Festive Haul

I trust everyone has had an excellent Christmas Day and a decent haul of toys to satisfy the ‘Oh Shiny’ syndrome for a few weeks (days)? We’ve just got back from the in-laws after a decent stuffing. Kids will no doubt resume their staring at screens for most of tomorrow.

My haul was pretty good. I usually give my wife a list of possibles and depending on time and finances she usually comes up with the goods. This year was pretty good:

xmas2014The Wargamers’ Annual is always a nice read with lots of eye candy and nice ideas. The three Snook books are to feed my impending Colonial diversion and ‘Destructive and Formidable’ will be good reading for all C18th matters! The Bear Grylls has some interesting stories of survival and bravery and will be good for dipping into. And on the subject of dipping into, the Reyka vodka will be most pleasant. Brought some of this back from Reykjavik in March and really like it! I shall try and make this lot last ’til the new year! Oh…and some nice chocolate as well!

In the middle below the Grylls book is my Secret Santa gift, an excellent barrel cart from Westfalia Miniatures and some dice. The Westfalia kit is all excellent and I have a few more bits to make up some nice vignettes. Cheers to my Secret Santa! And many thanks again to Ian and Cath Willey for organising it all.

I’ve been reading a lot of my books on my tablet recently and often at night. Some current research seems to indicate this is not good for your sleep so I shall be returning to reading these proper books in bed!

Only Boxing Day to get through now and we can return to a semblance of normality before I have to dig deep into the coffers for my wife’s birthday on New Years’ Eve!

 

 

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Merry Christmas and an untidy workbench!

First off, MERRY CHRISTMAS to all! Hope you all have a most excellent time.

And now to the workbench. After a major clear up a few months ago my work space has become almost unusable again. This is the current state after removing the last batch if figures I’d been working on:

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This is the view to the left where there is no room to put a foot down to reach all the stuff in the drawers in the far corner…

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The right side is not much better. On the right hand side is a cupboard. I’ve forgotten what is in there….

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And finally at my back is my 4’x4′ alleged playing area. This rests on four really useful storage units from IKEA and for several weeks was clear such that I even had a small naval game! Not any more…

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This makes work and organising very frustrating. Everything I try and do require moving something. Which has a knock on effect as I then have to move something else! Several times I’ve given up on some planned activity as a result.

Before I go back to work on the 5th I want this space sorted! I want my paints back in their places, the playing surface clear, and a clear list of where everything is…

I know it won’t last but if I don’t sort it then I’m going to really struggle to get everything I want done for Ayton and Partizan…

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Tyneside Wargames Club Christmas Meeting 2014

My local wargames club is Tyneside Wargames who meet on a Saturday. With working all week and family commitments at the weekend I rarely make it down for a game, often just popping in to say hello while I’m in town. But I always try and make the last meeting before Christmas where I can often arrange a game and avail myself of a steady flow of alcohol (mostly vodka!) so generously supplied each year by various members. It always reminds me what a damn fine bunch they are and how I really should make more effort to get down for games!

Sadly, this year the Christmas meeting (yesterday, 20th) was my ONLY game there  this year. I’ve managed a few weekends away (Ayton, Framlingham, Salute) all of which were excellent but it was really nice to get my troops on the table locally, of which more anon! This year there were four games running and a boardgame (and Pete painting away on the side!).

Ian, Lawrence and Richard setting up the table for our game.

2014-12-20 11.07.23While my chaps wait patiently in their boxes

2014-12-20 11.07.3315mm Impetus game. These rules are quite popular at the club. I’ve played them a couple of times and enjoyed them.

