Sunday, 29 September 2019


I was supposed to go to my sons for dinner today but the weather is atrocious so we cancelled, just as well as a leak has developed in my bedroom right above the bed, the water is coming down from the light. I have checked and it is only a small drip, perhaps worse because we have had constant rain now for about nine hours and it is coming from the opposite direction it usually does, more nagging headache, try getting a roofer out to sort a small leak by perhaps moving a couple of tiles.

Anyway on the bright side I have managed to finish the second of my French grenadier battalions. I am not giving up on the SYW but I did say it was not a priority and it would be long term.

 I perhaps have foolishly decided to add the Soviets to my WWII forces and to this end ordered up four infantry squads yesterday. I am aiming to get enough troops and supports at first to play the Chain of Command Konigsberg mini campaign, where German troops are trying for a breakout from the Courland pocket in 1945. A few months ago I had already thought about Soviets for Bolt Action and ordered up the paints required, just in case.

Bottom row is the Soviet row.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Stable doors

I was recently asked for some before and after photos of some terrain, I just happened to finish some terrain today which I got earlier in the week from Charlie Foxtrot Models, one of the models I have always admired from Colin are the stables, a very simple yet superbly modeled piece of terrain.

The build was very simple, you just have to remember to line up the doors with the hinges but once this sinks in it is easy. I used Charlie Foxtrot paper tiles for the roof as these always enhance a build no matter what it is. I also liked the simple whitewash coat shown on the original, so I sprayed the whole thing with GW Grey Seer and then, aiming the can towards the top of the building GW Corax White, yes they cost more but I find them far better than the usual cheaper can from Halfords, for this subtle job at least, the roof was a light grey mixed from white and black. It only then remains to weather the building, the bottom was stippled with a beige camo colour and the top and roof with Olive Drab and hey presto job done. Well it will be once I spread a bit of 'hay' around the doorway, I thought I had some doormat fields but I couldn't find any on looking so someday soon.

The stone walls were not difficult to put together either. I painted them with Red Leather which is a nice terracotta colour, I had admired the grouting on the images on the CF website and asked Colin how he did them, he had used a commercial modelling product for just such a job but couldn't remember anything else about it, he hinted that filler might do the job, or I think he did. Anyway I took some filler on my finger and pressed it along the walls, I think it worked a treat, you decide. The bases were finished in my usual way with Flat Earth, drybrushed with Dry Sand, tufts and flowers then added scenic grass.

So there you have it, nearly forgot, although Colin does corner pieces and I have some which are next up, I also needed the walls to fit at angles, so in order to do this I cut out little squares at the end of the wall base so that they did not leave a gap when put at an angle or butted together.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

If you go down to the woods..........

Muskets and Tomahawks last night courtesy of Rob and his lovely figures. A fairly simple scenario with none of Rob's usual surprises so we had a British force comprised mainly of light troops and Indians against an American force split between regulars and woodsmen. I took the Scots of course with some Indian allies and prepared an ambush for the Yankee regulars marching along the road, Rob meanwhile held a small farm.

Simon obviously saw the ambush coming and deployed on both sides of the road his skirmishers walked into a hail of fire and were eventually reduced to one man, or woman Reg, who we decided was Davie Crocket although I called him Davina, all that fur. I digress, I advanced my Indians towards the battle line and then thought better of it and pulled them back, I sent one warband towards the farm as the American Green Mountain Boys had turned up and it looked like Rob would need some help as his cannon had had to retreat and was now covering the road instead of cutting down the woodsmen.
My Jocks
More of my light troops.

The Americans on the march.
  As he could not use the road Simon's men were taking an age to get anywhere in the woods and my Scots, Indians and some Provincial Militia swapped volleys with them and would do until the end. This allowed me to send another squad of light troops to the farm as the Green Mountain Boys managed to take one of the buildings and looked like taking the second after cutting my Indians to pieces during an ill fated charge. My boys now took cover in the barn and fought off a desperate last minute assault by the Green boys, our gun had now started taking pot shots at the enemy but its bark was worse than its bite. As the clock ticked down we called a halt and Rob declared a draw, I think night and the terrain saved us.
The farm.
Green Mountain Boys get a toehold on the farm.
We always get a good game out of M&T, the initiative is handled by a set of cards and on one occasion Simon, who had shuffled them, managed to get all the British cards to come out first followed by all the American ones! So we managed to deal out some excellent punishment only to have the Yanks bounce back in the second half.

