Tuesday 30 June 2020

48 down, 28 to go!

I've now finished painting the second and third units for the Beja force, so only have two units left before it's completed, not allowing for any extra bits I might add on later. These two units of sixteen figures were a bit of a slog but I now have only twenty eight figures left to paint, so it's all downhill from here. I'm still enjoying painting them too, which is a pleasant surprise!

Monday 29 June 2020


It's just over a month until the ever enjoyable International Naval Wargaming Day 2020, so I've been thinking about what to do. I would like to paint something specific rather than just using what I've already got, so at the moment it's a toss up between the Battle of Jasmund c1864, for which I have most of the Danish ships already painted and just need the Prussians done, or the French and British early pre-dreadnoughts, which would require quite a lot more work but would be a bit of a change. I'll give it some more thought but it may well be slotted in sooner rather than later, both because I need a break from 28mm figures but also as we may well be off to France at the end of July, assuming the powers that be don't do yet another U-Turn on quarantine.

Sunday 28 June 2020

Are we nearly there yet?

They don't like it up 'em!

Run away, run away!

I didn't quite manage to finish the two units of Beja Tribal Infantry for The Men Who Would Be Kings project over the weekend, but the finishing line is almost in sight. As of now, they have been ink washed and just need some highlighting before I tackle the bases. These will get a basecoat of Foundry Rawhide Shade, followed by some dry brushing and some desert tufts, so it's not too much to do before the figures are matt varnished, ready for a game. I'm planning to wrap them up tomorrow, so that I can move onto the last two units to complete the Beja field force by the project deadline a week from now. I have to say this lot have been a bit of a slog but I'm determined to get the job done, even though I'm still adjusting to the idea of banging them out in a rough and ready fashion.

Saturday 27 June 2020

Revised QRS for Broadside and Ram

Page 1

Page 2

This is the latest version of my quick reference play sheet for Broadside and Ram, with the tweaks to AF modifiers and repairs that I've made following on from the last three mini-campaign games. These will need play testing to see how they affect the balance of the game but I think they should help to make it a bit easier to inflict Crippled and Shattered results and a little harder to repair them using AP dice. I've also ditched the lower level of defence modifiers for armoured ships, as they're already armoured so have a DF to take this into account. In fact, I may well make this a negative modifier for unarmoured ships instead, although that might make them too vulnerable.

Friday 26 June 2020

Battle of The Hawk Photo Report

I finally got round to playing the last game in my mini-campaign for Broadside and Ram this morning, before it got too hot! This scenario involved the US North Atlantic Squadron of monitors being intercepted by the Royal Navy relief force sent to break the US blockade of Halifax, Nova Scotia, with the French turning up as reinforcements for their American allies. In the actual game, they didn't arrive until Turn Seven, so played a minimal role in the game which had a time limit of ten turns.

In the first half of the game, the US monitors managed to slip through the advancing British ironclads, suffering some damage on the way past but also more than holding their own. The Royal Navy squadron split into three separate commands, attempting to encircle the monitors and cut off their escape. This resulted in a double ram attack by HMS Minotaur and HMS Agincourt on USS Wyandotte and USS Ajax, which fortunately caused more damage to the former than the latter.

In the second half of the game we had to move into the shade, but the action was no less hot. The US monitors took a battering from the Royal Navy, with the rear squadron of slower ships being sandwiched between two opposing lines of the British ironclads. This resulted in a lot of damage to USS Roanoke and USS Colossus in particular, although HMS Caledonia also got a hammering. The rest of the US fleet managed to escape at full speed but only nightfall and the end of the game saved the trailing monitors from probable destruction.

The end result was a clear victory for the Royal Navy, who inflicted twelve points of damage for the loss of only six to the US Navy. The French played no real part in the game, although they did get in a single broadside in the penultimate turn. The worst of the damage was suffered by USS Colossus, which was Crippled, but USS Ajax and USS Wyandotte were also Silenced, leaving USS Nebraska, USS Puritan and USS Roanoke Damaged. In return, HMS Minotaur and HMS Caledonia were Silenced, while HMS Agincourt and HMS Ocean were only Damaged.

In the mini-campaign, the result of this final game means that the blockade of Halifax will now be lifted by the Admiral Hope, whose warships will now steam north to relieve the besieged port. The damage inflicted to HMS Minotaur and HMS Caledonia will be patched up in the naval dockyard and both ships will be able to return to Portsmouth for full repairs. The US Navy has been badly mauled and will have lost USS Colossus, which was so badly damaged that she has been scuttled by her crew. The remaining monitors manage to disengage under cover of darkness and slip back to Boston, where Rear Admiral Boggs will shortly be court martialled, albeit on rather unfair grounds. The French squadron makes a discrete but rather premature about turn and steams back to Brest!

The game threw up a few niggles again but I have ironed these out by modifying the AP cost of repairs and uprating the impact of Silenced and Crippled status on the ability of ships to move and fire. It's very difficult to actually Shatter ironclad ships, as they invariably repair before the damage can be inflicted and it requires 4:1 modified odds to get a Shattered result. I've now tweaked this a bit to make it more expensive to repair Silenced and Crippled ships, also making the negative DF modifier higher for ships with these levels of damage. It needs playtesting but I think it will make things a little more decisive?

Fistful of Lead: Starfighters!

This set of fast play, fun space fighter rules has just been published by Jaye Wiley, based on the core mechanics of the Fistful of Lead system. I thought this sounded like a blast, especially as my kids really like Fistful of Lead and also X-Wing, so I downloaded a copy this morning. I was a bit sceptical at first but it really does make a lot of sense and the way the rules have been adapted to space fighter combat is really very clever. 

I've been looking for something like this for ages, so I'm itching to try the rules out. I have some old plastic EM-4 space fighters somewhere that I could quickly paint up but I also like the idea of getting a handful of the Brigade Models 6mm scale fighters, as they would be perfect for this scale of game. There's a Polish fighter currently on sale that has a very retro look about it and I'm sure they'd look amazing painted up, even by me with my dodgy brushwork.

Thanks Jaye!

Thursday 25 June 2020

Beja Back on Track

I've had a couple of days of decorating and DIY, so made little progress on the Beja units for The Men Who Would Be Kings project, but today I was able to move them on quite a long way. They now have all of the basic blocking in completed, apart from the metallic bits, and the tobes and shields have had a top highlight layer as well. I have used two shades for the tobes, half with the original Foundry Buff Leather that I used on the first unit that I painted, the other half in Foundry Drab. These will all be mixed together at random when I assemble each sixteen man unit, so that there is a realistic tribal look to the army. The last lot of figures may also get some of the tobes in another base colour to add some variety, possibly Foundry Moss or a similar dusty shade. I'm planning to finish these two units over the next couple of days, so that I can move onto the last Tribal Infantry unit and the Irregular Infantry skirmishers next week.

Monday 22 June 2020


In between painting the house and other DIY headaches, I've been painting the figures for the Sudan project but also playing quite a few games of X-Wing with the lad. I gave all of my first edition X-Wing stuff to him for his present at Xmas, along with some new things to bump up the collection, so he's been learning the rules and trying them out over the lockdown period. I don't post reports here but over on my other blog, where you can see what we've been up to. It even got Tango'ed on TMP when the eponymous shyster spotted some of the photos from the blog and re-posted them to the forum, so the lad's even had fifteen minutes of wargaming fame:

I'm sure we'll have plenty more games to play over the next few weeks.

Sunday 21 June 2020

SAGA West Saxon Warband Leader

This set of three cavalry command figures by Tanatus Miniatures was on sale on the Northstar website, so I ordered a pack to use as a warband leader for SAGA. I have a Gripping Beast mid-Saxon warband which I originally collected together for Shieldwall many years ago, but it was missing a decent, charismatic leader figure. I think this mounted figure and his standard bearer will do the job very well, perhaps even representing King Egbert c838, when the West Saxons fought against the Cornish and their Viking allies. 

Saturday 20 June 2020


There are no rules for river gunboats in The Men Who Would Be Kings, which is a shame, but they do feature in Death in the Dark Continent, so all is not lost. I've always fancied scratchbuilding one in 15mm or 28mm, so I thought I'd re-read this book for some inspiration and just because its a very interesting subject.

It's also got a couple of chapters that are of interest for Broadside and Ram or Dahlgren and Columbiad ironclad scenarios including one on the Crimean War and another on the Opium Wars, as well as the usual conflicts. I remember reading it years ago and I think I'll enjoy it just as much now as I did then.

On To Beja Unit Two and Three

I'm now starting on the next two units of Beja, which I've just washed in a black / brown ink wash, with a splash of Future to help it flow into all of the corners. It's a bit weird to wash them before blocking in but I want to have a good key for the paint and also make sure that all the cracks and crevices in the figures were shaded in. I also don't want to overwash the whole figure once I've painted it, as it tends to dull down the lighter shades for which I use a GW Gryphone Sepia wash later on anyway. The next step, once the ink wash has dried, is to block in all the black areas including the hair, spear tips, swords and rifle fittings. I've chosen figures with a minimum of fiddly bits to paint so the plan is to get them done by the end of the week.

Friday 19 June 2020

First Fuzzy Unit Finished

I completed painting the first unit of Beja tribal infantry for The Men Who Would Be Kings this morning, so I am moving onto the next two units which I'll paint up in one go. This will be thirty two figures, which is quite a lot and double what I've done so far, but I now have a pretty straightforward sequence to follow so I'm hoping to get them done by this time next week. I've added some scrub tufts to the bases of the completed unit but will need to texture and paint the sabot bases before they can be used for a game. I'm reasonably happy with the way they turned out, based on my fast and dirty painting method, but they won't win any prizes!

Plastic Fantastic Middle Earth Evil Army

Look what I found in the loft

That fits!

I've been rummaging in the loft again, this time in search of 28mm plastic figures that I could use as the basis of a cheap, quick skirmish project using the stuff I've already got. I had completely forgotten about these Lord of the Rings goblins, which I grabbed from the magazines when they first came out a few years ago, only costing £1.99 or so for each copy and the attached sprue, together with the contents of the Mines of Moria starter set. I have enough here for a twenty four point Middle Earth army for Dragon Rampant, consisting of some offensive light foot with spears and swords, some scouts and some warg riders. 

The latter can be made by sticking the goblins onto some plastic wargs, which I also have as a unit of six heavy or light riders. To finish off the army, there are a couple of cave trolls, which I can use as individual greater warbeasts or possibly as a unit of bellicose foot. I have some Copplestone giant spiders somewhere to throw into the mix as a unit of lesser warbeasts and even a small flying dragon, which isn't very Hobbit themed but would be an interesting addition. The best thing, apart from the fact I won't have to spend any money on a project, is that they will be relatively easy to paint if I don't fart about too much and use a simple technique. 

This is definitely worth further thought!


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