Friday 28 May 2010

Off to France (yet again)

Off to Paris tomorrow for a few days.

As a result, there may well be a bit of a news blackout, although I will endeavour to post something or other in the interim. However, I'm hoping to do a bit of wargame related purchasing, even if it's only a copy of Vae Victis. I'll also be doing my best to track down the entire collection of Le Grand Duc, which will be a long overdue addition to the library.

On the way back, we're planning to visit La Cupole and check out Herr Todt's finest concrete handiwork, so that should at least make up for the rest of the week.

Thursday 27 May 2010

BUF Convoy Support

The Copplestone Lancia armoured car arrived today, which is pretty impressive as I only ordered it yesterday. It's a really nice model, well cast, simple to construct and with lots of lovely rivets to dry brush. Needless to say, I couldn't resist and painted it up in on go, although it still needs a base to be finished off properly.

I also got the latest additons to the Red Militia from Empress. I've now got enough to do three eight figure rifle sections, each including an SMG armed NCO, plus an extra LMG team to add to the support section. The Soviet Advisor pack also provided a couple of extra officer figures for the BUF as well as a commisar and officer for the Reds.


Ambush at Corfe Castle continued...

I've had a rethink about the VBCW ambush game over the last couple of days. The original idea was to have an ambush along the A351 between Castle Hill and East Hill. This seemed like an ideal ambush point and matched up quite well with the layout of the Ambush at Kilmichael scenario from the Triumphant Standards supplement.

However, the slopes on either side of the valley at this point are very steep and also heavily wooded on the eastern side. As a result, it would be difficult to reproduce this on the tabletop without a lot of effort. It would also make it very difficult for the two sides to move without figures falling over all the time.

So, plan B is to move the area of the ambush to the road on the northern side of Castle Hill which runs alongside the River Wicken in the direction of Church Knowle. On the northern side of the road there is a belt of trees along the river bed and then an open area of fields leading up to the base of West Hill.

Castle Hill from the West. The River Wicken and the road run along the line of trees at the centre of the photo.

On the southern side of the road, the ground slopes steeply up to the castle with some areas of scrub and vegitation for cover. The lane itself runs from the junction with the main road in a long curve around the base of the hill until in crosses the stream over a small stone bridge and continues on in the direction of Church Knowle.

This layout would be much easier to model but still provides enough cover for the Anglican League militia, who would be positioned in the stream bed and on the side of Castle Hill. The BUF convoy would approach from the main road and would have to cross the bridge over the river at the far end of the table to escape.

Wednesday 26 May 2010

BUF Armoured Car

I haven't had the time to get any painting done (again) this evening but I did get one of these for the BUF convoy. As the CV35 is a bit on the tiddly side, I thought it would make sense for the BUF to have some mobile support and what better than a pre-owned, slightly used but fully featured Lancia armoured car.

I have a diecast one of these in 1/48th scale but it's way too big for the small 28mm figures that make up my BUF forces. So, it makes sense to have the 1/55th scale version instead, even if it's a bit expensive. It will be easy to paint and base up too, which is a bonus given the time constraints I'm under at the moment.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Long Arm of the Law

I thought some armed coppers would be a handy addition to the BUF so ordered a couple of packs of the Artizan police figures today. Unlike the Musketeer workers militia figures, they should turn up fairly quickly and I should be able to get them painted up without too much trouble.

The Red Workers Militia are on hold at the moment due to work commitments and an imminent half term holiday in Paris. To be honest, I'd rather spend the week at home painting and scratchbuilding but it's been organised my the other half, so I have no choice in the matter.

I have managed to finish off the BUF van tonight and hope to do at least a little painting, by the end of the week, to move the militia in the right direction.

Don't hold your breath though.

Monday 24 May 2010

BUF Command Van

I took a bit of a sidetrack this evening and painted up a convoy command van for the BUF. It's a Lledo diecast van of some sort which I painted up in the same scheme as the BUF lorries.

It still needs a base and the windscreen and headlights need a gloss varnish but othertwise it's ready to roll. I thought about adding some armament, in the form of a roof mounted lewis gun but decided that it would be far less hassle just to paint it as it was.

