Wednesday 30 December 2020

I Think The Time Has Come For Another Ancients Game (OHW)

Inspired by the review of the Persians, I think it is time to revisit their Greek cousins and "go forth" with another One Hour "Ancients" Wargame. I am thinking a small City State feud with some Greeks at play (see below, I am sure access rights ancient well of Artemis is once again being disputed): 

Time to look through the book of scenarios for an interesting one to play and see if I can interest my eldest into playing - and perhaps bribe him with an offer of the Disney Plus TV Channel Subscription id he plays ;) 

Tuesday 29 December 2020

15mm Achaemenid Persians DBA++ (BBDBA)Army Review

Started way back in the day when I was but first reading about Marathon, Greeks in Peril, Salamis and Plataea (circa 1997) I realised with uncanny foresight that I needed to paint Persians as well as Greeks .. to my horror I also chose the largest DBA army project in the sense of number of figures (with all the options) to paint, Early Achaemenid Persians - maybe I should have started with Libyans (as in they are mostly 2Ps). The figures I sourced at shows seemed to come from all manner of manufacturers which seemed fitting of the Persian army (see below, the old school Xth Legion Spara Bara (middle row), supported by a front line of Xth Legion Taka Bara (front row), with the newer Xyston miniatures (back row) along with a unit from Chariot Miniatures): 

The respect opponents give the Persians is not from their infantry though, it is their cavalry arm that is feared, excluding the novelty Scythed Chariots (as I have never seen them work on a tabletop). Cavalry is one thing but Cavalry (3Cv) with Light Horse (2LH) is a horrible proposition for spears (4Sp) to face (see below, a Xyston Scuthed Chariot (front row), Xth Legion Cavalry (middle row) and Xth Legion Scythian Light Horse (back row)): 

I am quite proud of my Xyston paint jobs, 28mm detail on 15mm figures, beautiful figures which deserve a good paint job (see below, Xyston (2Ps) slingers (front row), Xyston (3Cv) Cavalry (middle row) and Xyston (2LH) Scythian light Horse (rear row)):   

Next to my Xyston Darius III and his Apple Bearers the (4Sp) Xyston spear who are tasked to guard his life with their own. To be honest my heresy is that I make little distinction between Early and Later Achaemenid Persian (it is just that I do not have many, as in one DBA Army of Macedonians to field against them for now), the only fact being that there is not much call for (8Bw) Spara Bara in later times (see below, going left to right (all Xystn) Light Chariot, Apple Bearer Spears and the start of a Hoard - shield designs all hand painted): 

Chariot Miniatures still hold their own as shown by this rear block of (3Cv) Cavalry to the rear left and the small (but perfectly formed) Spear (4Sp) on the "other side" of Darius (see below, the Persians sure bulked up the body count in their armies):   

Xyston Taka Bara (3Ax) looking much more fierce than their Xth Legion counterparts (see below, note that Xth Legion were passed onto Gladiator Games, who in turn passed the molds onto Magister Militum as per my last recollection): 

Not quite the DBM mass of an order of battle but filling out a BBDBA game, aka three sets of DBA Achaemenid Armies .. left, middle and right (see below, still more "silver legions" to fill out the ranks, particularly overdue are some Xyston Thracians and Egyptian Spearmen to join the ranks of the Persians): 

But of course now there is also now a War Tower to add! But I still need to paint my unit of "Combat Camels". These boys need a little TLC to be expanded in 2021 and who knows Alexander may too be reinforced so that they can "rumble" together. 

Monday 28 December 2020

Fun with Card: WWI and Inter-War Period (Free Downloads)

Just sharing from a friend who spotted this:

Some beautiful work on display!

