Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Over the Hump

I've pretty much completed the blocking in on the last two units of Beja for my The Men Who Would Be Kings project, so I'm hoping to finish them by the end of the week, if I don't have too many home decorating jobs to do. The next step will be to add a second highlight layer to shields, robes and rifles, along with the metallic bits on the swords, spears and guns. This will get me over the hump and well on the way to completing the field force, with just the sabot bases left to sort out before they are ready for a game, albeit against a yet to be assembled enemy. I'm also still enjoying the whole experience, which continues to be a very pleasant surprise!

Monday, 6 July 2020

Lion Rampant Reading

I'm thinking about a Lion Rampant plastic production line project for the summer holidays, if we end up going across to Brittany for August, rather than being stuck at home. I've done this several times before, taking an army to assemble and base while I'm away from the workbench, with one or two o them eventually ending up being painted and, believe it or not, actually ending up being used for a game. 

This time round, it's a toss up between the War of the Roses using Perry Miniatures plastic figures, or a mid to late twelfth century feudal retinue using the Conquest Miniatures plastic figures. I already have a four point 28mm Norman warband for SAGA but that's as far as it goes, so the plastic pile is free to be plundered for other purposes and as the basis of a larger skirmish themed army, keeping the cost down to an affordable level but building units that aren't just a handful of figures. 

As part of this, I've been doing some more background reading, with the latest book from Chris Peers on the civil war between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda. It's clearly written from a military history brief and has lots of wargaming relevant content, which is hardly a surprise given the author's rules writing side line. It's definitely worth a look if you are interested in the period.

What a Tanker!

The lad wasn't at work today, so we set up a quick game of What a Tanker! as he likes it and we hadn't played in ages. To keep it simple I selected a T34/85 (Strike 8 / Armour 8 / Fast) and he had a Panther (Strike 9 / Armour 9 / Fast), so a fairly even match. In retrospect, this was a mistake as neither side had  the edge, so the game went on a bit longer than expected. I dug out my winter terrain but noticed that it could do with a bit of tarting up, so the cloth is now in the washing machine! Anyway, it was a good game and we now have a refreshed grasp of the rules. 

In the game, the T34/85 advanced into some woods, from which it managed to get several hits on the frontal armour of the Panther, with little effect either to the tank or the crew, which failed even to acquire the Russian for several turns. When it did, the shots flew backwards and forwards but again failed to do much damage, leading the Russian commander to shift out of cover to get a clear shot on the enemy panzer. 

This worked up to a point, with the Panther suffering some permanent damage to the hull and some temporary hits, causing the commander to shift up a gear and cross the bridge, in an attempt to get a flank shot on the T34. With the range now down to point blank, which was a bit ridiculous, the superior fire power of the Panther led to some nasty damage on the T34, eventually resulting in the loss of all the command dice and a hasty crew bailout.

In retrospect, this game highlighted both the good and the not so good aspects of the rules, the former being the simple turn sequence and neat dice pool mechanisms, and the latter being the tortuous damage system and lack of decisive outcomes. This is partly down to having evenly matched tanks but also cropped up in previous games that I've played at the club. I think it's one of the reasons that it never took off at my local club, even though I've run a few games in the past. It didn't spoil our fun, however, and both of us enjoyed the game immensely.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

HMDS Sjaelland

For my 1864 naval project, I have replaced the 1/2400th scale model of the Danish screw frigate Sjaelland that I originally assembled with a new one, using the same ASV5 model of HMS Phoebe as a best fit. The original model that I prepared ended up with the hull at a tilted angle, so I scrapped it and made sure that this time round I'd levelled it out. This required some carving away of the base around the stern, so that the hull would sit squarely in place. As usual, I've replaced the sail sets with spars made from cut down staples, which I think look more like the actual thing, even if they're not quite in the right location. I'm hoping to get the Sjaelland and the other ships for the Battle of Jasmund painted by the end of the month, ready for INWARD 2020. 

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Samurai Skirmish

The eldest son has decided that he'd like to do some Samurai skirmish games, so I've decided that at some point over the summer, once The Men Who Would Be Kings Sudan project is complete, I will paint up some of the Perry Miniatures figures that I gathered together back in 2015. These were destined for use with the Ronin and Daisho skirmish rules but, as usual, I was distracted by other things and wandered off in a different direction. 

In these financially constrained times, it's a project that would cost me virtually nothing to set up, as I have plenty of lovely figures and some splendid Sarissa Precision building kits already. I quite fancy a winter theme for this as well, so that I can use some of my existing winter tree and river pieces, together with some specific Japanese elements that I can add in. I'm not sure when I'll do this but it's another thing to tick off the list over the next few months, while I have the chance.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Action off Port Cros, July 1872

I decided to set up a back of a fag packet game of Broadside and Ram this afternoon, to test out my tweaks to the damage system and repair costs, designed to make it progressively harder to fix damaged ships and increase the chances of inflicting Crippled and Shattered results. In this scenario I wanted to make sure that lots of damage would be done, so set HMS Fury against three rather less formidable French ironclads, the Flandre, Provence and Revanche. If you've never heard of HMS Fury it's because she didn't exist, or at least was commissioned as HMS Dreadnought after a redesign following the loss of HMS Captain. In my alternative timeline, this never happened as HMS Captain did not founder, so HMS Fury was launched and completed in her original design format.

