Off to Derby!

Well, Birmingham first! Tomorrow I do a half’ish day at work and then board a train to sunny Birmingham (beer and curry) and Saturday AM I head for Derby and the World Wargames. This is my annual trip and ‘night out’ and a chance to catch up with friends in Birmingham.

I like the Derby show. Good venue, light and spacious, and a good chance to meet up with various denizens of the online fora I frequent. Plans for the day are:

  • pick up stuff for Ian from Skytrex and SHQ
  • pick up some Russian and Belgian stuff from Skytrex
  • some more buildings from Timecast
  • and pretty well anything that takes my fancy!

I may keep an eye open for some of the NATO boardgames to maybe use as a basis for a campaign. And if anyone has any decent modern microarmour for sale on the B&B I may succumb! I most certainly will not be buying any 10mm from Pendraken. They are lovely figures and I am SOOOOO tempted but I just cannot justify another period and scale. More from the need to get 10mm scenery when I can barely complete my 6mm and 15mm scenery!

Update when I get back, likely accompanied by some crap photos courtesy of my phone! Oh, and the journey shall be passed reading Harold Coyle’s Sword Point. Finished Red Army the other day and really enjoyed it. I found the references to all vehicles by generic terms (e.g infantry fighting vehicle) a bit annoying but having read the notes at the back I can see that he was trying to focus on the people and not the tech. In the end it worked and you did care what happened to them. Good book. Would be interesting to run a sort of sequel as a campaign.


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CWC – More Russians: SA-6 and PT-76

A week or so ago Ian gave me a unit of SA-6s along with a radar/command vehicle:

I wanted to rebase then to fit in with mine and ended up doing a near full repaint on them as well. Started with a heavy dry brush of Vallejo Russian Green, followed by a Vallejo Sepia Wash and a dry brush with the Russian Green again, and finally a light dry brush with Sky Grey. A bit of colour to the missile tips and some ‘impressionistic’ numbers on the side and done! Then base up in my usual style:


And the command/radar vehicle (any idea on type anyone?) got an accompanying GAZ-66 and a few crew and become an HQ:


I think it’s unlikely I would ever use all five in a game and the HQ can also server as a generic one in the game anyway. Either way, they were fun to do and never turn down free minis! Cheers Ian! 🙂

Finally, while sorting through the last of the Russians I may/may not use I ID’d the definite nos (they are on eBay at the moment) and the majority of the rest I based up on MDF ready to be finished off as and when. But there were also three PT-76 models and although I’m not sure where to fit these in my forces (other than recce) I decided to base them up anyway. And I figured if you are going to have an amphibious tank it ought to be in something wet!


So there we are. A few more Russian done. Now, back to the Belgians!

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CWC – Belgians and some questions!

Finally made a little start on my Cold War Belgians. I’m still trying to fix on exactly what brigades/regiments to do but thought I’d try out basing some of the original batch I got. Although the paint job on these was basic but OK I decided to try out a slightly darker scheme. For the moment I’m going with a basic all green colour so I pretty well painted the whole lot Vallejo Bronze Green, applied a wash of Vallejo Sepia wash and then dry brushed with sky grey.


To try and give a little contrast to them I tried some unit numbers on the side (although I think if these were used they would be two rather than three digit), the odd white marking for unit symbols on the turret and a small Belgian flag on the rear right hand mud flap.

I THINK these are Leopard 1A2s but the basket on the rear of the turret seems to be solidly moulded. So I’m not sure really on the model/make? I know they are not H&R as I’ve just got hold of one each of their Leopards! Skytrex maybe?

I also did a scorpion up as a recce unit:


Another 6 to do for the full unit plus the HQ and some more recce.

On the subject of ID’ing vehicles (again!) I’m trying to sort out the model and manufacturer of the following T-62 and T-72s. The last model seems rather low and small compared to the middle T-72 so I think I’d like to get any further models to match the middle one:

I’m also stuck on what this is and where I could use it on CO/HQ bases?

And finally, Ian was kind enough to give me a surplus SA-6 regiment which I will be touching up and re-basing in the near future. Cheers Ian:


Surplus: I’m also in the process of chucking all the surplus vehicles I have on eBay. You can see the current list here.

That’s all for now…

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CWC Background Reading…

Since I discovered Cold War Commander I’ve been picking up a few books for background reading, both factual and fictional. First stop was to be a revisit to Hackett’s The Third World War (which I read c.1980) and the follow-up Untold Story. These can be a little dry but the premise and detail are good. Shame about Birmingham though…

However in trawling TMP for hints on what to read I was pointed to Howard Coyle’s Team Yankee, a fictional account of a US unit in action against the Soviets using Hackett’s theme as the background. Now, I’ve read a few of Coyle’s other books but only the ones related to the French Indian War (Savage Wilderness) and to the American Civil War (Look Away and Until the End) but never any of his ‘modern’ stuff. Team Yankee was excellent fun and following on from this I managed to get The Ten Thousand.

This is based a few books on from the first where a unified Germany and a diminished but more US friendly Russia exist and the now independent Ukraine has seized nuclear weapons. The US seize these weapons (not entirely successfully as some go off!) and move the remainder to bases in Germany prior to returning them to the States. This is where things get ‘interesting’ as the German Chancellor (an ex-Hitler Youth with a hatred of America after they killed his family in 1945!) seizes the weapons to help Germany resume its place as a great European power. What follows is a quite good account of a US Corps fighting its way up through Germany a la Xenophon (hence the title). I think I’d be slightly offended if I was German as the portrayal of some is a little ‘iffy’ but all in all a good read. I now have the intermediate books waiting to be read, Sword Point, Bright Star and Trial by Fire.

I also have the inevitable Red Storm Rising to re-read. I haven’t read this since I was in India many years ago where I worked my way through all Clancy’s books (as of then). Final on the list is Red Army by Ralph Peters … which looks at a Warsaw Pact attack from the Soviet side. Supposed to be good so looking forward to this.
On a more serious fictional note I’m just about finished with First Clash by Kenneth Mackesy:

which is a rather interesting look at a Canadian Brigade in action defending against a Soviet attack. Lots of good detail if not exactly an exciting read but worth the effort.

The factual stuff is currently restricted to the relevant Ospreys (T-55, 62, 72 80), Leopards 1 and 2 and the BMP book. I’d like Zaloga’s Nato v Warsaw Pact book but that is (like a lot Ospreys) out of print. Also have the Warsaw Pact, US and Soviet army books as well. Isby keeps getting recommended on the Russians but the 1988 edition is still a little pricey for me and not at the moment essential. I have one the generic Inside the Russian Army books which has lots of pretty pictures but not really the detail I need. (Too many to provide links for there!)

I’m sure there are a lot more books on AFVs (Concord series etc.) but there is a limit to how much detail I need on an AFV for 1/300th!

Oh and finally I’m just finishing Simon Pearson’s Total War 2006 which posits a Russian backed Islamic Alliance surging to power across the Middle East and threatening Israel and the West. Not sure how possible it is but the detail (especially on air war aspects as the author is ex-RAF) is good and if I wasn’t firmly entrenched in the 1980s I might give some of the ideas a look as possible scenarios.

So there we are. My current reading matter. Hope it’s of interest. In case you wonder why I’ve got a few nearing the end it’s because I usually have four books on the go at once. Once by the bed, one in bag for bus/work, one in attic toilet and one in main toilet! Means I always have a book to hand!

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Border Reiver 2010 – AAR

First weekend of September and the annual Border Reiver Wargames Show takes place at Newcastle’s Arena (well, the entrance area!). I usually make this show every year and it’s a good one to catch up on people from local clubs which, given that I rarely get down anywhere to game, is the only time I see them! As ever, the venue was a little poorly lit but this year everything seemed a little more spaced out so it seemed to minimise this effect. Apart maybe from Mutineer Miniatures who were partly stuck under a staircase so suffered a little from the traditional gloom!

The bar area to the right was this year opened up to traders (Mutineer and Gateshead Gaming) which gave them both more space. I’m a big fan of Mutineer and they have done my rivers for me. I had wanted to buy some more tufts but for the life of me couldn’t remember the exact colour I currently use! Mail order it will have to be. There was discussion of starting the Tufty Club where you got a stamp for each pack of tufts you buy and then a bonus when you get a full card! Sounds like a good idea to me!

In the usual gloom I pretty well gave up on taking pictures but did towards the end I snapped a few with my phone. First up was Lloyds lovely looking participation game with Egyptians and Nubians (I think):

You can find more about Lloyd’s activities and his views on wargaming on his website

Tyneside Wargames Club were doing a Thirty Year War game using a modified set of the Club’s own Great Captain rules. I only caught a picture right at the end but it seemed to go well and I saw at least one punter sat with his coffee looking a newly bought copy of the rules!

Adjacent to them and in a prime light spot was an excellent Napoleonic game by Falkirk District Wargames Club:


My crappy photos do not do justice to some lovely figures. I’m not a big fan of hex based terrain but this lot did look nice.

There were other games on show (a rather nice 15mm snow based Sci-Fi game which almost had me cracking and looking at some 15mm figures from Critical Mass Games! There was a small FoW games, a nice ‘Old School’ Zulu game (sorry not sure who by) and the local boardgames club had a large table showing off three games.

The Bring and Buy was at the far left with a good length of table and plenty of space around to facilitate browsing. All important to me as I had a few things on the bring and buy to sell! Came away with £60 which was fine, and as some was the last stuff of the batch I’m selling for someone else it was good to clear them. The rest of my spare lead will have to go the eBay route – when I can get organised to sort it out!

It was good to meet up with Phil, Ian and others of the Tyneside Club as well as the CWC guys from North Shields. And the usual chats with the people and traders I only ever meet at Shows! Dave at Caliver was happy about the success of General de Brigade Deluxe and I’m looking forward to the prospect of a British Grenadier Deluxe as there are some excellent AWI collections around to fill it out with eye candy! And it was good to see Neil, my longstanding ASL opponent who I haven’t played for nigh on two years! Kids… etc.

Purchases: being of financial paucity at the moment I had decided to be very restrained in any purchases and I achieved this admirably – much to my relief and that of my wife! I only bought a Town Pack of 6mm buildings from Mainly Military, a couple of warehouses and some Vallejo washes. All in all, very restrained. All I need now is to paint the buggers!

Anyway, it was an excellent little show and seemed to go without any hitches so roll on next year! In the meantime I have Derby lined up next month and Smoggycon in November. My wife and wallet tremble at the prospect! 🙂

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