Excellent resource and fun to play with, although the whole concept of "card models" may sound daunting - you never know until you give it a go ;) 

Saturday 26 December 2020

A "Boxing Day" Battle - The Battle of Tula 1941 - One Hour Wargame Rules

End of Barbarossa, the Fascist German invasion ran out of steam before Moscow. Heroic units of the Soviet Army were called upon by Stalin to fall upon the stricken German units at they retreated (see below, although seriously under-strength themselves the Soviets attacked with patriotic fury - as per shown in the Soviet master plan revealed from the surviving manuscript below): 

And then replicated on tabletop, the grey German column runs top to bottom in the photograph (see below, a nice excuse for some new toys to appear on table I am lead to believe): 

Looking down upon the retreating (don't tell Herr Hitler) German column the Soviet hoards steeled themselves for a furious battle of attrition (see below, the "Flanking Force": armour, Cossacks and leg infantry - a mix, it is the Soviet way): 

The "Blocking Force" of Soviet ski infantry (Siberians) faces the toughest task, blunting the might of the Hitlerite Panzers (see below, they are to trade their blood for time, stall the head of the column so that the "Flanking Force" can wreck havoc upon it):

The infernal Nazi machine has a cunning plan though, the Panzers are to swing south and engage the Soviet ski troops from the flank as the Motorised Infantry pin them frontally (see below, the head of the German column acts first): 

The rest of the German column is slower being restricted to mostly horse, foot and the odd motor transport bundles forward with the end of the column feeling compelled, somewhat reluctantly, to turn and face the Soviet foe (see below, it will be a fast an furious battle right from the start of the battles proceedings because of the proximity of the enemy forces): 

The Soviet forces are quick out of the blocks, they'haul ass' and 'start firing', nothing complicated here. The rules of warfare from the ACW Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest apply here, "get there with the mostest firstest" to win (see below, the Ski troops open fire causing considerable destruction of the lightly armoured German Infantry Motorised infantry and all of the rest of the Soviets move "full" -the Cossacks being a particularly fearful sight crossing the snow at the gallop): 

Bloodied, the German column is compressed and unwieldy, with its head being hammered by three  Soviet units (see below, the Panzers must act with alacrity to right the situation whereas the Motorised infantry have to take time to "rally" themselves from a perilous state of disorder, which foregoes them attacking this turn):  

The Panzers swing round but the rest of the German column is somewhat fixed and performs what can be best described as an aggressive shuffle towards the enemy, although the Cossacks bear the brunt of the effective fire (see below, the Soviets have to hang tight here and take an aggressive round of incoming fire): 

The threatened unit of Siberians turn to face the Panzers and are determined to "die hard". Meanwhile the Russian general assault continues along the line (see below, note that the Russian Tanks have a hull-down position on the hill to make it an even harder task for the German Landsers at the rear of the column): 

The Russian attack on the Motorised German Infantry is too much for it to take and it simply ceases to exist as a fighting formation (see below, the gap at the front of the German column where it used to be and note the bulk of the German infantry is locked in combat with the Soviets in the wrong [central] part of the board): 

The Panzers slug it out with the Siberians and the rest of the Germans engage their opposites. Again it is noticeably the Cossacks who take the brunt of the casualties, perhaps it is their style of fighting (see below, however the overall unit count is now 6:5 in favour of the Soviets): 

The Soviets are now pinching both ends of the German Column, obtaining good local odd advantages. The Soviet tanks on the hill now deem it appropriate to charge into the flank of a weakened German infantry unit (see below, note as a flanking unit doubles its attack dice the Soviets have effectively got 3:1 combat odds at front and back of the German Column): 

The Soviet tank action causes the catastrophic destruction of another German infantry unit (see below, the Germans are now losing units at an alarming rate, 6:4 now in the Soviet favour, with no sign of an open exit to extract themselves through): 

Desperate times call for desperate measures and the rearmost German infantry unit seizes the opportunity to counterattack into the flan of the victorious Soviet armour. How many times have you seen that, at the moment of your success you are also at your most weakest or vulnerable. The Soviet tankers have their moment of hubris. At the front of the column a dire slugging match continues (see below, this is a very dark moment for the Germans as they appear to be on the verge of being swept from the board): 

Secret Soviet Footnote added: During the course of the action the NKVD detachment did valuable service to the Motherland by performing patriotic duties behind the 'front-line of action', instilling the Cossacks with righteous fervor, that allowed them to continue fighting despite the terrible losses incurred (see below, the movement of a small unit at the back can be observed attaching itself to the second Soviet Cossack unit over the next few photographs): 

The German success appears from an unexpected quarter, in the middle of the battlefield, a Cossack unit disintegrates. The Machine guns and mortars of modern weaponry have finally taken their toll on the horses. Once committed to a frontal battle and not able to use their mobility the butcher's bill is an almost inevitable consequence (see below, this ruthlessly exposes the flank of a Soviet Infantry formation vital to successfully blocking the German exit, 5:4 but still in favour of the Soviets): 

It was a measure of the Soviet Commander's ability to see  that he did not panic at this reversal (and it was not I so it is not self-praise). With a practical sense of grace he pulled the endangered tanks back to the hill using their superior speed to orientate themselves for aggressive action next turn and simultaneously hurled the second Cossack regiment into the melee to pin the German Infantry unit that had a potential exploitation move if left unchecked (see below, the old wargaming motto of "fight where you have to and don't fight where you don't have to" applies in its truest form here):   

His calmness was well rewarded as good news came from the front of the column, in that a second German Infantry unit had been dispatched by the terrible Siberian ski troops (see below, the Germans were once again on the back foot, 5:3 in favour of the Soviets - there only glimmer of hope being that the Germans Panzers were making in-roads against their blocking unit of Siberian ski troops): 

And so it came to pass that the terrible swift sword of the Germans finally struck down the valiant Soviet ski troops, the Cossacks once again suffered accurate and punishing fire, while it was clear that the Soviet tankers needed to spend precious time to reorganise themselves on the hill. If the Germans were fully motorised then they perhaps could have seized the moment to extract themselves. Instead they were now fighting three disconnected battle in separate pockets of resistance (see below, every German success had come at a price, be it is casualties or being forced to move at a tangent to the direction of safety (see below, the odds are now 4:3 but still in favour to the Soviets, but is hard to see how the two middle German Infantry units can get a clear run off the board)

At the rear of the German Column the Soviets reorganise their tanks and pull back their cavalry out of 'harms way'. while at the front of the German Column the Soviets orientate themselves to face the new dangerous threat of the Panzers but also take time to rally their own battered infantry that have been doing some hard fighting (see below, for the first time the Germans have the potential to gain a local 3:2 advantage in fighting through the blocking force to safety and their salvation. The question is will the Soviets be kind enough to give them time enough to exploit this?):   

The Germans sensibly now try to pull their infantry to one pocket in the center of the battlefield. The German Infantry that fought so well and heroically defeated the charges of Cossacks also suffered horrendous casualties, so are very disorganised and it will take two turns of continuously rallying them to bring them back together as a fighting unit. This is time the Germans simply do not have. The Panzers meanwhile start the attrition on a second Siberian ski unit (see below, so tantalisingly close for the Germans but they need to get all three units off the board to claim a significant amount of rescued men and material that "can live to fight another day"):  

The Soviets are coming, ominously the Soviets tankers and Cossacks begin their final charge, meanwhile the Siberians hunker down for more attention from the Panzers. The Siberians elected to try and at least damage the Panzers rather then digging deeper snow holes, but alas were ineffective (see below, the mobile Soviet forces are not going to give the time the German leg forces need to exit, another good Russian command decision): 

The Germans tried one last desperate "attack out of a pocket" at the Soviets, with their last "throw of the dice" they hoped to break one or both of the two Soviet infantry units blocking the exit. It was successful in inflicting some casualties but did not disorder either of the Soviet units, so it was clear they would fight back. That meant the avenging angels of the Soviet mobile forces would fall upon the now perilously weakened German Infantry at the rear of the German Column (see below, if only the Germans could move faster, but they know in their heart of hearts they are going to get caught, it is whether they can ride out the storm or not): 

The Soviet tankers make contact this turn with the Cossacks, as per their historical preference - well at least since 1812 - lurking menacingly on the flanks and rear of the German Infantry unit. It does not look good for that unit of Landsers as they already start the combat "disordered". The rest of the Soviet infantry is simply "holding the line" and inflicting what casualties they can on the other German units (see below, the jaws of the Soviet trap close tightly around the rear of the German Column):  