VBCW Ambush Update

The ambush game is set for the 15th of June, which gives me enough time to work out the cards for BUF and Anglican League, read through the rules to get me up to speed on the way things work and scratch build some road sections to use as the country lane running across the board.

In terms of relocation, the only place I can think of that roughly matches the layout of the scenario is Corfe Castle. The gap at Corfe has steep sided slopes on either side but also features some woodland and a railway line.

To keep things simple we'll leave the railway line off board and add some trees to the table as cover. The marshy ground on the south edge of the table can also be replaced by a some sloping ground and fields leading up to the foot of castle hill. I think it won't make a big difference to the dynamics of the scenario but I may have to give things a bit more thought just in case.

The Red Militia didn't get any further this weekend due to lots of family stuff, DIY, gardening and so on but I'm hoping to crack on with them this evening.

Saturday 22 May 2010

VBCW Ambush

I've been thinking a bit more about a possible game for VBCW using Through the Mud and Blood and a scenario from the Triumphant Standards supplement.

The Irish Civil War Ambush at Kilmichael scenario looks like a distinct possibility as it could be easily converted to the VBCW and requires a minimum of terrain. I'd have to scratch build some road sections and perhaps a few lengths of dry stone walling but otherwise it's a very straightforward set up.

The forces might need to be scaled down a fraction to fit what I've got and would need to be equipped with some automatic weapons to balance things out. I've already got the transport for the BUF convoy and enough figures to field a decent sized force of twenty or so, which means I don't need to paint up any extras.

I'll be working out the cards needed for this game over the next couple of days and then hope to work them up into a set over the following week.

Friday 21 May 2010


This made me chuckle when I read it in the paper this afternoon:

Very funny.

Thursday 20 May 2010

War of the Running Dogs

I got this through the post today having picked up a copy on Ebay. It looks like a good read and will hopefully give me the tenuous justification to add yet more lead to the pile. I've got the Inkerman 28mm range in mind for this so will need little persuading. There's a series of rather mixed but interesting reviews here:

I've also been giving some thought to cards for a VBCW game using Through the Mud and Blood. I've read through the relevant sections of the rulebook and am in the process of working out what I need for the BUF platoon.

I'm also thinking of using one of the scenarios from the Triumphant Standards supplement to set up a game. At the moment, the ICW scenario Ambush at Kilmichael looks like a frontrunner, albeit in a relocated setting amongst the leafy lanes of the Isle of Purbeck.

Finally, I've undercoated the Red Militia figures that I cleaned up and based yesterday and have completed the flesh tones to bring them in line with the figures I painted up earlier in the week.

As my Musketeer figures are a long way off, judging from recent posts on the GWP, I've also ordered a few packs of extras from Empress to round off the Reds, including some International Brigade riflemen and LMG teams, plus some Soviet advisors to use os officers and commissars.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

VBCW Red Militia Reinforcements

The Westwind French Resistance figures and Empress SCW heavy weapons arrived today, along with the two sets of beret heads to convert my spare Assaulto figures into workers militia.

I spent some time working out what to do with the kneeling French figures in an attempt to turn them into gun crew. I even considered using them as a basis for a team of sappers but that was after chopping them up a bit, so too late to try out the idea. In the end I used two of the standing figures, one with a pistol and the other with some wire cutters, as the gun crew leaving the kneeling figures for something else later on.

I also cleaned up the French figures with rifle, SMG and Molotov to add to the existing rifle sections of the Red Workers Militia. I had to replace the hand of the figure with the petrol bomb as it was badly cast, but otherwise the figures match up well with the Empress and Bolt Action stuff I've already based and have started to paint up.

I've also had a crack at converting four of the Assaultos with the spare beret heads and it seems to have worked quite well. It wasn't difficult to do, so I may do a couple more if I need to add some additional figures to the rifle sections later. Finally, I assembled the Maxim HMG and team which will be valuable as fire support. I haven't used the mortars yet and may well save them for something else.

I'm still waiting for the Musketeer Workers Militia figures to arrive at which point I'll have more than enough figures for a full platoon of Reds.

Surfs Up!

The Toofatlardies have added the new Charlie Don't Surf Vietnam rules on their website but they're not going to be released until the end of the May. They've also done a set of scenarios called Surfs Up! which looks like good value for money and no doubt useful for other rules as well.

I'm still considering switching my pile of 15mm figures over to this and basing them accordingly, rather than using the Men of Company B or Delta to DMZ. When I get my copy of the rules I'll be able to work out if I have enough figures and what I might need to add to run some of the scenarios.

Tuesday 18 May 2010

VBCW Red Militia Painting

I've just finished painting the flesh tones on the Reds using a combination of GW Dark Flesh as a base, followed by three highlights of Foundry Flesh. I'm hoping to try out some various shades of grey, brown, blue and green for the clothes tomorrow, although I'll try to keep the range of shades down to a maximum of four or five.

Monday 17 May 2010

VBCW Red Militia Gun and Tow

I cleaned up, based and undercoated all of the Communist Militia over the weekend, together with the Musketeer Lancia armoured lorry and the Copplestone Putilov field gun. As you can see the lorry will be used as a tow for the field gun.

I've gone for the Humbrol Grass Green spray undercoat as it's one I've used before on my Back of Beyond Bolshevik armoured vehicles. It gives a nice light tone to the following layers and matches a Soviet light green quite well.

The Westwind French Resistance figures that I'm hoping to convert into gun crew have been dispatched today, so I should get them either tomorrow or the day after. I'm sure they'll look fine as gun crew with only a little conversion as they'll be tucked away behind the gun shield when it's deployed.

Sunday 16 May 2010

VBCW Red Militia gun crews

I think I've found a solution to the lack of a gun crew problem for my VBCW Red Workers Militia. The Westwind French Resistance figures in the Berlin of Bust range include a couple of kneeling chaps, who are obviously trying to blow something up but who could be used as gun crew for my Copplestone Putilov field gun. There are some standing figures with pistols which might also be convertable into gun crew.

I've ordered a pack and will try them out when they arrive. I have some of the Westwind WW2 British commandos and German sentry figures that I bought years ago so I know the French Resistance figures will fit well with the Musketeer, Bolt Action and Empress stuff I already have.

I've also decided to use the Musketeer armoured lorry that I bought at Salute a couple of years ago for my Reds. It was going to equip a Dinosaur Hunter expedition for the Back of Beyond but that didn't get off the ground, so it might as well get redeployed with the workers as a tow for the field gun.

Saturday 15 May 2010

VBCW Red Workers Militia Unit

The WW2 Partisan figures from Bolt Action arrived this morning giving me enough figures to form my first couple of units alongside the Empress SCW militia that I've already got. As you can see from the pictures, I have a rifle section of ten figures, an LMG team and a commissar with an SMG armed bodyguard.

I've also got the FT17, which is already assembled and undercoated, together with a Copplestone field gun. I don't have any crew for this yet but I'm sure I can find something suitable sooner or later. It seems a shame not to use it as it's going spare. I'm hoping to clean and base this lot up this evening.

Friday 14 May 2010

VBCW on Jon's Blog

This is definately worth a look and far more inspiring than my effort:

VBCW Red Militia

Following on from the BUF mini-project for VBCW, I've had a change of plan for the rest of May and possibly into early June.

Instead of the MiG Alley planes, which I'll leave until after half term, I'm going to paint up my Red Workers Militia force for the VBCW. It's not all there yet as I still have some figures to arrive from Musketeer, Bolt Action and Empress, but I have a few to get started on in the meantime.

I'm planning to clean up and base a few command figures, an LMG team and some SMG's over the weekend, together with any that turn up in the post tomorrow. I've also got the HLBS FT17 to paint up and will have a rummage in the diecast box for some trucks to convert as well. I need at least one to tow the Putilov field gun that I have left over from the Back of Beyond Whites I never got round to starting.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to starting this second installment of the VBCW project and will keep things updated as I go along.

