Sunday, 20 July 2014

Peninsular War: Drums and Shakos Battle Report

My son Charlie and I managed to get a game in last week. We played Songs of Drums and Shakos, a game from Ganesha Games. Based on the same mechanics as Songs of Blades and Heroes and Fist Full of Kung Fu. As you might have guessed Drums and Shakos is set in the Napoleonic wars and introduces rules for muskets, rifles, cannons etc. It has two advantages (as far as I am concerned) over Sharp Practice: you only need 10-20 figures a side, which makes it much easier to get a game together, and it is a really simple mechanic, which makes it great for Charlie to learn. In fact Charlie said that this, and Blades and Heroes, are his favourite games, even better that Lord of the Rings!

The game was based on a shore party from the HMS Endurance, attempting to find a well or spring where they can replenish their ships depleted water reserve (following an unfortunate accident involving a rat and a cabin boy). Lieutenant Ragley was in charge of the party, which consisted of 13 sailors.

Lt Ragley (Q4+ C2, Leader, Pistol, Sword)
Able Seaman Stumpy (Q4, C2, Sword)
4 Big Lads (Q4, C2, Strong, Sword, Pistol)
4 Salty Seamen (Q4, C2, Muskets and Swords)
4 Jack Tars (Q4, C2, Muskets)

Unfortunately for Lt Ragley and the crew of the HMS Endurance, the area of coast line they had landed on, was being paroled by Jean Bonnet, a lieutenant in a French imperial line infantry regiment. He was accompanied by 9 grenadiers and 2 fusiliers.

Lt Bonnet, (Q4 C2, Leader, Pistol, Sword)
Grenadier (Q4, C2, Strong, Muskets)
Fusiliers (Q4, C2 Muskets)

Lt bonnet lead his grenadiers to the orange grove, where they formed up a firing line, ready to repel the sailors. The grenadiers were all big, strong soldiers, and didn't think much of the sea rats they were to fight- they hardly compared to a red-jacket!

The Battle began with the crack of musketry as the grenadiers and the jack tars exchanged ineffectual fire at long range. The big lads, armed for boarding actions and close quarters battle took advantage of the French reloading to sprint forwards, vaulting over a rickety fence and closing to within range of their pistols. 

 The Salty Seamen moved up, fired a volley with their muskets, before drawing their cutlass's and charging in. The Grenadiers shot one of then as they advanced- killing him, and knocked down one of the Big Lads, but nothing was going to stop the cutlass armed sailors closing to melee.

The two fusiliers moved up one flank to snipe at the RN officer, but their fire wasn't terribly accurate, and all they succeeded in doing was driving him into cover. 

The encounter ended with a sprawling melee. The French grenadiers found the cutlass armed sailors to be quite a lot tougher in melee that they had expected, and gradually their numbers were whittled down until the sailors started to get the upper hand. Lt Bonnet was frantically running between his troops, barking out orders, when a lucky long range shot from one of the Jack Tars caught him under his knee and sent him down in the dust. His men, seeing him fall, broke and fled the battlefield, and the French officer was captured, and taken to the HMS Endurance, for the expert ministration of Mr Cutter, the ships surgeon. 

It was quite a coup for Lieutenant Ragley (RN). He lost only one sailor, but captured a French officer.  Who knows what intelligence the navy will be able to learn from the prisoner. As for Bonnet, well it is likely the Frenchman will spend the rest of the war as a prisoner-of-war, or else be ransomed back to the French in exchange for some British prisoners. 

As for the game, both Charlie and I thought that Songs of Drums and Shakos was a great system, full of fast pace action, and very easy to learn. The sizes of the forces involved were ideal for my mini table and for my collection. Personally I get bored if I have to paint 20-30 minis of the same type, but these sizes of engagements are ideal. 

Friday, 11 July 2014

New Terrain Board

Here is a neat little gaming table I have been working on, principally for my peninsular war campaign, but it should also be useful for small games of Force on Force or wild west games (or in fact any game involving a dry dusty landscape).
The idea for this came form a tread on Lead Adventure Forum, and it is basically a decorating table (normally a long thin table used for applying wallpaper paste to wallpaper). This was £12.99 in B&Q. By removing the legs, then taking of the hinges and repositioning them on the sides, I was able to turn it from a long thin table into a roughly 4 foot by 3 foot table- ideal for small skirmish games. The hollow inside was then filled with foam card, cut to the contours of the land, then covered in sand. I had some problems with warping, especially on the biggest piece of foam card, but generally it went well. I painted it with an emulation paint that was similar in colour to the way I paint my desert bases. The river was painted with acrylics and then given a coat of clear gloss varnish. 
  I then used woodland scenic scatter to add a bit of colour to some of the areas, and GW grass tufts for add vegetation.
the whole thing is very light weight and conveniently folds up into a 3 foot by 2 foot case with a carrying handle!

