Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Law of the Gun

There's a summer sale on at Northstar with some interesting things reduced down to a fiver. I wanted another artillery set for my WSS imaginations project, so for a fiver I now have a battery of four cannon and some more mounted command figures for a nice vignette. I might even be able to use some of the gun crew as sappers too. 

I was also tempted by the Chris Peers western gunfight rules The Law of the Gun, which looked interesting and might be ideal as an game to play with my boys. I've played a lot of Legends of the Old West and some Dead Man's Hand games as well but neither are quite simple enough for a nine year old to pick up without quite a bit of stopping and starting.. 

The rules are designed for one to one shootouts between small gangs of no more than four figures, so at a slightly lower level than other rules that I'm familiar with. This should make them just right for a bit of roleplay style action. I like the way Chris Peers writes his rules and the no nonsense mechanisms he uses, so I like the sound of these rules too.

I have two posses painted up and always planned to do a third one but didn't get round to it. This would be a cowboy outfit to use alongside my lawman and banditos. I also really should invest in some decent terrain now that all those nice mdf buildings are available, assuming you have deep enough pockets!

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Commando Tactics

A bit of reading around the subject while I base up the commando force for Bolt Action and Chain of Command. The various commando units were incredibly diverse and had a wide range of composition, so it's very much a case of anything goes within the bounds of reason. It looks like my unit is a fairly typical commando section, which consisted of an HQ and two sub-sections, so not too off the mark.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Achtung Commando [4]

I set about organising my Foundry and Westwind commandos for Bolt Action and Chain of Command today, having forgotten to pack any superglue so being unable to start basing them up. I'll get some tomorrow but, in the meantime, I have sorted out a flexible orbat to cover both of the rules.

The Bolt Action 'platoon' consists of an HQ of an officer and NCO, together with an attached naval forward observer team. The two commando sub-sections consist of an NCO with SMG, seven riflemen and a bren team. The support elements include a 2" mortar and a sniper team, so a bit limited but better than nothing. In cost terms the total force adds up to 563 points or 623 if you include an LCA landing craft.

The Chain of Command 'platoon' is slightly different and a bit more interesting, with some additional support elements to jazz things up a bit. The HQ section consists of a senior leader, an NCO senior leader, the 2" mortar and an extra bren team instead of a PIAT team. This isn't really historically accurate but neither is Bolt Action, so there you go! I'd like to have a Boyes AT rifle but I haven't got one and I doubt they'd have one either.

The two commando sub-sections are the same but the support elements now feature as options in the support lists rather than as pre-determined add-ons. These consist of the sniper team, the naval forward observer and a three man demolition engineer team. There will also be off table naval fire support, equivalent to a 3" mortar battery, and the on-table LCA which can act as direct fire support.

In real terms both of these commando forces represent small 'hit and run' raiding parties rather than full blown assault units. They definitely wouldn't last very long without the benefit of stealth and the use of darkness to sneak up on the enemy, so that's exactly what I have in mind. I plan to use them for skirmish level scenario based games, so more Heroes of Telemark than Raids on St Nazaire!

That's enough waffle for now...onto the project!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Summer Holiday Projects

The holidays have finally arrived and I've packed a box of projects to tackle over the summer. I probably won't get round to all of them but at least one painting and one basing project will get finished. The four projects are all things I've planned to do and have made a start on already, so they have been on the 'to do' list for a while:

1. Painting a 28mm Japanese platoon for Chain of Command.
2. Basing and Painting a 28mm commando raiding force for Bolt Action.
3. Basing up a 28mm Turkish army for the Back of Beyond.
4. Painting a fleet of 1/450 pirate ships for Galleys and Galleons.

I'll get started in a couple of days....bad weather permitting!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Dinosaur Hunter

I set up and moderated a now defunct Yahoo group called Lost World Safari once upon a time, dedicated to Saurian Safari in particular and dinosaur hunting games in general, so I was interested to learn that Osprey will be publishing a guidebook to prehistoric big game bagging in October. It would be great if they tied this in with a new set of Mesozoic hunting rules perhaps based on Saurian Safari but this isn't very likely, which is a shame as it's a great set of rules and good excuse to play around with plastic toy dinosaurs.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Back of Beyond Expedition Extras [7]


After the game the other day I was pondering the lack of anti-armour capability in the 'Dinosaur Hunter' expedition army list. The answer to this tactical shortfall would be to allow the force to have some limited anti-tank weaponry of some sort, without going too far over the top. I decided to have a go at an anti-tank rifle conversion of a Copplestone big game hunter, to see if I could fill this gap.
This involved a simple headswap and the addition of a bipod from a Lewis gunner figure, so fairly straightforward. The anti-tank rifle is supposed to look a bit like a Mauser T-Gewehr although it's a bit on the short side. In the club house rules this figure will take the place of one of the snipers and will cost exactly the same in points terms.
The other thing I thought of was to up-gun one of my unarmoured machine gun carriers with a 'drop-in' 37mm anti-tank gun, although this is a bit on the heavy side compared to the AT rifle. I'll have a go at persuading my opponents that this is a reasonable addition to the expedition's firepower, on the basis that a friendly Chinese warlord passed it on as army surplus for an exorbitant price tag!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Back of Beyond Battle Report


