Wednesday 30 March 2011

Raid on New Brighton (VBCW Mini Battle Report)

Captain Webster of the Britsish Union of Facists- (BUF) had a problem: His loss of the company colours at the Battle of Cornhill Farm had left him in a position of weakness amongst the loyalist commanders in Chester. Webster is desperate to impress the Duke of Farnham, who currently has over all command of the Chester defences, but the defeat at Cornhill has left him in an embarrassing situation. Fortunately, Webster had a plan.

Using Fascist contacts in Deeside, Webster managed to borrow a small fishing boat, and a couple of landing boats. He has assembled a crack team of volunteers, mostly BUF, but also a few men recruited from the Dukes own ‘Black Russians’, who are always keen to strike a blow against the Reds, and the Manchester Regiment. Under the cover of darkness and a dense sea fog the team landed on the beach a short way from the Tower Ballroom, in New Brighton, where the Wirral Socialists are keeping the BUF colours as a trophy. The team managed to break into the ballroom after hours and make off with the flag. All they need to do was get back to their boats without being detected...

This was the plot of a short battle we fought today. Webster and his commandos needed to make it across the board back to their boats, bearing the newly liberated company colours.

Here's what happened...

Captain Webster leads his commandos across a field, trying to avoid Wirral Socialist patrols and a watchtower with a searchlight.

Unfortunately they blunder straight into one such patrol, and the alarm is raised.

Wirral Socialist Volunteer militiamen carousing in a near by pub join in the fray. They are quite drunk, but still well armed and dangerous.

The remains of Websters commandos are cornered in a field near the beach- so close you could smell the sea. They have no choice but to make a break for it, ducking and weaving as the dash across the open field. Webster is 'winged' by a bullet, and one of his men is killed, but the last commando carrying the flag escapes off the beach.

The outcome of this battle was a draw, as Webster never made it off the board. Luckily for him, he managed to slip away unnoticed and make his way overland back to Chester- no mean feat, considering he had to cross about 18 miles of hostile territory, on foot, with a bullet in his posterior!

Monday 28 March 2011

Ra RA RA! We're Off to Smash the Oiks!

The King's School in Chester is one of oldest schools in Cheshire, having been founded in the reign of King Henry VIII. It has a long history of educating the boys of the bright and good of the Empire, training future generations to be leaders, businessmen and administrators. During the Great War the school formed a Cadet Rifle Corp, training the future generations to lead the man into the slaughter of Flanders.

With the outbreak of the so called British Civil War the Head Master ordered the formation of a new Cadet Rifle Corp. Headed up by maths master Eric Watson, a veteran of the Great War, they represent a well motivated and organised militia force at the disposal of the Duke of Farnham in the defence of Chester.

This minis are made by Gripping Beast in their Woodbine range. They are meant to represent specific characters in a Dr Who episode (The Family), but are also perfect for VBCW. As far as I know they are in the authentic colours of the King's School, and yes, the King's School really did have a Cadet Corp during WW1! That's what I love about the 1938:VBCW setting, when you start looking into local history you uncover these gems of knowledge that are far more bizarre than anything you could make up.

In our game will be using FUBAR. The cadets will be 'Green' troops, but the inclusion of Master Watson will upgrade them to 'Seasoned' due to his iron discipline, strict rifle drill and battlefield experience.

Friday 25 March 2011

BUF Mobile Information Wagon

Captain Webster is CO of the Manchester British Union Of Fascists company station at Hoole Hall, near Chester. He was a man who has a grammar school education, and remembers well the lessons of history. "Who ever controls the mob, controls Rome"; With that classic adage in mind, he has coined an imaginative way of promoting his cause (by which he means the BUF and the King's, of course).
The Mobile Information Wagon is Websters latest brain wave, it houses the latest advanced technological equipment, such as loud speakers, a mobile printing press for pamphlets and gramophone recordings of rousing patriotic music and long rambling speeches by Prime Minister Oswald Moseley. It travels around the countryside and towns, ensuring the populous remember who is running this country.
The first two Information Wagons were destroyed by angry rioters, but the Webster ordered his men to add boiler plate armour to the latest wagon, making this one a little more durable. Now it is time to unleash the new Mobile Information Wagon on the people of Chester and South Wirral.

This is a lledo Walkers crisps van I found on Ebay, with a few modifications. The loud speakers I bought of my son (I know!). There out of his Lego box.

In our game it will count as a lightly armoured vehicle, with out weapons or troop carrying capacity (the back is full of pamphlets and other equipment). it will have a detrimental effect on the enemies morale and communication (it's sort of an anti-standard bearer).

