Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Hearts of Oak.

Rob has went overboard (forgive the pun) and bought Black Seas from Warlord Games, a game based during the Age of Sail, a follow up from their WWII Cruel Seas, I was invited to take part and dutifully braved a cold, dark night and headed off to Lancaster.

I am unsure what comes in the starter box but Rob had six brigs, the rules, lots of rulers, turn thingies, wind direction and tokens, all very nicely done with the rule book looking very nice with lots of eye candy. It did have an index but again the typical Warlord Games Index Light, maybe I am wrong but that's what it looked like to me. The little ships arrive unpainted but there is a guide in the rules, these are very nice and Rob had done an excellent paint job on them and even managed rigging on most of them. Like Cruel Seas the ships will be a big attraction for wargamers and do seem to be reasonably priced.

How does it play, it is quick and enjoyable and just the ticket for a club night, granted we only had six small ships with only a couple of guns for a broadside, how you would get on with a squadron of 74's has yet to be seen. Everything is fairly simple and as long as you understand the weather gauge (wind) then you can be off to a flying start, depending which way the wind blows of course, I struggled a bit with this but caught on better during the second game. In order to deal out damage you have to get in close and personal and the best way to injure the enemy is to cross the T and rake the bow or stern.

I expected an upgrade or extra dice due to my service under the White Duster but I was howled down by the other players. The first game found the British and French escorting a merchantman which had to get off the opposite side of the table, the wind was against us (British) so the French came on very quickly, I think we had decided to sail up the right flank but the wind forced us to divert to the left, this meant an uneven fight with the three British ships against the two French brigs while the merchantman used her speed to sail off into the wild blue yonder. My hearty gun crews dealt out death and destruction to one Frenchman at close range so much so that she struck her colours, this little victory of mine was marred with my sister ships almost ramming me and one getting stuck alongside which despite hacking at spars and rigging remained an impediment as the game ended. Nonetheless I had earned a prize, my crew were very pleased.

I rake the bows of my first victim.
As the Frenchie strikes Cap'n Rob entangles me.
 The second game involved two French brigs and two British both trying to root out a nest of Spanish privateers sheltering under a fort, so in effect two vs four. Again the wind favoured the enemy however I managed to use it to my advantage and as a Frenchie hove into sight I opened up on her as the privateers sailed past, I then managed to sail past her stern and delivered a devastating broadside into her. This killed most of the officers and shattered the command and control along with starting a fire. With typical Gallic flair the French put out the fire and sailed off as fast as they could for home as I tried desperately to turn and catch up. My efforts however put me in an excellent position to take on the second French brig "Marines at the ready, make fast the enemy lads!" I laid my little ship alongside and in my minds eye I saw myself leap on to her mainsail, stick my cutlass in and glide to the deck as it shredded on my way down, eat your heart out Douglas Fairbanks. Back in reality my dice beat the French dice and she struck her colours while I magnanimously accepted her captains sword. Two prizes for Captain Anderson, the Sea Wolf, move over Horatio.

The Spaniards and a nice little fort.
I rake the stern of my second victim.
Boarders Away! A second Frenchie strikes to the Sea Wolf.
 There you go, a good evenings entertainment and I have to say a fine game to play of an evening. The mat is from Deep Cut, it is cloth and worked very well with these ships.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019


I have kind of got over my drubbing at the weekend and have now put it down entirely to bad luck, not my mistakes or Stewart's competence, this saving face exercise will allow me to continue to enjoy my hobby.

With that out of the way I received a nice box of stuff from the Postie yesterday to add to the recent order from Warlord of the Volkssturm and Soviet Engineers, this parcel contained three vignettes of German and Soviet officers to make into Jump Off Points along with two T34's, one with the 76mm gun and the other with the 85mm. I now have a nice little pile to take me through November, I have primed the Volkssturm and will start on them tomorrow night, I am at the club tonight. I shall be taking part in a game of Warlord's new Black Sails.

