Monday 29 September 2014

Saga: Anglo-Saxons (The Good Guys)

Attacking the "Plastic Mountain" update: 

Now the 28mm plastic Sparabara have been assembled (though not yet painted) I am looking at the other plastic 28mm figures left "in the loft". Next up was a box of unmade unarmoured Anglo-Saxons (from Wargames Factory) to bulk up the old metal Gripping Beast collection (started circa 1999, finished painting in 2005) and the existing Wargames Factory plastics I have already made (but not yet painted), with the intention of creating a Saga Warlord Faction of six units (see below):

The "Yaeton" Faction Order of Battle:
  • Unit 1: 12 x Unarmoured Levy Spear/Sword/Axe (Painted)
  • Unit 2: 8 x Warriors Armoured Spear/Sword/Axe (Assembled but unpainted)
  • Unit 3: 4 x Hearthguard Armoured Spear/Sword/Axe + 1 Warlord (Painted)
  • Unit 4: 4 x Hearthguard Armoured Spear/Sword/Axe (Assembled but unpainted)
  • Unit 5: 8 x Warriors Armoured Spear/Sword/Axe (Assembled but unpainted)
  • Unit 6  12 x Unarmoured Levy Spear/Swords/Ax (Unassembled)
  • 1 x Unarmoured Man with Horn (Painted)
  • 2 x Unarmoured Spear/Sword/Axe (Painted)
  • 2 x Armoured Spear/Sword/Axe (Assembled but unpainted)
  • 4 x Unarmourd Bow (Unassembled)
Note: I would have liked to form a unit of Levy Bow (12 figures required), but I need to acquire 8 more figures. Missile weapons although not a direct battle winner as per the Persian army would at least weaken selected foes prior to the hand-to-hand and make your opponent initiate the attack in disadvantageous circumstances.

The Warlord's Hearthguard Formation is shown in close-up (see below):   

My other fully painted formation is the Levy Spearmen (although I could also mix in a couple of painted axe and swordsmen for a little variety). These go back to when I was trying to perfect the three-tone technique as promoted by the Games Workshop paint range of yore in the early 2000's (see below):

Note: The shield patterns came specifically from the Shieldwall Warhammer Historical booklet.

The goal remain to have at least assembled a "full force" and play a game of Saga. A middle term goal is to acquire enough (8) unarmoured bow from some source to field a missile unit too. 

Saturday 27 September 2014

In search of lost gold - Battleground 1978 TV Programme

Every now and again I pick up a lost cause (the perfect set of wargaming rules for a period) or start believing in an urban legand (alien spaceship on the moon) until; you sober up. So ... I started an internet search in the quest of the "lost" 1978 Battleground Tapes.

Other bloggers have covered this in far better detail that myself (see below):

What is it?

Intriguing details:

The closes I got was this elusive posting:

Other than that, no You Tube postings or the like :(
So after many hours of 'wasted' Internet browsing I drew a blank

Note: As a kid I remember seeing a clip really late at night in the 'somewhere' Western Desert with Airfix (classic) tanks, but that could be complete imagination on my part!

Addendum: I have posted a question on the above blog, let's see if I get a response

Friday 26 September 2014

Crazy 15mm Sci-Fi "The Itch I just had to scratch"

There comes a time when the irrational hankering gets the better of you and despite the apparent insanity of the idea, the appeal of it wins through. You simply give in. The shiny, shiny non-essential thing becomes an obvious necessity. So, quite openly, I will use this blog as a "confessional" in that I have been found completely wanting in 'iron resolve' and have shamelessly given in to an urge to purchase a small force of 15mm Science Fiction miniatures from Ground Zero Games (see GZG link).

My friends at Hartlepool Wargames Club exerted peer pressure (er, or rather just said "we already have some, you don't", which was all it really took) and hung out the carrot, "We are going to play some simple Sci-Fi games at the club are you in?" I think the rules are called 'Gruntz' (tbc) but more of that later, as the toys have literally just arrived! (see below, five packs, two troopes, one command, one infantry squad heavy weapons and one of missile/snipers):

The figures are a generic Sci-Fi type infantry troopers (their New Israeli range, er whatever (?), I just liked the shape their helmets) for a nebulous "future wars" era or 'In Space Somewhere' setting, "Good Guys" or "Bad Guys", I don't care, they looked cool to me! Why?

Well my hankering for a non-franchised (aka non-Star Wars, non-Star Trek and its variants, non-Aliens, non-Dr Who and non-GW figure range with accompanying strange mythos) has always been there since my adolescent experiences with a RPG called Traveller. Didn't everybody have a formative experience of a character with lousy stats that you put into the Scouts (with high chance if death in the pre-game persona build-up) to try and kill off, but by whimsical dice throwing became a 'super-character' with cool alien artefacts or mostly cyborg? Also if I don't get the figures now (as it is still within bounds of a late birthday present) I never, ever will!

First look at the first pack 'filed and flash' free (see below):

Note: They are also on End of Summer special offer (ending 30th September 2014, honest I am getting no commission here) where you get "Five for Four" packs.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

28mm Renaissance Mounted Harquebusiers (Impetus Troops)

This posting has been over a year in the making.

Ever since my Burgundian Knights and Germanic Men-At-Arms were added to my Renaissance army I felt the need for lighter mounted troops to cover them to create a sense of balance (speaking of which the infantry needs more Pike). My Mounted Crossbows (CL) were only one half of the equation, these Mounted Harquebusiers (CM in Impetus terms) are the other (see below, in their current most advanced state, with the basing 'half' complete):

"Impetus" has fast become my favourite wargaming rule set for linear pre-musket era (stretching back to the ancients, but I still am active in the DBMM camp). It certainly ranks alongside "Chain of Command"  for enjoyment an non-deterministic "shock" value. My only problem is that I have kit but seemingly not the time to paint them! The painting started over a year ago (see below, a basic undercoat black):

Though technically not Light Horse (so it is harder for them to get out of the way) these are destined to be an important screening force to 'shove in front' of some decent impact cavalry to avoid them getting cheaply spent. Wanting them to do "them proud" I searched the Internet and pulled this useful  "crib painting sheet" in the below  photograph from: (see below):

I tried to give the horses a three-tone treatment, but always feel I chicken out of washing the legs dark enough. My lack real horse experience shows here methinks, I paint almost a typical cartoon representation, but at least try and vary the shades of colour. I decided to make these rider's jackets a bit more brighter (see below):

Then the riders were 'browned-up' in the legging department (see below):

The good news is that the 'boys' have already made it to the tabletop for an Impetus wargame in a "basic paint form" (see below):

They did well enough, shooting at some offending infantry at close range, but true my earlier comment "got in the way" of the very troops they were supposed to be screening. CM cavalry seems to have been more useful in earlier ancient times, when armoured four-legged tanks were less common. I might even 'pretend' they are Mounted Crossbow if the need comes in the next game ;)  

At the moment they just need to be finished off with the basing painted, highlighted and flocked. Watch this space for a final photo later.

Monday 22 September 2014

Perry's French 28mm Napoleonic Infantry (another birthday gift)

Another "birthday treat", this time from one of my brothers, coming from his askance of "What could a man who has enough silly toys possibly still want for?" The answer, another addition of some sort to my eclectic 28mm Napoleonic collection, "You chose", he said and I promptly did, Perry's 1812-1815 Napoleonic Line Infantry will do nicely sir (see below):

That's forty two figures, which if you make it up in a composition advertised on the box is a infantry battalion of six (six man) company blocks, complete with the option to extend the Voltigeur Company (skirmishers) into open skirmish formation. Nice!


Why? Well I honestly don't know.

Do I sensibly use these for Napoleonic skirmish game along with the English, Scottish and French Victrix troops (still in their boxes) or do I madly become the only person I know within one hundred miles to start building up an 28mm Napoleonic French and British armies? The painting work from Iron Mitten makes me want to try. As I look at my other 'disrupted' Napoleonic projects I started, I see a token gesture in 15mm metals (French and Prussian Infantry), a curious experiment with large formations in a very, very small scale (2mm), a bundle of inherited plastic 20mm, 1/72, HO/OO used as a painting and exercise before I come to the 'twenty first century plastics' that I chose as a magpie chooses silver, not knowing what causes the attraction.

The real question I should be asking is "What RULES?"

Suggestions on a postcard gratefully received and sincerely appreciated  

Friday 19 September 2014

More Luftwaffe planes ...

Just before I moved onto the Battle of Britain Spitfires a chance conversation with a fellow wargamer resulted in the dispatch of some unfinished Luftwaffe kits to my door as part of a communal "build" for a larger game. This will represent 1940 German "air assets". In total three Stukas and a Ju88 destined to bomb the French. A dibble and dabble of glue completed the part-assembly of a Stuka and Ju88 (see below):  

So two more Stukas to go before the RAF gets its second turn!

