Saturday, 18 November 2017

More ongoing stuff

Just to show that gaming activity has not stopped, here's a bit more.  

One project I have is to replace basetex with flock on some bases.  Basetex looked OK to me for a while, but then I went off the look and decided to replace it.  I could have taken all the miniatures off the bases and started again, but I figured it was easier to just replace the basetex patches.

The majority of my models which feature basetex are 15mm American Civil War, though there are some medieval I've yet to get around to working on.  It's not something I feel I have to do right away as the figures are good enough for tabletop battles, so this is a gentle on-going project.      

Here's where they start.  

I then brush water over the green basetex and let it soak for a few minutes. I may repeat the process before scraping off the basetext with a small screwdriver, modelling tool or old worn out brush. The bases then look a bit like this. 

Then I paint over what ever green is left to get back to a bare earth finish. I probably don't have to do do this stage, but I like getting back to a clear surface.  

Finally I apply the flock where the basetex once was, and the finish is more pleasing to my eye.  

Most of the bases I have to do are ACW infantry and artillery, and probably in the region of 200 - 250 total.  I've done about 50 so far and will do more as and when I can.

Meanwhile, other gaming activities carry on.  Here are two boardgames I've played recently at the club.  Squad Leader is still a venerable classic, and one of the best games for squad level combat.  

At the other end of the scale is No Retreat: The Russian Front, an operational or strategic game on that conflict.  It's a card supported game with a few units and another really fun game.  I'll do a fuller post on this game in the future.   

And just to show that painting has not ceased, here are some of my 15mm SYW Austrians which I've finally got around to starting.  I'm going to try to do enough Austrians and Prussians to refight Kolin for the Maurice rules.  It's an achievable target. 

Everything is based on 40mm front bases, with 4 bases per infantry or cavalry unit and 1 base per artillery unit.  

I've always liked these Essex figures, and I've put together my infantry as 23 figure units and my cavalry as 12 figure units.  I say 23 instead of 24 because I'm using a mounted officer in place of 2 foot figures.  This works out neatly with the Essex figure packs as 2 infantry packs of 8 figures and 1 command pack of 6 figures get me my unit, and all I need to add is a mounted officer.  

However, as I moaned in a previous post, I've never liked the cast on flags so I'm replacing all those figures with other officer figures, to which I've attached wire standard poles.  That will let me attach paper flags. 

And that's it for now.  In a couple of weeks at the club we'll be playing a Dark Ages variant of Lion Rampant rules, so I'm hoping to get a few pictures from that. More later ... 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

First game of To the Strongest - infamy, infamy!

Last night I joined two friends to play my first game of To the Strongest ancient rules.  These are a very interesting set of rules, played on a square grid and with units activated by playing cards.  Here are some pictures. The armies were 28mm Polybian Roman and Chinese belong to our host, and we played in a very relaxed manner, exploring the rules as we went.  Each army was about 12 units in size, which makes the game comparable to DBA or Basic Impetus. 

First, and very funny, the Roman commander drew a stratagem card.  What better way to start than with one the greatest quotes from British cinema.

Here's an overview after some turns.  This is a Roman turn and the centre command is being activated.  Each unit has played a card to move.  The value must be greater than 2. Then if the unit is to do more, such as move again, shoot or initiate combat, they must play a card of a higher value.  

And a view of the Roman right. The Chinese had advanced in their last turn.

The Roman left.   

And here's the classic moment when the Roman commander played the strategem card against the Chinese commander.

The situation on the Roman right.  My Chinese cavalry are outflanked.  The Romans and the leading Chinese lancers have taken a 'hit'.  Two hits and they are removed from the table.  Skirmishers are removed after one hit. 

 A view of the centre as the Romans advance.  The little dice behind the Chinese are ammunition markers to indicate how many shots of bow-fire the unit can make. 

The game was a close match.  For a time it looked as if the Chinese were going to win, but the Romans held their ground and defeated the Chinese left and right, then at the last gasp, the Chinese came back to defeat the Romans. 

It was a fun game, and I would like to play again. I'll be looking at my 15mm armies to see what I could use in the future, and the other chaps talked about also using 6mm and 28mm armies. 

More later.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Ongoing stuff, games and reading

I've not posted in a while, and though painting has dropped off a bit, games are still being played.  Here's a quick update of stuff at the club.

Our Longstreet  campaign continues. Four others who joined in have now played two games each and that brings all six of us up to the same campaign point of mid-1862.  I don't know how the Epic Points are looking for everyone, but most have been good games. 

If I've not mentioned before, success in the Longstreet campaign is measured in Epic Points, i.e. if you participate in a battle, if you launch epic charges or successfully defend against charges, you get points.  It's all about getting your name in the papers and history books and having statues put up in your honour (statues that will be taken down 150 years later!). This is not a campaign about winning or occupying enemy territory. 

The only game that was a bit 'iffy' was the attack across a river at 4 fords. It seemed a difficult task for the attacker and we couldn't figure out how an attacker might win to gain the objectives.  Maybe this scenario might be easier with later war armies and a lot of artillery.

Anyway, onwards into the second game of 1862. Now we can mix and match players a bit more.

A few weeks back I played the Salamanca scenario from CnC Napoleonic.  A great game, even though I lost. Sadly, with so many other games to play, the CnC games don't get played as much as I'd like.

Rommel is my newest game and we played an introductory scenario of Operation Brevity. This was a basic scenario with 4 chaps playing and me in the middle on rules n stuff. Everyone seemed to have a good time.  This is a game and a scale that appeals to me, rather than more skirmish oriented games, but only time will tell if we can fit more games into the club schedules.

The game is based on a square grid and units represent reinforced companies or battalions of artillery. Each grid square represent 1000 m / 1km across. It's very close to some of my favourite old boardgames, Wacht am Rhein, Highway to the Reich, Korsun Pocket etc. Some scenarios and suggestions for modern and WW1 variants have already been proposed on the Honor forum and I'm going to try work up some Battle of the Bulge ideas soon. 

And now some painting. When we were doing Longstreet and I was providing figures for two armies on each side, I realised I was a bit short of painted cavalry.  I've no shortage of unpainted stuff, but I decided to try get some more painted stuff on the table.  I also need to apply flock to my ACW bases and replace the old basetex with flock. 

All these were done with my more usual semi-wash painting style, that creates it's own highlights and shadows over the white undercoat. 

And finally, some current reading.  I've wanted to get these comics (graphic novels) on the Night Witches for a while. It was a story that fascinated me some years ago, about the women who flew Russian PO2 biplanes in WW2. The history is far more fascinating than fiction, though this 3 part novel is quite good and serves to supplement the history. 

I liked the passage where it said, "who coins the nickname is a mystery". But as I understand it, it was the Germans who gave them the title The Night Witches and they came to wear that name with honour.  A bit like our own Red Devils. 

There's stuff online about the The Night Witches / Nachthexen.  There's some on youtube, including interviews with veterans and even a subtitled Russian TV series called The Night Swallows.  It's quite good, though lighter in tone than Band of Brothers. I suppose the Russian censors didn't fancy the name "witches" and  chose the milder "swallows" instead, though they did dedicate the series to the women of the 588th / 46th Guards night bomber squardron.  Anyhow, you can find it here.

And finally, I got this is the post this week. This is about a series of battles on the eastern front in WW2. Little is known about because it was mostly a series of failures and the Soviet Union suppressed the details, preferring to focus on the much more successful operations round Stalingrad. 

More wargame stuff soon I hope. 

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Longstreet campaign - the walled farm scenario, spring 1862

Here are some photos from our first 1862 game. It's my fault the picture quality is not the best, but I hope they give a reasonable impression of our game.

We rolled for the scenario and got the walled farm and rolled again and I was attacker. My objective was to take the building at the rear of the farm and score lots of Epic Points. My opponent was slightly hampered by having to put one of his units off-table in reserve till turn 6.  

Here's an overview after the first couple of turns. I've decided to throw my attack on my right and outflank the walls.  My opponent had his artillery behind the wall in the middle but began to withdraw it when I moved right. I messed up the placement of my own artillery as I should have left myself with a clearer field of fire.  

Here's the other flank. I had two artillery bases, but a good shot by the union guns destroyed one of my guns (I'd say they were just lucky !) . The black smoke marker in front of the union battery shows they have fired.  My intention on this flank was just to keep the union occupied. In the centre, moving through the woods are my (semi-painted) dismounted cavalry. They are here because opposite them is the union cavalry behind the wheatfield. 

A closer view of my attackers. Note the number of confederate bases at this point. Still the strength with which they started the scenario. 

A couple of things to note here. There's a big patch of rough marshy ground appeared in front of my advance. That's because my opponent played a very good 'Poor Surveying' card as an interrupt in my movement phase. Because this is rough terrain, I needed to play 2 move cards to be able to move through it. Luckily I'd had done that to make sure my dismounted cavalry kept moving through the woods in the centre.

In Longstreet, like Maurice, a player can play an interrupt card in his opponent's turn and this can often mess up a deployment or move or a combat. 

Also here is the view after my opponents turn where I managed to play a 'Confusion' interrupt card and his defenders behind the wall advanced out into the open. They became a nice target for my next turn.

A couple of turns later and I've defeated the advanced union unit, though I have taken some casualties to do so. I also managed to play the 'Old Rivals' interrupt card on my opponent which stopped his reserve unit advancing. Essentially this card means two officers in  my opponents army start arguing over a girl and don't order their unit to do anything till they resolve their differences. 

Some views of the centre and right. In the centre my dismounted cavalry press ahead through the wheatfield. On the right it continues to be handbags at 100 paces though I have tentatively started to advance. The sad thing here is that both of us have veteran units with a hero on this flank. They were to remain unused throughout the game.

The confederates press on. Note the Cupar Volunteers in the centre are now down to 3 bases, the Dunfermline infantry on the right are 4 bases and the Leven infantry on the left are 5 bases. It was just after that point I took the objective, my opponent's morale crumbled and the union gave way. A victory for the Army of Southern Fife, but at a cost.

To finish up the campaign game, we then go through the post-battle process. This is when we might get promoted, get Epic Points, get replacements, possibly recruit new units and maybe even loose some bases to 'camp fever' or disease. I was lucky enough to launch a few grand charges in the game so got a few Epic Points for that, along with some for winning the battle and the objective.

Roll on the next battle. Luckily two more chaps at the club liked what we've started and want to join in. A third chap may also join in, so we could have a few players for the rest of the campaign. 

Monday, 31 July 2017

Longstreet Campaign

Recently I bought the new Fire and Fury brigade rules for the American civil war. This was the 2nd edition of a great set of rules that brought in some ideas from the regimental set.

However, while I was skimming through them, I realised that it was probably 3 years since I last played an ACW game, and that was Longstreet. Somehow ACW games dropped away in recent times; just too many games to play.

So after some thought I spoke to chaps at the club and two of us decided to start a Longstreet campaign. A couple of weeks ago we played our 1861 game.  We are hoping that as we go along, more chaps at the club will join in. 

If you don't know, Longstreet is a card driven miniatures game and great fun. Very similar in feel to Maurice, another Sam Mustafa game and one of our favourites. 

The great thing about the Longstreet campaign is that players don't  play on a map to win territory; they play for personal prestige in the form of Epic points. You get points for taking part in a battle, and leading grand charges or defending against great attacks. The objective is really to get your commanders name in the papers and history books. 

There are 9 games in the campaign, arranged by years. So one game in 1861 and two in 1862 when the Confederates have a slight advantage in cards. Then three games in 1863 when neither side has an advantage, and on to two games in 1864 and one in 1865 when the Union has a slight advantage.  And because my friend is a naval fan, we will likely substitute one game for a naval bash. 

In keeping with the spirit of the game, and as we are in central Scotland, I have command of the Army of Southern Fife.  Going into 1862 it is made up of the 1st Dunfermline, 2nd Kelty, 3rd Cupar volunteers and 4th Leven infantry, the South Fife Legion cavalry and batteries A and B of the Fife artillery.

My opponent commands the Union Army of the Tay, made up of the Perthshire volunteers, the Dunning and Luncarty infantry, the Blairgowrie Raiders cavalry and Stanley's artillery.  I can't remember now which units my opponent recruited for 1862.

This week we are planning to play our first 1862 game. I'll try to remember to take photos. 

More later ...

On the bench

I sort of lost the painting impetus recently, while at the same time trying to finish off my medieval Hungarians.  They were another army that's been in a box for ages. 

Here's some pictures. Only the light horse to go now, but it's been slow.  First the war wagons.

Pretty much finished other than some final touches and addinf flock to the bases.

Then the knights.

The foot chappies. The knights and these too, need flock added but I'll have a major flocking session after I finish the light horse.

And the light horse.  First the raw stuff, just started.

And then where I am tonight with them.

And another shot of the inside of the box.

I'm not sure about the final destiny of these chaps. I've only used them twice in all the years I've had them, so they may be sold.  I'll decide when they are all finished. 

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Essex 15mm SYW and their damn cast-on flags

I don't know if you have Essex 15mm Seven Years War figures.  Great figures - except the cast on flags. They have been a bugbear of mine for years, but I've finally got around to adding wire flag-poles to Essex SYW officer.  

Now, I'm a great fan of Essex 15mm, and I have bought thousands over the last 25 plus years, from ancients through to Napoleonics. They are a delight to paint. All except the cast on flags on some figures. Essex have eventually taken the hints from many gamers and have started to cast standard bearers without cast on flags.  But for a while, I've bought SYW officers and added wire flag-poles so that I can add paper flags.  

Here's some photos.  First is where I started. I just didn't want to paint these standards freehand. 

Luckily, Essex do both Prussian and Austrian officers on their own. Here are a couple of flags beside the basic officer figure. I've slightly bent the officer's arm and filed the inside of his left hand a bit to take the pole.

Another picture showing two finished chaps at the left.  The flag-poles are actually jumbo paper clips. I bought a pack of 50 or 100 from a supermarket. They did the job and were cheap.  It only took a little time to do. 

And what to do with lots of surplus standard bearers. They were undercoated and used as test beds for inks and some paints, so they were not totally useless. 

Ready for priming.  The chaps at the front are the new Essex SYW French standard bearers without cast on flags. 

And all the figures undercoated and ready for paint.  I am far happier at having just a flag-pole where I can attach a printed paper flag.

An interesting final note is that the British standard bearer doesn't have the flag wrapped around him so what there is can be carved off. Similarly, some cavalry standard bearers have flags that can be carved off.  Only a few cavalry figures need replaced, and again, luckily, there's a nice Essex Prussian dragoon figure carrying a musket upright in his hand which is easy to convert into a standard bearer.

Of course, all this is a bit more expensive by having to buy all these extra officers, and it all needs a bit of work. But the end result, to my mind and eye, is far more satisfactory.  I just need to splash some paint on them because most have been in boxes for years.