With some 56 years in the hobby I have still to settle down with a varnish I like, at first of course I never even thought of varnishing my troops etc. Once I had become a proper wargamer for decades I used Winsor and Newton matt acrylic varnish, this dulled down the then enamel paints but there was a satin sheen to the figures, not really noticeable at wargaming length but there nevertheless. I then went for Army Painter Anti-shine, never had a problem but changed to AP brush on varnish, as I now also played quite a few skirmish games and the troops were handled more often I used one coat of gloss, then two of matt, these were still satin, so I sprayed with Tamiya matt varnish, again no problem. I then bought some Testor's, the ultimate matt so they say, yes at times it was real matt but at others it was......satin. now the strange thing is with Testor's and the brush on is the palette or the spray tray all turned out absolutely matt, but the figures still satin, why? So what now, well I will still put on one coat of gloss and one of matt brush on but finish off with Army Painter spray, not because I have a problem with Tamiya but merely on price and volume.

I bought a dice tray recently, might have gone overboard on the size but you need lots of dice for War and Conquest, Stewart was going to get one but hasn't so far, he moaned a bit on Saturday so I called on my DIY skills and produced this little beaut with some cardboard and sellotape, job done. I have a sneaking suspicion this helped his die rolling.

It is a lovely day, I have just completed two map projects and as it is nearly lunchtime I am downing tools until this afternoon, I am exhausted having served at least three people so far.

This snippet really should be kept for a future View but I can't contain myself I have to share. The New Zealand Navy:

All Navy personnel are permitted to wear discreet make-up, clear or pale nail varnish when in uniform, “trimmed, neat and natural” false eyelashes, one pair of “natural coloured” stud or sleeper earrings and perfume or cologne in moderation. Rings may be worn on a maximum of two fingers.
Navy personnel are also allowed to use natural-coloured hair dye or have their hair “lightly tipped”, as long as it’s clean and neatly groomed. Long hair is also permitted in a bun or single plait to ensure safety and tidiness.

In my day if you used anything other than Old Spice you were suspect.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

What a shame (he said insincerely)

My son and I are giving Chain of Command a try, I have dabbled a bit recently but Stewart and I kicked off The Scottish Corridor campaign set in Normandy a month ago and got through the first game, this weekend was to see us move forward hopefully by several game turns.

The first game was on the left flank of the Corridor as 'Das Reich' and the 7th Seaforth Highlanders moved into the village of Le Valtru. I was looking forward to this as both sides had a lot of support points and it should be an even fight, I took a Firefly, a Sherman, an adjutant and a pre-game barrage, I was feeling very confident, I hoped the Germans would be delayed by the barrage and I could simply overwhelm the front line, boy was I wrong. I did manage to get a few more troops than Stewart on table along with both my tanks, the Germans had two infantry squads and next up was a Panther, just what my Firefly had been patiently waiting for, bang and zing as the shot barely took off the paint. I had decided to be aggressive in this game so when a German squad decided to pop into the open I moved my squad up on Tactical, this with the hedge gave me Hard Cover, OK maybe I would take a hit or some shock but then I could wipe out the over eager Jerries. No, that didn't happen Stewart threw almost 20 dice and got 8 hits, my boys faltered, a further volley got 10 hits, I lost teams, my leader was wounded then killed, the survivors ran for the hills, my Force Morale plummeted. The Panther meanwhile had taken out the Firefly, the Germans had settled in to the hedgelines and my miserable efforts at putting down smoke were upset by the lousy aim of the mortar team. I thought this was going to be an even stevens fight as we both had a pile of support points but as that one squad and the tank disappeared and more Germans turned up I retreated, head and brick wall came to mind.

Not only was the battle itself a catastrophe, Stewart's firepower and and his excellent die rolls stopped me dead, my after battle results landed me in hot water as my men began to be wary of Lt. Carmichael and were really unhappy with him, my Force Morale would now take a -2 hit. Kampfgruppe Weidinger from 2nd SS Panzer had pulled off a startling victory, the town of Le Valtru had fallen, the Corridor had now lost ground on both the left and right flanks.

