one piece although a tad tired and bereft of cash funds.
Battleground for me personally is a very good show, in its former life it was also a great show, and I always viewed it as a signal that Winter had arrived.
   Leon of Pendraken fame has done a fine job taking on the responsibilities of hosting the show, and wargamers should recognise just how much effort he puts into making it such a success.
 And it is a success, with goodly numbers coming through the doors, even if they only want to spend a couple of hours buying some last minute wargame goodies.
 I don't know if it was as busy as last year, but it certainly seemed to have people walking around all day.

Our 'group' put on two games at the show, a 10mm Sudan game with John and Neil hosting that, and Wilson's Creek hosted by me and Colin. Both used terrain cloths, which I thought were very effective.

 I must confess that I wanted to fight an ACW game, purely so I could 'blood' my newly painted rebel regiments, so Battleground was a perfect excuse to get them on the table. The setup was made easier by basing the battle using the article that Paul Stevenson had written in Miniature Wargames 364 in 2013. That game was the first time that I had used Blackpowder rules, so seemed very apt, especially as Paul knows his stuff and had provided a very accurate account for us to use.
 Obviously since then I have become quite knowledgeable about BP, and with the release of their Glory Hallelujah supplement it was an interesting exercise to re visit the battle. I think as a display it looked about right, as a wargame I struggled against Colin's better Union troops and managed a losing draw. Shotgun armed militia are not too good to use. Also being caught in flank when in march column is never recommended, so I thought I did well to hang on. Newly painted regiments never fight well on their first outing, [second rule of wargaming]
 I can only apologise for not providing a detailed list of the clubs who put on a game, followed by a pile of images, but something had to give, between being at the table and shopping. I must admit I bought a lot of stuff, mainly Perry figures, although I managed to pick up two old Almark that I didn't have in my collection, one on the ACW and the second on the AWI. I also bought the first two Military Modelling annuals from the affable Graham Cummings, so I had a right wallow in nostalgia when I got home last night. Ah the smell of old [ish] books, wonderful. So how was the show, naturally I enjoyed the day, tiring yes, but its good to stop and talk to all and sundry about the game, wargaming and anything really. Make the trip next year, Battleground is readily accessible from the main A19, and is a very good day out.

                                      
           Never ever use march column within sight of the enemy, oops forgot that one.
                                             Because this is what happens if you do.


 Conrad Cairns of the Durham Wargames group always puts on a nice game, this was his 1866 battle, something I would have liked to get my fingers into.


 I would have loved a command in this lovely Malburian battle, I think it was Ramilles.


 The hardest working wargamer traders in the country [ well they said they were] Colonel Bill and trainee. Its funny but when I worked with the pair in a former life, salts couldn't work them.





Another battle I would have liked a crack at, Cannae, naturally.


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Fencing.

 I used to be quite adept at making my own terrain boards and the like, although I never mastered the art of dry brushing yellow? Dont ask me why. Anyway I decided to try my hand at making some compulsory snake fencing, which one needs for the ACW. These images are my first attempt at the fencing, and to be honest they seem okay.  Having done some more research I think my fencing is a little sophisticated for the era, and should simply be laid flat roughly hewn lengths of timber with a rock base. I will see if I can make a fist of them later. Being of the age I hoped to buy some value [cheap] fencing but there seems to be a shortage, probably because it is a bit time consuming. I have bought a couple of Rendra fences just to see what they are like. Of course these aren't cheap, but look very nice.



Sunday, 20 November 2016

Battleground 2016.

 This Saturday is the last wargames show that I will be attending for 2016. I then will be retiring into the Stygian gloom to hopefully prepare for the 2017 season.
 The show has been growing steadily after Pendrakon Miniatures took up the mantle after the sad demise of the Stockton show. I have always liked this show and felt it offered everything that made wargaming such a great hobby. It is friendly, filled with enthusiastic people and it is near enough to Christmas to make it feel, well festive.
 So get yourself along for a good day out. We are staging two games this year, an ACW game and a Colonial game.
 I like the new venue, which is easy to access, with plenty of free parking. Whats not to like.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Union troops at last.

 Well I finally got to grips with my first Union Regiment, and inevitably it had to be from the Iron Brigade. As I have previously explained there is no plan to which regiments I will paint, merely that they are either a famous or infamous regiment, or that they are dressed differently from the norm. This was originally how I collected wargames armies, especially 25mm Napoleonics, if it looked good then I would paint them. Certainly some wargame purists will turn their nose up at this approach, but my intention is more about enjoyment than accuracy of units in certain armies. Still I will have to do at least a couple more of the Iron Brigade to allow their Veteran status on the wargames table.

 Ive also completed some Confederate command figures, and rectified a mistake that John helpfully pointed out, basically that Blackpowder commanders need two dice to show their rating.God knows what I was thinking.So brigadiers will have one figure per base, and divisional and commanders two figures per base, simples.  Colin and I will be hosting an ACW game at Middlesbrough on Saturday using some of my new figures, and Colin's lovely collection.  The game will be a representation of Wilson's Creek 1861, which was the first ever Black Powder battle I fought in back in 2013, when Paul Stevenson kindly invited me through to take a command at the Durham group.
 Currently on my paint table is an Irish regiment and Hawkins Zouaves, both are progressing nicely.Anyway roll on next Saturday for hopefully a good days wargaming and a chat to all and sundry.







My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating