Thursday 31 August 2023

2mm One Hour English Civil Wargames

The original plan for the 2mm English Civil War project was to use the One Hour Wargames rules, adapted for the purpose from the Horse and Musket chapter. However, I've discovered that this has already been done for me, with a specific rejigging of the Pike and Shot rules for the civil war. This variant adds two more unit types to the basic four unit system and a few specific rules tweaks to reflect the tactics used by the Royalist and Parliamentarian forces.

This looks really good although I think I will turn the Parliamentarian cavalry into 'lobsters' along the lines of reiters in the original rules, rather than use them as distinct from the Royalist horse. I need to check out the rules a bit more but, as you can see, I've already mocked up the basing for the six different units including (from too left going clockwise), pike and shot infantry, cavalry, 'lobsters' or trotters, dragoons, artillery and commanded shot. 

Autumn Offensive


The holidays are finally drawing to a close and it's time to look forward to the plan for the next four months. The main thrust will be the 15mm Red Actions! AFSR army, which I'm going to break down into what I hope are manageable sections, painting up one infantry or cavalry unit and a couple of support units at a time. So that I don't lose what grip on sanity I still have left, I'll also be painting up a couple of very small, self contained things along the way, possibly including 2mm English Civil War armies, the Strength and Honour Numidians or perhaps a few 1/2400th or 1/3000th scale naval bits and bobs. It's all going to kick off once I've finished the French Napoleonic fleet, which is rolling along quite nicely in the right direction.

Knights of the Sky 1916


I had a sneaking suspicion that we'd be a bit light on the German side for the Knights of the Sky game at the end of next month, so I had a rummage and dug out an Eduard kit of a Fokker EIV. This will go nicely alongside the Fokker EIII's and Pfalz EIV that I already have in the flight line. I'll get started on the kit in a week or two, along with an Airfix Be2c for the other side which is a new kit with lots of very nice details and a rather nifty pintle-mounted Lewis gun for the observer.

Wednesday 30 August 2023

Sandbox Skirmish Aden Insurgency


After a long holiday away, I've been making up for lost time by raiding the local second-hand and charity book shops. I have now acquired half a dozen assorted hardbacks and a few softbacks, the latter including a copy of Aden Insurgency by Jonathan Walker. This is the book that initially inspired my Sandbox Skirmish post-colonial project in 15mm a few years ago, although at the time it was the digital version on my now defunct Kindle. 

It's great to have a hard copy now, as I can flick from chapter to chapter making notes and finding useful information, without having to scroll back and forth on my phone, which is like reading a book through a letter box. It's made me want to pick up the project again and get the rest of the platoon painted up, along with their vehicles and that lovely resin Whirlwind helicopter. 

All Plain Sailing


I'm moving on to the highlight layer on the sails now, using Vallejo Pale Sand to overbrush the basecoat and wash. This is easy but fairly tedious, so I've only done about half of the second and third rates so far. I'll get the rest done tomorrow then crack on with the finer details. At this rate, I might actually finish this project by the end of the laid plans and all that?

Tuesday 29 August 2023

Strakes and Wales

I have started the washing and detailing bits on the French ships, with some experimental use of a Sharpie fineliner to add a black line along the wale between the strakes, only on the 80 gun second rates as these have smoother sides than the 74's. The latter just have the basic wash in either Citadel Flesh Wash or Seraphim Sepia, depending on the underlying shade. I'll add the highlight on the sails next before tackling the glazing in the stern.

Monday 28 August 2023

2mm Pike and Shotte Basing


I've been away for the weekend but got home this afternoon and had a play around with the 2mm Irregular Miniatures ECW blocks and some 40mmx20mm bases. These are smaller than I originally envisaged but work with the Tilly's Very Bad Day rules, as well as the conventional DBx system. The army pack I bought included several different sizes of pike and shot blocks, so I've tried them out in different configurations, each representing a regiment. I prefer the two up, one back three block arrangement but also quite like the one with four company blocks and an attached light artillery piece. I'll probably do a mix but have one layout as the most common, so that there's some variety in the two armies and so I can use as many of the blocks as I can, on top of some more that I've ordered.

Sunday 27 August 2023

Long Face Games FB Group


It's been a bit slow to get going but the Long Face Games FB group is now starting to move along in a positive direction, with close to one hundred people signed up over the space of a couple of weeks. I'm ploughing a lonely furrow at the moment but I'm sure that more posts will be forthcoming, so that I can ease back a bit and let other people take the strain. It would be great to have some more diverse posts from a wider selection of people, but I'm grateful to those who have already contributed. If you haven't signed up already or are interested in posting some content, from game reports, to rules queries or modelling ideas, that would be excellent. 

Saturday 26 August 2023

Knights of the Sky 1916


There's a game of Knights of the Sky scheduled at the club for the end of September and, as I had promised to build some models for just such an event, I had better get in with it. I actually have more than enough planes to go round, at least half a dozen or so, but I did say I would make a couple more. The current plan is to assemble a couple of Morane N 'Bullets' from the old Revell kit, either in RFC or more likely French colours, or an Airfix Be2c. I'll finish the French Napoleonic fleet first though, which I'm hoping to get done by next weekend.

Pikes Level


After a tip off about these rules (thanks Rob!) I've downloaded a copy from the Perfect Captain Facebook group. These look very interesting and would be a very good fit for my 2mm English Civil War project, for which I'm thinking of either 60mm x 30mm or 40mm x 20mm bases for each pike and shot regiment, with between two and four castings per base for both cavalry and infantry. I'm not sure how these rules would work for historical scenarios but they would be ideal for campaign games. 

Friday 25 August 2023

Mark VI Light Tank Review


I bought one of these 3D printed Mark VI light tanks from Badger 3D Creations via eBay before I went away on holiday. This was a bit of a punt as I've not bought anything from this company before, so I had no idea what the model would be like in the cold light of day. I'm happy to say that it's absolutely knock out! The model is very nicely detailed and scales well with Perry Miniatures figures and vehicles, as you can see from the pictures. It comes with two turrets, so you can select the one you want, which is a nice touch. The print quality is also excellent, the resin being pretty robust and with no obvious flaws or 'fudgy bits to clean up. A lovely model, so nice in fact that I've ordered another one, along with an Austin Tilly and a set of two universal carriers, the whole lot under £30 with free postage. 

Thursday 24 August 2023

Wash and Go


I'm back in the soggy, badly run and rather tatty UK now, which is a shame as I'd much rather be in sunny, neat, clean and beautiful Brittany. Anyway, to make up for the weather, I've been finishing the last of the blocking in, ready to give the whole lot a wash in this foul concoction, which I mixed up for the purpose. It's always a bit hair raising when you dribble this brown liquid all over your carefully painting models, but it usually adds some much needed definition. Here we go!

Wednesday 23 August 2023

2mm Pike and Shot ECW Armies

Stratton 1643
An entire battle in 2mm?
Why not?

The Strength and Honour project this year has really opened my eyes to the possibilities of this very small scale. I've found that painting armies in 2mm has been far less daunting and much more rewarding than usual, with the added bonus of being a lot quicker not to mention cheaper than 10, 15 or 28mm. In part this is no doubt because I already do a lot of my projects in very small scales, from 1/600th scale aircraft all the way down to 1/3000th scale warships, so I'm very comfortable with the techniques used for tiddly painting. 

As a result, I've decided to continue my exploration of 2mm wargaming with another Strength and Honour army, the Numidians, or an English Civil War project using the Irregular Miniatures range. The latter is an obvious direction of travel, as lots of other people have done similar things in 2mm with the Irregular Miniatures models and there's plenty of advice, ideas and inspiration available via the web. It's something I've thought about ever since I saw the Siege of Portsmouth game at Colours a few years ago and had a chat with Mark about how he set it up. 

I've ordered a starter army from Irregular Miniatures and have been sketching out some ideas already for another 'weekend' painting project. It will no doubt take longer than this to do but the aim is to not spend a lot of time painting and basing up the units, so that I can fit the project around the Red Actions! AFSR painting, which will require my full attention. As for rules, I've not decided yet, although One Hour Wargames may well be a good starting point with an emphasis on a simple solo campaign, possibly drawing on the system in the old 1644 rules. To fit this into the overall plan for 2023, I've had to rule out the Bag the Hun scenario writing project for this year and anything new for Wings at War, but both can easily wait for another year or two. 

Monday 21 August 2023

Bowsprits and Masts


I've had a thumping head all day and it's very hot, so painting has only moved along half as far as I wanted, with almost half of the models having the masts and bowsprits blocked in with a basecoat. I'm off home tomorrow, so that's it for the holiday project, which isn't too bad. I had hoped to have all of the French ships painted up to this stage, which I've almost achieved, but I also wanted to have started assembling the Royal Navy models, something I haven't even scratched the surface of yet. I do have about a week left in which to finish painting the French fleet, before I'm dragged kicking and screaming back to work,  so I'll crack on in the hope that I can wrap them up by the end of the month.

Sunday 20 August 2023

Floating Castles


While I'm heading off in an Age of Sail and Pre-dreadnought direction for my naval games at the moment, I've also been giving some serious thought to my 1/2400th scale French, British and American ironclad fleets, which are now gathering dust rather than being actively deployed. These have been used for many fleet-level games and also smaller naval actions using Broadside and Ram but I've never been entirely happy with the level of detail in the rules, despite being excellent for fast play and solo wargaming. The alternative is to use a more in-depth, fast play set like Dahlgren and Columbiad or the more involved Iron and Fire, both of which I've played before quite a lot, but they are more suitable for smaller engagements and larger scales, with an obvious leaning toward the American Civil War. 

So, to cut a long ramble short, I'm going to have another look at the old HLBS ironclad rules written by Chris Peers, which were originally an article in Wargames Illustrated many years ago but were published as a full set of rules under the title of Floating Castles. I like Chris Peers' rules, even though they are a bit quirky and lack some clarity including no index or QRS for starters, but these ones are designed for fast play, fleet-level games which is what I'm aiming for. I wrote an 'out of the box' review a few years ago, so you can judge for yourself:

I'll dig them out when I get back home, see if I can navigate my way through them and possibly even attempt to work up a QRS. The only thing that niggles is the gunnery system, which involves a D10 roll for each gun in a battery, so a bucket full of dice will be essential equipment. Otherwise, I think they may be the answer to my problem...?

Sterns and Beakheads


The latest painting stage has now been completed by blocking in the basecoat of Vallejo Sand Yellow on the beakheads and stern sections of the 1/2400th models. This was quite quick but still fiddly to do, with a bit of tidying up required using a very useful Fine Line Sharpie pen, which was perfect for cleaning up the details. At the moment, the yellow shade is quite bland but will pick up once washed and highlighted. The next stage is to block in the masts and bowsprit with Vallejo Yellow Ochre, which will be a little less straightforward and probably take a lot more time to get right. 

Saturday 19 August 2023

Up the Nile

I'm going to be reading this now, a paperback copy having been left on the bookshelf here and asking to be picked up. I've really neglected my interest in colonial Africa wargaming, so thought this would give me a much needed boot in the right direction. I've looked all the way back to the first posts on the blog and they were about an In the Heart of Africa project believe it or not, so I really should pick it up again but with The Men Who Would Be Kings or even Death in the Dark Continent. It's not like I have a shortage of 28mm  Copplestone Darkest Africa lead in the pile!

Friday 18 August 2023

Splash of Colour


The weather wasn't too bad this morning, so I've not done much painting apart from the strakes. These have been blocked in with either Vallejo Dark Red or Medium Flesh Tone, which are good base shades for the job. I'll aim to get some more painting done tomorrow but a splash of colour is already making a difference.

Thursday 17 August 2023

French Squadron White Blocking In Busted

That took a bit longer than I expected but it's now finished, so I can crack on with the next stage, the basecoat colours for the strakes, sterns, masts and spars. This should be a bit less time consuming and more rewarding, as a splash of colour helps to make them look a little less monochrome and a bit more like ships 

Imperial German Modernised Ironclads


I emailed Paul at Tumbling Dice the other day to enquire about the possibility of adding the various modernised ironclads to the pre-dreadnought German range. There were a number of these including the Sachsen class and the Oldenburg, for example, that were used for coastal defence in the Baltic in the 1890's. 

ASV 127 HMS Shah

Preussen Class Turret Ironclad

The tentative response was positive but there are other things on his 'to do' list that will push them way back down the line. In the meantime, I'm thinking of converting some of the ironclad range into earlier Prussian ironclads including the Preussen class, based on HMS Shah (ASV 127), to use against my Victorian French ironclad fleet.

Tuesday 15 August 2023

Napoleonic French Squadron: The White Blocking In Boring Bit


I've started the long and slightly fiddly process of blocking in the white on the 1/2400th French squadron, with a test run including the 118 gun flagship, a bog standard 74 and a 40 gun frigate. Not a lot but it only took about ten minutes per model, followed by a couple of minutes tidying up in black, so the other sixteen ships should be a piece of cake! I have an undisturbed day to paint tomorrow, so plan to get all of them done, ready for the base colours and ink wash. 

Monday 14 August 2023

Long Face Games Facebook Group

As you know by now, I am an enthusiast for Long Face Games naval rules, with lots of great scenarios and solo campaigns played using Broadside and Ram, Broadside and Salvo, Dahlgren and Columbiad and Find, Fix and Strike. As such, I was thinking today as I walked the dog in the drizzle, about setting up a Facebook group to cater for players like me, or those interested in trying out some of David Manley's extensive catalogue of rules. 

A quick email to the aforementioned gentleman and I have the thumbs up to go ahead. This will not only give me something constructive to do while it's still crappy weather here in Brittany, but also a longer term project to build the Facebook group into a thriving online forum dedicated to an excellent range of rules. That's the theory anyway but, based on my experience with AK47, Wings at War and the club groups, I think it will pick up quite a lot of interest.

Watch this space...

Sunday 13 August 2023

Imperial German Pre-dreadnoughts


I have a small number of the Tumbling Dice German pre-dreadnought models but thought it would be fun to expand this into a Baltic squadron c1900, to fit in with my other pre-dreadnought fleets. The ASP10 (Baltic Squadron c1905) discount starter set includes half a dozen models which fit with what I've already got and can form the basis of a 'What If?' Anglo-German or Franco-German littoral war in the Baltic, very much in a Riddle of the Sands style.

This is something I've thought about before and would be a quick painting project, given the simple all over off white, light sea grey paint scheme that the Imperial German fleet was decked out in. I already have the models for the British and French (and Russians), the French being assembled and based, ready for painting.

Yet more lead for the nautical look lead pile but I do like the Tumbling Dice models!

Saturday 12 August 2023

Fleet Manoeuvres in Miniature


I have about a week of holiday left in which to get the Napoleonic French models painted up, ready for some final finishing off when I get back home. I'm going to crack on next week to get the blocking in done, then move onto the washing and highlighting stage, hopefully wrapping them up by next weekend or thereabouts. 

I've also sorted out some frigates and sloop models to assemble as the starting point for the Royal Navy fleet, as a bit of light relief from all the painting. In theory, once I have some frigates painted for both sides I can actually get a few games underway, as I'm keen to try out Nick's rules which are very much suited to small scale actions!


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