Thursday, 26 May 2022

Somewhere in NW Europe

 Having recovered from my visit the Partizan next up was a Bolt Action game at the club, Jimi has built up a British force and was eager to get it on the table. We picked a scenario at random and it was Double Envelopment which meant we both had to get troops into the others deployment zone and if possible exit troops off the table. 

I decided to play dangerously and looked at a Luftwaffe field force, they can have the French Char B as a flamethrower tank and as I have one why not, they get a couple of decent squads but the rest are Ostruppen  who are just rubbish, even I am not that desperate. Instead I went for a recce force (yes, that is me laughing) from the 10th SS Panzer Division, so I had two small squads, two bigger squads, an armoured car, a truck and a PzIII N. Jimi had three large squads, one small one in a carrier, an MMG and his bloody big tank, the AVRE with the spigot mortar. 

We set up with half our forces in our deployment areas and then reserves could turn up from turn two, I brought on all my reserves except the tank, which decided not to bother, Jimi also failed with some units and his HQ. The AVRE was heading for my left flank as was the carrier and its veteran kill team. I pushed one of my small recce squads into a house in the center only to find the Churchill had a clear shot and unlike the last time it appeared it was on target, the house and my team were blown to bits, I should have known better.

Safe as houses Hans.

Killer tank.


 A squad down but determined to put up a fight my armoured car started hitting the British in the center while hiding from the AVRE, Jimi, now desperate to push his advantage charged with his carrier, the little machine with a new paint job was hit by a panzerfaust and the passengers jumped from there into the teeth of a full squad of SS troops with two LMG's, it took a couple of turns but they were cut down to the last man. Soon after I also took out the MMG as it laboured forward on my right, the pendulum had swung. My tank now turned up after missing several turns, Jimi's HQ was still nowhere to be seen, the panzer got off one good shot and seemed to think it had done its bit.

Some of Jimi's nicely painted British.

The carrier before it charged.

The lucky shot.

 As the fight in the centre and right drew my attention I grasped the first dice out of the bag in order to kill off another British unit, I had forgotten about the AVRE, it slowly ground its way forward and took out another squad which I should have moved first. The clock was ticking down and Jimi managed to get his tank and an infantry squad into my deployment area, I only had the armoured car inside his but I got enough points from wipe outs to get a draw. 

Always nice to have an auto-cannon around.

Recce squad.

 A good game and Jimi must be close to a win now as his dice luck had vastly improved, well, improved, his HQ turned up just in time for the last turn. I can play Bolt Action but there are times when it just grates, the Spigot mortar on the AVRE has a range at best with the wind behind it of 100 yards, to load it the turret has to turn a certain way, the loader opens his hatch and cracks open the barrel like a large shotgun, his head and hands outside the tank, the charge is then loaded and the barrel slammed back into position, I doubt this was quicker than ramming a round into a normal gun. However in Bolt Action it is not a mortar but a heavy howitzer with the range to match, go figure.

I have been trying to rest my arm this week and so it has taken a bit longer than normal to finish the first ranks of my new French pike block. I have the next 24 ready to go once I decide whether to do the rear or middle ranks, probably the rear ranks as I still have some research to do on flags for these guys.

 I have finished several map projects over the last week or so which again did not help the strain in my arm but these are more important than painting sojers, in order to help I have taken to wearing a wrist support which I should have done long before now. Just as I was getting a hold on everything I received more projects, some examples below.

Shogun's Soldiers

Seven Years War

Belgian Congo


Sunday, 22 May 2022

Partizan 2022

 Well I have arrived safely back at Casa Anderson after an entertaining day out. I marched at 0815 and arrived at 1030 so not a bad drive and pretty free from road rage. As planned I missed the rush and marched straight in, again slightly miffed that my 'Concession' passed without a comment considering how good I look.

Lunch and spending money.

