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Monday, 9 April 2018

Like buses.

 My posts tend to come along like buses.Just to prove that I am still chipping away at the ACW. I finally based up another rebel unit that I painted. I was inspired after I saw the self same unit in Dave Thomas's display at York. The regiment was painted by Tony Runkee and looked wonderful. So like a magpie I had to have the same regiment, except it isn't as good as the one Tony painted.
 My wife had very kindly bought me the Sarissa ACW train for Christmas and I have now managed to paint it up. Being almost autistic when it comes to kits I got John to put it together and he did his usual first rate job.So there you have it,  anew project to potter on with and a new train to attack, what could be better.



A Large Dollop of Nostalgia.

I have deliberately not posted since I returned from my holiday until I had something to write about. Well actually that's not strictly true because I could have posted about several wargames related things but they would have probably pissed someone off somewhere, as is my wont. Anyway I digress as usual.
 I have been looking for a new challenge ie. project and after a long think and such I finally decided on what I wanted to collect and paint next. I get a bit sniffy about words like 'project' and also announcements re such things because if one then fails to carry it through it basically makes a mockery of posting such things.
 I basically wanted several things from my next painting project. It needed to be of historical interest to both me and John. It had to be doable. It also needed to have a set of wargames rules that I was happy with. More importantly it needed to be relatively cheap to complete and also be a pleasure to paint. Lets be right whats the point if there is no enjoyment in painting the figures.
 So after being inspired by a wargamer who had just completed two English Civil Wars armies made up of Hinchliffe castings I got thinking about such a project. [I apologise for forgetting the blog, it was a wonderful achievement and deserves recognition.]
 Ian Hinds was advertising a 25% reduction on Hinchliffe castings which are already pretty good value. I was always envious of John's wonderful Civil Wars armies that he painted back in the 1980's and of course the figures had been created by Peter Gilder.
 Anyway I got down to the project....
 I have now watched my Cromwell dvd to get a feel of the period. I have purchased another copy of Philip Haythornwaite's generic ECW book and I have set to it. To offset any would be detractor of my extensive research I would like to stress that my intention is to create two English Civil Wars armies, a la Hollywood.
 So its going to be uniform regiments, bright colours and of course my favourite civil war regiments.Additionally I want to make these armies glossy. I cant replicate Gilder's of John's wonderful armies simply because I dont have their ability and also I no longer use enamels and oils.  But I will give it my best shot.
 Of course I had to start with the iconic Connoisseur figures, 'Rupert's Charge.' When Gilder created these figures and they appeared in the wargames magazinesall those years ago I was blown away by their beauty. I knew I had to have them again. I'm not totally happy with they way they came out but I did find it difficult to get the effect I am wanting. Perhaps I should have started with a more mundane regiment. Anyway I am now painting Haselrigges lobsters so hopefully they will turn out better. Still I have a start. 



  Invariably I start by painting a few generals. I find it gets me into the groove. Naturally I had to paint Rupert and 'Boy' his dog.So we have a start, lets hope I can fulfill my ambition.




Sunday, 25 March 2018

Im back.....

Well I'm back. Jet lagged, exhausted and frankly in need of some bed rest. Apologies to any followers who thought I was disappearing into some abyss of despair but I really dont like to say when I am not at home. Instead of misery I have just spent two and a half weeks tramping around Cambodia and Vietnam and thoroughly enjoyed every experience including an attack of the trots, insect bites and a bad bout of bronchitis. The ordinary people of these two countries make one realise just how pathetic are the gripes of certain elements of the UK. In Cambodia, where a quarter of their people were wiped out by genocide that the Western world refused to stop and in Vietnam where a series of civil wars and of course the war that framed the US consciousness for a generation have bounced back and are dragging their countries towards their dream of a better life. Yes there are many things wrong with their governments but they seem to be determined to succeed and just get on with life. God knows what they would have made of the morons who called 999 when KFC ran out of chicken. Truly the Vietnamese are the 'happy' people. Anyway this post is purely to say I am climbing back into the wargaming saddle and have framed my painting plans for this year and no its nothing to do with a South East Asian army..... Onwards and upwards..

Monday, 5 March 2018

Bases.