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To the right of this was a large SYW 6mm game using Might And Reason. I’ve never played these rules but the guys think highly of them and a good group of them are building forces. As my (few) SYW 6mm types are also on 40mm frontage I may be tempted to try these out one day.2014-12-20 11.53.41 2014-12-20 11.53.52 2014-12-20 11.54.00 2014-12-20 11.54.15 2014-12-20 11.54.24

Some of the guys were playing Frederick, a new boardgame. It looked interesting and comments were positive.2014-12-20 11.54.38

And finally, Pete Foggin and Co had their regular massive 15mm game using their own rules, Great Captain. These really do give the look and feel of a big ancient battle. I could never paint that many figures!2014-12-20 11.54.46 2014-12-20 11.55.20 2014-12-20 11.54.58 2014-12-20 11.55.47So with the other chaps fully occupied we come to our game. I wanted to get my 28mm SYW ImagiNation forces on the table and the nearest option was for the guys to roll out Beneath the Lilly Banners and accompanying troops. My chaps were obviously a little late but it didn’t really matter. I’ve got a copy of the rules (PDF) but have never really read them let alone played them so it was all a bit new for me. As they use three stand units on 60mm frontage I split my big battalions into three 50mm stands and my 33mm command stands. This kept the frontages pretty even and gave me two three battalion brigades. I was rather light on cavalry having only two squadrons of dragoons and three of light lancers. And I used the newly finished artillery for my Savage Swans – a 4lb and 12lb along with my Grenzers.  Ian was facing me with two similar brigades, a large field gun and six squadrons of cuirassiers.

So as battle commenced my brigades were in the distance to the right, facing Ian, which my ally, Richard was facing Lawrence in the foreground.

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The Swans deployment was a little restricted due to woods on their right and the central hill so they deployed with two battalions up front and one to the rear and the advance to contact began!2014-12-20 12.25.31

The 12lb gun sat atop the hill but unable to reach the enemy to their front (who were reluctant to advance) they were eventually able to fire upon Lawrence’s troops as they advanced to their left.2014-12-20 12.25.40

As the line advanced the gap opened to the right and my cavalry were able to move forward.2014-12-20 12.44.21

Unfortunately I was unable to deploy them into line before Ian’s cavalry piled into them! One squadron was swept from the field….2014-12-20 13.27.12

My lancers now moved to support and plug the gap.2014-12-20 13.27.24

As my second squadron engaged the victorious enemy, more of them moved into support. However, I was able to wheel a battalion round and deliver a volley that was to drive off the squadron.2014-12-20 14.20.51

The lancers, now deployed into lines moved forward.2014-12-20 14.21.35

While my Grenzers hesitantly move out of the woods wherein they had been driven by the advancing cavalry.2014-12-20 14.21.46My dragoons were finally defeated and the lancers charged into the third enemy squadron driving them back in disarray!

2014-12-20 14.53.062014-12-20 15.22.462014-12-20 15.42.12Meanwhile, the main lines closed upon each other, my two units not savoring the prospect of the first volley from the three units they faced!2014-12-20 14.53.16  And closer… The first volley was bad but not devastating but the odds were against them and with no room to deploy the reserve battalion it was touch and go if the line could hold before the fresh enemy cavalry drove off my lancers and exposed my flank. 2014-12-20 15.23.19  Although the brigade to the front of the Swans had finally begun its advance I was able to wheel a battalion in support of the firefight.2014-12-20 15.57.15It was at this point we called it a day. My allies had been victorious to my left but my shortfall in cavalry was really my undoing. If my line had held I could maybe have deployed a reserve to hold off his cavalry and I think my Swans would have defeated their opponents but I fear my line was too fragile and it was only a matter of time…

I was lucky in that I was given a Skillful commander which enabled me to issue more orders each turn and my command dice were always quite good. Ian suffered a little in this respect, hence the delay in the advance of his other brigade. I quite enjoyed the rules. Infantry are a little slower and more restricted than I’m used to and I really need some heavier cavalry! But it was fun and good to get the chaps on the table again. Thanks for Richard, Ian and Lawrence for accommodating me!

There are a lot more pictures in the 2014 Gallery and for details on the action on the other half of the table go to Richard (Herkybird)’s blog.