I have been fairly busy with several things this week, the grenadiers are getting there but I took time off to finish my British Jump Off Points for Chain of Command, I took the idea from Stuart at the club to use characters rather than the usual bunch of crates and oil drums, I have some ideas to renew the German JOP's but that will have to go on the wish list.

My new terrain pieces turned up from Charlie Foxtrot, a stables which I have admired for a long time and new walls to compliment my low stone walls which are fine but hard to pretend they are six feet tall. What's next on the terrain front, some gardens, sheds etc. I think also added to the wish list.

I was looking at some lists both for Normandy, late '44 and '45 with the intention of fitting in a nice little PzIII somewhere, the N version with a short gun was used during the end of the Reich and they have been mentioned in Normandy, 21st Panzer had several in their staff platoons as command tanks, not the N of course. Rubicon have discontinued their model, as much as I love Rubicon kits and look at them first they seem to have some crazy, to me, ideas on what people want, do we really need every mark of Sherman or PzIV, and let's be honest how many of us could actually tell one from the other. So, I will need to go to some shows and scour the shelves for that lonely, bashed, unloved box containing a PzIII or simply get an alternative.

Friday, 20 September 2019

X marks the spot

A bit late on the keyboard this week, been a bit lazy of an evening, well, not lazy just got back to painting and have hit on an excellent TV series which needs to be watched and not painted to, more below. X-Wing at the club this week as Simon has upgraded to Version 2, he fielded a Scum and Villainy force while I sorted out two Rebel and one Imperial force as I thought the games would be short and sharp with me on the receiving end.

The game kicked off with me flying four X-Wings and the bad guys turning up with a Y-Wing, two Headhunters and a Firespray, I kept my squadron close and their first salvoes took out the Headhunters who seemed to rashly put themselves in harms way without the support of the other two ships. A really good and unusually effective start to one of my games, I now turned on the Y-Wing and she too hit the deck or whatever passes for the deck in space. I had now lost one of my X-Wings but was still well ahead as I turned on the largest ship on the table. Simon now led me a merry dance as I at last returned to normal and found it hard to gang up on the Firespray, however I was slowly taking off shields and hull points, I lost another ship but had the Firespray on the ropes and it would only take one more shot to put it out of its misery. Simon now made a mistake and flew his ship off the table, it was a Rebel win. The game had also lasted for the whole evening, we hadn't pushed things and took it easy but all the same the time flashed by unoticed. A good night.

I mentioned I have been painting and I am getting on with the French grenadiers, I also yesterday received my 'characters' from Black Tree Design for my British Chain of Command jump off points, I couldn't wait and am painting them in tandem with the Frogs. I was quite impressed with the figures, I got some Germans a while back and though they were so so, but these really are nice, I had to wait about three weeks but that was no big deal.

I am back at my terrain this weekend, I think I have made a mistake putting some of my buildings on large bases and am going to take them off, this kills two birds with one stone, they will be easier to fit on to CoC maps for the campaigns and be easier for me to store. I have also gone for another building and some walls from Charlie Foxtrot, I only have small dry stone walls and need proper 'posh' walls as well, I had been tempted to make some but that will have to wait as I couldn't be bothered sourcing materials.

I took up Mel the Terrain Tutor's Kickstarter for his terrain book, so I hope to improve a lot of my terrain when I get it next year, it is on track and I get updates. I cannot say the same for the other Kickstarter "In Search of Hannibal" a graphic novel written, or not being written, by YouTuber Lindybeige and which is now at least three years behind with no sign of the end of the tunnel. I enjoy his channel but he needs to get his finger out and concentrate on the bloody book, reading behind the lines I also feel the graphic artist is running out of patience as well.

