Tuesday 22 February 2022

Some new buildings, hex options and a book reminding us how lucky we are 🙂

Unfortunately the battle I had hoped for this weekend had to be postponed as the Union General was stuck down with illness, no doubt a common feature in 1863 field armies. This did give me some time to get on with some terrain which had been half completed a long time ago.
So long ago I can’t remember the maker of this , possibly Charlie Foxtrot, I’ve changed the roof to match my other buildings, the pumps after and exhaustive search came from 1st Corps, the signs were deliberately generic, I have lots of scatter terrain which I can use to enhance the Petrol Station if needed.
Another fairly generic rustic building, built on the same very cheap MDF base model as my thatched cottages, I gave this one a slightly different roof, very slightly ornate to perhaps represent a Norwegian village building or perhaps Central Asia ?
Magnetic bases, after the success of our El Cid hex game I have been thinking about other options, my ancient collection is predominantly based on single metal bases in 24 man units. With a magnetic base these can easily be split down into 8 man units which fit the 100 mm hexes quite well. I had the magnetic sheets already so ordered up some 85x50 bases. Here are a couple with Persians to show the effect. I have made enough for a fairly large battle if needed and at this scale I have enough for a lot of significant ancient battles.
Finally I had a busy weekend working due to the storms, so took an hour off and popped into town, one of the second hand shops had a copy of this 1970’s Featherstone book for 75p. Whilst much of the book is really just modelling tips and ideas l thought I would share a couple of nice pictures which remind us how lucky we are these days. I am sure several of you remember these early days 🙂 
Remembering a time when you couldn’t buy SU85’s so had to convert from tanks
The great man himself making figures in the kitchen. I certainly tried this but with pretty limited success, although I know a few people who still tinker.

and here am I worrying about getting Afghan cavalry who are suitably armed for early 1900’s it does remind us how lucky we are and the absolutely vast and limitless choice we have in almost every period and multiple scales. Having said that if somebody out there would like to expand the range of Early war Norwegians that would be good 👍

Hopefully some more painting today after a blustery bike ride ?


Saturday 19 February 2022

Afghan (or other tribal) warriors and the Generosity of Wargamers

For 28mm figures I normally try and limit myself to painting a maximum of 24 figure units, this seems just enough to motivate me in the production line process I use for painting. Having completed sixteen metal Artizan Afghans next up were a box of Perry figures. Technically these are set for second afghan war so don’t come with enough ‘modern’ rifles for our later period around 1915. The box comes mainly with muskets and the option to have swords and shields. This wouldnt quite do, so I raided my early war Germans bits box and found just enough weapons to give nearly all the figures a rifle or musket.

I also wanted to build a machine gun unit, luckily I had a Turkish maxim and was able to adapt the figures with arm swops etc to a respectable machine gun unit.

A couple of command type figures
Maxim machine gun presumably captured from the Turks
Tribal warriors, I have kept the same highlighted colours as the previous units but simplified their clothing, even so they took a bit longer than I had hoped, happy with the results though and I think for bolt action I now have 7 or 8 units including the command and machine gun.

So onto the generosity of wargamers, in the past couple of weeks three people have decided to send me stuff from the kindness of their hearts. It may be a few feel uncomfortable with their lead piles or have stuff they know they won’t get round to, either way it goes to show how kind and generous wargamers can be. My sincere thanks to Steve J, Phil and Steve for their gifts, I am humbled 🥲 to protect the innocent I won’t identify the specifics but have just listed the items.
An Edith Cavell nurse figure to use as a vignette for our Great Game
Some British colonials, slightly early for our current great game but dangerously encourages me to think about the second afghan war….😱
A nice smaller caliber artillery piece….I might keep this without a crew so it can play in lots of different games. If anyone knows exactly what it is let me know
Oh….some buildings for the Peninsular project, looking forward to these 👍
A drummer figure…I’m thinking he is a Hessian but again I might be wrong ? Update and confirm he is Russian foundry SYW 

Finally I thought I would share some photos which are stuck in my mind at the moment inspiration for figures and units going forward 😀
RCW in Central Asia
I would like some of these if I can source them but surprisingly they are not easy to find ?
Clearly I looked at this one before main thing the latest figures

Need some of these

My latest foundry purchase obviously had these in mind even if the uniforms etc are very different.

