Category Archives: shows

Vapnartak 2016 and stuff…

Today was the annual York show, Vapnartak, at York Racecourse. I’ve been attending this regularly for a few years now and it is always a good show and a good start to the gaming year. For a change this year I travelled down on the Saturday afternoon with the intention of meeting up with Iain Burt (Essex Boy) for a few beers. Couldn’t find a cheap place IN York so I ended up at The Bay Horse in Fulford. Clean and friendly B&B, they even sorted me a vegan breakfast. And easy to get to and from by bus (last bus back at 11 though). So last night had a few beers and nosh at Wagamama with EB and a good rant/natter. After a good feed this morning I walked across to the Racecourse via the Millennium footbridge. Bright and chilly it was nonetheless a pleasant walk in.

I didn’t have a huge purchase list for this so the show was more about meeting a few people (from both LAW and AMG) and chatting. It was nice to see a few traders had been moved around and there seemed to be more space between stalls/tables so even at peak time it felt busy but not congested. I didn’t get much time to view the demo games but those I saw were the usual high standard. A couple did seem rather ‘static’ and I have to admit I’d quite like to see some of the ‘regulars’ trying something a bit different or giving other clubs a chance. Admittedly there may not be many other clubs chasing the spaces but it would be nice to see some new blood…

The Alamo game looked particularly nice and I grabbed a couple of pics of other games. These were a bit last minute so I missed getting shots of the upstairs games. The Dragon Rampant siege looked rather nice though!

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The tabletop sale area seemed rather busy on number of occasions and I only managed two run throughs and came away with wallet intact! I know a couple of people picked up some bargains though. There did seem to be a couple of tables/groups there who appeared to have booked quite a long session. Not sure if there is a limit on time but a couple of the sections just felt like a normal Bring and Buy with the same stuff there an hour or more later…

What did I buy? First up was REFIGHTING HISTORY –VOLUME 1 SEVEN YEARS WAR – FIGHTING WITHDRAWALS by Charles S Grant. The first in a new series. I have all his Wargaming in History books and rather like them. Like them, this is not cheap (£32.50) but the production quality is spot on. It is A4 hardback and full of lots of eye candy from both Mr Grant’s collection and that of John Ray. I’m looking forward to delving into this over the next few days so shall report back.


I also had some battalion guns and crew to collect from Graham from Crann Tara Miniatures. These are the few extra I need for Ayton. Best start painting! And finally, as I have partaken of the latest Forged in Battle Kickstarter, I bought a pack of Celtic infantry so see how they paint up. If I get round to painting them! And final purchase was next month’s Wargames Illustrated which has Marlborough as the theme. Looks a good issue and the content of this mag has been improving much of late. May consider a sub again soon.

And that was it! Very modest purchases (apart from the book!). It was good to meet up with various AMG members (I really must get round to re-registering!) and a few LAW members. Always good to catch up. And good to see some members of the Tyneside and Whitley Bay clubs making the journey as well. All in all a good day. Thanks again to the organisers. And the day rounded off nicely with a few beers with Iain in the York Tap as we awaited our respective trains.

Workbench update

Things have been a little slow so far this year. Despite my great plans I’ve failed miserably to stay Wargaming Neutral and the only time at the work bench has been to do a little basing and a little more to the modern British…IMAG5027 IMAG5028 IMAG5029

Still, better than nothing at all. Hopefully the rest of this month will see things moving again…



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Border Reiver Haul

Having spent the last week with the family up the coast at Low Newton, we vacated the cottage this morning and headed back to Newcastle. After dropping my daughter off at the stables my wife dropped myself and my lad Zach at Gateshead International Stadium around midday for Border Reiver. This is likely to be my last show of the year and despite my best efforts I’m going to have to work the weekend of the excellent Battleground Show in November. Zach was feeling a little off as last night as we settled down for a relaxing drink and movie on the last night of our holiday, he fell, smacked his head in the door frame and ended up in Alnwick hospital to get a nasty little cut over his eye steri-stripped. But I’d promised to take him to the show and he still seemed keen.

Border Reiver is a nice little show and being local I always meet a good few people there. However, like a lot of ‘sports hall’ shows it suffers from that horrible yellow lighting which is fine for the show itself but a nightmare for taking pictures. This, combined with having a 7 year old in tow meant I forwent the taking of pictures. There were some good demo games on though. The Whitley Bay 3D Gamers were running the 20mm Afghanistan game using a variant of Chain of Command. I’m quite keen to try this and also to see if it will work for 1980s Cold War. The Tyneside Club had a nice 10mm Waterloo game and… that was all I took note of really as I was dragged around the show in search of ‘space things’!