I mentioned the TV above, I have found two series which I can now watch, not sadly to paint by as they are so good, "The Loudest Voice" and "City on a Hill", Russell Crowe is simply brilliant in the former and Kevin Bacon is good in the latter. I also watched "The Mule" recently about a 90 year old drug runner and I read the other day of two Brits aged 75 and 72 being picked up for the same in Portugal, perhaps my working days are not over. 

Sunday, 15 September 2019

The only way is up!

My son came over for some Chain of Command, completely new to him and still relatively new to me, it was a good opportunity to get some of my new terrain out so I put down the outskirts of a small village complete with local car repair man, Church and Cafe, the terrain was probably a bit too close but I will watch that next time.

Stewart chose the Germans and I had the British, which is just fine by me as I do not get to fight with them very often, the first game was a delaying action by the bad guys, there were not a lot of support points lying around so I settled on a Humber armoured car while Stewart went for a halftrack armed with a 3.7cm PaK. The Jerries got a couple of squads into a decent defensive position which I thought I could force with help from the Humber and some smoke from the 2" mortar. The smoke was not a big help as I could not get it on target, the Humber missed the 250 and the 250 missed the Humber, however the nearby Panzerschrek did not miss and left my armoured car a heap of burning, tangled wreckage, plan A was again out the window. I still thought I might bring some hurt by deploying three squads but the forward troops were so badly shot up that the numbers simply did not add up. I had to concede defeat.

Hard luck Humber.

The second game was across the table and an attack/defend scenario, I went with a 6pdr anti-tank gun for support, I had wanted to take an MMG and possibly a sniper or a second PIAT but didn't, I was too afraid of a panzer turning up and thought the 6pdr would handle it, I can hear you laugh as I type.
I ran a squad across the road and  into the Cafe de Normandie, hoping to cover one of the German Jump Off Points (JOP), I was no sooner making myself comfortable than the Panzer IV loosed a shot and made the building unstable, I jumped out tout suite in case it collapsed on me. Meanwhile the German infantry had taken over a large orchard in the middle of the battlefield, I now ran a squad into a house on the left hoping to cover another enemy JOP and stop anyone flanking my postion. Meanwhile on my right the useless 6pdr barked and continually missed the MkIV, luckily I managed to bring on my PIAT and those lads put a round right through the German menace brewing it up. For the rest of the game I turned the anti-tank gun on the Boche in the wood and needn't have bothered, a few leaves dropped but nothing more serious.

The PIAT boys win the day.

On the left my guys in the house must have been so comfortable they hunkered down and failed to shoot up a nearby German squad in the open, the Germans though were whittling away at the squad and the back room filled with casualties. I then made a daft mistake and advanced a fresh squad to take advantage of a nice target, although I did wipe out one enemy squad I lost my own eventually. This left me with one good squad and the damn gun which had hit nothing all game. I threw the towel in. My die rolling in this game was really dreadful, allied to my bad choices it done for me.

Having a bit of a rest we now decided to leap into a campaign, the Scottish Corridor which is a part of Operation Epsom where 15th (Scottish) division was holding open a corridor against a counterattack by Kampfgruppen from 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das Reich" in the west and 1st SS "Leibstandarte" and 2nd Panzer Divisions in the east. The German attack opens at 0700 hrs in the east with a probe of the defences around Bas de Mouen. The British do not get a lot of support points for this and the Germans get a fair amount, they have enough to bring along a Tiger, who is going to resist a Tiger, so I felt I had to leave the useless anti-tank gun at home and whistle up a Sherman. I started off fairly happy with a JOP near a large house at the crossroads, I decided to concentrate a squad, PIAT and 2" mortar here, and like a fool I showed my hand and brought on the Sherman, I won't do that again.

Sure enough on rumbled the Tiger, bang and boom up went the Sherman, I thought now all the beast has to do is drive along the road and I would be forced to abandon the village, but no. My boys in the Barnier house had evicted the family despite some of the lads wanting to let them stay, had become a pain in the side of the German infantry while grimly holding the building. The Tiger put some holes in the walls but nothing which interfered with the defence, I was hoping that in the heat of battle Stewart would overlook the fact that I had a PIAT team behind the house and that as it rumbled by I might get in a flank shot. I also now brought on two more squads and started putting some hurt on the Germans fixated on the Barnier house.


