Wednesday, 26 February 2020


I just could not slow down my painting so I finished my full platoon of Volksgrenadiers in around three weeks, I am not languishing in painting limbo like I did in January this time though, I have enough spare figures to make up a fourth squad so they are on the tray at the moment. I also have an AA Crusader, Jeep and Schwimmwagen on the way, the Germans and Russians have AA cover so the British can have some as well and the little cars are for my commanders, I have also decided to add a Russian SMG squad to the line up as well next month.

The VGs are from Empress Miniatures and are really lovely figures, these troops were prominent during the Battle of the Bulge and also fought on the Eastern Front in the last months of the war although if you Google them you inevitably get the troops involved in the former. They have a winter look about them wearing mainly camo smocks, zeltbahns and greatcoats but as wargamers we would probably use them from December '44 til the end of the war and it was cold during those months. I put a little white on the smock hood to show they were reversible smocks, the camo is splittermuster using German Camo Beige, Cam Olive Green and Flat Earth, non camo is simple Fieldgrey and the greatcoats various shades of grey or grey/green, these differed a lot in quality. For the equipment I googled each piece and used an appropriate colour, all the paints are Vallejo.

The organisation I took from Andy Duffell's list at Tiny Hordes, the list as far as I can see follows that laid down in regulations, the only question players have is should the HQ section mirror that in the regulations i.e. contain a medic, or/and the messengers. Now the messengers you can abstract but the use of an integral medic is a good question, how real do you go? I have not added one so far.

I set up a game last night against Simon's Russians, I was tempted to use the VGs as green but chickened out and made them Regular, this meant I handed some support points to Simon but I thought with so little support available I could not take the chance. I also deliberated about whether I should take a second Senior Leader or an LMG team, I went for the latter and then promptly forgot all about them during the game. The Germans were the defenders holding back the Soviet Hordes somewhere on the borders of East Prussia, I thought this appropriate for a late war scenario. Simon had thrown for Support and got a measly 4 on two dice, so there were in fact no Soviet Hordes and I think this crippled Simon's chances of victory in Chain of Command.

Support squad with the annoying JOP.

I put down two squads, one infantry and the other the support squad with two LMG's, the former protected the right flank and the latter the left, I decided to leave the rest of my men until the Russians had shown their hand, or if they ever got near their objective, a Jump Off Point well in the rear of the front line, to deploy them to protect it. Simon very soon had all his forces deployed, a full platoon supported by a Sniper and a T70 light tank. During the firefight which then ensued things went well for the Germans as the Russians ran into a wall of fire and rifle grenades, the T70 did not really enter the fray as command dice were used to activate the infantry or remove shock. Both of us only had one Senior Leader so multiple rolls of 4s were not very helpful, we also seemed to roll a lot of 5s with the odd 6, which again lessened the amount of control we had over our forces. We deliberately took the game slowly but even so nothing really happened, Simon managed to run one squad along my left flank but I still had one squad to deploy along with the forgotten LMG so their chances of getting to the objective were pretty slim. As we packed up a defeat for the Russians.

The Russkies prepare to run for the trees.

In this case the Russians really had to close with the defenders and this suited the Germans, especially as the range closed until the assault rifles came into their own, as the support role had been very low they were up against it from the beginning, perhaps in this kind of scenario the support costs should be set at a certain level from the start. Neither of us had a lot of luck with the command dice and quite a few times we both hardly managed to do anything we wanted to do. I did learn not to put my JOPs too near fences etc. as this stopped me lining the damn things as the JOP was in the way, duh.

Next week we are taking another run at IABSM as Dan is running a second game, this Sunday I have a couple of War and Conquest games and another the Sunday after, on both occasions my opponents will be bringing my old enemies the Normans, boo.

No sooner had I put the full stop in above than mate Rob turned up with a nice present, an Empress Miniatures LMG team for that extra support the VGs need. You meet some very nice people in this hobby.

Friday, 21 February 2020

TV, Movies, Books

It has been a wee while since I binge watched the excellent nonsense of Strike Back and I look forward to the last series which should be out some time this year if my memory serves. Despite having Netflix, NowTV and Prime I was lost for something to watch. I noticed The Boys on Prime and remembered a graphic novel (comic) with the same name, so I dipped my toe in, and what a find, superb entertainment, gripping story line and terrific acting, the premise is that superheroes abound and seven in particular are like a multi-national corporation run for profit. I won't go further as this would spoil the story line but it is masterful, and a new villain to rival Darth Vader but with nice shiny teeth.

The fourth season of The Expanse is back and I am unsure, I have only one episode to watch and found myself fast forwarding the previous one, I am not interested in characters backgrounds where they are all hiding a secret or had a terrible upbringing and are filled with angst and I certainly do not want to hear or watch them explaining this with doleful faces, thank god for remotes. Thankfully the action picked up and it got back on track so it is still a top pick for me. My allegiance is leaning towards the Belters.

Another which I just found and again have nearly completed is Carnival Row, a strange, steampunk tale filled with faeries, pucks (no me neither) and other unearthly creatures. Right away you will see the deliberate liberal take on racism and immigration, you couldn't miss it as it is layed on thicker than treacle. Despite this the production is good, the acting is good and the storyline in between the propaganda is good, there are a lot of big names and money in this production and it shows. The shows star, Orlando Bloom, had his sons name Flynn tattooed on his arm in morse code, being an ex sparker I realised it actually says Frynn, but I have not had the heart to tell him.

Looking around for something to watch while painting I went back to Van Helsing which I had ditched, ten minutes in I realised why I had ditched it.

I also managed to see Joker at last, as a big fan of Batman comics (you never see me or Batman in the same room) I just could not imagine this guy as the Joker, to me it was nothing special and although I did not pick up on it seemingly he might or might not be The Joker, so what was the point? As for Joaquin Phoenix getting an Oscar for it, he wouldn't have got my vote, a big hoo ha about nothing.

I started and finished Killing Hitlers Reich and I will put my hands up, it was a struggle, a vast amount of excellent information in the book but the way it was presented I found it hard to follow, I also think it needed more maps but that was not in my control.

I found Rick Atkinson's An Army at Dawn about the Americans and Operation Torch the invasion of North Africa in a second hand book shop in Morecambe, having read his opening volume on the American War of Independence I had heard good things about his WWII trilogy. The book was excellent and a real eye opener for me, I thought during Torch the Allies landed without any hassle, the Yanks got a bloody nose at Kasserine, learned a lesson then we all went on and took Tunis. Not according to Atkinson, the operation was a mess almost to the end, mistakes were made a plenty by both the British and Americans, and the French put up a real fight as we attempted to land and push inland. I should think the Allies learned a lot from this campaign and Sicily etc. which helped Overlord become a success. Well recommended and some great ideas for you who game North Africa.

I still have several books in my ready to read pile, but have now picked up The Anarchy which deals with the East India Company's rise to take over the Indian sub-continent, a fascinating story of merchant adventurers, Mughal Emperors, incredible wealth, ambition and greed. The sums of money involved translated to today's currency are mouth-watering and of course it was all about money.

In my hurry I almost forgot Avenue 5 written by the great Armando Ianucci. A space cruise ship hits a snag and the journey will last three years instead of 3 months, the whole premise is genius and the characters fascinating, Hugh Laurie is the captain. Well it tickled me.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

The Sea Wolf contemplates Hampshire

Simon had asked Rob to organise a Black Seas game and I decided to join in as the club seems to be exceptionally busy at the moment with full tables every week. This time we were back in the Caribbean as the Sea Wolf's small flotilla having repaired in Jamaica were on the lookout for a notorious French privateer/pirate (Rob), this rascal had lately captured a large merchantman reputed to be carrying gold bullion and was enroute to Port Royal. A small Spanish fleet (Simon) were also at sea looking for the same ship.

The Sea Wolf arrives.

We came upon the Frenchie sailing close to shore, sadly the weather gauge was against me and it was taking a long time to catch up with the prey, the Spaniards on the other hand closed quickly, I at first thought I would let them engage the pirates while I would sail to cut them off and pick up the pieces as we were not yet at war with Spain. Rob then decided to sail through the sandbanks to throw off pursuit, I therefore turned Achilles and Ajax towards the rear of the French while Nubian and Tartar continued with the intention of getting ahead of everybody.

I move towards the rear of the pirates.
 Simon now sent his brigs into the fray while his frigate stood off and pounded a large privateer, this ship was losing the fight and grounded on a nearby sandbank where her captain surrendered, very shortly after a pirate brig also ran aground and struck her colours. I meanwhile was still fighting the wind. The Spanish attack now broke up, but had another success on boarding the remaining ship escorting the large merchant, now however Ajax entered the battle, aggressive as ever she began to pound both the Spaniard and the pirate while Achilles fired at long range into the merchant.

Ajax delivers her devastating and winning broadside.

More confusion in the sandbanks followed as the merchant could not clear the two brigs and the three ships now sat entwined giving one large target, as the fire from Ajax continued the Spanish brig went to the bottom, a devastating broadside from close range into the rear of the merchant caused chaos and mayhem, the privateer's flag came down. Ajax was now too close to the stuck ships and she too now found herself locked to the merchant, a fortuitous move as it turned out as her crew now began to transfer the gold to the holds of Ajax.

The end is nigh.
 Elsewhere the Achilles had sunk another Spanish brig but their flagship, the frigate, now moved on Tartar and Nubian and managed to sink Tartar, she then turned back towards the melee in the sandbanks and kept a weather eye on the Achilles bearing down towards her. This was a dangerous moment for the Sea Wolf, neither Ajax nor Achilles by now could probably withstand a successful broadside, if Ajax went down so did the gold, if Achilles my reputation. The Spaniard was in the same boat so to speak but did manage to get a broadside off as she closed with my flagship, it was weathered by Achilles (Simon threw terrible dice) and the return fire sent the last Spaniard to Davy Jones' Locker. Nubian meanwhile had won her fight but too successfully, the enemy first caught fire then blew up spectacularly causing damage to the Nubian, which she thankfully weathered.

Although I had caused an international incident by firing on my Spanish 'allies' I had sunk them all so hopefully no word would seep through to Whitehall or the Palacio Real Madrid before the real war started, and besides who is going to turn down a ship full of gold. I must mention the Captain of Ajax who in the last two battles has shown incredible aggression in the face of overwhelming odds and been quite instrumental in the British victories, well done that man. As for the Sea Wolf, although his ships were battered once again and Tartar had been lost the rewards are enough to contemplate a new estate in Hampshire, now where did I put that latest copy of Country Life

As I said we had a full house, Age of Sigmar, several LoTR games, Chain of Command and Black Seas. Not sure about next week, Dan wants to delve once more into IABSM but I cannot remember which Tuesday. On the home front I am nearing the end of my second Volksgrenadier squad and have started the third and last. I looked at my Waffen-SS and only need two more LMG's for a full platoon, for some reason Offensive Miniatures only include LMG's in with full squads, so I shall have to look elsewhere.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Belgians, Dutch, Belgians, Dutch

Yesterday Rob, Julian and Stuart organised a large Napoleonic game above a local pub in Grange-over-Sands a genteel town for this neighbourhood, and a summer favourite to spend a sunny day looking out over Morecambe Bay on the two occasions we get in a year. Rob and Julian took part last year in the Great Game in Glasgow hence the armies are 28mm. You will have to forgive the at times dim photographs as half the lights in the room were not working, so of course as far as we were concerned it was late afternoon and night would soon be upon us.

The scenario had the Allies holding a road lined with hedges ala Waterloo while the French had to gain the house on the left and the crossroads on the right. Rob and I were the good guys the Belgians a chorus of "Dutch!" met me each time I got it wrong. I had a large brigade to defend the house, I lined up with my artillery and four battalions up front with two more in reserve, I had some skirmishers rambling about on my extreme left. Rob had all the cavalry and a few infantry battalions to protect the crossroads. Opposite me Stuart and Julian L (we had two Julian's) had two infantry brigades, cavalry, artillery and skirmishers, there was a large wood on the left of the battlefield so I felt my flank was fairly safe, I therefore only had to hold my line. Rob on the other hand was opposite a French steamroller with the Imperial Guard, cavalry and two batteries, he was going to have a tough time.

A Martian tries to throw light on the proceedings.
My Belgian (Dutch!) line.

The battlefield from the French right.

The serried ranks of Julian's beautiful Guard.

 Stuarts brigade failed several command rolls so I pushed the skirmishers up to pot shot at his artillery, Julian L came on in the same old frightening way, cavalry and infantry headed straight for my thin Belgian (Dutch!) defenders, he had one guard battalion within his ranks. There was a mighty clash and as the smoke settled my boys had held and the French were in retreat, I praised my lads to the rafters. No sooner had we flung back this desperate assault than Stuarts legions began to move forward in serried ranks, again my line was attacked and this time it buckled, my artillery men and a battalion fled for the rear, things looked desperate from where I was standing. Like Christopher Plummer I told my reserve to come here, everyone now, and my attack column ploughed into the victorious French sending them homeward, elsewhere my brave men had once again sent the Frenchies running. There was now a lull on this side of the battlefield as the French retired to lick their wounds.

Julian L advances on the Dutch line.
And are thrown back.
Stuart now attacks and almost succeeds.
The French retire to reorganise and I advance.
  We got the odd report on what was happening on the right flank and as far as I could tell the French advance was slow but methodical, several cavalry clashes had taken place with the Allied cavalry eventually having to retire while several of their infantry battalions fell to the Guard. Despite this chaos Rob had actually managed to advance and put pressure on Julian L's recovering brigade and was doing very well, however there were now a lot of French descending on the Crossroads from the right flank.

Julian bears down on Rob.
 Back on the left I suffered from having no artillery while Stuart pounded my lines, it took me a few turns but I eventually rallied enough of my troops to leave the safety of the hedge and advance to musket range on the shaky French line, their morale began to drop and several battalions fled, very soon both brigades opposite me had been broken and they retired from the field, it seemed to be all over.

Chaos reigns.
The Guard shall not be moved.
 Looking to the right although Julian's (the other Julian had left by now) advance had been slow it had been irresistible and having cleared the enemy to his front he turned to roll up the Dutch line, soon he had the crossroads in his grasp. This threat meant I had to march my men to the sound of the guns and I turned them towards the ridge, now they decided they had had enough and had done their bit, for three turns they refused all orders and pleading to move to help their compatriots. The chaos in the centre right had at last sorted itself out and although we had suffered we had eventually cleared the area of blue uniforms. The situation from a few hours earlier had changed dramatically, despite having lost a lot of his men Julian's Guard surrounded the crossroads and could not be moved as night fell, the Allied army had also been shattered and simply did not have the strength to attack and defeat the Guard. After having thought the battle over the bitterest fighting had occurred in the last quarter of the game, with an objective each honours were even.

I felt that the Allies had done a tad better than the French, we had less men, less guns and no Guard and had fought the enemy to a standstill, kudos to both Julian and Rob for their titanic struggle on the right, Rob for the damage he inflicted and Julian for obtaining his objective. Despite the lack of light it was a great days wargaming.

Rob also told me he was building up forces for the Fall of the Reich, Volksturm etc. and would be happy to take on my Russians, good news.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020


While at York I had a quick chat with Michael Curtis at 1st Corps and he mentioned he was playing a lot of I Ain't Been Shot Mum (IABSM) by Too Fat Lardies, I thought it had disappeared due to the concentration on Chain of Command but seemingly not, it can still be found. I mentioned the rules while in conversation with club member Dan and he said he had played at one time and had 15mm forces and he would like to try it again, so we set a date.

Dan decided to umpire a game between Simon and myself, I was the British with two platoons and a couple of Shermans while Simon had one German platoon with two HMG's in support with the tempting promise of more to come. Simon defended while I attacked, IABSM uses blinds, which may or may not be an actual unit as they cross the battlefield, once spotted troops turn up or the blind is a dud and gets taken away. I sent one platoon and one tank out on my right while the other attacked from my left flank, the defenders were strung out quite thin. My left hand tank took some non penetrating hits from a couple of panzerfausts but they did leave the crew shaken and pinned and pretty useless for most of the turns. First platoon just tried to shoot the outnumbered enemy to their front but it was taking quite a long time, too long. On the right I made some aggressive moves against a small nearby house but again never seemed to have enough orders to get a good head of steam up and close with the again outnumbered enemy.

Simon played quite aggressively but began losing men and at one point a whole section went, although I did not lose any complete sections several were hurting quite badly. As the clock ticked down a Panzer IV turned up and loosed a shot at the Sherman on the right flank, some paint flecks spun into the air. at this late stage I don't think I got a shot back, I may be mistaken. Overall the game was decided as a draw.

There were several mechanisms which were almost identical to CoC while others were simply puzzling, we didn't spend as much time as we would in the rule book as many moons ago Dan had drawn up several yes/no flowcharts which helped. One game is not enough for me to really give an opinion, I also think quite a bit of work and knowledge is required to get the best out of it, I think Battlegroup would give it a run for its money at this level.

What else in this mad world, well I have painted up my Volksgrenadier fire team and shall base them tonight and tomorrow, really taken with these figures, so much so that I ordered up a couple of Panzerschrecks for them, it is the early version I am told which was not popular, but they look cool. I also added a few more men with rifles, who, added to the odd figures left should give me an extra support squad if needed. I am also finishing a Soviet medium mortar team which may or may not be used with Bolt Action.

Also in the post today was a box of linings for my WWII stuff to fit my Really Useful 11ltr boxes cut by mate Colin at Charlie Foxtrot. I have spent some time this afternoon sorting the boxes out and am very pleased. I had to take a knife to make them fit as the internal dimensions of the boxes seem to narrow near the base and the corners are not square but round, a few dodgy cuts with my trusty Stanley knife ....7, 8, 9 10, yep all there, and hey ho.

Some of the lads are putting on a large Waterloo game on Sunday, so that is the weekend sorted.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Onwards, ever onwards

The IS-2 is one big tank and very modern looking for WWII, the kit was Italeri from Warlord. Now this time the tracks went on no bother despite being in four pieces, why, but the rest not so good. I think one side of my tank was a bit off as the back plate did not fit well on the left, I tried gently pulling and pushing but it made no difference, thankfully I can put this down to rubbish Soviet engineering. I thought the tracks were a stupid idea but the five piece turret was even worse, this is not my best modelling work, again you can see the joins and again I shall put it down to a haste to get the tank to the front. I am also not a fan of how they do the road wheels, instead of individual wheels you get a kind of barrel, which, if you paint rubber on it just looks wrong, so I am going to go for some heavy mud and dirt on these instead. On the plus side it looks good and up until the turret was a surprisingly easy and uncomplicated build, I suspect from a wargamers view point it will be more than adequate on the table. Paintwise it was primed with grey, then sprayed with Army Painter Army Green, washed with AP Military Shader, then a very light drybrush with another green and a spot of white. Weathered with rust and black chipping.

My old mud supply had dried up some time ago but I fancied putting some on my Russian tanks so I picked up AK Fresh Mud at Vapnartak. I found out through an online video that you had to have a degree in chemistry to use it, a slight exaggeration, but you need plaster powder, the mud, a drying retardant, an eye dropper or similar and at this point I turned it off and ordered up the stuff you shove on an old brush and apply, job done.