Sunday 20 March 2011

VBCW Civilians

Civil war is something of a misnomer. It is a sad fact that when a country is torn apart by violence and strife it is often the ordinary citizens who are the ones most grievously harmed. This bunch of civilians, innocent bystanders in the battles of the 1938 Very British Civil War, are just an example at the sort of folks who are the true victims of the war. Depicted are Beth Holmes, a house maid; Biggins, Lord Farnham's butler; Little Jimmy Patrick, a curious schoolboy; Mr Pennington esquire, a gentleman farmer; Old Gibbons, the village grave digger; and Mrs Mavis Longwood, a spinster.

This was my first entrance into the Lead Painters League- 2011. The theme for the round was Civilians and Bystanders. I seized the opportunity to get some of the VBCW Civilians I had kicking around painted. I think one of the cool things about the LPL is that you end up painting stuff you might otherwise put off, like these lovely models.

I didn't do too well in this round, having been randomly drawn against a very nicely painted entry. Better luck next week.

If you are curious, the maid, butler and grave digger are by Artizan Designs, from the Thrilling Tales range. The boy, the portly farmer and the spinster are by Gripping Beast, from their Woodbine range.

Friday 18 March 2011

Mini Pulp City Battle Report

This week saw a few more games of Pulp City fought over Leon's excellent gaming scenery. We trailed a demo game Leon will be running at Salute '11 (look out for him if your are there). I won by being sneaky, and just plain lucky too. I managed to get my reporter into position to earn agenda pints (victory points) by claiming an objective, and by snatching some cool footage of me whipping ass. While Leon certainly took out more of my guys, I managed to gain more agenda points, and claim the victory.

Iron Train, Jade Hawk, Skyline and Solar- My well balance heavy hitting Pulp City Heroes (Leon's minis, not mine)

The second battle was nothing like as close. Leon had this theory about using a gun heavy gang, hoping to blow me away at range. Unfortunately, the mission was a take and hold, which did not suit his style of play one bit. He was hammered into submission in just three rounds.

Leon's shooty villain team; Howler, Dr Red, Guerrilla, The Gentleman and a couple of robots.

Now I am not saying his theory is unsound, and perhaps in another mission he would have fared better, but there can be no doubting he was severely limited in this particular mission.

Dr Red, loonie explosives specialist, loots an ammo crate.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Lead Painters League 2011 gets under way.

The Lead Painters League competition for 2011 is now underway, on the Lead Adventures Forum. it's a ten week long painting competition, when entrants are encouraged to file a new 5 man (minimum) squad/team/party each week. Having a deadline is a great way to get some serious paining done, as well as a lot of fun. I entered last year, and managed to get a lot of those half finished projects completed. I am hoping for the same result this year.
It would be wrong for me to provide a link to my entry, as that is seen as touting for votes, but if you are interested here is a link to the competition. There are some really great miniatures in there- well worth a scroll through.
In accordance to the rules, I will have to wait until next week before I can post photographs of my first entrance on the Blog. Keep watching and waiting!

Tuesday 15 March 2011

West Midlands Military Show

This Sunday saw Wolverhampton hosting the West Midlands Military Show, a wargaming and military model convention. This was the first year I had been to the event (actually it was the first year I had even heard of it). The hall was crammed with retail stalls and demonstration games, along with a huge number of chubby middle aged bearded blokes (of which I am of course included- nothing like conforming to a stereotype to help blend into the crowd). There were a few notable retailers missing, such as Gripping Beast and Copplestone Castings, that I had expected to see because they are local, but on the whole there was a great choice of manufacturers and retailers there- some of which were completely new to me, which was nice.

A Peninsular War Board- very characterful and atmospheric- not my period, but it made me want to start!

I went with me old mate Leon, who was reluctant to venture out in day-light. I managed to lure him with talk of new metal shiny things for his collection.
We set off, and got there about 30 minutes after it had opened- which is the best way as there was no queues. We set of orientating ourselves to the stores, and plotting what to buy. Unfortunately, with my holidays imminent I had a strict budget, although I could easily have spent twice as much- very tempting. I'm away during Salute 2010, so this was a chance to splurge some cash on more lead for the lead mountain.

Check out this AWI table by Ladywood wargamers- I love these frontier town- it looks like something form Dr Quinn- Medicine Woman!

I bought a new carrying case from KR muilticase, which will be for my VBCW stuff. I also bought six pack mules (for Cowboys, and also for VBCW- when the petrol runs out), some more heads for my VBCW Militia men from West Wind Games Berlin or Bust range. Perhaps most randomly of all, I also bought a box of Gripping Beasts plastic Saxons.

"Saxons?" I hear you say "What?".
Well at least that's what Leon said. And my wife when I got home. I don't know what I was thinking, but they just looked soooo nice!
A very interesting game of Plains Indians Vs Cowboys- Nice scenery!