In the scenario, HMS Fury has stealthily arrived off Port Cros, an island on the south coast of France, where she is lying in wait for any passing enemy warships or merchant vessels. The French have detected the presence of an enemy ship from its plume of smoke but haven't identified her and assume she is a single broadside ironclad or even a lightly armed raider, not suspecting a cunning trap by the Royal Navy. A squadron of three broadside ironclads has been dispatched to deal with the perfidious intruder before it can threaten any coastal convoys or merchant shipping. The initial set up means that HMS Fury is screened from the approaching French warships by the two islands, so they are going to get a nasty surprise. Zut Alors!

The game began with the French approaching from the West and HMS Fury, which was an independent command, advancing through the channel between the two islands to meet the oncoming enemy squadron. The range closed as the French commander realised that he was up against a formidable opponent, with the combined firepower of his squadron the best tactic to adopt in the face of HMS Fury's superior armour and turret armament. 

The initial shots by both sides caused some damage but did not inflict any serious harm. However, once the range closed the French were out manoeuvred and despite frantic efforts to concentrate their fire, found themselves end on to the twin turrets of the enemy. After several raking shots, the Flandre and Provence were both reduced to a Shattered state, albeit with repairs keeping them afloat for some time. A Critical Hit on the waterline sealed the fate of the Flandre while Provence took longer to slip beneath the waves.

In conclusion and as expected, HMS Fury ran rings around the French, but it wasn't all one sided. At several points she suffered Silenced results and only managed to repair with some high AP dice rolls. The fact that she was an independent command meant that she didn't have to spend any AP's on movement, so could afford to splash out to fix the damage. The French, in contrast, never really got their act together, so missed the chance to inflict some serious damage on the Fury. The early loss of the Provence also nullified their advantage of combined supporting firepower and meant that valuable AP's were wasted in repairs. Overall, the tweaks I've made seem to speed up the game a bit and avoid the issue of 'boomerang' repairs, which I've found to be a bit unrealistic. The real test will be when two equally well armoured and armed squadrons coming to blows!

Sudan Skirmish Sit Rep

I've now ploughed through two thirds of the Beja figures for The Men Who Would Be Kings project, so I'm looking ahead to the next phase of the painting and modelling schedule, with the aim to get everything finished by the end of the month. I've been busy this week with other things, so haven't moved the last 28 figures further than an overall ink wash, but plan to get a lot more done over the weekend. The next step will be to block in all of the black areas and then the clothes, which doesn't take too long but can be a bit tedious after the first twenty figures or so!

I've also dug out the Empires at War blockhouse kit and hope to assemble it in between painting the last of the Beja, although I'm going to keep it as simple as possible rather than adding much extra detailing as originally planned. Finally, I need to start assembling the British field force from the Perry Miniatures plastic set, which I'm using rather then metal figures due to cost. I'd prefer metal figures but it's too pricey, even if I only need thirty six of the them for the infantry element of the field force, so the plastic ones will have to do. 

Time to crack on!

Peter Pig Mexican Revolution

Nothing there yet but watch this space!

I've been following this over on the RFCM forum for a while but it's now got a definite green light for production, with the first figures due out sometime in August. I think this is great news, as no one else makes a decent 15mm Mexican Revolution range and I've been wanting to do an AK47 based project for years. The initial releases will probably be for the Mexican government forces and the rebels, either Zapatistas or Villistas, although there's a lot of scope for cross over with the Western range. Excellente!

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Brigade Models Space Fighters

I ordered a few of the Brigade Models Squadron Commander space fighters for use with the new Fistful of Lead Starfighters! rules and they arrive today. I did consider using the old EM-4 Silent Death plastic spacecraft for this but now I'm definitely going to switch to selected fighters from the Brigade Models range, as they tick all my boxes. 

I wanted to have models with a bit of size and heft, which is exactly what you get with these metal ones, which are somewhere in the 6mm to 10mm range as far as scale goes, although it's not easy to tell. I've used a 1/285th scale Raiden Miniatures Spitfire V for comparison purposes and you can easily see how much larger the Brigade Models fighters actually are, so more like 1/144th scale.

The first model I have is the Polish 'Rokita', which is clearly based on a Soviet Sukhoi fuselage, so has a really cool retro look, just like something out of 1970's sci-fi art. I really like it. The other is a four part model from the American range called the 'Raptor', which is a very dynamic looking fighter craft and definitely lives up to it's name. I think it will paint up really nicely too.

I am very impressed with these sample models so will pick out some more of the range, based on the designs that I like and with an eye to the fighter building system from the rules. The plan is to have an eclectic mix of space fighters with some in pairs or groups of three and others just as single models, painted up in different schemes for some quick and dirty sci-fi space skirmishing.

The Brigade Models range can be found here:


Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Infamy, Infamy Initial Impressions

My pre-ordered copy of Infamy, Infamy arrived in the post this morning and first impressions are very good! I haven't had a chance to read through the rules in detail, just a quick skim over of the various sections, but it looks very much like Sharp Practice, both is style and visual layout. I'll have to watch the videos that the Toofatlardies have put together to get a better handle on the rules mechanisms and the way the system works.

In terms of production values it's right up there with the best, being packed full of superb artwork and professionally painted figure vignettes. It's also laid out in a very clear and systematic way. I may set this up as my next 28mm project, although I also really want to do two retinues for Lion Rampant, so we'll have to wait and see. Whatever happens, my next 28mm project will have a winter theme to make the most of my existing snow terrain....although Hadrian's Wall might be a little ambitious?


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