I would consider this a success, and a cost effective way of making a small board. I intend to do the same for Across the Dead Earth and possible a pirate board too... at some point in the future. The use of foam card might have been cheep but blue foam might be better as it is less prone to warping (although it is more expensive).

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

ECW: Club Men

And now for something completely different!

English Civil War is not really my bag...I have never really been that interested in it as a period for wargaming or reading about, but I understand that it has its followers. When I joined the Earlswood Wargaming group I found out that they do a fair amount of ECW, and that Keith, the club's treasurer has even wrote a set of rules he is due to publish in the autumn of this year. 
Despite assurances that I didn't need to paint any figures as between them the Earlswood group have more that enough, I thought I would show some commitment and paint something to plonk on the table. But which side? Not being a fan of the period I had no particular favourite: I admire the politics of the round heads, but am equally seduced by the floppy hair and style of the cavaliers. 
The answer was the Club Men, by Warlord Games. Club men are so called, not because they wield clubs (although some of them do) but rather because they are local militias formed from mutual protection clubs. They don't really care about the politics of the war- they just want the soldiers off their land. This had the advantage that I could use them on which ever side I was due to be fighting on...brilliant. The fact that they are really characterful and fun figures helped too. 
I don't imagine that I am going to be tempted to paint a huge army of ECW figures, but I quite enjoyed painting these. I am a bit tempted to paint some artillery as Keith says that are short of that...but apart from that I think my ECW project is now complete (as far as any wargaming project can be called complete).

Squire Toby Fitzgerald, local landed gentleman and sponsor of the club men

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Monday, 7 July 2014

AtDE: Wrecked London Bus

Another bit of scenery for Across the Dead Earth- a London bus. This is a repainted die-cast I have had in my cupboard for a couple of years (I got it from the entertainer). It might be a tad under scale for 28mm, but I think it will work OK as a bit of scenery. I really enjoyed going overboard on the weathering and rust effects. 
The only other problem is that these sort of red buses are not really found in Birmingham ( or the Rag Market as it is known in AtDE) and I was really planning oln setting my games in and around Birmingham. However, saying that, the thing that makes AtDE stand out (for me at least) is that it is a post-apoc game set in Britain, and what could be more ironically British than a red bus?

Also kudos to Brummie for his outdoor photography techniques- it saved me having to get the scenery out of the attic. 

The inspiration for this piece came form several cool bits of post apoc art like this one...

Friday, 4 July 2014

Fist Full of Kung Fu: Yakuza

I am sorry that I haven't posted much recently but I have been a bit under the weather. I am on the mend now and I wanted to kick off with these- Dixon Miniatures Yakuza gangsters I painted up principally to play Fist Full of Kung Fu, but I can see these bad guys getting a lot of use for many settings, such as hired thugs for the Jade Oni in Pulp City or battling suave British intelligence officers in SpyFi 7TV.

I bought these cheep in a bargain bucket at the Wolverhampton wargaming show...£6 for all 8! It would have been rude not to buy them. They are fairly simple 'old fashioned' sculpts compared to the new ones by North Star (the official ones for Fist Full of Kung Fu) but then again they are £17.50 for 7, so I got a bargain. Wargames Foundry makes some nice ones too, but they are £12 for 6, so I still got a good deal- but I do like their sumo wrestler body guard!

My Yakuza are a bit more colourful than the traditional black suited bad guy, but that's because sometimes I like to go a bit bright to jolly my mood up a bit. I think the will look smart with my Kiss Kiss Bang Bang figures, and if I do any more I will use some of the Foundry or North star guys and do those in the sharp suits, and use these Dixon ones as street level thugs.

Gang Boss (Oyabun)
Couple of bad guys

Serious bad guy who likes knives. A lot.

Who brings a sword to a gun fight? These Guys. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Peninsular War: Two Fields

Here are a couple of bits of scenery I have been making for my Peninsular War campaign... 

First up- an orange orchard (An orangery perhaps? or what ever the correct term for it is). This time I thought I would really go overboard on the terrain and really go for that dry dusty Iberian Peninsular feel. The walls are 1/72 scale Italieri plastic ones. The rest is scratch built. It is A4 size so it will easily fit in the IKEA Pappis storage box, and the orange trees will lift out for ease of storage and to allow figures to be placed during play. the oranges are a combination of tiny balls of green stuff, and coriander seeds (when I got board of making tiny balls of GS). The cabbages are made from paper roses from the craft shop painted green and dry-brushed. 

The Ploughed Field is made the same way. the fence is made by Redendra and the rest is scratch built. The Field is a piece of door mat sold in ALDI stuck down and given a light dry brush. The flowers were from Atenociti's Workshop.  

I hope you like them- Next up a farm house and a barn. 

Friday, 6 June 2014

AtDE: Wrecked Cars for Across The Dead Earth

Here are a couple of diecast repaints I have done for Across the Dead Earth, a post apocalypse game set in Britain forty or so years after a devastating war/disaster. I wanted to do a few wrecked and really rusted vehicals. I was going for a 'The Last of Us' vibe as that seems to fit with my idea of a post-apoc Britain. 

These cars are diecast from the Disney Cars film. They are about 1/50 scale and that works just great for 28mm. A few of the vehicles have funny faces on the front but these are usually easy to cover with Green Stuff, Liquid Green Stuff or textured paint, then apply rust effect liberally to cover up the area and conceal the filler. 
It's also worth remembering that a few of the vehicals have odd scales, exaggerated for comics effect, so it is worth checking out the car before you buy it if you can. 
The bases for these models are made form a rubbery floor tile I bought form B+Q. it is soft and easy to cut with scissors or a craft knife. 
The figures in the back ground will be featured soon- they are my stand in gang while I wait for my AtDE minis to be delivered from my Kick Starter. 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Home Front 1941: Home Guard Big Guns

Well, it's not that big a gun really, but it's better that a Boys anti-tank rifle. This is  is a 2pdr AT gun. It packs enough force to scare a German tank crew, but it's unlikely to do to much damage to the front of a Panzer, and is best deployed in ambush. With the Home Guard crew is a Forward Observer Officer from the Royal Artillery and his radio operator. British armies in Bolt Action get a FOO officer free, to represent the British tenancy to prefer heavy artillery over infantry and armour. This FOO can call down off field artillery to punish the enemy and drive them out of cover onto the waiting guns of the Home Guard!

This ATG is now sold by Warlord Games, although I have had this one in my cupboard for years and back then I think it was sold by a company called BEF.  The FOO and his aide are also from Warlord. 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Russian Civil War Battle Report

This weekend I journeyed to Herefordshire to join in with a Russian Civil War battle hosted by Giles. It was the same gamers who play the  VBCW Big Games, and we were trying out the modifications for Mort's own rules 'Went the Day Well?'- imaginatively entitled 'Went the Revolution Well'.

I haven't got any RCW figures, so Giles leant me a Kuban Cossack army. I was fighting against the Turks and their treacherous Cossack allies. The Russians had an armoured train due to arrive at any moment and the Turks and their allies were trying to knock it out or destroy the track in order to stop it. Basically my side had to stop them. 

In the battle I was lined up on the flank facing the treacherous Cossack army- they had an armoured car and a field gun- both of which I lacked. I concluded that the best plan was to race towards the enemy as quickly as possible and engage in melee- if I could beat his cavalry my infantry would be able to close and finish him off before he could attack the train. 

The plan might have worked too, except a badly aimed shot from the field gun landed in the mist of the swirling melee, and by shear chance killed more a lot more of my cavalry than the enemy, effectively turning the tide. My cavalry fought on bravely, but it looked grim for them....then the train arrived!

It turns out the armoured train was the one thing on the table that didn't need protecting- given that it was heavily armoured and bristling with cannons and machine guns!

We had been successful in keeping the Turks and their allies away from the railway, and they had been forced to keep their field guns back to protect them, but now they were too far away to use their AT their was little they could do as the armoured brute thundered past, guns blazing, leaving both sides in a cloud of dust and smoke.

Mission accomplished...just about

Some Treacherous Cossacks!

My good brave Loyal Cossacks charging towards the enemy

Turkish Infantry

As both Cossack forces close, they prepare to charge

My Flag Bearer signals the Charge

The Cossacks clash in a swirl of melee
Russian Filed guns pound the Turks (well try to)

The train arrives. 

Elsewhere their was another battle raging as the Red Russians tried to dislodge a French force from a village. Ultimately their were successful,as the Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys and their heroic Senegalese troops decided enough was enough.  

The French employed their technological superiority- A spotter plain and a radio!

Red Russians advance on the French held village

Their is little the French and Senegalese can do to stop the wave of Reds

Not sure what this is, but it had a lot of firepower!
All in all a great game- thank you to Giles and the lads for a great day. 

Friday, 30 May 2014

Home Front 1941: A Rolls Royce Armoured Car

"Now listen here Walker! You can't park that monstrosity there. "
"'Ere, that is Private Walker to you. This 'monstrosity' is Walmington-on-Sea's new Rolls Royce armoured car; And it's staying right where it is."
"But it is blocking the way to the church fete!"
"Now Maurice, I would love to help you, but I can't move the Roller, even if I wanted to. Not for you, and not even for the vicar."
"Why an earth not?"
"It's run out of petrol." 

This Rolls Royce armoured car and the men accompanying it are the latest additions to my Home Front army. The Rolls Royce was a work horse of the army from WW1 to Early WW2, and was found all over the Empire. Shortages of armoured vehicals (well any vehicals really) After the Dunkirk evacuation meant that many of these aged beasts were given to the Home Guard. Captain Mainwaring never got a Roller in the TV series, but that wasn't about to stop me issuing my Home Guard unit one. 
This armoured car is by Copplestone Castings. The figures are by Wargames Foundry.