Christmas at Tyneside Wargames Club…

I had really intended to get more gaming this last year but managed to get two games of Cold War Commander in the first quarter, then the big Ayton ImagiNation weekend and… that’s been it. Not a good total really but definitely quality over quantity, especially with the Ayton game! So, over the last few weeks I’d been trying to arrange a game with Stephen Davison. Nothing had really happened but I decided to push to get down to the last meeting before Christmas of the Tyneside Wargames Club– always a good fun session. Stephen had said he and a few others were doing Waterloo with Grand Armee and I was welcome to pop in and help with the British. I had a bit Christmas shopping to do and a haircut to get but eventually made it down to find the game in full swing with about 10 players involved and the first Prussians appearing early on the French flank. The first French attack had been repulsed with heavy loss and the second, along with the Guard was moving forward as the French right moved to combat the Prussian threat.

 

I took control of a couple of brigades of British cavalry and some horse artillery on the British left.

They had moderate success seeing of French cavalry and breaking squares.

The Prussians slowly advanced on the French right, driving off Cuirassiers, but not being able to make rapid progress.

As the Guard advanced the British center was under threat.

 

The Guard did break through but were held and repulsed!

And as the recovered French corps moved to the attack again it looked like the center would hold.

The Prussians continued to push onwards but were desperate for their other Korps to arrive!

As time ran out it was agreed on a marginal Allied victory. The center had held, barely.

I haven’t played Grande Armee for…ages. And really enjoyed it again. The game was great fun and played with great spirit by all concerned. And this was certainly helped by the excellent supply train!

Some fine cognac, German brandy, cherry brandy, port, wine, vodka… 🙂

Phil, Lawrence, Ian and Richard were doing a 28mm Dark Age game:

 

The regular large Great Captains game, part of an ongoing campaign:

With serious numbers of 15mm figures present!

There was a large naval game, French vs. Japanese I think but no idea on what rules!

 

All in all, a very pleasurable way to spend the afternoon. And luckily I didn’t have to drive anywhere tonight as I’d be way over the limit!

So a big thanks to the guys for games and victuals and hopefully I can make it down more in 2012.

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December Update – Syrians and watching Zulu…

I had great plans for trying to get a game today, even if only solo. Wife was supposed to be out for the day with the kids. But my expected full day to myself ended up as a few hours (by the time I’d done my assigned chores!) so I did something I’ve been planning to do for most of this year – watch Zulu! It’s one of my favourite films and back in January when we finally bought a big TV and Blu-ray player it was one of the first films I bought (along with Black Hawk Down, Gladiator and Watchmen).

If you read the comments on Amazon about the Blu-Ray transfer there are a few people who complain it is ‘too clean’ and that the original ‘quality’ of the film has been erased by the digital processing. All I can see is a bloody stunning film! The colours are vibrant and it was a joy to watch. It was great to have the time to sit and watch it on my own and it still remains a great film. I know the history ain’t quite right but in this case I don’t care. For me it is one of THE films of my childhood and I can watch it again and again!

And after the film I had a little time to finish off some basing. I had done a unit of T62As for my Syrians. Models are GHQ and rather nice. HQ stand completed as well.

 
 

And just so I might have enough for a small game, I did a recce unit and the CO stand.

 
 
 

The GHQ T55 is an absolutely lovely model. Oozing crisp detail and and example of GHQ at their best.

And yesterday I spent a little time dipping the latest batch of trees from Timecast in PVA ready for basing up.

 

With what I’ve done so far this will hopefully give me enough to get going, though I think I really need about the same amount again! As with the others I did I’ll be putting them 3,4,5 to a base and then putting those on defined areas of cloth etc. to mark the extent of woods.

One day I’ll use them in a game… 🙂

Someone on TMP had suggested using Veltrim (usually used for car interiors) as a material for game cloths. I managed to get a sample of the ‘SAND’ colour.

Although it matched quite well with that I’ve painted my tiles I’m not yet sure I’d right for general desert use. Just not quite yellow enough. It would cost £21 plus shipping for a piece 9ft by 6ft. The jury is still out on this one!

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Going off the rails… well, on them actually!