Meanwhile on the right flank Kampfgruppe Frey from 1st SS Panzer Division was attacking into Mouen having pushed the British from the outskirts, as I was the defender this time I only had six support points to the German 15. I decided to take some entrenchments and as there would inevitably be a German tank turn up two PIAT's. I simply lined a hedge line right across the enemy advance. Sure enough a PzIV rumbled on to the table and began to pick off my guys who could not really reply to the tanks big gun. I did manage to get several PIAT shots in but as the tank stayed at long range from this weapon it really was no threat at all, Panzer grenadiers slowly made their way forward on my right and although the entrenchments helped my guys started once again dropping dead. My bad luck continued and I was forced by a random event to deploy my reserve, I compounded this by putting it in the wrong place. As teams started to die or rout my desperate Force Morale dropped even further, very soon I was on four command dice and as things got worse and I could see no way of stopping the Germans I once again left the field.

Again Stewart's shooting had been deadly and my bad luck allied to being rubbish had done for my boys, Carmichael was thoroughly disliked by now and he was hovering on the brink of losing more morale points. Mouen had now fallen and things were getting desperate for the British.

Back to the left flank and I decided not to fight this as again I only had six support points and that would certainly not be enough to halt Weidenger, so as the Jerries exploited their win at Le Valtru the combat moved again to the right flank.

I played my Wild Card on this next game (we got this wrong but hey ho) so hoped my counter-attack could retake Mouen, I took a Churchill this time, an extra squad and some support teams, the enemy were also hit with a pre-game barrage, what could go wrong. Well let me tell you, the left flank was wide open and the ground deadly, I had to start behind the hedge line and as Stewart managed to get a squad opposite so anyone moving there was going to take a lot of hurt (see terrain mistake below). I gingerly put two squads up on my left and had one hold that flank while hoping to advance the other along with the Churchill, the same Churchill which had had its sights damaged by a PzIV, for the rest of the game these tanks hurled shells at each other from almost point blank range with no effect, added to this I had a PIAT team also firing, hitting but doing no damage. Once again my morale hit rock bottom as a squad disappeared along with a couple of teams who broke, crestfallen I called the risible attack off.

After checking my officers opinion and that of his men it became obvious that the Corridor was going to be cut as I had lost my counter-attack and my morale now started at -3 while the Jerries were at least +2 over the maximum and as they had held the ground and won all the games only had one gefrieter with a slight graze on his elbow as casualties. In consequence Operation Epsom had to be called off and the Normandy campaign put back by at least three weeks.

The loss of the first game was in great part due to the exceptional die rolling of Stewart, he was not so deadly in the second but my bad luck did seem to continue, as I said I am not the best WWII player and no doubt could have done things different but what? The third game I did expect to handle much better but it was not to be, maybe I should have gone with a couple of tanks rather than rely on the Churchill's heavy armour which was not as heavy as I thought. Oh, and I have just realised while typing that because I did not have enough low walls we had used hedges with stone walls in them and then promptly forgot this, so I should have been able to shoot across them but didn't, I have found my excuse however and will wheel it out whenever Stewart crows about his victories.

A good weekend playing on some lovely terrain and pushing some nice wee sojers around, I must do better. I wouldn't be me if I didn't have some gripes, and while most of it was either bad luck or bad judgement on my part I do find that Panzergrenadier squads are over powerful, yes you can use smoke, yes you can use fire and movement but if you don't get the command dice or your smoke goes astray or your men get almost wiped out by the first volley as they move into the open then your goose is cooked. For some reason you cannot choose heavy mortar support in this campaign and it was sorely missed.

What next, I will work on completing the Russians for the Konigsberg campaign, in the meanwhile perhaps we can get a Johnny Reb or War and Conquest game organised, I feel the need for a win.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Road to Berlin II

I argued with myself for quite some time about building up a Soviet force for WWII, when the thought originally came to me it was for Bolt Action but now of course the force is based on something for Chain of Command, which by the time it is finished will be absolutely fine for both sets of rules. I did not make allowances for how easy these guys are to paint, when I finished my anti-tank guns I will have painted most of the infantry and heavy weapons required in three weeks. It was not my intention to be so quick as my son and I have the Scottish Corridor mini campaign to finish before setting out on the Konigsberg one. Yes, I can still find the odd figures to add and still have the tanks and assault guns to come but these can be built, primed and painted in two days tops, each one not them all obviously.

This week I have finished the heavy weapons supports, first up are an MMG, HMG and anti-tank rifle. Usually the MMG is the wheeled maxim type, for some unknown reason I chose the Warlord SG43 with a crew of engineers, I really like these figures, the gun, for me, was the usual Warlord bad fit, I had to cut down the shield to make it fit, now this could have been my fault, perhaps I put the wheels too close together, no matter it was a faff. I had the same trouble withe the HMG the DHsK 12.7mm, in fact a lot more trouble and really had to hack the shield this time, I don't take the blame for this one, the crew again were very nice. Next up was the anti-tank rifle, this base has a plastic figure kindly sent me by one of the online community (I have another waiting in the wings), I added the spotter who came with the HMG.

The next three bases have a 50mm mortar, a flamethrower and sniper. The flamer and mortar teams are again Warlord and have a nice chunky look about them, the snipers are female and from Bad Squiddo, nice enough but nothing spectacular, I had heard so much about these that perhaps my expectations were too high, I would have liked them in the amoeba camo suit, but you can't have everything, no matter a nice sniper group.

In Chain of Command a lot of crews are five instead of the normal three, I have no idea how realistic that is but if playing CoC then I needed extra figures, I went for two Artizan character packs. These have provided extra figures along with my main leader and a Commissar. I have to say only two of these look out of place and wooden, the one I mentioned in an earlier post whom I thought particularly useless I have now discovered is a dispatch rider, still won't use him.

Next up the anti-tank guns, both Warlord, I got the little 45mm because I like it and I went for the 57mm Zis-2 rather than the 76mm Zis-3 because it is a better tank killer. Both guns in fact are lovely models and went together with no problems apart from my impatience and sausage fingers, the 57mm is an ugly but nice gun and has a very long barrel which also is why it is a better tank killer than the 76mm. The crews have a slightly different look to them from most of the Warlord Soviets, a bit thinner, nice enough but not the comfortably chunky look of the others, for me anyway, but they paint up fine. I do wonder though at one crewman who seems to be bringing an operational manual rather than a shell to the party.

To top off my main body I got the Forward Observer and his two mates, again Warlord, the FOO himself and his buddy lying down studying the map are splendid figures. The woman with the flags I am not so sure of, if you are in the field spotting for artillery and trying to hide why bring someone with flags, it really does not make sense, anyway Ludmilla is painted and back at HQ waiting for a job or a letter to type (ouch).

Three weeks worth.

 I have called a small halt to the Soviet progress because I am awaiting the arrival of Warlord's 'Last Levy' box which should get me a Hitler Youth tank killer team and a Volkssturm Squad, maybe two if the young lads get mixed in. These are required for my planned mini campaign, alright they might not get used but I have to have the option. On the tails of these will be a Russian assault engineer squad, these guys will of course be used for engineer teams and possibly as a proper assault squad at some point in the future. They were brought up to take on bunkers and fortifications, attacking which they suffered such horrendous casualties they were given armoured breastplates to wear. Offensive Miniatures offer Volkssturm and having seen pictures they look more realistic than Warlord's but they have such wooden poses I went for the more exciting 'Hollywood' look of Warlord's, more figures than I wanted and slightly more expensive but they covered all my needs from one box. I suspect in mid November I will be hearing the rumble of Soviet armour approaching. I really must slow down at some point.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Club, books and stuff

Easy night at the club, X-Wing and as I had lists prepared a la Blue Peter I only had to pack up and get out the door, I did notice this week how dark it was as I got on the road, Winter is certainly on its way. Once at the club without much ado I just chose a list and set up the spaceships, it was only as we commenced the game I found I had brought a knife to a gunfight, I got these lists from the so called experts on an X-Wing Forum, OK I am not the best star pilot but how anyone can win with this nonsense escapes me, mea culpa.