It was all too much for my brave boys and eventually as casualties mounted they broke dragging their wounded sergeant out the back door with them. With the loss of the house it was all up with the Jocks and they wisely decided to retreat in the face of the Tiger. So 0800 and Bas de Mouen was clear of the British.

So, how was it, I enjoyed all the games if a bit disgruntled in the second where I seemed unable to hit or kill anything, we both learned a lot about the rules but have some questions to ask on the forum at some point, we did some things wrong but it affected both of us so no big deal. Not only was my A/T gun useless Stewart's sniper also proved never to have gone to sniper school. Notably I got quite a few double phases in two of the games and in the last I got four on the run. We decided that in future if you get a third role for a subsequent phase the sixes will be treated as fives (chain of command dice) as it just does not seem right that one player can get so many turns while the enemy sit around and die. I really must learn not to bring my armour on too early.

Next month should bring the second game in the campaign, looking forward to it.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Dark Age War and Conquest

After enjoying a couple of good games on Sunday Simon asked me to give him another game of War and Conquest, more a learning game than a match to the death, so I was quite happy with that. I went with two Romano-British forces both with Allies, the armies were a mirror of each other and were kept basic, no fancy stuff like elephants, chariots, cataphracts etc.

Parking at the club has now fallen foul of the modern equivalent of belt and braces, the building in whose grounds I have parked for what, over three years, maybe four now has girls staying in it, so in order to keep them safe bollards have been erected to stop cars parking, it seems strange that no one has mentioned that possible monsters on foot will have no problems but hey, what do I know.

Back to the good stuff. Simon lined up with some infantry way out on his right then nearer the centre his cavalry, Milites, Picts, Comitatus and Franks, I put my cavalry on my left then two units of Milites, Saxons, Welsh and Comitatus. It wasn't going to be a fancy game of maneuver, it was going to be a bloody slog, we both wanted to get the hill in the centre of the battlefield, to this end I threw in extra dice to gain the initiative and managed to get to the top before Simon's men. On my left I put my cavalry into skirmish so that they could deal with the archers and keep away from the large block of infantry while showering them with javelins. I was quite happy to have a stand up fight and if I could charge first then all the better.

 Everything went well, I held off the enemy right and my Saxons smashed the Picts, after this Simon threw two units in and although my Milites stood the Welsh ran. I now took on the Franks with my Comitatus, they were winning but slowly. With the crises approaching and things looking fairly even my Milites, which had been pushed back earlier, turned the tables on their opponents and in a superhuman effort broke them, this in turn caused the archers and the cavalry to run, a really bad morale throw for the mounted Milites. This pendulum swing brought the battle to an end and Simon offered his sword.

A good little game and as usual with a Dark Age battle could have gone either way, I think Simon's only mistake was not to put his cavalry on the wing and leaving them in the main battle line, they just cannot face infantry battle formations.

I have just ten minutes ago finished my British grenadiers, this is the second battalion in the army, I have now primed my second French battalion and will begin them this evening no doubt.

I have a Chain of Command weekend coming up with my son and have been getting all my bits and pieces ready, I had hoped to have the new figures for my Jump Off Points but they have not arrived, now over the two week mark, I shall test the waters at three weeks because I know Black Tree Design has been having problems. I have however managed to put together an Allied and a German set of dice complete with dice for command roles, considering I have 12 dice sets and odds and ends is mad, you don't have to tell me, just don't tell the missus.

Monday, 9 September 2019

The lads come through (just)

The last time I led my brave boys on to the battlefield was back in May, so when Mark offered to come up from Leicester for a days wargaming I could not resist, I did warn him about the roads but it didn't phase him so yesterday was spent playing War and Conquest.