Some Progress

As I knew I needed smaller units for this game (and also for the AMG game at Partizan) I decide to try and get second command stands painted up for the Swans and the Altefritzenburgers. The smaller units for BTLB meant I only needed three stands plus command and allowed me to group the grenadiers separately. Shockingly it meant the flags were NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE UNIT! However, for Partizan the grenadier stand will rejoin and all will be well! This means my two big units now become four!

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I’d also finished painting the artillery contingent for my Savage Swans, a 4lb and a 12lb valliere. I’ve still to do the limber for the 12lb.2014-12-20 16.06.11

For the second battalion standards I didn’t want to spend ages on them as they will only see limited use. The ‘regimental’ flag is a symmetric cross with a white cross and the coat and facing colours in each quarter. Now, before I started painting I checked the BOTH flags I had already done and noted that the facing colour appeared in the upper hoist. And I painted them. And I checked again. And I put them on the table and immediately noticed the Altefritzenburg one had been done the wrong way round!!! I’m not changing it now!2014-12-20 16.06.25 2014-12-20 16.06.39

The 2nd flag, more of a national flag (or the Legion flag in the Swans case) was quite fiddly for both of them so for the Altefritzenburg I just went for a plain flag in the facing colour. For the Swans I couldn’t resist adding a swan in the canton.2014-12-20 16.06.48Still more to paint. And cuirassiers have just moved up the list!

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On the workbench…

I haven’t done an ‘in progress’ type post for a while so while still feeling enthused after the excellent Battleground Show I thought now was the time. A slightly new project. Sudan. Well, it’s not really new. I bought a load of 10mm Sudan off Nik Harwood a couple of years ago, never used them and sold them to a mate at work, who I am now buying them back off! But seeing as I was at the show I bought an 1882 British Army pack and today I have been looking at bases and stuff and communicating with my partner in crime on this project, Essex Boy!

First up was base size. Four figures to a base at 10mm seems a little small and fiddly so we are going for six for the ‘regular’ troops. The options being 30x30mm, 25x25mm and 40x20mm:

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After consultation with EB we decided that both the left and right options were too spaced out, we wanted two ranks and the 25x25mm seemed about right. I had some spare Fire and Fury bases (1″ x7/8″) which seemed to work better so tried the options with a few figures:

2014-12-02 18.33.22Iain (EB) isn’t keen on firing poses but I think they are right for the period. I may go for units all firing or all advancing. I wonder if Pendraken do a kneeling figure? Possibly in the Boer War range?

So having settled on 6 to a base I fancied trying some figures. I’ve never actually painted any 10mm before despite having owned and sold on quite a few so it was nice to finally paint some. Light grey primer, thin black wash (may use brown for the khaki/redcoat ones) and then I tried a few in the grey of the early campaign:

2014-12-03 00.07.17 2014-12-03 00.07.06I think they’ve come out OK…

While waiting for stages of these to dry I did a little more on the extra command stands for the AMG 2015 game:

2014-12-03 00.08.25And in the background you can see the first six of the Les Higgins 20mm Altefritzenburg unit:

2014-12-03 00.08.54So… a little progress. I think I will try a few more posts like this.

A

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Battleground 2014 Show Report

I haven’t managed a show report for the last few shows I’ve been to. Partly I’ve been a bit rushed for time and partly at some the lighting just doesn’t allow any decent photos! So for my last outing of the year I thought I would make an effort and this show deserves it! Battleground is the new show replacing Smoggycon and now run by the chaps at Pendraken. And they’ve done an excellent job!

The Venue

Based at the Queens Campus Sports Hall, Stockton-on-Tees the space is the ubiquitous sports hall of many shows but without the horrible yellow lighting that ruins any attempt at decent photos!. The room was large, airy and well lit and a good size with traders around the outside and along the far side of the hall and the games in the middle. There was a table top sale area but throughout the show this seemed very quiet. Maybe people were too busy in the run up to Christmas to sort out stuff to sell but it was strange to see what usually seems a good idea so quiet.