Before I built the tank I had painted the excellent Urban Construction shell holes, I am not keen on the plastic ones you cut out but these in resin I couldn't resist. Base of Flat Earth, is that a joke, drybrushed with Dark Sand with the bricks, tyre and oil drums picked out and voila. That only leaves me some lengths of barbed wire to do on the new bases Charlie Foxtrot cut for me. Talking of Colin I have asked him to cut me some frames to put in my Really Useful Boxes so that my increasing collection of WWII figures will have some kind of order, hope to show these off in the near future, I also ordered extra, you never know.

My terrain plans for 2020 are probably going to take a back seat, my final Kickstarter the terrain book, is now behind and looking like getting further behind as the year progresses. The graphic novel Kickstarter has ignored all my attempts at getting it cancelled and my money back, I do hope I run into Lindybiege at some point as he farts about the country doing his rambling videos instead of completing the damn book.

I really want to get back to some WWII gaming, this week at the club I am trying out I Ain't Been Shot Mum, it was used in a nice demo game at Vapnartak and club member Dan has them and has organised a game for Tuesday. On the 16th I am taking part in a large Napoleonic game in Grange-over-Sands and on the 1st March doing some War and Conquest, well that's the plan.

After my last disaster with Chain of Command I decided that starting a game with a morale of 8 and then being on the receiving end of some bad luck being able to stop you in your tracks with a swift fall to 1 or 2 was just daft and very unhelpful, so I have made some sheets which allow up to 15 for games here at home where, hopefully, we have a lot more time to enjoy a game, I look forward to giving it a try.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

And the Prize goes to .....

Black Seas last night, as it transpired only Rob and I were playing, the club had a full house, some kind of Lord of the Rings tourney, Battlemech and Age of Sigmar, one small table with an historical connection but a room full of satisfied gamers.

Back in the Caribbean near the Sugar Islands Fort George was under threat from a French fleet, just in time from over the horizon a small British squadron under the command of the Honorable Viscount Anderson "The Sea Wolf" hove in to view. Commodore Robere Martineux had three frigates and three brigs loaded with soldiers to take Fort George, I had two frigates (Achilles (flag), Ajax) and two brigs (Tartar and Nubian) with which to destroy the French navy and hopefully save the fort.

The Sea Wolf arrives.
Make all speed boys, England expects.......
 As the enemy made for the fort two of the frigates and a brig turned to confront my force while the rest made for the island, a shadow of doubt flashed across my brain and I wondered what kind of state would my little fleet be in after confronting the blocking force. I decided therefore to gang up on this force and then make for the fort. As it turned out my brigs were left to their own devices and made a mess of their manoeuvres as did one of the French frigates so Ajax and Achilles took on the nearest frigate and the brig. This turned into a dogs dinner the upshot of which was no one really took a lot of hits and the fight broke up as both sides sailed to avoid some rocks around a lighthouse and moved closer to the action around the fort.

Ajax puts herself in harms way.
 Near the fort Rob had anchored one frigate and got his brigs into good positions to drop their longboats and head for the shore, a steady bombardment slowly reduced the defences, one longboat was lost but the others arrived safely and stormed the walls, the brave but futile defence was soon holed up in the main barracks.

Meanwhile at sea things began to turn in the Sea Wolf's favour, the captain of Ajax was very aggressive and his action saw the first French frigate strike her colours, this was followed shortly after by Achilles also getting a prize, the combination of Royal Navy seamanship and gunnery (good dice) was more than a match for the invaders. The third enemy frigate now arrived to bolster her companions but it was too late, Achilles and Ajax pounded her and Tartar moved in for a stern rake to finish her off, she too struck. Tartar however was only just afloat and her crew were given over to repairs for the rest of the action.

A perfect rake for both ships.
Achilles puts paid to another Frenchie.

The fort had now fallen and the Tricolour flew from the bastion, however the remaining French vessels were now in trouble as the larger British ships closed in, one brig was sent to the bottom while another was boarded as she lay stuck on a sandbank, a second prize for Ajax. The remaining Frenchman, actually a Spanish mercenary, took to the open seas and limped off. The victorious troops in the Fort now sent a deputation to the Sea Wolf to open negotiations for a surrender having no means of holding off the Royal Navy. or the Royal Marines landing from Tartar.