I had a  very enjoyable game at the club last night but, unfortunately, had to concede a narrow victory to the British Museum, although the outcome did hinge on the last turn. I had some initial success with my DH2 aircraft which wiped out Andy's irregular cavalry and then pinned down his Chinese infantry unit in the railway station. However, the rest of my army spent most of the game cowering behind sand dunes, trading long range shots with his assorted armoured cars and heavy machine gun.
In the end both sides decided to end the stalemate with a cautious advance. On the right flank the Garford Putilov armoured cars traded shots until they both blew up in a close range, point blank death or glory clash. In the middle, the White Russian mercenaries and Chinese labourers were outflanked by Andy's armoured cars but held off to the end, despite having no effective anti-armour weapons and being outranged by the vehicle mounted machine guns.
The key turn of events was on the left, however, where my unarmoured and improvised machine gun carriers were comprehensively dispatched by Andy's concentrated firepower. This was despite using the aptly titled 'Ping' rule, by which the chocolate teapot vehicles gained a saving throw of 1-3 when hit. This saved them once or twice but worked both ways, leaving my repeated attempts to knock out the British Museum vehicles pretty futile.
In the end, my Texan oil prospector unit was virtually wiped out as it tried to outflank Andy's armoured spearhead over on the extreme left hand side of the battelfield, using one of the trucks as a moving shield to soak up his machine gun fire. I lost four units in total, three of which were vehicles, whilst Andy lost a heavy machine gun, his mongol cavalry and an un-armoured car, so scraped a win over the hard-pressed Texans.

The house rules that we have used help to make the game mechanics less clunky, with the 'Ping' rule being a good example. We both agreed that some sort of anti-armour capability, however small or limited in strength, would make a big difference to the survivability of the Dinosaur Hunters, so I'm thinking of allowing them to field a single anti-tank rifle in the guise of a high powered elephant gun for the next game, in place of one of the snipers that are allowed in the Back of Beyond supplement.
It was really good fun and a great way to begin the Summer holidays, especially as we're both teachers!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Achtung Commando [3]

Way, way back at the start of 2014 I bought a few packs of Wargames Foundry British Commandos as a Xmas stocking filler, with the intention of using them for Bolt Action. I even found a really nice resin LCA from Grand Manner to go with them. Needless to say, these have been stuck in a small plastic box ever since, although they've been ticking away at the back of my mind.
Anyway, to cut a long and very familiar story short, I was up in the loft at the weekend and found a small plastic bag full of Westwind Berlin or Bust commando figures that I'd completely forgotten about. I painted up a section of these about fifteen years ago and they looked pretty good but I sold them on Ebay to a bloke in France, with the leftover figures stashed away to gather dust.

If you line them up against the Wargames Foundry figures they're actually a good match, both in terms of sculpting style and size, although the rifle armed figures don't really work. However, I do have enough figures with SMG's, commando knives and pistols plus a couple of bren team to be able to put together a third commando squad alongside the Foundry figures.
In Bolt Action terms this means that I have enough for a decent small troop rather than just a couple of rifle sections, an HQ and an engineer team, which makes it much more viable as a mini-project. At a push they might even be useable with my 28mm Japanese for 'behind enemy lines' commando raids in the Far East, although this would be fictional rather than historically accurate.

I don't know when or even if  I'll get round to painting them up but at least they're back on the radar. In the meantime, I'm now going to do some test 'speed painting' on the Japanese figures to work out the best approach to take over the summer holidays. The first stage will be to do a soft tone wash and a drybrush with Foundry Base Sand, before blocking out the webbing and equipment.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Back of Beyond Expedition Extras [6]

I finished off the basing on the Chinese labourers this evening although it all ended up being a bit rushed. I have to matt varnish the figures tomorrow after work before I pack them up and head off to the club for a friendly game against Andy's British Museum Archaeological Expedition.
I'm still finding my feet with 28mm painting and have yet to discover the best way to go about it, but this small unit is less than impressive in terms of finish and may well mark the demise at my attempt to paint over a black basecoat. At least they match up with my existing expedition figures.
I'm going to have a third attempt at the Army Painter dip method for my 28mm Chain of Command Japanese platoon in the holidays, having had one success with the Bolt Action late war US infantry and one abject failure with the SAGA Normans, so it may be third time lucky?

Frostgrave Plastic Soldiers


I gave into temptation (again!) and ordered a copy of Frostgrave last week, using the last of my birthday Amazon tokens left over from January. The rules only cost me £1.65 as a result, so I blew my pocket money on a box of the plastic soldiers that have been released to go with the rules. I've already had a rummage in the loft and found several plastic sprues of GW Bretonnian Archers and a handful of metal Bretonnian brigands, which I had bought years ago for some long forgotten HYW skirmish project. These can be added to the plastic figures and adapted using some of the extra bits on the sprues, to create some interesting additions to the opposing sides.

I haven't found a wizard and apprentice yet, not really wanting to use the 'official' figure sets, but I do have some rather nice monsters and beasties. These include a fantastic multipart Heresy Miniatures snow troll, which I originally acquired for a pulp scenario and which will look superb once assembled, based and painted. I'm thinking of taking the Frostgrave stuff off to France to do this stage, alongside painting up my 28mm Japanese Platoon for Chain of Command. I'm impressed by the rules already, having had a decent read through yesterday afternoon, so I'm looking forward to tackling this unexpected addition to the project 'to do' list over the Summer.