The rear German Infantry unit disintegrates under the pressure of the Soviet tankers attack, even before the flanking Cossacks could or are needed to engage - what then followed would be simply a "massacre". It is now a case of the Germans performing a damage limitation exercise as best they can. The Panzers can always make safely it the off table and with the "road" bonus it is deemed that the remaining German Infantry can move to the end of the table with only the remaining "battered" Siberian unit in contact and viewed as incapable of destroying it in one turn, so it will be in effect off regardless on the following turn. The remaining Russian, albeit mobile, forces are just slightly too far away to intervene (see below, end-game, so despite the Soviet abuse two German units do exit off the table, though the scenario stated three to be considered a victory .. so the Soviet team takes the laurels and once again Corporal Hitler is very displeased with his Prussian Generals): 

In the end it was 4:2 in favour of the Soviets, with the Germans failing to get at least three units off the table. A splendid historical winter victory for the Soviets and "Hero of the Soviet Union" goes to Marshall Tim commander of the Soviet forces. Many thanks to the Sheffield Boys for a very engaging and entertaining game, which pretty much did what it said on the tin and gave a really good fun game in just under an hour. I was so impressed I may even stage this very scenario for my local wargaming group using my 20mm kit [some of which I needs to be painted first]. The above was played via Zoom video conferencing, the umpiring moving and rolling all dice, the players giving vague instructions and directions. Good fun!

Friday 25 December 2020

Merry Xmas 2020

 I just hope everybody has a SAFE and HAPPY Xmas

Thursday 24 December 2020

Connections Oz: Some Interesting Talks to be Found Here

The Zoom culture of the Covid-19 Pandemic again benefited hobbyist wargamers like myself who normally would not be able to afford to go to Australia but could join real-time. 

I particularly enjoyed the designer presentation on the "Fog of War" - a strategic "whole WWII campaign" game, so much so I bought the game .. only to see it's Amazon shipment progress go from shipped, to overdue to as potentially "lost" (do you want a refund?) due to the current logistic problems with "stuff" coming from Europe to the UK. We'll just have to see if Santa's reindeer eventually turn up or not.

Previous years Connections Oz resources can be found at:

Hopefully 2020 will be added too!

Wednesday 23 December 2020

6mm Hittite DBA Army

Looking through my (ahem, those started but not finished) collections and projects for 2019 (yes I know it is now nearly 2021) and I came across my "starter" DBA 3 ancients (and in this case I really mean ancient) project (see below, small but perfectly formed, the coin in the background is a 5 pence piece): 

Now for 15mm scale armies you have just a few figures per stand, but in 6mm you can proportionally expand by a factor of four to fill out the base with figures (see below, 2Ps comes to eight figures, 3Pk means twelve, the army has a certain mass): 

The idea being that the density of troops gives the impression of capability, a thin line of skirmishers protect the thicker formation of Pikemen (see below, note in DBA 3 these early Pike are Fast not Solid, solid Pike would be sixteen and really crammed on the base): 

Below is an example of a Hoard (7Hd which equals twenty eight figures so this is a Solid formation) but the irregular variety of  weapons shows them to be of relatively poor quality (see below, they move awkwardly and fight poor but they have their uses, so rather than rushing to the rule book the look of the troops should indicated their strengths and weaknesses): 

The New Kingdom Egyptians are sorely needed as adversaries! When the armies are placed against each other it will be interesting to see if the combat factors make sense just by their appearance of the match-ups. Watch this space, but I need to paint another army first ;) 

Sunday 20 December 2020

Soviet Armour of WWII (Again): Not just a T-26 but a T-26-4 Artillery Tank

I sense a rather long rant coming on. If I am being perfectly honest, it is a rant mostly at myself, not the kit. UM models and me have a love-hate thing. They produce the "off the beaten track" variants and I love them for that. They obviously experiment with materials and sometimes get it spot on. As per the one piece track it this kit. Far better that the old Airfix/Esci fiasco of heat-glue the ends of the track together without melting the damn thing. However I have to say that my concern was more with the ninety (and yes I do mean 90) other parts I had to first assemble for the "tank wheels" it to go over, including four of the dreaded 'etched metal parts' used for the front wheel - and super-glued in place (see below, the T-26-4 beautiful from a 'model-making' and 'kit-collecting' perspective but so daunting at the same time just to make, that is probably why it was "last to do" [and if say I have had this kit for ten years is an understatement] in my stock-pile of Russian kits to do - so, yes that means after this kit I have ran out of Russian WWII things to "make", note "make" ahem not "paint") : 

