WIP – Savage Swans: the Return…

Well today I took a flexi day. Had wanted a day off since the Christmas/New Year ‘break’ after which I was totally knackered! There was meant to be a big system upgrade at work this weekend so I’d decided that this and next week were out. However, it’s just been put back ’til 18th Feb so I thought I’d grab it now. It’s dropped my flexi to about -16 hours but I should be able to pull it back over the next few week… 🙂

So, what was the plan for the day? After dropping kids at school I spent a bit of time tidying up the attic. It still doesn’t look like it but a lot of stuff is now in drawers and I have some space on my desk/painting table. May will see the next Ayton game for which I have great plans (see the Painting Master Plan to the right). I’d hoped to start before Christmas to try and avoid the rush to finish in May but there was too much on and I only managed to spray undercoat a good batch of figures. So today I thought I’d at least make a start.

First up are two small batches to add to what I already have. We have the next contingent of ‘Native’ warriors from the Colonies, under the command of JaegerMeister Hans Gretal of the Altefritzenburg Jaeger Korp. After their outstanding performance in last years game I have high hopes for this larger force. Along side them are the second squadron of the Legion Uhlans. The initial squadron was just not meaty enough to deal with Old School size units so I’m doubling it to 12 figures and will include an office and standard bearer.


All figures are RSM. I’m hoping to get these done by the weekend and then start on the first of the Ottomans. I want at least one unit done, then will start the artillery for the Legion, then return to the Ottoman cavalry.

I’m not sure yet if the painting is up to the last lot. I’d painted a good few 28mm before I got to the Uhlans so my ‘eye’ was in. These are the first 28mm I’ve painted since last May so we’ll just have to see.

And most worryingly, the mystery Ral Partha green paint is getting close to unusable so I’ll need to prioritise units that will use it.

Anyway, nice to be back painting.

2011 Year in Review

First up, a Happy New Year to all my followers and passers by. I was down in Cornwall with the in-laws over Christmas and New Year and then straight back in to work this week so I’ve had little time to post anything anywhere. My wife did me proud with presents this year, getting me the 2012 Wargames Annual, the latest Matthew Hervey book from Mallinson, and the GHQ A9 and A10s I wanted! Quite happy really..even if the break was tiring with the kids up at 6am EVERY morning 🙂

So we come to the:

Another Slight Diversion 2011 Year in Review.

Wargaming Neutral

I’ve got to start with this really 🙁 This was my great master plan for keeping my hobby and my spending under control for the year. To be honest, the first half of the year went pretty well. I managed to sell a few things to fund projects and kept the painting going steadily to justify new purchases. Then come the last three or four months it all went pear shaped! Here are the final figures;

Available Credits -466.50
Available Funds

I ended up lumping together the last months as I’d failed (feared!) doing the monthly updates and to be honest I may have missed a couple of things off. Nothing major I think… I’ve excluded the purchase of rules as this would likely add another hundred to the total.

The main culprits have been the RSM and the GHQ. The RSM I need for the 2012 Ayton Game and I’d hoped that by getting them early I could avoid the rush to paint them. I have about sixty sat next to me undercoated and ready to go. Just need to start. The GHQ was a massive expense but the bulk were bought at half or less price and have given me the core of my Syrians and decent Italian and British forces for 1940/41. Still need a few odds and ends but not a lot and there will be some scope for selling/trading spares.

Do I intend to carry this on into 2012? Yes! This, and the Painting Master Plan give some structure to what I’m doing and it will be a challenge (likely a hopeless one!) to get those figures out of the red by the end of the year.


I’ll restrict the review to a few highlights and a general moan!

THE highlight had to be the Ayton Game. It was a pleasure painting up my Savage Swans and the weekend itself was what wargaming should be about: great figures, great games and great company. I am REALLY looking forward to this years game and to getting back to some 28mm painting.

Projects – despite getting little actual gaming done, I did keep a few projects going and even completed a couple! I’m most proud of the Swans.

Really please with how they came out. Next up has to be the FUBAR project.

Still no game played (coming soon, I promise!) but fun to put together and also to follow Michael at Angel Barracks and his project and games. I met up with him briefly en route to Cornwall and he is a very nice chap. I almost felt guilty doing my upcoming Colonial stuff in 10mm and not 6mm!

The Modern stuff has ticked along, slowly making terrain as well, and a good push would see the main armies finished. Got slightly distracted picking up some IDF but that enabled me to almost complete my initial Syrian forces and led me to the guilty pleasure that is GHQ.

Finished off bits of Punic related stuff which I was rather pleased with even if I’ve hardly played any game with them.

Games – bit of a poor show quantity-wise but made up for by the quality! Again, the highlight was the Ayton weekend. Fun campaign and games. You can follow the tale in Issues 26 and 27 of Battlegames with more to come in Issues 28 and 29. Managed a couple of small Impetus games (both fun) and a couple of Cold War Commander games (here and here). And apart from dabbling with the Waterloo game at the Christmas meeting, that was it… hopefully more this year though I feel the weekends being allocated already and time flying past!

Other Stuff – what else grabbed me? The whole Battlegames demise and rise was a worry. I love the mag and would have been sad to see it go. Its takeover by Atlantic, albeit with some issues over the digital issues, is a relief. Hopefully I’ll get chance to post a review of Issue 27 soon. Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy continues to deliver a quality product as well. I resubscribed to Miniature Wargames as I’ve been enjoying it recently, only to find the last couple of issues less than expected. I bought the last AWI themed Wargames Illustrated and wasn’t hugely impressed. It was the first I’d bought for a while and will likely be the last for a while. The mag just doesn’t do it for me…

I also picked up the new I Ain’t Been Shot Mum from TooFatLardies. A very nicely produced set with some good ideas that I hope to try this year. The Yahoo group is also very good and it has been pleasure seeing Richard’s input to the hobby via this and various magazines.

And finally I discovered the Meeples and Miniatures podcasts. Neil Shuck’s enthusiasm for the hobby comes across really well, there’s a good range of reviews, and the interviews are well worth a listen. Recommended.

And 2012? Well, you can see the Painting Master Plan. Priority has to go to the figures for Ayton in May. Then finish the Syrians and make a start on the North Africa stuff. Anything else will be a bonus. I’d love to get more games in and will be negotiating over the coming weeks for when that night happen. A FUBAR game is a must, even if solo. It would be shame to have gone to all the trouble of putting the forces and background together and then not use them. And at least one big Cold War Commander game to put all the terrain to use. I’d love to get to the big Cold War Commander game being planned in Sheffield but I fear that will be pushing for one weekend away too many!

With 167 Followers, 60500 visits and an average of 45 visits a day, I’d like to improve the blog. Whether that is from a move to WordPress, more posts, redesign or whatever I’m not sure. I enjoy posting stuff and hope I can maintain both my hobby and the blog at a more productive level in 2012!



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.

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!

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!

Musings of an easily distracted wargamer