I did manage to pick up the few things I went for:


It was nice to see Leven Miniatures there. I’ve seen a lot of their stuff online, mostly on Ian Willey’s The Blog with No Name, and have been tempted by stuff for a while so it was good to see them in the flesh. I was quite restrained and picked up some tents, supply dumps, fuel dumps and some Perfect Six Scenics wooden crates. These are all for scenic ‘specials’ for my assorted Cold War 1/300 armies. Eventually… Was nice to have a chat with Mr Leven as well.

Needless to say I had a load of MDF bases to pick up from Minibits. All for the continuing basing of my microarmour. It seems we have lead piles, plastic piles and now MDF piles!

And finally, showing great restraint and sticking to my plan of finishing off existing projects… I bought two Starter Packs from Tumbling Dice. 1/2400 Mid-Victorian French and British ironclad ships… This is to ‘expand’ my C19th Imaginations. No doubt in time for Ayton 2019 when we should be scheduled for our next C19th game! 🙂 (2017 will be Lion Rampant themed…)

Zach picked up a Chaos Marine and a Halo Heroclix figure. And on the way home a M1 Abrams 1/90 4D puzzle. 35 pieces that make a quite nice looking model. Quite usable if it wasn’t for the gap between all the pieces! 50p in a charity shop.

And when I got home the latest Wargames Soldiers and Strategy was waiting for me. Looks like an excellent First Punic War themed issue. I shall be discussing magazines again soon.

So all in all a nice little day. I now have no idea when I’ll get chance to paint anything again as the kids are back at school on Tuesday and it’ll soon be Christmas!

Nice to catch up and chat with a few people at the show. Thanks to the Border Reiver Club for organising.

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AMG at Partizan 2015

It’s taken me a couple of weeks to get round to this. Partly due to work and partly due to being on a slight downer afterwards as it was such an excellent day and it was a shame it was over! So what was it? Well, the gentlemen at the A Military Gentlemen Forum (for people who own John Ray’s most excellent book of the same name) were putting on an C18th take on the battles of Ligny and Quatre Bras. With nearly 20 people involved and using figures from some of the finest C18th collections around it was always going to be an excellent event but it far exceeded people’s expectations and was a real showcase for the hobby.

Most of the planning and organisation was done by Graham Cummings (of Crann Tara Miniatures) who produced the excellent teddy bear fur terrain and also the leaflets available on the day. The scenarios were based on Charles S Grant’s Wolfenbuttel War book and Mr Grant himself was the main umpire as we were using The War Game rules. Here are the attendees:


  • Charles Grant
  • Adam Woolhead
  • Dave Jarvis
  • Mark Allen
  • Jim Purky
  • Paul Robinson
  • Colin Ashton
  • Dave Hall
  • Graham Cummings
  • John Ray
  • Andy McMaster
  • Gary Philips
  • Neil Cogswell
  • William Harley
  • Andrew Fielden
  • Guy Barlow
  • Phil Olley
  • Iain Burt
  • John Dougan

My part in the game was on the ‘French’ side at Quatre Bras, the smaller of the two games, allied with William and Adam and opposed by Andrew and my arch-nemesis Mr Burt! 🙂 Everyone else was on the Ligny table and I have to admit, the day was so engrossing and fun that I never really got time to investigate the other game fully so this post will really deal with my game.

Where to start…

As the morning mists cleared the French advance guard, sixteen squadrons of cavalry approached the Allied defenses.

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Time was of the essence and with the infantry advancing behind it was decided the cavalry would push forward across the stream and engage the enemy who were defending woods and buildings.

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The left hand squadrons began to deploy to the right rather than try and force their way up the narrow road, the remaining squadrons pushing on past the farm complex.

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And over the thunder of hooves the supporting infantry came marching onto into sight!

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As the cavalry advanced to cross the stream they came under effective artillery fire to their front and withering musketry from the occupants of the farm complex on their left.

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Eventually the left hand lancer squadrons took so many casualties they were forced to retire. But the others pushed on and across the stream. The squadrons to the right having better success as those in the center were subjected to canister, volleys and cavalry counter charges!

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Meanwhile, the infantry on the left began to drive back the troops from the woods and my own ‘Savage Swans’ began to assault began to assault the resolute defenders of the farm complex.

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The first assault was driven back but they went in again!

2015-05-31 14.27.032015-05-31 14.27.16And were again thrown back but enraged at the injustice they went in again!