After a chance conversation with Jason from the North Shields club about railways for 1/300th games he said he had picked up a pack of the Hornby Track Planning Symbols for use in a planned game. I’ve not really had chance to talk to him properly since so I don’t know how far he has progressed but I liked the idea and grabbed a pack on eBay. They are 1/4 OO/HO scale so as close to 1/300th as you are likely to get! You get a reasonable selection of straights (enough for 3-4ft) but you also get LOTS of curves and points. And as this is for model railway planning, you  get curves for doing twin tracks and fancy crossovers.

On a visit to Timecast I was talking to Mark and Barry about any plans for doing track rather than using actual model railway track which is a tad too big. The issue is always how much you do. You need straights, points and curves. But if you do curves, what radius? And do you allow for double track? And curved points? So this Hornby stuff seemed a good idea. They also said they had looked at this as well for some models but had found it really difficult to glue…to anything. Something about the type of plastic being glue resistant!

Now I bought the pack months ago and as with many projects it has sat on the side waiting. However, at SMOGGYCON last weekend Martin at Warbases has a little bargain box so I picked up a pack of 132mm lengths of MDF which I thought would be ideal for the track. And today I found a little time to make a section up.

I just lathered on UHU glue and let it dry fully, trimmed the ends, and then used Vallejo White Pumice to texture the rest of the base. Sprayed with mid brown an then painted and dry brushed the lot.

You can get an idea of what the basic track looks like below. The only slight issue is that some/most pieces have a code number on them. I may try and trim some of these off but on the test piece I left them on and then painted that bit black. I also used one of the very short track sections in the middle and that makes it look a little uneven.

Overall, assuming the glue thing doesn’t kick in, I’m quite happy with it. Future one’s I’ll texture to make the raised track bed more prominent. And I want to move to some double track, maybe mostly curved. Martin at Warbases has said he can cut curved bases to size so if I can work up some templates that should be good to go. The lots of interesting points etc. will allow some nice rail yards to be made up, I hope.

Still, as with all projects, lots more to do!

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I only came to build a bridge….

… and ended up blowing the bloody doors off!
Natal Province – March 1879
While out shooting some local wildlife/natives I saw our scouts returning in haste, reporting Zulus to the north, “Fousands of ’em, sir”.
Bagging a last gazelle for supper I returned to the camp to raise the alarm but was pleased to see that Mr Pickwick-Jones had risen from his normal drunken haze and was leading the troops forward in good order.
As the Zulu hordes approached I deployed the troops for action, forming line. The Naval Brigade with their Nordfelt joined me, and the 104th on the left while Captain Richie took command of the right flank with the Natal Levy and the 33rd. We could see the Zulu chieftains overlooking the battlefield as all commanders took stock of the situation, prepared their plans and issued Special Military Stipulations (SMS Messages, the latest in military field theory).
My troops faced a long line of warriors, while Captain Richie faced a dense column thundering towards him, while Zulus, armed with captured rifles moved round his flank which was only held by the Natal Levy.
I threw out a skirmish line to slow the advance towards me and prepared the Nordfelt pour withering fire on the approaching hordes!
But disaster! It jammed! The skirmish line withdrew and soon the rifles of Her Majesties finest poured forth a hellish fire! But this was as nothing compared to the slaughter on the right. The Levy drove off the flank attack and volley after volley destroyed the attacking warriors, who even though some made contact, were soon driven back.
As the enemy stalled in the face of our volleys a great war cry was heard to our left as a Zulu impi surged towards our flank! A skirmish line, apparently lead by Pickford-Jones (no doubt retreating in the wrong direction) rushed to delay them.
But they were too late. As the Nordfelt was finally unjammed my valiant lads kept up a steady fire and the Zulus fell in their hundreds until not a single one stood…
The great Zulu chieftain, distraught at the loss of so many of his warriors, conceded the field, a broken man.
There would be many more widows in the villages that night and far fewer spears to wash. And as Captain Richie oversaw the roll call it was with great relief I was able to report not a man was lost. Even Pickford-Jones could hold his head high at the days performance. There would no doubt be medals and reports in the Times.
Now where did I leave that gazelle…

This little game was fought yesterday at SMOGGYCON. Figures, rules, terrain and umpiring provided by Peeler and you can find details on the forces/figures used on his blog. He also graciously provided his pictures as by then my camera was dead. The Zulu hordes were commanded by Norman D Landings and Goat Major and I took command of Her Majesties forces alongside Richie. Rules were the Colonial Supplement for DBN from KISR and I shall be acquiring these to go with the pack of Pendraken Zulu War figures I bought!