Thursday 13 May 2010

Old West Posses

As promised, here are some pictures of my two posses for Legends of the Old West, the Mexican Outlaws of the Fajitas Gang and the Lawmen of Sheriff Ullysses T. Boggs. They were painted a long time ago and need some finishing touches and some sort of wash to bring them up to standard, but otherwise are ready for some gunfightin' down Mexico way.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Legends of the Old West

After the VBCW game yesterday Jon and I were having a chat about different rules that could be used for interwar skirmish level actions. Jon mentioned that there was an article in one of the wargame magazines which included stats and rules to convert Legends of the Old West for the VBCW.

I've played quite a few games of LoToW having been on of the two gamers who got it off the ground at the club when it was first published. I have a couple of posses which I've used in various games and even a short lived club campaign.

The first is a lawman posse of three hardened deputies led by Sheriff Ullysses T.Boggs, occasionally backed up by a hawk eyed lone gunfighter and bible thumping preacher.

The second is a Mexican outlaw posse, the Fajitas Gang, which features the four Fajita brothers Rico, Chico, Nico and Tico plus their cousin Mongo Chimichanga. They also have some back up from a Mexican Outlaw and the odd gunfighter when needed.

I'll post some photos of both posses some time later on. They have a few reinforcements that need to be finished off, including the mounted figures and a few extra foot figures but otherwise they're ready for action.

I'm trying to persuade Jon to give LoToW a try so hopefully will be able to set up a game some time soon.

Tuesday 11 May 2010

BUF 1 Anglicans 0

Here are a few photos from the VBCW game we played this evening using the Great War rules and the Storm the Hill scenario. The BUF and Royalist militia were assaulting the hill top trenches that were defended by the local Anglican League.

It was a bit of a walk over in the end as the BUF had a lot more firepower than the Anglicans, despite the deployment of the fearsome Smith Gun. A preliminary bombardment obliterated the vicar CO and his HQ before the game even started, which not surprisingly threw the Anglicans into confusion.

The BUF commander, Major Short Cummins, then successfully used the Royalist local yokels as an assault wave while outflanking the hill top defenders with the BUF legion rifle sections. The miltia were wiped out and routed, leaving the blackshirts to mop up what was left of the Anglican League defenders.

The tankette played a crucial role despite bogging down as it climbed the hill and tried to cross the enemy trenches, as did the BUF Vickers which hammered the hill top trenches at the critical moment. The Anglican's put up a good fight but the firepower of the BUF was just too great for them to hold onto their exposed hill top position.

It was a fast game and the Great War rules worked well although designed for larger scale Western Front type games. I think Through the Mud and Blood would work better and would allow for a greater element of randomness and unpredictability. We also discussed the possibility of using LOTOW as a basis for a set of lower level rules.

Malayan Emergency 28mm

I spotted these the other day and thought they looked really nice. At the risk of stating the obvious, I really fancy doing this in 28mm as the figures are great and the number needed for a skirmish level game relatively small, perhaps a dozen a side at the most.

I have quite a bit of useable jungle terrain and at least a couple of possible sets of rules, so could possibly justify it as a permissable project under the rules of engagement I set myself at the start of the year, i.e. no new projects.

You could do lots of really interesting scenarios from jungle patrols, to ambushes, to hearts and minds operations, to convoys, to defensive actions, to helicopter insertions and so on. There's also a lot of potential for some good terrain and vehicle modelling including jungle huts, boats, helicopters and other interesting things. They even do a 1/56th scale Saracen!

I'll have to have a serious think and crunch some numbers...

Monday 10 May 2010

BUF Flying Column Finished

I finally finished off the BUF Flying Column this afternoon by adding some static grass and a few bits of woodland scenic foliage. I also added the flag to the standard and covered up any minor gaps in the paintwork before giving the whole lot a spray varnish with GW Satin hardcoat.

I've enjoyed doing this mini-project and so I'm looking forward to the Red Workers Militia, which I may well tackle in June. In all the BUF took two weeks to complete from cleaning up the first figure to spraying the varnish, so pretty good even though there's only twenty five of them plus the vehicles.

The BUF have their first convoy action tomorrow so will probably crash and burn, being new. One good thing is that I can't actually lose with this lot, as a victory is a victory (hooray!) and a defeat also a victory as they're nasty fascists (ha ha!).

That's my way of thinking anyway.