Simon usually has either good luck or bad and last night his shooting and saving was the former, I did OK but nothing spectacular, my flying bricks, two B-Wings, with sieve armour were a liability as Simon's gunnery took them apart. The game was leisurely and as time approached I ran up the white flag, I had two ships left one of which was going south as soon as the enemy looked at it and I did not fancy my lone X-Wing's chances against Simon's two. I will have to learn to take the time and put some thought into the game in the future.

I caught the latest video from the excellent Little Wars yesterday and it was about women in wargaming and examining why there are so few, it also had three women talking about their experiences of wargaming. They were all positive but one did have a moan about how men had told her what to do and even moved her troops for her, female or not you just don't let that happen, I have never seen that. Now as much as I do not care for the armies of shieldmaidens and their ilk I have no objection to playing against a woman or having women in the hobby, I have actually played against a woman and been beaten to boot. Do we need to get more women in the hobby, no, do we need more diversity perhaps, no, should we be considerate and welcoming to all who show interest, overwhelmingly yes, but because their numbers are low there is nothing wrong with that. Military history and wee sojers is just not everyone's cup of tea.

I have pledged to three Kickstarters, one arrived and it was not for me, nothing wrong with the product but I sold it on. The second is due out early next year, I have been kept informed of every step and expect it to be first class and on time. Now the third, that is a different kettle of fish, even when I pledged it was overdue, but I wasn't in a hurry and decided I could wait, it is a graphic novel about Hannibal written by Nikolas Lloyd, better known as Lindybeige, a YouTuber, the artist is Christopher Steininger, I have seen his work and it is good. The project is now something like three years behind and in my humble opinion will never be complete, Lloyd cannot seem to sit down and finish the script, I get the impression the artist is also not happy, Loyd's lament that it is harder than he first imagined does not wash as he continues to produce videos for his YouTube channel and jet around the world to enhance said videos. I decided to cancel and was told by Kickstarter that I have to contact the person who set it up, I tried to contact Lindy both by email (didn't work) and left notes on his Facebook page and YouTube channel (deleted) and got nowhere. I shall now head for SmileTitans the no doubt aggrieved publishers and see how I get on there. Lindy now has a pile of money (my pledge has been withdrawn) and we backers have nothing.

I have just finished reading Max Hastings book on Operation Chastise the dam busters raid. The first part involving Barnes Wallis is fine but the book really comes alive when describing the men, warts and all in the case of 'Bomber' Harris and Guy Gibson, who flew on the operation and the raid itself, these guys were incredibly brave flying at between 50-100 feet off the deck in the dark to bomb dams in the middle of Europe. At the moment I am reading Mark Bowden's Battle of Hue 1968 set during the Vietnam war, this again is a great read about men in battle, you can almost smell the cordite and sweat, again a book about men at war and an excellent one at that. Bowden also wrote Black Hawk Down. The books do not glorify war and although exciting are at times also incredibly sad, I can only thank my lucky stars that I was not put in harm's way during my service.

The above photos are of Hue Citadel during my visit earlier this year.

Friday, 18 October 2019

View From The Window

 The Legendary Map Fortune has taken some severe hits this week, I have been informed that £1,800 has been stolen from the account by hackers in bundles of £600 a time, I am at my wits end, I don't know where to turn. No, wait, just the usual criminal masterminds with the funny accent hoping to find someone daft enough to believe them, not today Raj. Raj's telecoms department was also busy and threatened that if I did not act immediately they would have to cut off my broadband, although I had turned to jelly I found enough backbone to tell Raj's mate to go ahead and cut me off, guess what, I'm still here. I was discussing this disgusting behaviour with one of my few customers yesterday and I have just served an old gentleman this morning who did fall for Raj or Malik's dishonesty and he has had his bank accounts emptied, he seems to think things will be fine after talking to his bank but I am not so sure as he is sending letters out, today your savings can disappear in nanoseconds, but I do hope he gets his money back.

And while on the subject of Banks, back in 2005 the Government lied, yes lied to people, pensioners in particular that they would always be able to get their pensions/benefits at a local Post Office, how did that promise turn out, well I have now got about half a dozen people on the government card account which is closing in 2021. Access your bank at the PO says the government, well that is fine but Barclays has now decided that I can continue to do their work for them, deposits and balances but I cannot from 2020 give their money out, no I don't get it either. There must be some penny pinching idea behind it and it will only be a matter of time before our other 'people come first' banks follow on.

I had a problem with NowTV the other night and after putting up with it and promising to do something I eventually did, but wait, you cannot simply phone them up, nor can you email. So out came the iPad, I hit the support site, it asked me to ask the 'community' or look at the FAQ, if I still had a problem I could hit the chat button to 'speak' to an operator. I didn't have the patience nor twelve hours to spare so I hit the chat button......... ask the community or look at the FAQ. After going around in circles and four Paracetamol's I gave up. The problem kind of resolved itself but when I have finished watching the series I am enjoying at the moment I will stop my Direct Debit and wait for them to contact me.

My sons and I usually have an annual night out and this year we are going to Glasgow, Graham will be going to see Celtic on the Sunday so Stewart and I will turn up for the Saturday night, perhaps my brother and a couple of others will turn up, who knows. I saw a price for a hotel at £79, so phoned them up, imagine my surprise when I found myself talking to a woman in Manila with no hint of a Glaswegian accent. Not only that the price jumped to £140 with taxes etc., what taxes, Filipino taxes perhaps. It took me another 45 minutes to track down a phone number to talk directly to Wullie in Glasgow and I got it for £95, a kind of result.

I am not going to go into the mess with Extinction Rebellion only to say that if you glue yourself to a train or airplane having your wits about you then said train or airplane should take off and hell mend you.

The Met called in reinforcements but probably none were forthcoming from Thames Valley Police as they had to hunt down the dangerous gang who were involved in putting stickers around Oxford saying that a woman is an adult female and that women do not have a penis. The chief officer involved (a woman natch) was concerned about the possible diabolical message behind these stickers not that they were in fact, eh fact. They may also not have had recruits from Cheshire Police as they were making a video marking International Pronouns Day, crimes involving the misuse of he/she/they/ze et al. which are perhaps overtaking knife crime, oh and the Deputy Chief Constable is another woman, no surprise there then.

Lastly I leave you with this bonzer from a few months ago which I have been saving up, Gwent peelers got upset because people made fun of their mugshot, why should Britain tremble.

Oh, I almost forgot, now we are even afraid to go shopping.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Road to Berlin

After all my deliberations and anguish I am now fully committed to a Soviet WWII 'army'. I have just this morning completed three squads another is half painted ready for some brushwork this afternoon as it is a miserably wet and cold day. The fourth squad is there as back up or to provide the odd figure for support squads. Chain of Command being possibly the only WWII set which requires five man crews for MMG's and guns etc. instead of three, in fact if you add a Junior Leader you need six men for the crew.

I also ordered up all my infantry support troops last week and they are now cleaned, primed and ready to go. I also got a bunch of Characters from Artizan and these are really lovely, eight in all and the only one which is naff is someone who looks like a despatch rider or something akin to one in a pose which is just useless, the others will be used for those extra men above or leaders. The actual weapons and crews are Warlord and again really nice figures which fit in fine with Artizan, I did have a devil of a time with the heavy machine gun as the shield just didn't want to fit so I resorted to my hobby knife. Why do my fingers turn into sausages when I want to glue intricate parts of a model?

