Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Manzikert comes to Lancaster

Not a bad night last night albeit still not what I would call summer, I had a Saga campaign game to fight, we had to move rooms due to our usual room being decorated and the smell of fresh paint prompted horrible memories of the missus wanting jobs done.

I was leading my Byzantine raiders in an attack on Fran's Carolingians, after my surprise win in the last game I was if not confident fairly positive about the upcoming struggle. My first choice was a bad choice and I forgot completely how the army had faired in a training game, I went for mounted archers for the Hearthguard, I mentioned before the real army had a lot of archers both foot and mounted but this seems to have been ignored by Saga, at least in respect of their Saga abilities. We had to split our forces into two, so I put my foot archers and some Hearthguard on the left with the heavy spearmen, more Hearthguard and the Warlord on the right, my plan was to shoot to death the enemy opposite my left and then turn my men to help on the right.

The Byzantines get to put down some Saga dice before the game starts and I expected Fran to be aggressive and put them on defensive abilities, big mistake. The game started fairly well for Fran and his peasant mob with javelins started to cause casualties to the Skutatoi, not bad for a pile of Wurzel Gummidges. I  tried to get to grips with the peasants but found I couldn't do everything I wanted to, so I moved up my own archers on the left only to find they had all brought rubber arrows. The second turn proved horrendous for me as the mob slew every one of my spearmen, I also lost half of my Hearthguard on the left, so much for having numbers in shooters.


The Byzantine line, all show and no substance.
Useless archers.
Desperate charge which failed.

I threw a desperate charge into the javelin Levy, but didn't kill enough and only pushed them back, they retaliated in the next move by almost wiping out the horsemen who had charged them with another accurate volley, one man retreated. This left me with nothing to throw at the enemy who remained virtually untouched, while I only had one half decent (in numbers only) unit left, my useless archers, Fran offered to accept my sword and I handed it over. He also offered a 'fun' game as I had been defeated in record time but I had had enough fun and probably would not have recovered from any more.

The Battle of Manzikert in 1071 went down in Byzantine history as 'the terrible day' this was mine.

We had an interesting discussion on the game as we cleared thing away and Fran basically saw the game in the same light as myself although he has stuck with it and now enjoys it. Once again rightly or wrongly I found myself at the mercy of the enemy 'board' as against my seemingly useless one, it also did not help that I had set up for defence and Fran did not attack, and yes, his die rolling for shooting was exceptional. At the end of the day it was still my own fault I was fairly trounced and given a lesson, Fran hardly broke sweat. There was only one more game last night so it was pretty empty, I hope to kick off a Bolt Action campaign next week so will have to confirm it with Simon.

Nothing else on the go at the moment, I do have some new cavalry to prepare and will probably get on to that this evening. I am building up a large wish list in my head and am fighting against getting deeper into WWII, Rubicon are not helping with new kits and hints of what is coming in the future, Tiger II anyone?

Sunday, 16 June 2019

New Recruits

I finished my second French cavalry unit last week, the Apchon Dragoons, a nice red coat with light blue facings, this gives me two cavalry squadrons for each side now. It was time to order up the next batch of SYW figures and I drew back from the Grenadiers I wanted to get two more cavalry units, one each. Now I am not a big fan of painting cavalry and have reduced the squadrons from twelve to eight figures so I came up with a brilliant idea, you get two cavalry flags for the one regiment from GMB and if you just continue to add different squadrons you end up with a lot of flags left over, so why not build two squadrons instead of one. Now the really clever part is that if I ever do need a large unit of cavalry I can combine two eights for sixteen, voila!




The not so clever bit comes next, instead of ordering basically the same figures I made a mistake and ordered up a new set for the British, these will not fit as the 10th Dragoons second squadron so I had to order up another set of flags as this lot will be the 7th Dragoon Guards. I get the infantry of the SYW, light, line and Grenadiers, but the cavalry organisation I find confusing, Horse become Dragoon Guards but are not really Dragoons, Cuirassiers, Hussars, Heavy, Light etc, and there are the Gentlemen regiments, royal regiments, non royal regiments, pass me the paracetamol.

