Thursday, 28 April 2016

Back of Beyond Chinese Warlord Army [1]

A complete change of tack today, as I've decided that I'm going to shelve the Turks for the moment and start on a Chinese Warlord army instead. This isn't as big a shift as I initially thought, as I have pretty much everything I need in terms of figures, artillery and vehicles already and I can use my existing labourer unit as Chinese Bandit allies. I can also re-use the Chahar Mongol irregular cavalry that I'm basing up for my oil prospector expedition.

I've made the change so that the club campaign background will be both more coherent and easier to develop, whilst allowing me to do what I most enjoy, converting and scratch building things into armoured trains, baggage elements and other unusual stuff. As it's a bank holiday weekend I'm planning to get started straight away on basing up a couple of infantry units, a machine gun and a heavy mortar, with some 'special units' and vehicles to follow.

A bit radical but it makes a lot of sense (to me at least!).

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

HLBS Pierce Arrow Armoured Car

I have been adding yet more stuff to my Back of Beyond armoured support smorgasbord, as I have developed a strange attraction to early wheeled AFV's,  which to my eye just look really cool. The latest superfluous bit of kit is a 4 pdr equipped Pierce Arrow armoured car by the Honourable Lead Boiler Suit Company. This was tucked away in their nautical section where you'd least expect to find it, along with a splendid RNAS Seabrook armoured gun carrier. The Pierce Arrow was especially designed for use in Russia in WW1 as described in The Czars British Squadron, which is a brilliant book if you can find a copy. I am now seriously re-thinking my next Back of Beyond army so that I can use some of the armoured vehicles that I've acquired and so that I can have another go at scratch building an armoured train, which I'm itching to try out using Lego to speed things up.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Back of Beyond Club Game

I had enough of marking this week so instead went to the club for a game of Back of Beyond, which was a re-match between my oil prospectors and Andy's archaeological expedition. We were supposed to be trying out some club rules amendments and the third edition of the Contemptible Little Armies rules but both if us forgot. In the end, it was the usual thrashing by the British Museum, with plenty of wreckage strewn across the table and the oil prospectors outmanoeuvred by the opposition. It was all really good fun and I did get to try out my desert terrain cloth for a proper game as well, so I don't mind yet another crushing defeat, although I really do need to try out a different army next time!

Monday, 25 April 2016

5th Alabama Infantry Regiment Relative

I was googling something the other day and, quite by chance, discovered a near namesake and presumably distant relative, who was recorded as a private in the 5th Alabama Infantry Regiment in 1865. I have a slightly unusual variation on a relatively common surname, so there is a distinct possibility that we are in fact related in some way. Interesting but it's unlikely to send me off on an ACW tangent, even though that Perry Miniatures Battle in a Box army has been tugging at my wallet. 

Desert Terrain Cloth on the Cheap

I've been hunting for a decent (cheap!) desert terrain cloth for ages, specifically one that matches with my existing terrain features and figures. When I was in France over Easter we did the usual supermarket run and I found this heavy duty beige coloured table cloth, which I thought looked close enough to a khaki shade to match my Old West and Back of Beyond scenery. I used the Halfords Ultra Matt Khaki spray for this and so the usual sandy desert mats just don't look right.

I promptly forgot about it until yesterday when I was base texturing my Back of Beyond oil derrick, so dug it out of the box and took a few photos with some hastily posed bandits and lawmen. I think it will do until I can make some proper modular terrain boards, which I've been meaning to do for a while. I was wondering about adding some texture or brushed on weathering to break up the monotone but I think I'll just leave it as it is for the moment.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Went the Day Well BUF Platoon

My copy of Went the Day Well arrived in the post yesterday, so I've spent a happy half an hour or so flicking through the rules and trying to work out how my existing forces will fit with the Force Composition guidelines on p21-24. I have a BUF platoon of an HQ and two ten man sections, one with a Lewis gun, plus a Vickers heavy machine gun team. I also have three trucks, a van for the HQ and a Lancia armoured car, so a fairly well equipped platoon to start with. I really need a couple more rifle armed figures to accompany my HQ but, otherwise, I think I'm good to go. I'll have to see what I've got in the spares box, if I can find it, as a sniper and a specialist or two wouldn't go amiss. The only thing that isn't covered in the rules is my CV33 tankette flamethrower but that's probably not cricket, so I'll just have to leave it out!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Back of Beyond Expedition Extras [10]

With the Back of Beyond campaign on hold for the moment, I'm turning my attention to the extra bits and bobs that I'm assembling to complete my Dinosaur Hunter expedition. The latest addition to the painting queue is a Warbases Tchanka, which comes as a flat pack kit of lasercut mdf and card components. This was a right pain to put together, even if the instructions were very clear and easy to follow. Needless to say there was much effing and blinding along the way...

The main problem was the articulated lasercut card wheel arches, which fell to bits and had to be replaced with scrap card parts cut from the leftovers, although once coated with copious amounts of superglue the finished model is quite sturdy, The crew are Copplestone White Russians to fit with the rest of the army, which features a unit of mercenary White Russian tatty infantry. I now have ten Chahar Mongol irregular cavalry to base up, which I'm planning to crack on with tomorrow.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Campaign Cancelled

I've reluctantly decided to shelve the Back of Beyond campaign until next year. This is due to a Black Powder ECW multiplayer campaign that is about to start at the club, which means that there will be too many games to run each month, especially as there are several players in both. There are also some problematic communication issues with the club Yahoo group site, which really need to be resolved before I get anything off the ground. The Back of Beyond campaign will happen but just not in the next six months or so. I'll still be continuing with some related things including figures, terrain and models, with some one off Back of Beyond games on the cards in the not too distant future. 

Thursday, 21 April 2016


This has been in the pipeline for quite a while now, so I was really interested to read a review of the rules in the latest issue of Wargames Illustrated a few days ago, which provided a lot more detail about the key features of the game. I have had a long term goal to 'do' Darkest Africa and have an extensive lead pile set aside for just such a thing so Congo has grabbed my attention, especially as it looks like a smaller sized game than In the Heart of Africa, which has been the focus of my efforts to date.

The emphasis is also more on exploration than warfare, with forces ranging in size from half a dozen figures up to about thirty or so, which would make it more manageable than ITHOA, which can involve a lot of figures if you go for the African options in the army lists. The gameplay also look really different and quite innovative, so I'm really looking forward to it's publication as an excuse to paint some more figures and scratch build some decent jungle or savannah terrain. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Back of Beyond Terrain Bits [2]

This is the other bit of terrain I've been fiddling with, a laser cut mdf  North African compound that I bought in the Timeline Miniatures sale a while back. This is a really easy kit to assemble but does require a coat of ready mix polyfilla rendering, if you don't want it to look like a cardboard box. I slapped on the filler then sealed it with a wash of dilute PVA wood glue, before undercoating everything with Halfords Ultra Matt Khaki spray.

I also added some sand to the courtyard so that it would blend with the rest of my desert terrain but still need to actually paint the thing.  I really like this building, even without any paintwork or weathering, so will definitely be purchasing some more of the North Africa range, even though they'll be used in Central Asia for the Back of Beyond. If you left off the dome it would also be useable South of the border down Mexico way, so the gunfighters and banditos aren't that out of place in the picture.