Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Iron Cross Ideas

I had the chance to see Iron Cross in action at the club last night and to have a chat with the chaps who've been playing it of late to see what they thought about it. The overall impression seems to be that it is a very neat and enjoyable system, with lots of decision making and tactical play enhanced by the use of the counters which determine who does what. This was a simple but really effective way to add an element of uncertainty and randomness to the game.

This was seen as a really positive aspect of the rules system and certainly seemed to result in a cut and thrust style game, with lots of choices and plenty of game play. I was duly impressed and thought it looked like a lot of fun, so I've dug out my copy of the rules for a proper read through. I bought these when they first came out but didn't get round to doing anything with them, despite being frustrated by Bolt Action, the rules of choice at the club.

One thing that does really appeal to me about Iron Cross in particular is the use of four or five man fire teams as the building blocks of a force, which means that I will have more than enough figures, heavy weapons and vehicles to put together a late war US unit using my existing collection, so no need to add loads more figures as with Chain of Command. I'll see if I can wangle a game at the club sometime soon....?? 

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Bolshevik Victory!

I had an enjoyable game of Contemptible Little Armies in the Back of Beyond this evening, which was designed as a test bed for the third edition of the rules but which swiftly reverted to the tried and tested second edition. The third edition just didn't make much sense and threw up too many inconsistences, so we kept things straightforward by using the older version. I think we'll now stick with this established edition for the Back of Beyond campaign.

An initial artillery bombardment by the Reds did no damage but then one of the White Officer units decided to launch a frontal assault on the Bolshevik positions, leading to the entire unit being wiped out by concentrated Lewis gun and rifle fire. This swung the game in the Bolsheviks favour although the White cavalry were still a potential threat at the end of the evening. I had, however, inflicted far more casualties on the enemy so was able to claim a Red Victory!

If the White cavalry had managed to charge down and outflank my infantry then it could well have ended in at least a draw. It was interesting to use the Bolsheviks for a change and to get my head around the rules again, as I haven't played a game for ages. The White commander was also very sporting opponent, putting up with my constant flicking through the rules and with having his infantry shot to bits! I hope it didn't put him off?

(P.S. Apologies for the murky photos...wrong setting on the camera!)

Saturday, 24 September 2016


This is the latest addition to the library, this time from a different second hand book source at the local cathedral, which I hadn't visited for a long time but will return to soon as it has an excellent history section. This almost perfect condition hardback only cost me three quid but just a quick flick through convinced me that it would be worth it's not inconsiderable weight in gold as a source of fascinating information and insight. 

Here's the blurb from an online review:

Submarine is almost certainly the first book to bring together eye-witness accounts from almost every navy that deployed submarines in WW2, and it is far more than an account of WW2 missions. With self-deprecating modesty, humour, pride, sadness and sometimes bitterness, submariners from Britain, Germany, the USA, Italy, France, the former USSR and Yugoslavia, Norway, Greece, Poland, the Netherlands and Japan describe every facet of operational submarine life, from firing torpedoes, the illicit distillation of alcohol, going to the toilet in heavy weather, rescuing a cat and how to treat appendicitis, to the terrifying experiences of being depth-charged, disposing of a bomb, escaping a doomed boat and planting charges beneath an enemy warship.

Rufty Tufty Red Refurbishment

I painted my Bolshevik Army for the Back of Beyond way back in 2006, well before the arrival of grass tufts or other decorative basing materials, so they've been in dire need of some refurbishment for quite a while. This morning I used an entire pack of Gamers Grass Light Green tufts to tart up the bases on the infantry, vehicles and heavy weapons, leaving some of the figures as they were for contrast. The end result is much better than the original appearance I think, especially as it only took half an hour or so to complete the job.

I've also worked out my army composition for the game on Tuesday at the club. The opposition has declared a total of 881 points, so I was a bit worried that I might have to throw everything on the table to match this, but in the end it was quite straightforward to adapt one of my existing orbats to fit. I have actually managed to field exactly 881 points thanks to a bit of creative accounting and some upgrades, whilst still sticking to the restrictions in the army lists. I don't fancy my chances against the massed ranks of White cavalry but I think the Reds will still put up a good fight!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Back of Beyond Bolsheviks

I have a long awaited and very overdue game of Contemptible Little Armies in the Back of Beyond at the club after the weekend, so I thought I'd dig out the old Bolshevik army, dust it off and take it along. I haven't used this army, the Third Workers and Peasants Shock Brigade under Military Specialist, Comrade Commander Igor Tubugerov, for ages so it will good fun to get it out of the box once again. The figures may need a bit of a brush up and I may even add some grass tufts to tart up their rather basic bases, if I get the time.