Once this cavalry are done I think more artillery then the Grenadiers, in between possible new vehicles for WWII with the new releases from Rubicon in July. I also have to settle on what I am going to use for buildings as I am getting close to having an actual game with the SYW stuff. I could go cheap and just get MDF from Sarissa, Dutch/Belgian types or the more expensive, resin I think, from Total Battle Miniatures, or I could go really daft and get them commissioned, watch this space.

I also managed to finish off my extra SS LMG teams and a couple of extra figures, I almost forgot, in amongst the stuff above I have to do two British Para squads, that will be it for WWII for now until the winter months draw in when I think I shall be looking East.



As I type Rob and Julian are in amongst it in Glasgow at the big Waterloo refight, with modern comms I know that Rob's Nassau brigade is under pressure but holding while Julian has won an 'Eagle' for destroying an enemy cavalry brigade with his artillery, so a good showing so far.

So now to Warlord's D-Day Overlord book, I have had more time to digest the contents, it is a hefty tome and I have to say worth the money if you have an interest in fighting D-Day. The information is fairly general and I don't know many wargamers to whom it will be new, it does however give a flavour to the nineteen scenarios contained within, six of which involve the British and one the Canadians, a bit of a disappointment for me considering Warlord are a British firm. I have nothing against the Yanks at all but it is a bit lop sided. There are a lot of new troop types along with weapons specific to the landings, new rules as well to cover this type of fighting, there are also 'Theatre Selectors' aimed at recreating the troops on the day for unique operations. I have my doubts about the experience given to many of the German defending units, I would suggest that the only troops who should be considered Veteran are the Fallschirmjagers and possibly the 21st Panzer Division, the 352nd Infantry for instance does not deserve to recruit Veterans, despite having a small core spread out within the division.

I would still recommend this book if you are a Bolt Action player, or even if you are not and simply want D-Day scenarios to convert. One word of warning, you will need a beach, ridges and lots and lots of defences, from large casemates to small Tobruk postions with one machine gun or mortar. During our recent Graignes game we were perplexed that entrenchments/foxholes were not covered in the main rule book but lo and behold there are such a thing, they are in the Western Desert Campaign book and in this one too, so only more money and hey presto!

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Graignes 11 June 1944

Set off to the club last night thinking it was October not June, the warmest June on record seemingly, where, one small corner of Kent perhaps, take an average of the country and you will find nothing of the kind.

Anyway I digress, Rob set up a Bolt Action homage to the Normandy Landings, the scenario was based on a realistic action fought on the 11th June so it was appropriate to fight it yesterday. An ad-hoc force of paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne gathered in the village of Graignes and held up the advance of the 17th SS PzGren Division 'Gotz von Berlichengen', this, along with transport shortages and air attacks prevented the SS getting to Carentan before the 101st Airborne, making it easier to take the town and defend it.

The Americans were set up around the village church with mortars in the graveyard, some French resistance fighters were in a nearby boys school while the rest defended the road through the village. As the attacker I had to make an infantry assault first which was then supported by armour from the division reconnaissance battalion and some off-table artillery. Due to the entrenchments which the paras had dug I knew my infantry alone would suffer horrendous casualties trying to get close so I decided to wait for the armour. I did however position three squads for a move on the village when I thought it advisable, As an early support I brought on my light howitzer only to have it blown to smithereens by the Yank mortars, I desperately needed HE back up to attack the foxholes.


The church.
The village, minefield and road.

Forward and wait.

Eventually my armoured cars and halftracks turned up, but I was cautious due to what I believed to be a minefield on the road, also I didn't really need to get close with my heavy weapons. I brought in my artillery observer and a storm of steel hit the American positions, sadly not killing many but putting a lot of pins on units. I now moved my infantry squads towards the village and quickly got the upper hand here. The defending infantry were reduced in numbers and routed by a coordinated fire and assault move, the village was now in German hands.

Stummel before it caught fire and the new 234/1
The Germans about to assault the village.