2014-11-29 10.05.53Food was available at the Aroma Cafe on the other side of the car part (which provided plentiful parking) and did decent coffee and a good range of snacks. Given its usual student focus it did have some options for the diet-awkward of us!

Traders

There was a good selection of traders including Caliver and Baccus so spending wasn’t an issue. I hope they all had good days and return next year. It was nice to see Peter at Baccus venture into the North East and I feel bad about not having had chance to say hello.

The Games

There were about 22 games roughly split evenly between display and participation, the latter a good thing at a show. The games were a good standard and I managed to pictures of most so I’ll drop a photo and comment here and you can look in the gallery for a few more pics and hopefully have no trouble ID’ing them!

Lancaster Cellermen – for me this was the highlight game of the show. Harking back to the days when wargamers wore ties it was a small SYW game using mostly Spencer Smith figures but with a good smattering of RSM and Holger Erikson, all very nicely painted. The guys running it were happy to talk and it was great to see some good old school figures played with simple one side of A4 rules

2014-11-29 10.15.33My local club, Tyneside Wargames, had a grand scale WW1 1914 game of the Schleiffen Plan using 10mm figures which gave a good feel for a grand strategy game

2014-11-29 10.09.01Border Reivers had their usual impressive game, this time focusing on Vietname

2014-11-29 10.26.17And if you wanted a ‘large’ Napoleonic game then you could look no further than Durham Wargames Group’s 54mm Waterloo game

2014-11-29 12.05.35It was nice to see some 28mm Great Northern War from Reiver Castings. This is one of my ‘want to do’ periods that seems destined NEVER to happen. I’ve attempted it several times now in several scales and never got going. One day…

2014-11-29 10.12.55The Independent Wargamers had an excellent 28mm Italian Wars game with some lovely figures and beautiful flags and banners

2014-11-29 10.22.08The 68th DLI Society had a most interesting looking Kriegspiel style game. I kept meaning to go back and see what was going on but never seemed to catch any one.

2014-11-29 10.24.12And there was a good selection of SF on display from the likes of Critical Mass

2014-11-29 10.29.38Scarborough Gamers Society Oldhammer 40K

2014-11-29 10.28.53WW2 had a few games in evidence

2014-11-29 10.11.102014-11-29 10.23.49There are more pics in the show gallery and it helped that the show had a good leaflet listing games and also each game had a sign stating what it was and who was putting it on. If only I’d managed to take pictures of all the signs!

The People and the Haul!

It was a very sociable show for me and good to see a couple of the Ayton crew (Simon T and Tim W and Alex T turned up later as well) and some of the AMG members (Mark D, Dave J, Graham C, Robbie R). Graham had a stand for Crann Tara Miniatures and it was good to chat with him about plans for the range and pick up some new toys. I’m looking forward to the big AMG game at Partizan and meeting a few more and having some proper time to talk.

With it being the run up to Christmas and my daughter’s birthday next Thursday and my new desire to trim down projects and not get distracted I was very restrained in my purchases…. sort of…:)

Crann Tara – enough for a unit of French. Lovely figures. I want more!

Warbases – Martin put together some sabots for me for next year’s Ayton game. I intend to re-base my troops so I can use them singly.

Caliver – Stuart Asquiths’s two books on the Sudan War and Mr Grant’s new scenario/campaign book, ATTACK ON THE JÜNGER which on first browse looks most excellent with some lovely eye candy. If only I had enough figures to play these games! The Wargames Annual 2015 is on my Christmas list so I (hopefully) await that from Santa!

Pendraken – Yes. Well. No more new projects. I blame Essex Boy. One pack of 1882 British Army. Don’t ask…

And I think that was it! A really good day and Leon and the Pendraken team are to be congratulated on an excellent show. Roll on next year!

There are more pics in the Battleground 2014 Gallery. I will try and add comments to ID the games I’ve not mentioned above.

Andy

 

 

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