Mayhem around Fort George
The End.
The lone Spaniard slips away.

Once again a great game and narrative, I was actually quite lucky not to lose Ajax and Tartar as both had received a lot of damage, especially the latter, I was also able to benefit from taking the enemy frigates on one at a time while Rob was focusing on taking the fort. With four prizes in the net the Sea Wolf and his men can look forward to a rewarding bounty, perhaps I should sell that tavern in Portsmouth and get an estate in Kent?

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Vapnartak 2020

As sun sinks in the West I have arrived home safe from Vapnartak in York, a show I thought I would be giving a miss this year, but then I also said I would stop eating sweeties, neither prediction has come to fruition.

I had a list for the show with several question marks against some things which I did not need but would like, I had also decided if I did not go I would be sitting in the house with nothing to do and either her indoors would soon find something or I would get on with maps which I really do not like to do at the weekend if I can help it.

It was a miserable drive across in almost constant drizzle but it was not as cold as it has been in the past, we got in about 1020, I expected free entry being of a mature age but I now pay £3, which is more than reasonable to be honest, perhaps it is a sign of an aging hobby and a loss of revenue?

Armed with my list I headed up to The Last Valley to find several of his shelves empty already, especially of the medium sized trees I wanted, I was further frustrated by a guy in front of me pulling most of the remaining trees into a sales bundle, I was also miffed when he picked up an already waiting box of trees, how many trees does one wargamer need, especially when I am in the queue behind him. I had to content myself with three medium trees and four or five small ones, I noticed one lonely pine all on its own and thought I would come back for it but I never did. I then zoomed over to Empress Miniatures and admired their whole range which was on display, lovely stuff, it was make your mind up time, to Volksgrenadier or not to Volksgrenadier, yes, within minutes I was swiping the plastic and tucking away a full platoon for the fall of the Reich. What about Fallschirmjager flashed across my brain, you need Fallschirmjager, and don't forget Paras, NO!

Dark Age raid.


Impressove French battleship.

Modern raid on airport, very nice.

Eastern Front, German retreat, the cinema in the middle right actually showing a movie!

Rules of Engagement, Eastern Front again, very nice pieces on this table, sadly guy forgot where he got them.

Infamy, Infamy, TFL, not tempted but very nice table.

One more big buy with a question mark at the end, up to Warlord Games, yes they had an IS-2, and yes I got one, also a medium mortar, not required for Chain of Command but it is for Bolt Action. Imagine my surprise on getting home to find the IS-2 box also contained eight plastic figures for Tank Riders, I am not keen on plastic but I consider these to be freebies and will most likely keep them.

What about the show, well you know I look at Vapnartak as a trade show rather than a wargame show and you cannot complain about the traders present, if you live above the Watford Gap this is the show to get your goodies post free. There were several very large games displayed on the lower floor and all had had time spent on them and looked impressive, I will admit to only giving these a cursory glance as I sped about looking to throw money at people. There was the usual line of smaller games, mostly participation games in the higher level and most of these were of very high quality and unlike last year I spent quite some time talking to the demonstrators who were more than willing to talk figures and rules.

With only a handful of shekels left I settled down at the Black Seas table run by club mates Rob and Julian which was doing brisk business and surrounded by eager players, I think the guys fired up quite a bit of interest in the game. It was at this point that one of the onlookers asked us about the club, he was moving to Carlisle and wondered about the wargaming scene in the Northwest, we talked for some time about wargaming in general and I really enjoyed the chat and wished him well in the border city.

What did I get, well almost everything on my list, Volksgrenadiers, IS-2, mortar team, tufts, barbed wire and some beautiful shell holes from Urban Construct at incredibly low prices, paints, brush a bottle of 'mud' and of course trees. I am a happy, who does Fallschirmjager.....

Need to draw more maps....