The armour did not have it all its own way, two of my support halftracks were hit by bazooka rounds which either immobilised them or set them on fire, apart from giving me a small heart attack these did not unduly worry my boys. Allied Jabo's also turned up but managed only to strafe an empty field. We ran out of  time just as I was about to turn my attention to the paratroopers defending the school and church whose ammunition was beginning to run low.

The village falls.
 We had an historical result and the 17th had been held up, it had taken me quite a while to be able to rush the defenders around the village and I should perhaps been more aggressive, I certainly put my light howizter in the wrong place instead of somewhere safe. The minefield  turned out to be a dummy but it had done its job, I could otherwise have run my armoured cars straight down the road, but again there were a couple of bazooka teams which I could not ignore. Despite these excuses I was still too slow, although in my defence throwing lead at dug in troops who are also Down is pretty useless and time consuming, perhaps we were doing that wrong so I need to just check. The new Down order is by far the worst idea in 2nd Edition.

So thanks to Rob who designed the scenario and Matt who led the Americans. I got several new units/vehicles on the table so I was very pleased, I just need to learn to use them better.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Lucky Me

I have been going through a nostalgic phase recently re my Royal Navy service, Facebook groups, buying RN radio operator polo shirts and wearing my small enamel badge every day, well almost everyday unless I am wearing an expensive shirt. I have managed to contact a few guys I sailed and drank with and some I actually joined up with back in '68. Tuesday 8th of October to be precise, 1000hrs, Hawke 412 Class, D110948Y sir! OK so I cannot remember whether it is the grey bins or the green bins, but some things you never forget.

I mentioned a long time ago a set of prints following the Royal Navy from medieval times until 1900, these hung in the meeting room of the company my son works for. A few weeks ago I got a surprise phonecall from Stewart saying that if I wanted the complete set of prints (7) I could have them. These belonged to one of the owners, Mike Irwin and not the company, Mike very kindly offered them to me knowing my interest in all things military/naval and no doubt knowing I was ex-RN. The originals were hand drawn by a local architect, Harold R. Dick and are quite superb and must have been a labour of love, they are unique and a joy for me to own.



When the Post Office is closed I have the green light to turn it into a wargame room, simply avery large space with a big table or maybe two and all my toys in the one place, these prints along with my ACW prints and several others will adorn the walls.

So I have had a real red letter day, I got the prints and on the way home picked up some Wild Boar Pate, Hare Pate, Rabbit pie, liquorice wheels, Bombay Mix and some strange crisps, and guess what, the sun is shining. Nearly forgot, Barr's American Cream Soda, mmmmmm.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Patience, meh!

Yesterday was a good day for me, a splendid D-Day, our veterans were rightfully commemorated, and I got some new stuff. Isn't it a great joy to get a parcel in the post filled with hobby goodness, to fight through the armoured tape and eventually get your hands on the contents. I love it.

Warlord played a stormer and I got my D-Day book on 6th June, it is a very heavy tome, it is chock full of pictures, information, new theatre lists and scenarios. I got the book not because I am going to leap straight into beach and airborne landings but just as one of those 'in case' books, the way we used to collect rules until they got too expensive. I have already expressed my doubts about some of the lists but will get a better look later, to be honest I have also still to digest the Budapest book in detail. I am dubious about what seems to me an attempt to turn WWII into a version of 40K with all the different takes on a simple infantry squad, maybe I am wrong, we will see.


Rob is supposed to be running a D-Day themed game at the club on Tuesday, I can field enough vehicles for a German reconnaissance force but just felt something was missing. I had an idea to add a heavy armoured car to 2nd Panzer and this gave me the excuse not to wait. I ordered a Blitzkrieg model Sdkfz 231 from Great Escape Games on Wednesday morning and it arrived Thursday lunchtime, amazing turn around. It is not a kit but a resin model, as far as I know there is no kit for this vehicle at the moment, so I was stuck. The car is very nice and my only complaint which is minor to be honest is that the finish is not quite as smooth as it should be on the upper deck for some reason and when primed you can see very minute ridge lines.

I put magnets on the turret and body as it was too loose otherwise, I also added an aerial. I had the machine primed, base coated and camouflaged before going to bed, I used a sponge for the camo pattern. This morning I put on the decals, on these vehicles this is usually only the number plates, occasionally you see a national cross, it would seem crews gave their cars names as well, I am still thinking about this.





So there you have it, someone complained recently that there was too much German war material available to the detriment of the Allies, and for some reason he was jumped on and howled at for suggesting such a thing and told the Germans in fact needed more!

The French are almost there then I have to buy more!


Wednesday, 5 June 2019

SAGA, slaughter and a surprise

Summer has not yet caught up with the north of England and I braved the cold and rain to go to the club last night. I was fighting my first SAGA game of the club campaign, my Saxons had decided to attack the Pagan Rus, my Byzantines have raided the Carolingians and this will be fought in two weeks.

Dan who is running the campaign helped with the set up and we had to kill each others Warlord to win the game, I don't think this is easy in SAGA but I may be wrong, I set up with the Warlord and his Hearthguard on my right and Warriors and bow armed Levy on my left, Paul had Javelins and Warriors facing my left and his Warlord, Hearthguard and Javelins on my right. I got nowhere with my archers so had to move them forward while I put my Hearthguard in defensive ground to their front, the Warlord started inching towards my left.

Paul was aggressive and attacked my Levy, his men lost the fight and were then attacked by my Warlord who slaughtered most of them and caused the survivors to retreat, I now had the upperhand on the left flank. On my right the Hearthguard found themselves the target of the Javelins and one of them fell, thankfully after that nothing struck home. Paul now made his move, he played a set of SAGA dice which meant he attacked and defended with 27 D6 against my reduced Hearthguard while I hit back with eight or something like that, it looked like I could call a taxi.

Paul's Warriors advance towards my centre.

Saxon's fatigued but jubilant.

Five of my Hearthguard fell leaving two, then the God's played a foul trick on Paul, he only managed to save one hit with all his dice and my own lone SAGA die meant he took more casualties and in a surprise to everyone his men lost and fled. I could hear a howl of despair. Meanwhile the rest of my army attacked and destroyed the Rus right flank. There was one move left and I felt discretion was the better part of valour and moved my men out of range of the remaining Rus, I had won.

I am new to this as I have said before and have decided to simply attack where possible and hope something goes right, I did however give a bit more thought to this game and held my right back while taking advantage of the disarray of the Rus on my left. Once again I thought the enemy board had far more deadly options than mine, sour grapes from the winner, that's new. I fight Fran next and he is a SAGA expert when measured against my experience, so interesting times. Elsewhere we had a Normandy game using Andy's lovely 20mm stuff supplemented by Rob's I think, a second SAGA game, X-Wing, Bloodbowl and Age of Sigmar, a busy night.

A customer came in yesterday who I have seen quite a bit of recently and I mentioned this and in a roundabout way I found out he was mailing MDF buildings (Laser Models). We got talking and he showed me some pictures, the range has Fantasy buildings which could probably be used for 16/17C and some modern pieces mainly for Railway modellers but again nothing which could not be used for modern wargaming. The detail is very good and I like the way the buildings fit together seamlessly, I admired the Pithead, the old type with the large wheels on top and John very kindly brought me one in, this means I shall have to do a small industrial area at some point to use it. If you go to a show S&A Scenics have them for sale.





The missus and I sat down to watch the latest movie detailing the life of Mary Queen of Scots, well she did while I googled around on my iPad. Mary landed at Leith, Scotland had harbours you morons, every time you see Mary turning up she is wading through surf on to a beach. Then begins the scenic march over hill and glen with majestic mountains in the background, no, Scotland has a lot of flat bits! This ludicrous homage to the Highlands began to get right up my nose as did Mary's posh Jock accent despite living in France from an early age. Why do film makers keep insisting that Elizabeth was so reluctant to kill Mary, the Tudors killed everyone without remorse whom they thought could endanger their tenuous claim to the English throne, why would the execution of Mary have been any different. The 1971 film was better entertainment.