Well that’s it for now, for those of you in the UK hope you survived the storm.

Hopefully a game this evening and lots more hobby stuff soon

KBO Matt

Tuesday 15 February 2022

The Battle of Bairén 1097 : Hex based Wargaming

We played the inaugural hex based battle in the dungeon this weekend. There were three main drivers for me developing a hexed based gaming setup, one it helps clarity for remote gaming especially around measuring distances, two it gets my figures out on the table and in play, three it allows me to explore historical battles where my collections are not of sufficient size for a larger traditional open battle. All three of theses objective were achieved in this battle.

The Battle of Bairén 1097 is one of El Cid’s famous victories, although when you search it is hard to find much conclusive information. What is known is that after some manoeuvring the Almoravid Islamic forces under Muhammad ibn Tasufin had caught the Christian forces camped out of position. The Almoravids took the higher ground and were also able to bring archers and crossbowmen in by boats to harass the Aragonese  forces in their camp. Rodrigo supported by Peter 1st of Aragon roused his force and charged up the hill to assault the Muslims, caught by the ferocity of the attack the Muslims broke and fled many killed attempting to escape.

The setup for the battle, El Cid and the Aragonese to the left, the Almoravids on the higher ground. We would be using Jon’s ‘hex based’ impetus rules. Victory points would be for forcing the enemy back or capturing the enemy camp. Both sides would start with 11 points which would reduce down to zero when the battle would end. The Almoravids out number the Christians but lack the heavy cavalry.
The Almoravids have some heavy camels, for info the black dice mark the unit rating which reduces when losing wounds, the white dice marks the remaining impetus value.
The Christian knights supported by weaker foot troops
Muhammad ibn Tasufin with the Black guard.
As the battle opens the camels move along the shoreline looking to break through to the enemy camp
Almoravid archers on boats open fire
The Christian knights immediate charge forward to attack some archers who have come too close, but surprisingly they are forced back
I didn’t take too many photos and we have skipped a little here the Camels have already broken through on the Christian Right. The initial charge has been turned back. But the Almoravid right flank is under heavy pressure.
The Christian Right where Peter 1st of Aragon drives forward his cavalry
Brushing aside the Almoravid light horsemen
In good style El Cid leads a charge into the centre of the Almoravid line, the black guard initially hold 
But are then forced back
At this point the battle which had been going the way of the Christians started to go back towards the Almoravids and I think both sides were down to 4 remaining points before the army would break, the Christian camp has been captured on the light of the picture.
The Almoravids have won the battle on the right but so have the Christians
…but then as a final blow the Christians capture the Almoravid camp giving them the overall victory
An overview at the end of the battle. My rather poor description hasn’t given the real excitement and fun of the battle which was very close and could have gone either way. As always there were some key moments when the battle swung back to the enemy. In the end then a historical outcome for El Cid.

Well a very successful first run out for the hex gaming. Technology worked well as did the rules which are adaptable to a wide range of periods. The hexes give a different feel to the battle  which took a respectable 90 mins to play. So might give the option at this size to play through twice. As mentioned as I expand my terrain I can field larger hex battles upto 6x4 feet. This also opens up lots of options across many genres for other games. One option in the future is to play battles in hex format and then when figures are available to expand them to a larger table ? Lots of options and things to think about 🙂

Saturday 12 February 2022

The Joy of Hex ?

The last couple of years has seen the development of remote gaming for many of us. I don’t think it will ever replace face to face but it doesn’t feel like a short term blip, it has opened the opportunity for a wider circle of gaming in a wide range of genres. Regular followers will have followed our AWI campaigns and others. One of the challenges of remote gaming is the approach to measuring and gauging distances etc. One of the answers of course is to consider hex based games. Having played a couple with Jonathan over in the states and enjoyed them immensely, I thought I would develop a hex based terrain system. This will allow similar remote games in the dungeon across a wide range.

After a LOT of pondering I am finally in a position to give it a run out this weekend.
I had an used base cloth, see below, so the plan was to build terrain up on hexes here are a few of the Hills to show the basic process.
A view of the terrain I have so far set up, as you can see I can varry the size of the table from the size of a C&C board up to 6x4 foot table and I can use the black edging to delineate the edge of the battlefield as required.
A closer view of the hills, as needed I can build more terrain, but I have enough to get me started.
A couple of shots with figures, I plan to use the set up at a range of different scales above multi based 28mm late Romans 
My SYW collection, flexibility as always is the aim so I can use much of the same terrain as in normal battles
Here is our first battle set up the Battle of Bairen, El Cid taking on the Almoravids, thinking ahead I think almost all of my collections could be adapted to play on this style of terrain, I quite like the idea of some WW2 at some stage as 15mm would quite effective on a ‘grand’ scale ?

I know this won’t be to everybody’s liking but don’t worry hexes won’t take over the dungeon just yet 😀

Thursday 10 February 2022

‘The Great Game’ British force

I have been painting up the last of the British for my ‘Great Game’ force this week.

Here they are a simple paint job , these are again mainly woodbine figures although the guy in shorts is something else. I do have a number of other command figures but not enough for a full unit so I might work these into little vignettes at some point.
This got me to thinking about the full force as it stands so as the table was fairly clear I treated myself to a parade. I can supplement what I have recently painted with some Scottish from my VBCW collection, I may go back and repaint the hats to khaki ? I then have a couple of Lanchester Armoured cars again I may  do a head swop for the driver, a Rolls Royce from my RCW collection and a couple of suitable vehicles. I also have an artillery piece but need to source a gun crew. I have some that could stand in for now. More than enough then for a Bolt action game. What I wonder is missing perhaps some cavalry. I already have a suitable biplane. Any thoughts welcome I feel they need a bit of colour ?

Thanks as always for passing by 🙂

Tuesday 8 February 2022

Battle for Wadi Nashif : Saga Crescent and Cross

Not a historical battle but I thought it would be fun to roll out a Crescent and Cross Saga game for a change and mainly so I could get the Saracen archers completed a few weeks ago on the table. I mustered up two 7 point warbands using the Crusader and Saracen boards. We had a simple random deployment which ended up with a corner to corner battle, the saracens slightly obstructed by the wadi itself. We played 6 turns with the victory going to the side who had killed the most of the enemy.

The Saracen force coming on from the corner where the wadi is located, light cavalry and archers
Some light spearmen and heavy camel riders supporting the warlord
The crusaders of course have knights, crossbowmen and armoured spearmen
The Arab light horse seeks to gain advantage on the left flank
The saracens use some of their tricky board activations to draw the Crusader knights across the board splitting up their advance and then crashing in their charge
The light archers hiding in the wadi move forward to try and target the enemy horse
The camels getting the charge wipe out one unit of knights and the Crusader warlord is lucky to escape with his life
The Saracen archers keeping in the cover of the wadi
But within a couple of turns both the camels and the crusader knights have been destroyed and the Crusader Warlord has been caught out in the open on his own and put to death
The saracen light horse now moves up
The battle is in a delicate position with almost equal VP’s the Saracen warlord is incredibly lucky to survive one assault 
The battle could go either way
The Crusader foot knights charge in one last time to attack the Saracen warlord, but he survives again through some lucky dice rolls
He can then charge forward with the remaining light cavalry to finish the battle and claim victory

A tightly fought battle with the saracens getting lucky rolls just when they needed them. I wouldn’t want to play SAGA every week but it is always fun every now and then. It was a balanced battle going down to the last 2 combats.

We also visited  Vapnartak wargame show at the weekend, slightly smaller than previous years, but nice to catch up with a few people and talk about wargaming all day with like minded folk. Sadly no bring and buy due to the COVID restrictions but I wasn’t going to go home empty handed.

A mix of Foundry Figures for the ‘Great Game’ a couple of gripping beast warlords and rockets and craters for another sideline project 🤢

All the best and thinks for looking 👍