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AAR – SMOGGYCON 2011, Middlesbrough

Today I returned to Middlesbrough. It was the third SMOGGYCON Show. I’d been to the first and really enjoyed it as an excellent replacement for the defunct Stockton Shows. Good venue, keen organisers and good selection of traders and games. I missed last year as snow prevented Norman D’s BMW sporty thing getting out of his drive! But today he picked me up at 9am and off we set. Too busy talking, we missed the turning and were heading toward Thirsk! Quick turnaround and the venue was found with no problems. The car park was pretty full which was a good sign.

It’s an excellent venue. Spacious and light. The two main halls being quiet separate was confusing for some, who commented on the Show being not as big as they thought, and were then introduced to the main Sports Hall – I won’t mention who!

There was a good range of demo games on, some familiar from other shows, and a few participation games.

An excellent looking SYW game wherein it was good to see a lot of my favourite RSM miniatures. The first picture highlighting an issue with the lighting in the Sports Hall which although bright enough gave everything a yellow tinge!

The Derwentside Club had an interesting SF game where all terrain AND vehicles were made from card!

Border Reiver Wargames had a very impressive Irish Civil War street battle depicting ‘The Block’, one of the last actions in Dublin in 1922.

Tyneside Wargames Club fielded an impressive array of Imperialists and Ottomans for a Great Captains game.

Various WW2 games were on show using rules such as Rapid Fire and Kampfgruppe Normandy . It was not always easy to see what games were and what rules were used. Asking would have been the solution but I was a bit pressed for time as the battery on my phone/camera was on the way out. Again. So I apologise in advance for lack of accreditation.

 
 
 
 
 

There were other demos and competition games in the Sports Hall but the lighting didn’t really facilitate decent photos.

As I’d travelled down with Norman D Landings we met up with Goat Major and Peeler (all WD3 denizens). The latter, with the Yorkshire Shore Wargamers, had a neat little DBx Colonial game open for participation using 20mm Zulus against the valiant redcoats.

I’d seen at least one game mirror Zulu Dawn rather than Zulu so the three of us, plus Rich with Peeler as umpire embarked on a game ourselves. I’ve never really played DBA but some of the variants seem to have a good following and reputation and this set (which I’ll have to get Peeler to remind the name of!) were no exception. As the Zulus charged forward onto the British line they were met with withering volleys (despite my naval guns jamming!) and suffered badly. On the right (Rich commanding) they fell to Native Levies and when finally made contact were driven off with much loss. By the time the flank attack was approaching the army had broken to not a single loss to the Queen’s forces! As the roll call was called afterwards all were present and correct and the impis returned to villages full of widows. Fun little game. Excellent rules.

And finally the re-enactors (ACW and WW1) looked excellent and had friendly and informative stalls.

All in all it was a good show.

The Damage!
It was inevitable I’d buy something but I tried to be restrained. A few bases, a Britannia BMP for my 20mm Soviets. Some dice (you can never have too many!). And Extra Impetus 4 which finally has the lists for my Punic Armies.

And having swore I would do nothing that involved a new scale or a new period, I walked away with a 10mm Pendraken Zulu War pack! God knows when I’ll paint them but it was only one pack and one pack of figures do not a new project make! Honest…

Bring and Buy was spacious and well run. Not much in the way of bargains for me but there were two boxes, 105 figures in each, of plastic Spencer Smiths. Neatly painted and at £40 a box well worth it I thought. Now there was no way I could justify them but I know a man who might! So come the end’ish of the show as people were reclaiming their stuff from the Bring and Buy I asked if I could leave a contact email for the owner to see if he would like to contact my friend who MIGHT have been interested. But no, it was against ‘Club Rules’. The models had not sold, any potential sale resulting was likely to be weeks off even if it happened and it was in the owners court if even bothered contacting. But no. Not allowed. They obviously couldn’t risk losing the 10% they weren’t getting anyway… I understand and support the general rule about grabbing stuff in the signing in queue, or pulling from the table and then selling and I wouldn’t condone that. But this was the end of the day and they’ve basically cost the guy a potential £80 sale. I felt it was a little petty…

So if the seller reads this, drop me a line and I’ll put you in touch. It may not happen but you never know…

So in summary, it was another excellently organised show. Good games. Good traders and good atmosphere. A welcome regular addition to the pre-Christmas  show calendar. Roll on next year.

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