 I had a plan and scoured the side of the large hall looking for products to fill my list, ABC Brushes were first, I got a mega bundle of 24 brushes for £15, a price which would get me 0neWinsor and Newton, then a bag of Empress Volksgrenadier LMG's, I found I was one short for my last game, and that just cannot be allowed to continue. Next it was grass tufts from Great Escape Games, I am not scrimping with these and the way the Italian Wars figures are based I have a lot more room for decoration. My next call was Wargames Foundry for a pack I forgot to order the last time, but having all this stuff in front of me I jumped for another six Gendarmes and a beautiful Demi Cannon, I will fit these in around the French pike just to give me a change from the infantry. There were no purveyors of GW paints so I settled on two matt sprays from a new outfit called ColourForge, new to me at least, they had samples of all their base sprays and I liked the look of the white and black so took a chance, they are also larger than most primer suppliers 500 ml rather than 400 ml and are cheaper. I circled around at the end to pick up a Helion book about the Battle of Aughrim, I drew the maps for this book and was intrigued by it, so spoiled myself. That concluded my purchases. Oh, I did pop along to Warlord to try and pick up a British Sniper Team for mate Jimi, unless everything went in the first half hour there was a very poor selection of figures and they seem to have concentrated on boxed sets of all sorts of stuff.


Once I had had my lunch in the car in the sunshine I headed back to look at the actual games. I go to York and see it as mainly a traders show with a few wargames. Partizan is a wargamers show with some traders, there was a participation zone which was mainly small games but some were exceptionally well done and looked very good. The rest of the games were in the demonstration zone and these were usually quite big and some were spectacular, the kind of tables which make you want to go home and start again.

A WWIII game 1985 or so.

A Bolt Action Indiana Jones type scenario.

English and French medieval fleets, these were very nice.

An awesome 6mm WWII table.

American Civil War

Hougemont I suspect.

TFL Arnhem.

TFL Arnhem.

French in Russia, again very nice.

Wargame Slebs were out in force, I almost bumped into Michael Perry with his burger and chips, I am sure I saw Warlord Supremo John Stannard glowering at one point, TFL bosses Nick and Rich were in attendance around Nick's Arnhem scenario, Harry Sidebottom the author was signing books. I bumped into a few of my own favourites Phil Robinson (News from the Front) and pal David Bickley (Tales from GHQ), the crowd at Helion & Co. along with boss Duncan Rogers, there was interesting chatter about future projects. I also take the opportunity at these meetings to look at all the finished publications which contain my maps and I believe my head swells ever so slightly. I also ran into, for the second time ever, gentleman Ray Rousell (Don't  Throw a 1) and we had a lovely chat for a time, I even got an invite if I am ever in his neck of the woods.

Culloden, my favourite of them all.

A beautiful game

Somewhere in the Empire.

Battle of Freeman's Farm.

Battle of Degastan 603 AD.

Perry;s game, Napoleonics.

A huge amount of effort into this game.

So there we have it, a grand day out, meeting interesting people and being inspired. A great hobby.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Oh woe is me

I have a self inflicted wound at the moment, I have been mapping and painting like crazy over the past few weeks and now have a strained right arm and shoulder, I was painting three times a day for no more reason than I had the time to spare and was enjoying it, the maps were different as most editors of course wanted their stuff done yesterday. I have now caught up with the maps and have decided to cut the painting down to once a day if that, I need to learn patience with the new project, it's not as if I have nothing to play with.

I have just finished the first of many cavalry units, John Stewart, Duke of Albany who was in French service like many Scots and ended up a marshal of France. I have one more to add to the army, another Stewart who was the captain of the King's guard. The Foundry cavalry were nice to paint although the armoured horse seems only come in one stance with the head down. I now have all the figures to build a second large pike block, French troops this time, I also go some foot knights from Steel Fist for command figures and was very impressed by the quality. As these troops are French I went for crossbowmen instead of arqubusiers to front the pikes, not that they didn't use handgunners, I just wanted a change, I sent an order to The Assault Group but have not yet received them.

Steel Fist foot knights


 I heard the growl of aircraft engines outside the window last week and was surprised to see a CV-22 Osprey flying past, we used to get all sorts flying here, usually the RAF doing low level stuff with the three fighters they have and the odd Hercules. I notice the low level flying has resumed of sorts, although still at a level to stop eco-zealots complaining. So that is a new one to add to the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster I have spotted.

 I turned my artistic talents such as they are to a family portrait a wee while back, I saw just such a picture advertised on my Facebook page and felt no compunction therefore as I didn't ask for them to advertise in turning it to my own advantage.

I should have been playing Chain of Command last night at the club, but I have been hit with an infection and it floored me yesterday, I am now on antibiotics and am hoping these will kick in before Sunday as my trip to Partizan might be in danger.

Monday, 9 May 2022

Gin Pit II

 Off to Grange again yesterday for another large Napoleonic bash in the Gin Pit, although I have since learned it is actually the Gin Pig but the Pit fits better as it is in the basement and quite dark until your eyes become accustomed to the gloom.