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But to no avail. The farm complex remained in enemy hands!

In the center, the cavalry battles raged as squadrons were driven back and returned to the fray, those to the right finally engaging enemy infantry and driving them off.

2015-05-31 15.15.17 2015-05-31 15.27.41But more enemy troops were arriving in support and the task facing us now seemed insurmountable!

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Regardless, the infantry in the center pushed on and across the stream.

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But the first unit across, assailed by musketry and canister, was charged in the flank by skulking lancers!


At this point, we decided to call it a day. It was clear we could not get anywhere near our objectives. But we’d had great fun trying! William, on the right had had better luck forcing a crossing. Adam’s cavalry finally came into play and drove off one enemy infantry unit and his infantry on the left had driven the enemy from the woods. However, the stream was the killer. There was just no time to reform after crossing before being engaged by either firepower or enemy cavalry! It was great fun playing with William and Adam and the opposition (Andrew and Iain) were gents (well, Andrew was… 🙂 ) .

The Ligny games was stunning. A superb table crammed with superb troops. Others on the forum have posted better pics and hopefully there will be something in next month’s Wargames Illustrated but these were all the pics I got.

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It was a most pleasurable day. My main regret was not getting to chat and meet everyone on the other table properly. Thanks have to go to everyone really for getting there and making it so special but especially to John Ray who’s book and forum brought us together in the first place, Graham Cummings who brought the whole event together on the day, and Charles Grant for the rules, umpiring and years of inspiration. I just wish the light had been better so I could get better pictures (a couple of used have been filched from Graham Cummings blog!). John also supplied the attendees with a lovely figure of a gentlemen about  to put on his coat with the help of a servant and it was also great to meet Jim Purky (Die Alte Fritz, Minden and Fife and Drum miniatures) who had made the long journey across from the States for the event! Although Ayton was the first game that got me into C18th ImagiNations, Jim was the man who sent me my first batch of RSM figures (the Savage Swans in the above pics) which helped decide my choice of figures for the entire project!

So, there we are, a great day and plans are already afoot for AMG 2016. I just hope I can secure a pass!


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Durham Wargames Show 2015

I feel a little bad posting an update for this when I haven’t even uploaded the photos from the Partizan game two weeks ago but I’ve struggled to get any decent photos off my phone and generally life and work have been busy. However, the thing of note that relates to this post is that I bought a pack of Conquest Games Norman Infantry! These are to be used for the Lion Rampant games planned for Ayton 2017 (yes, 2017!) and I intend using them for a Norman/First Crusade type force. Those who know me will be surprised as I have often been dismissive of plastics. Nothing to do with the quality of the sculpts, the look or anything. Plastics have been a great boon to the hobby. I just don’t like the ‘heft’ of them. I like to feel the weight of lead in my hand both when using them and when painting them! However, as this Lion Rampant project is small scale and probably a one off it made sense to use a pack of each (foot and knights) to form the core of my force. But I digress, the main reason for attending Durham being the need to purchase a pack of Norman Knights! Lawrence was nice enough to off me a lift and we got in nice and early at 9.45.

Durham is a small, local show organised by Durham Wargames Group. I’ve been going for years and really like it. There aren’t many games on, there aren’t many traders compared to the bigger local shows but there is a Bring and Buy and it is always a friendly show. And as I like to spend most of my shows nattering to people this is ideal. And I like to support the traders and clubs involved.

There were five demo games on, four in the main rooms and one next to the Bring and Buy. The latter was a nicely presented Zulu Civil War game and although I chatted with the guys there I failed to take note of the Club name! [EDIT: which was Grimsby Wargames Society. Thanks for Richard (Herkybird) for the info. He’ll be posting his report and lots more pics on his blog later]

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Over in the right hand room as you enter the show was a rather nice C18th game by Andy of Old Glory and others:

2015-06-13 11.32.35 2015-06-13 11.32.44 2015-06-13 11.32.56 2015-06-13 11.33.25 2015-06-13 11.33.36 2015-06-13 11.33.45The other room saw a large (literally!) Waterloo themed game from Durham Wargames Group with a 54mm Attack on La Haye Saint.

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Pendraken where there and also demo’ing their new Warband Fantasy Rules. The demo always seemed quite busy.