Zip forward in time and it's done (see below, that was quick - er, no, not quite, but I honestly don't have energy to go into the build details as it was so demanding and intense [I am sounding a complete primadonna here, but it was far worse than "screwing" the Persian War Tower together]): 

Can I point out the annoying "etched wheel parts at the front", there are two, an inside and an outer .. not really sure why. The machine gun to the side of the main gun in the turret is annoying as the hole is placed to the top while on the instructions it is placed to the bottom [and it was not just a case of me rotating it wrong, honest]. But .. once done I fell in love with it .. it was an insane sense of achievement over the odds ,, and yes I would buy another UM model (if a simpler alternative was not to hand), despite all my cussing (see below, a T-26 ready to take on the Fascists): 

Sorry, one final rant, but no it is not about the number of times I dropped small parts on the floor and crawled around on my hands and knees, and believe me I was being very careful. Neither is it the fact that I could not find plastic part 67 (the turret machine gun part, yes - to go in the misplaced hole [top not bottom] in the turret MG socket) anywhere on the plastic sprue - I finally located it specially segregated in the etched parts bag! To be fair, it was where the instructions cunningly said it was .. albeit in the small print. No it is the fact that despite the T-26-4 having a rear MG (a classic design feature of early war Russian tanks) they didn't give you one. Why? Would it have broke the bank? After all it made it to the box art on the back of the kit! So off I go to salvage something from the WWII spates box (see below, my rear MG actually comes from a PSC German rifle .. ha and I don't care .. it feels suitable punishment for this Russian tank to really on a German Lanser weapon!)

Having said all that. I love this little kit. Rant over. Yes I am thinking about buying UM BT5 or BT7 next. Unless PSC do one in 2021 or I can get my hands on a decent five piece resin model instead. Watch this space in 2021 ;) 

Saturday 19 December 2020

On the Subject of Soviet WWII Armour: The T-35 Land-ship

It is everyone's secret desire to have a T-35 even though may not admit it, or like me even know what they would do with it if they ever made one (see below, the S-Models "two in a pack T-35" offer of a lifetime): 

Admittedly it did look slightly out of place on the painting tray, sharing time with a "brigade" of 20mm ACW Union troops - although to be honest the technology didn't seem too different (see below, the painful process of clipping the brittle plastic of the S-Model without breaking delicate parts is now far behind me): 

Delightfully the "multiple small rollers" track casting came literally in one part. So provided that you were careful clipping it out there was no "Matilda" or "Churchill" hell (those who have put together those Airfix kits will know what I am talking about) to contend with (see below, a multi-turreted monster - but still lovable at the same time): 

Harder than putting it together (and I did have a choice moment or two when I put the radio aerial on the turret) is painting the blooming thing. It took quite a long time and quite a lot of Airfix primer to finally cover it (see below, a ghostly post-build but pre-paint apparition - I originally thought they did but I was told that they never made it to the Winter War with Finland, I must double check that): 

Next came a refreshingly messy stage as I daubed the whole kit and caboodle in Vallejo Sepia Brown Wash (see below, I know they didn't see much combat - deployed and destroyed around Kiev in 1941, but they did a fair bit of travelling in the dusty Russian Summer, so my two T-35's are going to look grubby rather than factory finish):  

Next Stage: Time to break out the Vallejo Russian Green!

Friday 18 December 2020

Note to Self: Have you played a game of Uno yet, if not why not?

With plenty of time coming to hand, time to challenge the old and young kids alike for a game of Uno (see below, a deviously simple but addictive little game): 

Note to Self: Remember not to cry when the kids beat you!

Thursday 17 December 2020

PSC T34-76 and T34-85 options

When in doubt with what to do with your time, simple male a fast build T34/76 (or T34/85) from the Plastic Soldier Company WWII 20mm Soviet range (see below, just a little pottering and you can have this little beauty): 

Sharing the common body the T34/85 turret (see below, very nice when you get two models for the price of one - mid to late war Soviet tanks sorted): 

All I really have to decide is what paint scheme to choose ;)