There are several sets of Army Lists going about for WAC, the original Scarab lists, Gravesend lists and my own (carefully researched for my armies). Mark wanted to use the originals so no real problem for me as the one army I have not researched is the Seleucids and am happy to go with what everyone uses. The Patrician Romans are different, my own list differs in some respects, although I agree with Scarab's use of light armour for all the Roman formations as there is an historical argument for this, but I do not agree that there are no elite foot troops available, the Palatini are average in this list and the bulk less so. This feeds from the fact that the Western part of the Empire was defeated hence their soldiers had to be rubbish, there were a lot less veterans than there should have been but they were not all rubbish, even the Limitani had some good press when forced into the field army. I digress as it is a pet subject of mine. The upshoot was I played with the Scarab list.

First up though was Spartans vs Seleucids, I have only fought with this army a few times and am not comfortable with it. I decided that the Spartans would have very few light troops so as I had some good light troops I would take these and drive in one or both of the Spartan flanks while my main line held back supported by an elephant and a scythed chariot. I took the Companions as it was a new unit and had never seen battle and I knew they would have no cavalry capable of standing against them. The plans of mice and men often go awry, mine was no exception, once the players make their choices of terrain, we throw dice to see if it moves, it all moved and completely snookered plan A and I had no B.

I decided to basically hold the main line back while probing with my right, my skirmishers were to drive away their opposite numbers and then I would inflict pain on the infantry as it advanced. It started well enough but one unit of Spartan slingers just refused to die or run and although I was getting hits I could not kill enough, I got fixated on these guys and failed to make good with my own skirmishers. Over on the right I had decided to trust the companions to sweep away a small unit of hoplites but lost the initiative and instead found myself being charged, the cavalry thus lost all their bonus' and got cut up and fled, some Thureophoroi alongside also got caught and were slaughtered, my right flank had gone. This now forced me to advance my line as I had stopped the Spartan right and my Peltasts were keeping two skirmish units and some cavalry out of the fight there. My first unit to charge in were the Mercenary Hoplites, this was an even fight against some Spartans which with the advantage of charging I should have won, but they were trounced and headed for the hills only to be caught and dispersed. In a last gasp I threw in a phalanx and the chariot, again hoping for a swift result but no, the Spartans stood. 

The game was over, time was up, looking over the shattered field the Spartans would have won had there been one or two more moves, but I had held them, no, I had survived and Mark missed getting his objective by millimeters. A very hard match for my guys, almost every Spartan unit was elite and as they get the WAC phalanx rule they are extremely hard to kill, too hard in my humble opinion but hey that's the rules, you really need another Greek or Spartan army to fight them. I also fought badly in this game making some very daft choices which were leapt on by Mark. I must mention the unit of the game, the Spartan slave slingers, they were more than a pain in my side.

The second game was more to my liking, my Patrician Romans vs Normans, and if you read this blog you know I don't like Normans, I had beaten them the last time we met in May and Mark and no doubt his Normans wanted revenge. I took five Legions supported by some Goths and my general's Hun bodyguard along with some skirmishers. The terrain this time was fine and as we deployed unit by unit I put my Legions on the right and centre and the Goths and Huns on my left, I saw a gap in the Norman line and decided I would push it further, I hoped my skirmishers and horse archers would keep a large unit of Norman archers on their extreme right from interfering. Again most of the opposite army was elite.

Mark came on bravely on his left and I held my right back while my skirmishers hurled death at the Norman cavalry on this wing, my boys got into position and then went into shieldwall. The Norman advance had offered me the opportunity of advancing into the gap, the Huns and Goths closed with their opposite numbers and the cavalry went in. I wasn't sure if the Goths would shift the Norman infantry opposite so was a bit cautious with this unit. On my left my guys again got plenty of hits on the Norman archers but could not kill anybody, so the archers eventually swept my men away, they now turned into the centre.

I had won the battle in the gap and flanked the Norman line, they meanwhile had crashed into my right. I was now forced to charge the Goths in before the archers got the range, everyone was now engaged. Although I lost my two rightmost legions everyone else was victorious and the Normans shattered, I had managed to pull off a victory. This army suits my style.

A great day with two excellent games and a chance to get some big armies on to the field of battle, a big thanks to Mark for making an effort to come all the way up from down south, he left at 0530 I believe and got here around 0800.