On the Bolt Action front I expect delivery of their new D-Day campaign book tomorrow, appropriately 6th June as I have just seen the Postie head up the street without ringing the bell. I hope to get back to the French cavalry tonight having had to rein back due to map work, but the good news is the 40+ maps for the Battle of Berlin now only await the final OK from the author.

I am grateful to the Yanks for WWII but can't we just once see the British on the covers/stills/newsreel clips.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Now you see me, now you don't

My tinkering with my WWII collection continues, I have always wanted to put some foliage on my vehicles, especially the Germans as they needed to hide from the Jabo's during the day. My first attempts used a kind of rubberised stuff, not sure what it was, I think I got it off some old trees I had lying about, sprinkled with flock it seemed to work but I knew it didn't. I turned back to this problem and tried the same trick with lichen, it looked fine but again I knew it wouldn't do.

I then came across a guy showing off a tank on Facebook (damn you Zuckerberg) and it looked the very dab, I asked him what he used but before he answered I did some surfing and came up with Scrim Foliage from 4Ground. This was the stuff as it turned out, it comes in Spring, Summer, Lush Hues and Autumn, you get a small blanket(?) of the stuff in a blister pack, don't be put off by the size you can make it go a long way, it comes in at around £4 depending on where you get it.

I wanted Summer as my forces are for the summer of '44, needless to say most summer foliage was out of stock and I wasn't sure about Lush Hues, I did eventually manage to track down a Summer blister from Great Escape Games and got it within 24hrs. With my usual impatience I set to on several Wehrmacht vehicles, I cut small sections from the blanket and then teased them out, decided where they were going and gave the area a few blobs of PVA before pressing on the foliage, simples. I think it looks great. As you work with it lots of 'leaves' fall off, don't throw these away, if you have lichen or some other stuff on earlier vehicles, give it a brush of PVA and sprinkle the leaves on, far better than flock. I have done this with lichen on the bonnet of the 251 in the middle.


 


I have looked at some early reviews of the new Warlord D-Day campaign book, needless to say it is being praised although the new theatre lists may not be suitable for tournament play unless toned down. I try and be as historical as I can when playing Bolt Action and a couple of the things highlighted from the new book have me shaking my head. The British and maybe the Americans are allowed naval gunfire support, at this scale that must tip the advantage to the Allies. There is a new squad for the Germans which has up to two LMG's, four panzerfausts and most of the men armed with SMG's, complete fantasy when almost all the initial defenders in Normandy were second or third rate units lacking almost everything including training. I have yet to see the book myself although I have it on pre-order but it is going to be interesting. I have also noticed the upsurge of German units from manufacturers running about with StG 44 assault rifles, they were not used in Normandy, many were issued to newly raised Volksgrenadier divisions later in '44 but generally these did not make their way in large numbers to 'normal' infantry units. It's like making a night attack and running into that one Panther with the infra red capability, tosh.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

First Kill

I had organised Wings of War for this week at the club, I wasn't sure how many would be playing but I have more than enough to let vast numbers play, another in with two feet episode. At the end of the day it was only Andy and myself, I have a number of 1v1 scenarios and chose 'The Rookie'. The idea behind this is that a couple of veterans have taken a new member to the Staffel/Squadron up for a taste of what it is like over the front, they of course have to babysit him and make sure he gets back for ham and eggs or whatever was served up in 1916. I would take the Germans with the green pilot, the flight consisted of two Albatross DIII's and one DVa, the new boy being in a DIII, Hermann Goering would be leading the flight. Being a rookie meant the youngster had not yet mastered the Immelman turn and his shooting was not up to standard but the two aces in attendance should keep him safe. Andy for the RNAS had one regular pilot and two aces flying Sopwith Camels.
No, this way!
Dogfight.

The German flight was attacked close to the Front Line by British pilots, I decided that I would keep my flight in a tight formation in order to maximise my firepower and keep the young man safe, this was ruined right at the start as the DVa turned the opposite way from everyone else. No matter, the British had sent one Camel towards me while the other two went on a flanking maneuver so this aircraft started to take hits. As the dogfight continued the British were collecting a lot of damage cards but seemed to be able to shrug them off, an early shot wounded one of my aces but nothing serious happened to the planes.