I will probably add a second Anti-tank rifle and sniper at a later stage, I went for the Bad Squiddo female sniper and have to say I was disappointed, not in the casting which is fine but even if they are properly sized women they do look very small compared to the rest of my troops, but then again Artizan are rather large and chunky which I personally like, not matter I am stuck with them, perhaps they will be harder to spot.

Although I find all WWII troops easier to paint than Ancients or certainly my Seven Year War figures I was surprised at just how easy the Russians were, they really have no equipment apart from the odd rucksack or blanket roll to weigh them down and everything is a shade of brown. I went with a couple of paint guides using Vallejo Paints one from Artizan and one from Vallejo themselves, I mixed up trousers and jackets while doing some completely in one colour and am happy with the results.

So I think by the end of next week I will order up a couple of anti-tank guns, 45mm and 57mm these will almost put the main force to bed. I am aiming for all the units to play the Konigsberg campaign from the 2014 Lardy Special, the only ones I am unsure of are Scouts and Pioneers, these need more looking into. I will also need to add troops to the German choices, Volksturm and Hitler Youth, but only in small numbers. After all that will come the Russian armour and vehicles, I have a large wishlist for this lot.

No club this week as our usual room is not available, so end of the month no doubt before I get shot at again.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019


Chain of Command at the club last night, and a typical miserable night weather wise. We took a scenario from the Kampgruppe von Luck mini campaign, a probe by the Germans where I had to get men into the enemy deployment area. You do not get a lot of support options in this campaign and the only vehicle is a hybrid assault gun  added to the strength of 21st Panzer Division, there is such a vehicle available from Warlord but hey, I am not made of money and besides it would not turn up before the game.

I therefore thought it best to overwhelm the elite British paratroop defenders so chose to bring four squads supported by an MMG and a Forward Observer with an 8 cm mortar off table. I don't think I got great Jump Off Points but I managed to keep the British points well back from the centre of the table. I moved a squad up through the nearby orchard, no idea why in hindsight, but it proved a good move in the end as Rob deployed most of his men in and around the farm buildings and they drew his attention for most of the game. At first these brave men gave as good as they got and inflicted a fair amount of kills on the Paras, but as time went on they took more and more kills and shock and right at the end broke for the rear having done sterling work by simply holding their ground.

On the right flank my MMG team drew the attention of a British mortar and smoke clouds began to hamper my shooting, eventually closing it down alltogether, however before this happened I managed to set off my barrage on the Paras defending the large field to my front. they tried to run but one team was caught and pinned, in subsequent moves I shifted the barrage (I think I got a double turn here) to catch a second team. I now brought on my remaining three squads and ran them towards the pinned Brits, my right most squad made a run for the enemy deployment zone while I got ready to sweep the field with machine gun fire when I lifted the barrage. At this point Rob surrendered. I learned more rules of the game and felt I had handled my troops better if not brilliantly.

I have had to order up more Russians, I did not realise how easy it is to paint WWII Russians and since Friday have got two squads ready for basing with one nearly finished and the last primed waiting in the wings. I went for Artizan figures and in the main they are nice if a bit unimaginative, the second guy in the LMG team is a bit wooden and looks to be in an awkward stance, the actual machine gunner is fine. For some reason these LMG's do not have bipods, I know they are probably a swine to cast but I do find it strange, if my eyes were better I would glue some wire on to them but it would be more trouble than its worth.

When I ordered up the extra supports I went for a couple of snipers, at £3.00 a figure I thought they were a tad expensive but hey I only wanted one team, however I did throw the towel in at the £3.20 postage. By all means I'll pay for the jiffy bag so put 20p on to the £1.06 first class postage, in fact take another 50p for your trouble walking to the Post Box, but don't expect me to pay £3.20. I mentioned this in passing to where I eventually did get the snipers and got an almost standard reply "some are only little firms" well that may well be the case but postage is postage no matter what size of firm you are, also I know large and small firms whose postage prices are completely reasonable and not robbery.

Black Powder next week and a Chain of Command weekend at the end of the month as Stewart and I continue with the Scottish Corridor campaign.