After spending all my cash - I was lucky there was no cash point, because I was sorely tempted to spend more- Leon and I wandered about the gaming tables, admiring the scenery, taking a few photos and chatting. Everybody was very friendly: Well there was one table where the gaming group were using computers instead of dice to resolve their battles, but they looked like they were having a miserable time so we avoided them, but otherwise everyone was great.
Critical Mass- A very interesting possibility.

We did play a very cool game called Critical Mass, which was a 15mm Scifi Game. We only played a quick game, but both found the game to be entertaining, and the miniatures to be most interesting. I think that could definitely be a future project. Critical Mass is still at the Beta stage of development, but the writers hope that the printed rules will be out in September 2011.

Friday 11 March 2011

Silent Blades

The Dojo of the Purple Lotus, based in the rougher districts of Tokyo, is a seemingly ordinary working class gym and dojo. That is until one scrapes a little deeper, and finds that it is the home to a criminal organisation that trains assassins, and then hires out their services to the highest bidder. The killer known only as Silent Blades, is perhaps their greatest protegee and their greatest failure.
Born to a lower caste family, she was sold to the Yakusa at an early age, and handed over to the Purple Lotus for training. She excelled at every manner of killing, and in many ways was a model student. Unfortunately, she was also stubborn and rebellious, something her masters never managed to beat out of her. Once she had finished her training, she turned on the Purple Lotus, killing her former master after a exhausting battle, then hunted down and murdered her former owners- the Yakusa gang who had bought her. She fled Tokyo for Europe, where she still works, hiring out her services to anyone who can afford her fees. She is still hunted by the Yakuza and by the Purple Lotus, and they would pay well for any information as to her location.
with the Lead Painters League looming, I wanted to get a bit of practice in, so I painted this lovely miniature. I am rather pleased with the way she came out. This mini is a Reaper assassin I have had for a long time, just waiting to be used. It's a nice posed figure, but the sculpting on the legs is a bit poor, given reapers usual high standards. That said, I am delighted with the latest villainous addition to my supers collection. I have already done her stats up for Squadron UK. She is very dangerous.

Friday 4 March 2011

Using BAM plastic bits for VBCW

A few months ago I bought a box of plastic Tommies (ie WW2 British soldiers) from Warlord Games (their Bolt Action Miniatures- or BAM- collection, to be precise). These were £20 for 25 plastic minis. There was some debate on the various forums as to wither that represented good value for money, giving that you can buy 20 metal BAM for £25, and metal minis are a lot less bother to put together (and are arguable more durable). My feeling is that, while metal minis are much easier, this overlooks the fact that you can use the extra bits you haven't used up for conversions etc. Here a few shots of some of the components I have used converting models for my VBCW army. See what you think.

A west Wind Resistance Fighter- he was carrying a Sten gun, so was no good for VBCW, as it's the wrong period. I cut the gun away, then used a saw to cut a grove into his fist. The BAM Tommy gun slipped in nicely. Quick but of green stuff over the fingers, and it's done!

Musketeer Miniatures Standard Bearer- I already have this model with a flag pole- it was simple enough to use the duplicate by drilling into his fist and slipping the BAM trenching tool into the hole. A Black Tree Designs Boer War mini, and a Musketeer Miniatures Lewis gunner, with nice new helmets. In the BAM kit the helmets are separate to the heads. This make it simple to change the helmet on a model by cutting away his hat or hair and gluing in into position. This is great for these two models, who would be impossible to head swap with, because it would have damaged the weapons.

Following 6mlPhills suggestion, I used the BAM Tommies to make drivers for my fast scout cars. Still a WIP, but I think you get the idea. The car is Lledo.

I hope this might inspire you, and make you look again at the BAM plastics.

Thursday 3 March 2011

VCW Red Lion Pub

I have just finished another building for my Very British Civil War board, in this case, as Red Lion Pub. To any readers not from the UK I should point out that 'The Red Lion' is the most popular pub name in England, which makes this a rather useful piece of scenery.

I am delighted with the way it came out. The bricks look better than I thought they would and I am delighted with the windows. I thought afterwards that perhaps I should have painted cross tape on the windows, like they had in WW2 during the Blitz, but I didn't bother because I likes them so much, and I didn't want to mess it up.

This model is made by War Bases, and is cut from MDF using lasers (very James Bond). It's a beautiful model, and a delight to assemble. It's like one of those 3D jigsaws, but for people with no skills. The only bit I had to model, was the roof, which was a bit time consuming. When I get more Was base stuff, I think I will get some pre-textured plasticard roof tiles to save myself a job. That said, I am cuffed with the way it came out.

This piece also came with a back yard, which I forgot to paint (Douh!). That will have to go on the 'to-do' pile until needed. This pub will feature quite strongly in my next VBCW scenario.