Contemptible (very) Little Armies

I've got a game on at the club tomorrow with my BUF against Jon's Anglican League. We've been umming and arring about the rules that we're going to use so I'm taking along at least three sets to try out.

These include Through the Mud and Blood, which would be my first choice if I had the time to set up the cards etc, Warhammer Great War, To the Last Man and finally, the set that I'm most familiar with, Contemptible Little Armies.
It's not ideal for skirmish level gaming but it is the easiest option in terms of setting up and speed of play, given that I've used it many times for the Back of Beyond. So, I've been giving some thought to the stats and points for my small BUF flying column and have come up with this:

BUF Flying Column
1 x Commander @ 0 points

1 x Staff Officer @ 50 points

2 x 10 man Rifle Sections (T3 / M4) @ 7 points + 1 x Lewis Gun (+ 12 points) = 152 points

(note: each section NCO has a trench broom)

1 x Vickers HMG @ 56 points

3 x Unarmoured Lorries @ 9 points = 27 points

1 x CV35 tankette (1 x MG FF + 1 x Flame FF / 2 x D6 move) @ 80 points

Total = 365 points

Not a lot in other words...but then it's not a set of rules designed for this sort of thing in the first place, so it may not even work!

Yet more Red Militia for VBCW

I had a think about the spare Empress Assaulto figures that I was going to use for BUF today. I thought they would be better used as extras for the Red Workers Milita, being dressed in boiler suits and having a certain revolutinary style about them.

The only problem would be the caps they are wearing which I would have to explain as belonging to railway workers or something similar.

However, the problem can be easily (?) solved by using some of the spare beret heads that Empress make for conversions to their SCW figures. I ordered a couple of packs together with a rather neat set of knee mortars and crew to add extra long range firepower to the workers as they man the barricades.

When they arrive, I'll have a go at some headswapping to see how easy it is to do. I've done it in 15mm before using the Peter Pig heads so 28mm can't be that difficult if I'm careful.

Sunday 9 May 2010

BUF Base Painting

I had a bit of a nightmare with the BUF bases today, which was unexpected as I'm usually not bad at producing decent looking bases. I decided on a three stage Foundry Rawhide approach but having completed them they really didn't look right.

They were far too bland and lacking in definition. So I added a wash of GW Calthan Brown and things started looking better, at least as a basecoat. After that I struggled to find a suitable shade to drybrush over the top to bring out the texture but eventually settled on GW Dheneb Stone.

The end result is far from perfect but will be covered by a generous application of static grass anyway, so I'm not too bothered. I'm leaving them now as I've had enough but will add the static grass and a few extra highlights tomorrow. As you can see, I've tried this out with one figure and it hides all the dodgy bits quite well.

VBCW Armoured Truck

I had a crack at scratchbuilding an armoured truck yesterday using a Days Gone By removal van and lots of plastic card. I'm not very happy with the results as it looks a bit funny and needs some mudguards or something to sort out the front end. I also need to add some strips and rivets to cover up all the dodgy joints.

If I add a turret or gun mounting of some sort it might make it look too tall as it already towers over the other unarmoured lorries I have painted up. It's been in and out of the box several times as I can't make up my mind whether to chuck it or save it. At the moment I haven't quite decided if I'm going to finish it off but may well have another go later on today.

Saturday 8 May 2010

VBCW Red Workers Militia

As I've virtually finished the BUF I was wondering about some opposition for them. However, I had put off doing anything as I want to get back to the MiG Alley project so that I can get it done by the end of May.

I was rummaging around in the various boxes, trays and packs under the desk last night and found a rather neat HLBS FT17 tank that I bought years ago for the Back of Beyond, assembled but didn't use, as it was too tiddly when placed next to the Copplestone Bolsheviks, which are large 28's.

So, having found it again and checked it out against the Musketeer BUF figures I thought about using it for them but then, in a moment of recklessness, decided to use it as the basis of a Red Workers Militia force for VBCW.

I've now gone and ordered some packs of militia and IRA from Musketeer and a SCW Republican LMG pack and command pack from Empress. There will be about 25 figures in total plus a few extras from Artizan that I have stashed away somewhere, assuming I can find them that is.

When I get round to this I don't now but it's another box of stuff to add to the pile.


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