The French this time were defending trying to hold off the Allied pursuit after Waterloo, we, as the Allies were to burst through and complete the rout. There was a British presence this time as several of the lads had been painting furiously since the last game to get some redcoats on the table. I was in charge of two Dutch/Belgian brigades and was in the centre of the line, we had a small O Group meeting and I volunteered that we hit the defended village hard and fast before French reinforcements turned up while Rob over on our right with most of our cavalry and some infantry simply put pressure on the enemy to stop them helping with the main fight.

 So much for the plan, James, in command of the Allied far left manged to move his cavalry but his infantry doggedly refused to move, and when having moved, blundered and returned to their start point, this effectively meant the French right was in no danger while the main action played out. Stuart on my left did manage to get his men up but took such fearful punishment he had to fall back and simply stay put for the rest of the time, thankfully he had damaged the enemy to his front enough that they could not follow up their success.


The village.

My  brigades wait as the tension mounts

The Allied right.

Rob on our right was doing his job if overly keen, I couldn't be sure as I had my hands full, I did send him my Scot's Greys to help. Now, what was I doing, well basically throwing away what chance we had of taking the village, As my first brigade set off at a pace, the second decided not to bother and then decided simply to move to the right rather than advance, ensuring I hit the French piecemeal. It was now I forgot all tenets of warfare and simply threw my brave boys at Ed's waiting legions without any preparation at all, I was blinkered and even more so as I threw an assault into some skirmishers ensconced in a nearby barn hoping to take it over and enfilade Ed's line, nope, my wave broke on the walls. The French fire now caused serious disruption to my attackers and forced them back, my second brigade had now managed to force themselves to the front but were not serious about attacking and again I found I could not urge anyone to keep attacking. 

The French Guard had now turned up and was advancing on Rob who put up a very spirited defence against them. Andy had turned up late but had brought some British, playing commander again I told him where to go as I could see my command folding and the Guard or even Ed's troops falling into a large gap which had opened. Sadly for Andy his newly painted boys did not want to get dirty and he spent most of the game trying to get them to move forward (once failing three command rolls in a row!) A smashing opportunity opened up for him eventually which could have driven a wedge into the French line but his men were three quarters of an inch too short, I pleaded for the French to let him have some fun but the hard nosed Froggies were having none of it.

My boys advance.

The first are in action while the rest wait.

Julian famous Guard turn up.

 I then had a brigade break and leave the building while the second was teetering on the brink, and what did I do, march them back into jaws of hell, only surviving by the skin of my teeth before darkness fell. I cannot blame the dice, they were fine although Ed's were finer in the end, he also handled his defence with skill while I trusted in brute force, big mistake. At the end James had at last manged to get his infantry up into the village but it was too little too late, Stuart languished at his high water mark while I looked over a debacle, Andy decided to change his dice and Rob put up a superhuman effort against the French Guard. My only bright spot was the Scots Greys, but only one squadron, the other was a disappointment and such lovely figures.

Rob and Andy put the pressure on.

My attack breaks down.

Stuart is replused.

One of Robs incessant charges.

 So there you have it, another great day in good company. At one point while I was commiserating with Andy on his die rolls I head a shout of "Georgy Boy!" Ed was obviously desperate to continue my humiliation, "Georgy Boy" do you know I am old enough to be your grandfather, an ex member of Her Majesty's forces, stood eye to eye with the Red Menace and the Yellow Peril, sailed against the IRA and here I am reduced to "Georgy Boy" indeed, Leading Radio Operator Georgy Boy to you my lad.

Black Powder rules deals well with a game this size, however two things which I am not keen on had a large affect on the Allied plan, failing command rolls again and again, James and Andy particularly suffered from this. The other is the automatic disorder from being hit by a six, I know the ACW and SYW players at the club have a house rule to mitigate this, but on Sunday it played havoc with my attack.

Not much on the Italian Wars front since the completion of the Swiss pike, I am 95% done with their accompanying handgunners and have a unit of Gendarmes ready to go next. I also took the opportunity this morning to order up the next pike block, French this time so no stopping for a break this summer.

I had a customer come to the counter and ask "you are in to military stuff aren't you" to which of course I tentatively said yes, he unwrapped his parcel and showed me a small rusted wheel between  two bits of aluminum. This is from a Whitley Bomber he said and he was sending it to some people who were trying to restore one although I got the impression they might never manage it.

Whitley bomber.