 While at the York Show which seems like an eternity ago I had a conversation with Tony Runkee and Shaun Bryant, both master painters. Unfortunately they pointed out the issue that I had ignored ever since I started my ACW project. Bases. When I first started painting the ACW figures the only bases I had were 50mm square so the first units were set on them. John when he saw the units loved the painting but suggested they would look better on smaller bases. I knew he was right but to be honest I couldnt face it. So when Shaun and Tony had a heart to heart with me they also pointed out the same issue. The figures looked too spaced out.
 When three veteran wargamers talk about the same issue one should take notice, and to be honest I had been mulling it over for months.Anyway Shaun very kindly volunteered to rebase them for me! How could I say no, because Shaun is an expert in basing and does all of Dave Thomas's figures.
Anyway Shaun has been busy and has sent me a few images of the new basing.They look great and I cant wait for the whole collection to be completed. The problem will be how I match his standard if I paint up more units.
 The blog by the way will go quiet for a few weeks as I will be unavailable. I will be back, hopefully.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

New Dice, same old throws.

I have been remiss in not posting as often as I should but sometimes I struggle to think of something that may be of interest for any wargamers who pop in. To be honest since the hiatus of finishing my ACW project I seem to have painted my self out.
 John and I have managed three games however and all have been brilliant affairs. Very tense and hard fought as only wargamers who have known each other for a long time can be.
Two of the games were a rare affair for us. Matching Normans against Vikings.
 Only John would have kept a set of rules printed in Miniature Wargames and painted two armies up to use the rules.
 The actual rules were in issue 370, February 2014 and were written by a Stuart Smith. They were titled Invader 1066, Rules for the Norman Conquest and Beyond.Funnily enough the same magazine contains the last article I submitted to the MW, serendipitous.
 Anyway I found the rules very easy to follow and was very impressed by how well they worked. What I particularly liked was the use of some event cards to throw some friction into the mix. Mr Smith did a cracking job of creating a set of rules that seemed to capture the flavour of the period. Shield walls, berserkers, mailed knights and housecarls.
 We managed to fight two games in one session, swapping sides to try the armies out. The battles were one of those days where I could do no wrong. Need a six,check. Need a double one, check. Wipe out the guard housecarls, easy.
The games were coincidentally  the first time that I was able to use my 'new' dice commissioned by Stuart Mulligan for the renaissance period. So although the dice were an anachronism I was determined to try them out.... And as I said I could do no wrong.

 Last week we managed to fight a big malburian game using Black powder with their Last Argument of Kings supplement.It was back to normal for me I'm afraid. Blunders seemed to appear at the least appropriate moment, my British cavalry had no stomach for the fight and were scattered by Bavarian cuirassiers? I foolishly thought I could march through the French centre whilst ignoring a large brigade of dragoons sweeping around my rear. It was still a great game and the British nearly succeeded.
 Three great wargames, no arguments, some gentle sledging and lovely colourful figures to move about a great set up. Whats not to like.
                     
                             




Monday, 5 February 2018

Vapnatark 2018

As most followers will be aware yesterday was the official start of the wargaming show season with the Vapnatark show at the York racecourse.It is probably the show I most look forward to simply because it will have been a couple of quiet months prior to the event.
This year I was even more determined to attend after missing last years due to unforeseen circumstances. So I tipped up early to the start of the season and 'suffered' for the privilege of being through the doors first. Well actually that isn't correct as although John, Neil and I were officially the head of the long queue, three lovely 'mature'  [as in over 50 ] people decided to somehow crowd themselves into pole position by engaging in a very lengthy conversation with the guy on the door. In the end I couldn't help myself and interrupted their in depth conversation about some crucial 40k matter and explained to the woman? or was it a transgender that if she/he was that keen to be in first they could have my place in the queue. Unfortunately my wit didnt register and he/her carried on wittering to her dwarf like partner about his shop. Okay,I admit it, I am Victor Meldrew.
 And sadly that is how I will remember the show.
 The event has become a victim of its own success and like Salute several years ago has simply outgrown its venue.The show to put it bluntly was mobbed. Now this should be a good thing but it wasnt to be honest, well not for me.
 So how was the show overall.
The positives first; Well the trade was very good and very varied with several new companies popping up for the first time.The building which normally is light and airy except on race days or wargame show days is a good venue with easy access normally to all three floors.
 There is a decent amount of parking and the food is of a decent standard if a little pricey. It is a very good wargames show and for me better than last years Salute by a country mile.

 Usually as most bloggers do I take a fair amount of images of the games but I will be brutally honest and state that you can refer to last years or the years before to check on the standard of the games on the ground floor given that they are derivatives of the same games.
 Absolutely nothing wrong with them, they are very good examples and of a high standard, but they are simply the same games repeated.
 The second floor had some very nice smaller games and I only wish I had taken some photographs of them because the wargamers had clearly put some effort into them. As for the competition games, no doubt they were very exciting for the competitors.

 And then we had the Table Top Sale. This has definitely outgrown the venue with long queues to not only book in for the 45 minute spots, but even longer queues for the actual buyers. Mix in two false fire/bomb alarms that caused the place to be evacuated and any residual pleasure simply slips away.
 I enjoy table top sales, and for me they are the way forward to offload surplus stuff but if one more rotund smelly troll decides to squeeze into the heaving mass carrying an overly large rucksack on his back and think its okay then I forsee some bother in future.
 What is in their rucksacks? A change of clothes? Soap and aftershave? A photograph of their mother?  Just think of other people for a change eh? especially the poor bugger who kept getting twatted in the face every time they swung around.
It was great to see wargamers that I hadnt seen for a while and its always nice to do some retail therapy albeit on a smaller scale this show.As for the demographics as our American cousins would say, I think the age of the crowds was dropping by a good 20 years or so.

Now the negatives for me anyway: If the York club cannot find a bigger venue then I think they should consider selling limited tickets certainly for the morning with a return to pay at the door after 1pm. The venue was uncomfortably mobbed until about 1.30pm.
The table top area needs to be expanded which would no doubt be at the expense of some other thing, but it was very very successful.
 Finally the organisers should re consider what they are attempting to achieve with the demonstration? games on the ground floor. If they are to showcase the hobby great, but you cannot keep recycling the same periods ad infinitum. Big games yes, different periods /scale yes, but they really need to think about what for me is a big part of a show.
 My abiding memories of yesterday were John Treadaway locked out of the show and banging on the windows of the first floor viewing gallery before forlornly walking away to look for a new way into the event and Charles Stewart Grant who I literally bumped into four or five times muttering, 'this is madness.'
 Sorry for the negativity and truthfulness. 




 

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Dave Clemmet and Tom Davidson.


I received the following e mail from Dave Clemmet and Tom Davidson this morning announcing their retirement from organising wargames shows in the North East of England. Both men took on the dubious pleasure of organising wargames shows in the North East of England from the early 1980's and through their hard work built up their Stockton shows into a must go to event. 
  Tom and Dave were always looking for new ways to sell wargaming. They provided a top quality painting competition, and excellent tombola with all the funds going to their local disabled persons organisations, they introduced low entry fees [ other shows take note ] and were always keen to invite groups who wanted to stage a new way to publicise wargaming. One of my favourites which I will always remember was the wonderful 54mm Historex Napoleonic wargame with hundreds of figures.
 Dave and Tom very kindly allowed two keen wargamers to stage games at their show, and their kindness helped create the Independent Wargames Group.
  These two men never spoke of or complained about their own personal battles and always were keen to be involved in growing the hobby. Wargaming is lucky to have individuals like Dave and Tom and again I would like to thank them for all their enthusiasm and hard work in promoting our hobby and also raising a lot of money for less fortunate individuals. Well done. 


'It is with a tinge of regret that Tom Davidson and I have decided to end our wargame show organising career and are thus closing our website – www.teesshows.co.uk – in the very near future.

We began our wargame show organising career with what we thought at the time (1981) would be a one off event. Models, Wargames and Boardgames 1981 was our way of celebrating the International Year of the Disabled Person but we were persuaded by a range of people to organise another show – and what followed is history.

Between 1981 and 2016 we organised 41 wargames shows staged in four different venues (3 in Stockton on Tees and 1 in Middlesbrough) – and between 1997 and 2006 we organised two shows per year. The proceeds of all 41 shows was donated to charity (the amount being in excess of £15,000) and while that was an important reason why we staged the shows it was not the only one – we wanted to promote the hobby that has given us so much pleasure over the years.

Our proudest moment came at our 2007 show – Parade Ground 2007 – when we were each presented with an engraved silver salver by the Durham Wargames Group and we have always been very grateful for this public recognition of our efforts. Photos of the presentation and of my salver are attached below.

We still intend to support the hobby that has given us so much pleasure – by attending as many shows as possible in our region for as long as we are able and supporting our favourite traders with our purchases.

Finally we would like to record our thanks to everyone who helped us to make our shows such an enjoyable experience for us over the years.

David & Tom'

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Back in the saddle.

 Well I'm back from my sabbatical in the Big Apple, jet lagged and knackered, but still a very enjoyable experience as always.So it was back to the brushes, or in this case the tufts and some pva.
 This unit of Eureka Saxons has been waiting to be painted since April 2017, but I'm pleased they are finally painted and based.I do have an affinity for the poor SYW Saxons, probably due to the regular bullying by Frederick. No doubt they will do what Saxons do best, which is just average.Still, they did know how to dress.   





