Sunday, May 28, 2017

Chillin' in Sheffield

It's been a sociable week here in Steel City.

On Thursday evening I met up with Tom and Chris from the Too Fat Lardies forum. Beer was consumed and plans were made to play Chain of Command, a CoC/Mud and Blood WW1 mash-up, and Dux Britanniarum.  I've even moved on with the times and downloaded WhatsApp to my iPhone to assist in our planning!

On Friday lunchtime I knocked up a simple, branching decision tree to choose what our CoC scenario should be.  The dice app on my phone led the way to a game set in the Reichswald in early 1945.  The British are launching a flank attack.

And then on Saturday there was the new ChillCon wargames event at Ecclesfield School. I only picked up on the existence of this event on the Thursday so they obviously need to work on their advertising.

As I could only manage to get across for an hour or so, this turned into a brief session of shopping and chatting with acquaintances.  There was a room full of what mostly seemed to be competition games and a school hall full of traders.  There was nothing much that struck me as inspiring in the way of games.

I bought myself a box of Plastic Soldier Company Panzer IVs in 1/72nd scale...

I've already assembled and undercoated these!  I'll report back on them when finished.

Besides that, I bought a couple of packs of wire spears from Ainsty and some 6mm Roman stuff from Mick at Leven.  More on these later.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Retreading the Boards part two

I took Monday off work and, besides running a couple of errands, managed to make considerable progress on upgrading the old chipboard squares.  

Firstly I mixed up industrial quantities of colours that approximate to those I use on my bases. I used a mixture of craft acrylics (from Hobbycraft) and cheap "student" artist's acrylics from my local bargain shop. These colours were applied in irregular splurges across the tables.

The effect at this point was reminiscent of an SS camouflage pattern but I didn't panic. I applied progressively paler layers of dry-brushing to bring out the texture of the surface and to blend the colours together somewhat.

Finally for day one I applied some patches of Woodland Scenics Blended Turf (Green Blend).

The next step will be to add patches of static grass in two different colours.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Retreading the Boards

I have some two foot chipboard squares that have served as various types of terrain over the years.

They started out covered in permanently affixed 6mm terrain complete with roads, painted fields, pan scrub hedges and buildings.  I soon decided this was too restrictive (and a pain to store) and stripped the terrain off them. They've been repainted many times since then and seen many a HOTT battle. Of late, though they've been sitting unused other than as support for terrain cloths when using the spare bed as an impromptu gaming table.

I thought I might have a go at updating them to the standard of my more modern terrain.

The first issue is that several of them have rather ragged corners:

I'm trying to address this by rebuilding the corners with Milliput.  Not sure how strong and stable it'll be but we'll see when it's set.  For now it looks like this...

I have the day off on Monday and plan to spend the day doing a little light terraforming!

Monday, May 15, 2017

X-Wings and TIE Fighters

I've owed young Harry in the village a wargame since his Mum bought one in the school charity auction a year ago.  Given a choice of subjects, Harry picked "Star Wars spaceships", the game to be played with his friend Leo.

As I was introducing the rules for the first time, we started with a relatively simple game featuring just the three ships in the starter pack - two TIE Fighters and an X-Wing.  

I wanted to simplify things slightly. I didn't go as far as to use the start-up rules in the boxed set as I think they simplify too far but I did leave out critical hits and I made sure there were no pilot abilities to confuse things.  The TIE Fighter pilots had no abilities at all and the X-Wing was piloted by Biggs Darklighter, whose special ability has no effect when his is the only Rebellion ship in the game.

After a quick teach-in on the rules we got started with Leo representing the Galactic Empire.  Victory went to Harry in about an hour and a half.

The lads then swapped sides as we introduced some more ships, some better pilots and the full combat rules.

Harry had two TIE Fighters (Dark Curse and Winged Gundark) and Darth Vader in a TIE Advanced.  Vader's ship carried a concussion missile.

The Rebels fielded Biggs again, joined by Luke Skywalker (with R2-D2 in the astromech mounting).

Darth started with a head-on pass at Biggs.  He fired off his missile and managed to strip off Biggs's shields.  The action then developed into a confused melee and eventually Vader's ship was seen tumbling off into the blackness of space.  Another win for the Rebellion!

Both of the lads enjoyed the game greatly.  I suspect I know what's going to be on some Christmas lists this year!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Ancient History

Browsing through a box of old photographs I came across these pictures of one of the earliest war-games I ever played.  They use 1/300th scale models purchased from the late, lamented Games of Liverpool.  Some of them are even painted!

The battlefield is two old Subbuteo pitches on top of which I've placed roads and river made from cardboard some resin buildings and some buildings and walls made from Das Pronto air-drying clay.

Going by the orange thread baseline in the final picture I must have been using the WRG 1950-1985 Rules.  There were some interesting mechanisms in those rules but for me they were superseded by Challenger. This will have been a solo game fought in my parents' garage in Meols.  I've no idea of the result but with Chieftains against T-62s I guess the British would have done OK.

Looking at these pictures now, it's remarkable how many of the models are still in my collection somewhere.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Swiss and Italians Completed

Having got Crisis Point out of the way I've not been doing too much wargame related stuff. I have, however, got a few 28mm medievals finished.

First up, I've done a unit of Swiss crossbow-armed skirmishers (bidowers in Lion Rampant terms).

The figures are all by the Perrys. The core of the unit is three figures from the metal Italian crossbowmen blister.  I chose the least Italian-looking of the figures and did a couple of head transplants using Swiss-appropriate heads from the plastic boxes.  The remaining figures are one from the Perry plastic Continental Mercenaries box, an officer with sword and buckler from a command blister, and a chap with a horn who came in the blister that contains the bear mascot.  

Next up is my unit of Italian mercenaries.  Some of these have appeared here previously as a six-man bidower unit.  I've now added extra figures from the command and a second Italian crossbowmen blister to give me a full 12-man crossbowmen unit.

Because this unit contains repetitions of three castings (again they're all Perry metals) I've added feathers and mazzochios (the cloth doughnuts around helmets) to add a little variety.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Peninsular Thoughts

I'm re-reading Mark Urban's The Man Who Broke Napoleon's Codes at present.

Revisiting it with Sharp Practice 2 fresh in my mind, I'm having ideas.

Back in about 2002 I ran a skirmish campaign called Kameraden, which followed the men of a platoon from Infanterie Regiment Grossdeutschland through the 1940 Blitzkrieg campaigns from the Ardennes to Dunkirk.  I'm now considering revisiting the idea.

I rather fancy the idea of following a single infantry company through the Peninsula War by means of a series of Sharp Practice games.  My working title is With the Borsetshires in the Peninsula. As you can see I'm thinking of a fictional unit this time; it'll make it easier to have my lads involved in all the major actions without having to worry about the historical deployments of particular regiments.

I'm thinking of determining the characters of all of the officers of the light company of the Borsetshire Regiment.  That way I can trace their careers through the years from 1809 to 1814.

More on this when I've had the time to consider further.