Rookie gets his man.
Goering dodges burning Camel.

Both sides now jockeyed for position but the British were having the worst of it and found two Camels trailing flames, there were several near misses as pilots got up close and personal. The Rookie was flying very well and got the drop on one Camel pouring fire into him at close range before he managed to break off. In quick succession two British planes fell from the sky leaving only a desperately damaged Camel to fight off the three Germans. Caught in a vicious crossfire the survivor too hurtled to the ground, this victory was shared giving the Rookie 1.5 kills on his first war flight.
The End.
 A great little game and although Andy had some good luck in pulling blank damage cards my experience in the game gave me the edge. We really should play this more often with more planes, it is perfect for a club night. Elsewhere there was some 17C role playing with the Musketeers, a Saga campaign game (I have one next week) and an Age of Sigmar (I think). I have mentioned the painting of these latter figures so here are a couple of photos, not my cup of tea but the brushwork of Ryan and Julian is amazing, my pictures do not do them justice.




I was in Glasgow for the bank holiday weekend and decided to treat myself to a couple of books, I have given up with Tim Clayton's history of espionage against Napoleon, despite being one of my favourite authors I just cannot get into spying, I felt the same about Max Hastings' book a few years ago, I gave up with that as well. I picked up James Holland's new book on Normandy, a special with additional material and signed by the author himself, I have started it and thoroughly enjoying it, the sheer scope of Overlord is mind boggling. The other was a stab in the dark, I have never yet read anything I liked on the American War of Independence, and I have tried but it left me cold. Despite this I have bought the first in a trilogy covering the war and am hoping for good things, it is a hefty tome, I also got it due to my ongoing project of an Atlas for the war. I will confess however I had no idea it was a trilogy when I picked it up, grrrrrrr.




The legendary Anderson fortune has taken a hit recently so I will not be getting anything new, or nothing expensive anyway, for June. I have started on my French cavalry so will take it easy with them during the next few weeks. I have finished the British 10th Dragoons (Morduants) and a new brigadier, I am getting close to having enough troops to fight one of the scenarios in Honours of War. I made a cock up with the officer, for some reason I now have three of this figure, two are British and the other will be painted up for the French, no idea how I managed that.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Training Day II

A pleasant evening to head out to the club last night, I jumped into another Black Powder game so that Julian and Rob could hone their skills before Glasgow, I once again took charge of part of the French Guard. A simple table with the Allies ensconced behind a wall of hedges while we attempted to move them.


Julian was in the middle and Andy took our left, I had the right and sent my men forward slowly, I wanted to play my artillery on the enemy before charging home, this plan seemed to be working fine and cannonballs crashed into a large British battalion opposite me. The cannon fire was so good the British sent a small unit of skirmishers to harry my gunners but it did them no good as they fell victims to grapeshot. I was just about ready to carry out my plan when another French battalion on my left masked my guns leaving them with no targets except some British guns on a hill, not who I wanted to shoot at. No matter, I charged regardless, in Black Powder you can only fight one on one unless the units are small, and none of these were, units standing around if close enough count as supports, but them's the rules, it doesn't look right but there you go.


Now came a hint of something bad coming, my column could not break the enemy and the melee was a draw, no matter I would win the second round, but I didn't, another draw, the British support was keeping their men in the fight. I looked around in the smoke and now thought, bring the useless guns up just like the British. Off to my left Julian had pushed the enemy from the hedge and it looked like the Allied centre was about to fall, one more effort Mon brave lads.



Perhaps my French was misinterpreted but it was probably the run of dire die rolls from both myself and Julian that did for us. Within one round we had lost three battalions, I was left with only my guns who had just managed to limber up, Julian's tenacious fighters in the centre, all alone had also had enough and retired as the enemy attempted to surround them. A look across at Andy sealed our fate, he had one battalion teetering on the brink of running and some Dragoons who also looked none too keen to continue the fight. It was all over, I hope Julian's men fight better in Glasgow.

And pouf, they were gone.
 I am beginning to get the hang of Black Powder now, like most of Warlord's offerings, you have to accept them as they are or dump them and get something else. I am happy to accept them as they are, I used to be unsure about the command rolls but these seem fine unless you get a really bad run and do nothing for most of the battle, but this can happen to us all and there are ways to still move something. I am though getting worried with the ease with which troops become disordered and this can have a big effect on Plan A, B or even C if you have one. As I looked along the serried ranks I again realised that I am going to need a bigger table for my SYW games.

I really enjoyed last night, some good fun and quite a few laughs, next week it is Wings of War.

On the painting front I am getting on with my small British cavalry unit and if I were not away this weekend I would have completed it, but I am so it will be next week before that is done and I can move on to the French unit. Apart from some little bits and pieces I have managed to make no major spends this month as per my plan, I am thinking of extending this for June as well then binging in July. I am watching for Aventine's Galatians, more SYW grenadiers, some British Para's and the new stuff from Rubicon.


Monday, 20 May 2019

Partizan 2019

Despite saying I was not going to go to any wargame shows in the future after York this year I relented and volunteered to got to Partizan with Julian, Julian mentioned it first, it would be an opportunity to meet up with some people and it looked like there were a lot of actual games at the venue. I took a lot of flak from 'her indoors' for this foolish six hour round trip all on one day, I was also offended that this implied I was too old and doddery to do so safely, I offered to drive as Julian had a long day working on Saturday. I did not admit that by the time I went to bed on Saturday night I was not looking forward to the drive.

Julian arrived promptly and we set off and it was, for a change, a fine drive down in perfect weather, despite the harbingers of doom promising environmental Armageddon this weekend. I also managed to cut the journey to two and a half hours. We arrived a tad early but the queue was not huge and we only stood about for five minutes or so, the hall was very spacious and had excellent lighting, it was also very well attended but it was never crowded, you could get to the traders and wander around without a bother or hitting a backpack.

Bolt Action.
Chain of Command WWI
Russians v Ottomans, very nice layout.
 Right away I could see it was well organised, all the traders were set on the outside like a wagon lager with all the games in the middle, and to my joy there were a lot of these and although the odd dragon or green thing was in attendance most were historical, there was also a fair number of wargaming illuminati, Rick Priestly, Richard Clarke, Simon Miller, the Perry's, and Henry Hyde, there may have been more but I didn't recognise them.

The AWI game where nothing happened and no one seemed interested.
18th C game which was lovely, especially these figures and had a good talk with the owner.
Not quite sure what this was Swiss on one side and English on the other, but again engaged the public (me)
 The games on show were excellent, lovely lay outs, many of them quite large and with beautiful figures, I spent a bit of time at the tables having conversations about the games, only a couple were let down by the organisers apparent disinterest in discussing their set ups. I went past one lovely AWI game several times and bent over the table admiring the troops without anyone once engaging me in conversation, but this was made up for by others.

Edgecote, nice layout but I didn't get anyone to talk.
Different, Stalingrad, excellent discussion with the players on the game.
 I managed to meet up with both David Bickley and Phil Robinson who's excellent blogs I follow, both extremely pleasant gentlemen, I also found out that Phil had painted the Offensive Miniatures Waffen-SS which in part persuaded me to buy them. I also got a word with Simon Miller for whom I have drawn some scenario maps, another nice gent, he was helping run a huge 6mm Marston Moor game. I wanted to get a word with one of Helion's editors but he wasn't there however I talked to Andy on the stall and bumped into Charles Singleton (another editor) on the way out.

I was tempted to buy a Warlord Marder III, which is the early version with the open back but drew back at the last moment, one day, I also got some red paint and picked up two cans of Testor's Dullcote from Great Escape Games along with three more packs of tufts. I also got a good look at Empress Miniatures Volksgrenadiers, lovely models and perhaps a future enemy for my Russians when I get them.

So that's it, I lasted three hours which to be honest is enough for me at a show, no matter how good it is and Partizan was good and I will probably go again. Well done to the organisers and everyone who put on a game, great stuff.