Note: There are a lot of bare plastic kits waiting at the end of the production ready for a mass paint.

Thursday 18 September 2014

Birthday presents ...

Trying to keep my mind off the Scottish Independence vote, so I decided to look back at my recent birthday presents (see below):

Some nice catches:
  • Three 1/144 Pacific planes, I can now make up a flight of Wildcats (3) and Dive Bomber Dauntlesses (3) with the above acquisitions
  • A must buy when I saw it Zvezda 1/72 or 20mm BEF 2pdr (I now have a troop of three)
  • The old Matchbox (now Revell) 1/76 ANZACS, full of character, spot on! 
Dare I turn on the telly/radio today?

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Lt Pringle's "Bloody Battle for Maltot" (Chain of Command): Part 4

With the center lane of advance effectively blocked by deadly MG42 fire, it fell to Second Squad to "right flank" the German strong-point in the church. Sensing the danger the 'last German MG42 team' moved into a blocking position. Looking for an opportunity to counterattack the Germans gambled in trying to take out Second Squad before they had fully formed up. Unfortunately for them their bullets went high, producing only minor amounts of 'shock'. The British player then had a stroke of luck just when he (I) needed it, a "continuation"(another go) courtesy of good (lucky) command dice. Knowing they had two back-to-back goes, Second Squad confidently formed up for the attack (see below):

Second Squad first laid down some (moving) suppressing fire, getting very, very lucky with a KIA and NCO wound (see below):

Meanwhile Lt Pringle was calming the remnants of First Squad by removing their 'shock' markers (see below):

Second Squad got down to business. The Bren team stay eyed behind to provide covering fire but Sergeant Walker led his boys in screaming like a banshee, bayonetes fixed! Only to find "dead" Germans. The Bren team had popped the lot off rolling an incredible three kills (see below):

Smiling at his good fortune, Sergeant Walker regroups Second Squad as Lt Pringle leads his First Squad men lush Second Squads Bren team "left flank" under cover of the ubiquitous "two inch" mortar's smoke barrage in the good old fashioned, traditional British Army way (see below):

Faced with a developing pincer movement the Germans called it a night. The German Commander was resigned to a life of captivity, however a young Landser pointed to the church crypt and explained it led through to the adjacent graveyard by means of a collapsed culvert. The position was thus abandoned to the Tommies.

Maltot fell a day ahead of schedule. 16 Platoon was recognised as a major factor in contributing to the success of the operation. Lt Pringle was mentioned in dispatches. There was some talk of a medal but the paperwork was lost in the hubbub created as the battalion moved on. His German counterpart was interviewed by Signal as a 'fanatical defender of the Reich' and was recommended for an Iron Cross. The rigours of the Normandy campaign meant that the cauldron was likely to consume him in the very near future.

A damn fine game!

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Lt Pringle's "Bloody Battle for Maltot" (Chain of Command): Part 3

Fearing they were in danger of losing the fire-fight the German commander deployed another MG42 team to "suppress the British suppressing fire-team!" (If that makes sense) They took position in the church courtyard. The satuatory British response of smoke failed to cover its objective (see below):

Where smoke failed a Bren team succeeded. The total steadily rose to seven German dead. The Germans were now down to half effectives and with a wounded NCO to boot, things were looking rather bleak (see below):

At this critical moment the German Commander seeing his wounded comrade cradling a MG42 in his arms, but unlikely to make it back through the church door, plunged out into the maelstrom. Braving the incoming Bren fire he ran to his friend, tugging and heaving him to safety (see below):

Rather than admiring the bold courage of the heroic act the British Commander (me) coldly lamented a lost opportunity of finishing off the German "higher command" (war changes people I guess). The sense of this cold hearted logic was reinforced when together with two Landser reinforcements, the German officers re-manned the church steeple and pored deadly fire down on the British First Squad (see below):

Three men down in as many seconds. Lt Pringle was agog. From the cusp of victory the situation had spiralled out of control. Three dead and a squad nearly broken, the situation required desparate action (see below):

Lt Pringle raced forward and took control from Sergeant Hoops. The poor man was frozen in shock, half his men were already dead. As Pringle barked the order to retire, the MG42 spoke again, another British PBI fell and Pringle felt a sharp stinging sensation in his lower arm, his hand going numb with a curious tingling sensation that started to burn and hurt like hell. Swearing like a man possessed somehow Pringle extracted his men despite the zipping hornets of death zipping through the underbrush (see below):

How he had not been killed Pringle simply did not know, but the burst of Bren from the fire-base house brought him to his senses. There was still a job to be done. "Route one" was closed but Second Squad still stood a fighting chance to be able to 'flank right'. However yet another German squad armed with a MG42 barred the way.