Tuesday, 23 January 2018

The Bloody Lane, Battle of Antietam 1862.

The following game was scheduled for early January but due to a few personal issues John and I managed to fight this game today, and what a struggle it turned out to be.
For our first game of 2018 I decided to refight The Bloody Lane at Antietam using the scenario that is in the Picketts Charge rule book.It is an interesting scenario that has tactical problems for both sides.
I managed to find a photograph obtained from a rebel dirigible taken in 1862 showing the lane
     [okay I may have lied.] The modern image does give a good idea of what the position was like though.


My representation of the Bloody Lane. The table for this game is 10 feet by 6 feet as it was a fairly concentrated affair.
 I won the dice roll and opted to be Confederate. The rebels only have four brigades of various sizes. The scenario does allow three of the brigades to be classed as regulars and one Veteran Brigade.My plan was to line the lane with three brigades whilst using my veteran brigade to potentially turn the Union's right flank.
John as Union commander had five brigades of much larger size but the biggest two were all green troops. In the scenario the Union had two rifled gun batteries whilst the Rebels had two mixed batteries. The scenario didnt allow these to be deployed in the lane, which was fair enough given the actual terrain. John's plan was a bit unusual for him as he decided to attack my left wing with two brigades whilst attempting to concentrate on the elbow in the lane with two more brigades. The final brigade covered his right flank, but was tasked with a more passive role.
 Any rebel units behind the walls in the sunken lane were allowed an additional causality dice if they fired which allowed me the chance of killing some Union troops.
 Unfortunately to start with I kept throwing dice which made my three central brigades become 'hesitant', as a consequence these troops could only fire at short range which allowed the Union to close without causalities. I did however manage to get Rhodes, Veteran brigade to quickly march onto the right flank of the union.
 Unfortunately for the Union by some lucky throwing I finally was able to unleash hell in the centre where one of the Green brigades of the Union wilted back towards their starting line.Having a rush of blood I threw the biggest of Anderson's regiments out of the lane to charge the struggling Union. After some initial success John was able to bring close range artillery, skirmishers and and a line regiment to fire on these poor troops. They were subsequently wiped out. A fine lesson there. 
 On my right John had been able to get a brigade to charge range. Three times he attempted to breach the lane but each time I was able to hold and drive him back with minimal casualities.




Using a flash of tactical brilliance? I maneuvered one of Wrights brigade onto the flank of the Union attacking lines intending to hit them in the flank, only to watch as John got the initiative on me and charge the isolated regiment with two regiments of his dreaded Irish. So outnumbered and without supports my one small regiment was facing extinction.
Only for me to throw this in the charge roll. Even though John had an opportunity due to his one support to re roll one dice he failed and his Irish were forced to run. So the main attack seemed stymied.
In the left centre I was happily chipping away at the Union skirmish line which were very active.John's artillery battery was particularly effective at hammering my static left wing.

 On the left, my veteran brigade were making a dog's breakfast of turning the Union flank with regular 'hesitant' throws to stop their forced marches.Eventually I was able to send one of the veteran regiments against John's flank only to watch as they ran away in double quick time. The scenario allowed for 16 moves but by move 9 it was clear that the Union attacks had failed and three of the five Union brigades were no longer battle worthy. John kindly gave me the victory.

                              A view from the Union centre. As their final attack stalled.
 Picketts Charge rules had once again shown why they are not only enjoyable but give a nice historic 'feel' to the games. The scenario isnt a big one, well okay, its quite large, but the rules allow the game to move along fairly quickly and nothing is for certain so there is always a chance of the unexpected but still historical result to a move.
                        A view from the Union side prior to the start of the deployment.






                                                                The Aftermath.



Monday, 15 January 2018

A Compendium of Rebels.

 Over Christmas I was given four unusual figures by Colin of Carry on up the Dale blog fame. The figures were unusual as they were ACW figures with some metal fencing included. Anyway I decided to paint up a random unit of rebels using these four figures as the core of the regiment this last week.
 I had various spare ACW figures and cobbled together this unit.The other figures are Redoubt, Perry, Foundry and a couple of Steve Barber figures. So quite a cross section of manufacturers. Unfortunately there was no details regarding the odd four, just that they were engaged in climbing over the fence provided.
 Anyway I knocked this odd unit off , in between paining up Bronzino's Guns. I also used larger bases to make a sort of diorama effect for the unit.I didnt want to chop the metal fencing around too much, they were already quite vulnerable to bending etc.
                      So there you have it. A proverbial Foreign Legion of ACW figures.






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