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And finally Redcar Iron Beards had some WW2 action:

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I managed to get the various bits I needed. One box of Norman Knights, and some Perry 1st Crusade crossbowmen, some armed pilgrims (which will do for my bidowers) and a Hospitaller Command pack which will sort me for my ‘leader’ and hopefully allow me to have an extra mounted unit. Quite pleased to get what I need for Lion Rampant. Now I need to paint them…

I also managed a nice chat with Dave Jarvis where we reminisced over the Partizan game and had a nice chat about painting techniques. Lawrence was leaving early so at that point I had to depart. But having got all I wanted and had a few nice chats it was a good little show for me. The Bring and Buy seemed quite busy (there were a lot of books as well) but I managed to resist!

Thanks again to the Durham Wargames Group for a well organised little show.


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Vapnartak 2015

I have returned from a most excellent day in York! Set off early this morning. 07:55 train. Managed to get cheap First Class tickets both ways which meant free snacks. But not many vegan options so just lots of free coffee! Arrived at 9am and there was a No. 4 at the bus stop so ended up at the Racecourse by 9.30! Luckily the organisers weren’t making early birds stand out in the cold so was in the show nice early. For once, apart from being a bit nippy, the Show wasn’t subjected to snow and rain!

The organisation and layout of the show are pretty standard each year and a nice handout points you in the right direction. I usually try and take lots of photos at this one as the light is generally quite good but for some reason I hadn’t fully charged my phone overnight so I restricted photos to the games that really caught my eye. Not to say the others weren’t good, but just not my thing!

First up was Mark Dudley and the Ilkley Lads 40mm semi-flat Blasthof Bridge participation game using Charge rules. Lovely figures, simple terrain and good Old School fun!

2015-02-01 09.50.11 2015-02-01 09.50.06 2015-02-01 09.49.56 2015-02-01 09.49.41 2015-02-01 09.49.14 2015-02-01 09.49.27But most important were the kids playing and enjoying the game throughout the day. Excellent stuff!

2015-02-01 10.39.12 2015-02-01 10.38.26-2Hidden away at the far end of the first floor was an excellent looking Third Afghan War, 1919 Bolt Action game. And I really wish I’d taken away the leaflet I was handed! Put on by East Leeds Militaria, it was an excellent looking game:

2015-02-01 10.12.11 2015-02-01 10.11.47 2015-02-01 10.11.26 2015-02-01 10.11.07 2015-02-01 10.10.25 2015-02-01 10.10.11Ground floor centre was a very well presented Rorkes Drift game by Rotherham Wargames Club:

2015-02-01 11.20.09 2015-02-01 11.19.53 2015-02-01 11.19.42 2015-02-01 11.19.32 2015-02-01 11.19.14And John Paul Jones raid on Leith 1779 by York Wargames(?) had the usual excellent terrain and lovely model ships:

2015-02-01 11.21.37 2015-02-01 11.21.26 2015-02-01 11.21.15 2015-02-01 11.21.08And finally, the Bunker presented some zombie goodness with Shaun of the Dead:

2015-02-01 11.20.49 2015-02-01 11.20.38 2015-02-01 11.20.29There were obviously many other excellent games on but a large part of my day was spent socialising. Apart from the usual bumping into people during the day (very nice to see Levied Troop!) there was a gathering (in the bar obviously!) of The LAW crew (The Loose Association of Wargamers) and then an excellent gathering from John Ray’s A Military Gentleman forum where it was great to put faces to names and nice to finally meet and chat with Charles S Grant (and son). The AMG forum is a great gathering place (for purchasers of John Ray’s book) and is always inspiring and entertaining. I’m really looking forward to the game a group of forum members are putting on at Partizan in May so I best get on with the painting!

So what did I buy? I didn’t really have a list for the show as I have plenty to be going on with. I was just pleased I didn’t buy into a new scale or a new period! So…

1 x pack Old Glory 15mm Pikemen

1 x Blood, Bilge and Irons Balls naval book/rules

2 x horses from Graham at Crann Tara for the wagon I got at Christmas

some paints, primers and washes

And from the table top sale, a copy of Risk (£4) and a load of Pirates Constructible Strategy game collectable ships and game (£10). I’ve been thinking of getting my lad to play risk but I still have my old 70s copy which although good and nostalgic for me may be a little boring for him so I’m hoping the nice figures will inspire him! The game and ships I’d looked for before with a view to using them for Blood and Bilge so this lot was a nice little bargain!

2015-02-01 21.27.02I got the feeling the turnout for the show was pretty good. Close to pay day and not snowing must have helped! A couple of traders I spoke to were happy with the takings so hopefully that applied to all. A good day on all fronts and congrats to York Wargames for all the work again. And the day nicely rounded off by an hour in the York Tap drinking Bad Seed Brewery Expresso Stout. Very nice. And vegan!


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