Friday 12 September 2014

Lt Pringle's "Bloody Battle for Maltot" (Chain of Command): Part 2

The FOO, Bombs, was quickly 'on net' and active, humming quietly to himself. The incoming rounds of MG42 were of little real interest. Jerry's shooting was off today, the bullets mostly passing harmlessly overhead. "How soon do you want it in Pringle old boy? You know we are technically danger close!" queried Bombs. "No point making a mess of it Bombs, take your time and bring it in steady, it's going to be a long, long day by the looks of it" answered Lt Pringle. The battery duly sent in a ranging round which landed spectacularly smack on target. "Corker and a bit of a pity" thought Bombs, "A 'fire for effect' would have beautiful!" Still smirking with satisfaction Bombs raised the receiver to his lips, but just before calling in the barrage he took one last peak through the binoculars for any last minute adjustments. He caught sight of the muzzle flash, but the bullet had already smashed through his brains before Bombs registered the danger. Barker Tango Five was off air, Lt Pringle witnessed the body's bloody recoil and flying bits of wireless set. He was alone, feeling a bloody fool for letting Bombs set up in a hot position, despite his initial foreboding, Bombs had thought it better to get in sooner rather than later. Never underestimate Jerry (see below, Bombs RIP skull counter):

The 'fire-base' kept up a constant dual with the MG42 team in the church steeple. The Brens were getting the better of it but a cry from a British rifleman confirmed that the traffic was not all one way (see below):

However "trade" had been far heavier back to the church, the MG42 fell silent with all the team dead, the floor slippery with the wet blood. The baseline Bren team turned its attention to the courtyard MG42 team taking up position (see below):

The British infantry pushed forward taking advantage of the lull in harassing fire (see below):

Lt Pringle had managed to return to the point where he had reached the day before. He knew he had to keep the pressure up on the Germans. Movement was the key (see below):  

So far the British had the best of it, however the potential of the MG42 to inflict devastating casualties always distilled caution into Lt Pringle. Already too many of 16 Platoon won't be returning home (other than in a box) because of this "disrespect".

Thursday 11 September 2014

Lt Pringle's "Bloody Battle for Maltot" (Chain of Command): Part 1

The familiarity of the Maltot tabletop was depressing. A sanguine Lt Pringle fumbled with the map. The smell of death lingered in the air. Lack of sleep and a nagging, hacking cough made the simplest of actions painfully slow. He couldn't help but stare at the big red brick building Sgt McCoy had died in, the news still seemed surreal. 16 Platoon's blood was up. The thought of the previous day's fumbled advance stung, but not as much as sight of the line of white crosses marking shallow graves. Already 16 Platoon's patrols were pushing forward towards the imposing Maltot church steeple, which in its battle scarred state looked more like a "bunker" than a place of worship (see below):

Lt Pringle's map reading had let him down badly so the jump-off positions were much further away from the church than he had hoped for. First squad deployed into a ruined French cottage giving them at least "hard cover" protection. Lt Pringle had agonized over his support decision, armour seemed a bad choice in the Maltot suburb, too many ambush points. A Vickers HMG was a tempting choice but as luck would have it Lt Pringle bumped into "Bombs" a FOO, the very one who had saved his bacon in his first real battle. Pringle had passed "Bombs" a bottle of liberated brandy and the two had finished it off last night. "Bombs" was in fine mood this morning, conscienciously running through his final equipment checks before joining 16 Platoon with a "three inch mortar battery in his back pack" (see below):

Second Squad with its still wounded NCO was deployed further back as the designated support group in the "fire base" house on the left side of the battlefield. The idea being to keep the church tower under constant harassing fire from a well aimed Bren gun bursts (see below):

"Bombs" was straight into the fray. The plan was to smoother the Church under a constant barrage of 3" mortars as the troops pushed forwards (three squadies had already rushed ahead to try and get to the next ruined house). So an inconspicuous figure with a pair of binoculars crouched in amongst with First Squad, nipping up the stairs to "get a better look at Jerry". He fiddled  with a mysterious black box and the air hissed with the crackle of static as he signed into the mortar battery (see below):

A small, but subtle movement in the Church Tower caught the attention of 16 Platoon's Bren guns. A burst of Bren fire from the fire-base drew first blood as a Landser fell, so far all was going to plan. The "Bloody Battle of Maltot" had resumed and the church steeped again was becoming a bullet magnet (see below):

"Bombs" brought a ranging shot smack down on the church, as third squad queued up behind the hard cover. It's Bren team was pushed forward into a firing position. With thre British Bren teams in place and only one dreaded MG42 firing back the fire equation seemed heavily stacked in the British favour. If the three inch mortars could be brought in, then this could turn into a "walk in the park" (see below):

The German Commander however had no intention of giving up so easily, his grim faced determination betrayed no fear, although they were aware of the enormity of the defensive task. All told there were only fourteen German ranks at the start of the game. Now they were down to thirteen with the prospect of a mortar barrage. Desperately he scanned for the tell-tale glint from a pair of spying binoculars. Nothing. The best the Germans could do was shoot up a house exchanging fire with them and hope for the best.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Impetus: Renaissance versus Medieval

My 350 points Italian Wars Renaissance army deployed in a compact formation. My newest unit (of Mounted Arquebusiers) had reached the 'minimum painting' threshold to be allowed in my eyes to take to the field (see below):

I was facing a Burgundian Ordinance (packed with Wars of the Roses English Long-bowmen) medieval army, the nearest historical opponent I could find on the Impetus battle club night. It was a long, long, long line of Men-At-Arms/Spears backed by a rear rank of Longbows for the most part, with no cavalry (see below):

The battlefield was constrained by impassable and rough terrain, leaving a Central Valley for my invading Pike Blocks to concentrate on. As my army (quite unusually) was devoid of artillery and I was facing an army of massed bows, there was no point waiting so I advanced. The only subtle thing I did was to swing my left wing of cavalry to the left to get them out of arc from the dreaded English Longbowmen (see below):

Onwards came the colourful Italians, engaging the Burgundian skirmish line and having the better of the affair. Through a hail of arrows the Pike advanced into contact. After an initial in stately Italian recoil the momentum of the huge mass of infantry was the deciding factor and the Burgundian line stated to buckle (see below):

The embarrassing buckle turned into dangerous bulb and although losing the supporting smaller Italian Pike Block, the main (three layers thick and with the C-in-C General in it) Italian Pike Block swept the Burgundian/English infantry away. On the flanks both Burgundian Knights and Germanic Mounted  Men-At-Arms were waiting their chance to test the mettle of the remaining Burgundian/English infantry. However they were not needed as the Burgundian/English had to their dismay also lost both of their leaders to the sharp "pointy points" of the victorious Italian Pikemen. The contest was therefore effectively over (see below):

I sat dazed an befuddled at the result. I had not played Impetus in such a long while and had forgotten how literally bursting with surprises it can be. The combat is quite brutal and the fact that the Pike Blocks could rasp their way through the English infantry came as a complete shock to me. Equally stunned was the Burgundian/English commander's disbelief in his longbow backed infantry had failed to stop the Pike, the multi-armed phalanx being less successful that perhaps "blocks" of pure bow would have been. Still it (Impetus) had something which will bring me back to the well again and again!

My goal is to raise a 600 Italian Renaissance point army, which means at least another Pike Block is needed. The bigger the armies the more the 'feel' of the battle changes. The test to me will be two wings (mounted) and a center (infantry) command. First up I must finish off the painting on my Mounted Harquebusiers before I move onto more Pike!

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Lego: Star Wars and Lego City builds

One of my "summer projects" was to sort out my eldest son's Lego collection (he has lots, but they are in pieces and it is all over the place) so we could finally find the right pieces when we needed them. Several wargaming "hobby boxes" and plenty of empty "ice-cream cartons" were conscripted into the task. The project was also to try and prove the point that you can make tons more 'stuff' than just what comes with the instructions on the side of each box.

The result, after a few tears after I was accused of taking over his collection (to be fair I probably did until I told off by the wife), was an interesting series of different 'things' (see below):

The "how to do it" instructions came from an App (search for "Lego Instructions" and you should see a free app or two).

Note: I still had to adapt the instructions to fit with the parts I had to hand, which I think is a valuable life skill to learn. Another point to note though, was that despite having a collection which I thought of as "considerable" there were several parts I could not lay my hands on. In my day (of twos, fours and eight blockers) that would have been unheard of, you might run out of them but you would have had some of them (perhaps not in the right colour)!. Anyway I think James May would have been proud of me and in the end my son thanked me.