They will be up against Colin's new White Army, with 850 points a side, so it should be a fairly big game. We're also using the Third Edition of Contemptible Little Armies which I haven't played before, although the only significant difference is in the procedure for shooting, which makes use of the Tactical Factor of the target unit. Anyway, I now have to work out the composition of the Shock Brigade, in an attempt to counter the ominous White cavalry threat. Now, where did I put those heavy machine guns...?

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Armed Forces of Iskanderan

A brief overview of my plans for the ToE of the Iskanderanian Army and Air Force, both supplied and equipped by the United States under the Military Aid Program (MAP), over on the 3mm imagi-nations Turkmenistania campaign blog:

(and yes, that is actually Lee Van Cleef with a 3.5'' rocket launcher!)

Wednesday, 21 September 2016 3mm!

The other day, I asked fellow gamer and all round nice chap Colin if I could join an imaginations project that he announced over on his excellent Down Amongst the Lead Men blog. This was inspired by the equally excellent Hakuna Matata Wars blog by Just Jack, which we had both been following over the summer. This involves two fictitious African nations, Hakuna and Matata, in an on-going conflict on land and in the air.

Colin's idea was to follow Jack's example but to set his imaginary Cold War era conflict in the Middle East, somewhere in the general direction of what is now Turkmenistan. The three nations involved in this campaign, which is set around 1960, are aligned with the UK, USSR and USA. Colin has created a separate blog to chart the progress of the conflict and to develop the background to Pumbaaskaya, Timonistan and my own nation state, Iskanderan.

It's all very early days at the moment and we're both in the stages of assembling our respective 3mm armies and 1/600th scale air forces, but I'm sure there will be regular updates on the blog to explain more about what we're up to. I'm waiting for my 3mm early 50's US equipment to arrive in the post and, in the meantime have been devising the key elements of Iskanderan's government, economy, society and military capabilities using the very handy Fivecore nation generator tool Not Just a Brush War.

I'll keep you posted or you can check out Colin's imaginations campaign blog here:

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Beyond the Limits

I was lucky enough to get hold of a free ticket to a talk by Sir Ranulph Fiennes this evening, thanks to the lady wife who thought I'd be interested. This was a really fascinating presentation based on the content of his latest book, Beyond the Limits, of which I now have a signed copy. I've read most of his other autobiographical and historical titles, so this is a welcome addition to the bookshelves. He spoke at some length about his time in Oman, which was very interesting and full of the sort of details that would add a lot to a skirmish scenario or two. In fact, it got me thinking again about post-colonial skirmishes in 15mm, using Fivecore No End in Sight or Company Command but I will resist as it is well beyond the limits of my current wargaming plans!

Monday, 19 September 2016

Congo Cannibals and Characters

I finished basing and spearing the last of the figures for my Congo forest tribe this evening, apart from the basketwork shields which I will add after I've painted them separately. In a change of plan, I decided to add two units of cannibals using figures with some really cool plumed headgear and body scarring, rather than the single unit of five mask wearing figures that I originally planned to include. To compensate for the extra unit I also scaled back my archers to a single unit of six instead of two.

To complete the tribal line up I also have the chieftain, a witchdoctor, a healer, a talking drummer and two 'sacred warriors', the latter using two of the mask equipped figures left over from the abandoned cannibal plan. These are really nice figures and I'm looking forward to painting them up in suitably funky mystical colours. The whole forest tribe now stands at a not unmanageable forty five figures, which I'm hoping to tackle one or two units at a time, once I've decided how to go about it.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Tank on Tank

I've been playing a lot of this simple WW2 board wargame over the summer and think its really good fun. In fact, it would make a very sound basis for a miniatures game, which I've seen done by another enthusiast for the Tank on Tank series using multiple based 6mm figures and vehicles. I reckon it would work very well with Hexon modular terrain and 10mm or 15mm miniatures, making the most of all those plastic tanks, guns and infantry that are now available from the Plastic Soldier Company, Flames of War and so on. Anyway, you can take a look at my latest game over on the other blog if you are interested: