Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Normal service will be resumed

I'm without my iMac at the moment - it's in the menders being checked for what I think may be an annoying Trojan.  I'm posting this on Millie's laptop so no pics at present.

I've just been setting up some scenery on the table that is Charlie's bed.  I plan to have a go at trying out elites vs regulars at Chain of Command.  I shall be throwing a platoon of Soviet tank riders at a platoon of elite Fallschirmjaeger.

I've thrown a nine for the support level so the Soviet start of with nine points of support while the Jaegers get four.  The Jaegers have a platoon rating of +10, though and the Soviets are -3 so that means the final points to spend on support are 4 for the Germans and 22 for the Soviets!  That's enough to buy a whole platoon of T-34/76s and still have points left over to buy more whizzy stuff.  I shall ponder.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

On the Workbench

Just out of the paint-stripper are these old, true-25mm Napoleonic infantry.  They are of just the right size to go with my existing plastics.

I'm not sure what manufacturer they were by.  They came in a big tin of mostly plastic miniatures that passed through my hands a year or so ago.

I'll be using these for Sharp Practice 2 and may paint them as Italians or Swiss as I already have plenty of French.

Also for Sharp Practice is this ammunition caisson:

It's by HaT; one of three that come in the box.  I'm going to build a second one as "parked"; without the horse team and with the lid open.  I may well turn the third into a British equivalent using spare Airfix Royal Horse Artillery riders.  I'm sure they will have used some captured French wagons.  The question then arises do I leave it French green or will the RHA have repainted it?

Finally, in large 28mm scale we have a couple of new figures for Pulp Alley games.

The policeman was a freebie for people attending Partizan a few years back.  The bruiser is from the Pulp Miniatures Doc Savage set.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Old school lead

Nostalgia makes us do silly things.  I've never been able to bring myself to get rid of some Lamming 25mm ancient figures I bought from Games of Liverpool in about 1980.

I have the cataphracts above, one base of Roman legionaries and some auxiliary slingers and a few Ancient Britons.  Not enough to do much useful with but it's fun trying to make them look as good as I can given the crudity of the castings.

In a moment, well OK two moments, of madness I've just bought a couple of lots of distinctly old-school figures on eBay.  Arriving soon will be 24 more Ancient Britons and some Numidian light horse.  I plan to base them for To The Strongest with the option of using them for ancients-themed games of Dragon Rampant.  More when they arrive!

Monday, September 26, 2016


I'm making an effort to reduce the amount of crap cluttering up my games room.  I'm adopting the policy of disposing of one item each day.  Mostly at the moment that means throwing away boxes I kept because they looked like they'd be good for storing future terrain projects.  A couple of unwanted toys have gone to the charity shop.

It occurred to me, though, that a few unwanted rules sets could go to some of the local kids who are showing an interest.Hammers Slammers and 1st Ed Rapid Fire are going that way.

My printout of DBMM, however, has gone straight into the recycling bin. Discuss.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Aegean Strike part two - photos

On the Sunday of Aegean Strike weekend I took over umpiring the air support, which left me free to take more pictures of the tables.

Castle tourist attraction in the Aegean coast sector of Table 2

Hotel Ibis - a Timecast building based and detailed by
Richard Phillips

On Sunday my Spanish Matadors finally saw action

More Timecast buildings

Mark Fry's Sheridans in MERDC camo

These Cobras made repeated appearances in support of NATO
forces (rotor discs by Hurlbat I believe)  

These Spanish/Italian buildings from Alan Millicheap's
collection looked really good despite being notionally for
10mm scale

Mark F's Greek CO element featured three ranks of new recruits being
harangued by the big man himself! 

On Table 1 Keith T (left) expanded the Warsaw Pact bridgehead
on the Black Sea coast.  He was opposed by Portuguese forces
commanded by Ian S (right)

Confused fighting between Nick G's Russians and
Andy T's Turks

Russian assault engineers with flamethrower
(Irregular Miniatures, from their WW1 range)

Another look at Alan M's lovely Mediterranean buildings, here being
visited by my BRIPAC company (Spanish paras) in support of
Mark F's Greek armour 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Aegean Strike part one - Disaster in the Balkans

On Saturday morning I drove over to Broughton, near Chester, for the Cold War Commanders' weekend event Aegean Strike.  The weekend was two days of 6mm scale gaming of World War 3 in the Balkans in 1985.

I took along my long-owned but never used Spanish Marine Brigade (Tercio de Armada).  It was always going to be a chancy pick.  With a force consisting of two light infantry battalions and three outdated tanks (M48A3Es) I only really stood a chance if I found myself up against a Bulgarian Motor Rifle Regiment in a built up area.  Sadly this was not to be.

In fact, Saturday was pretty dispiriting from start to finish. On arrival I was informed that the Mistral SAMs I'd spent ages sourcing (and in a couple of cases scratch-building) were out of period!  I then found myself in an encounter battle over more of less open ground with only a couple of small woods (too small for a deployed battalion) as cover.  There was some built up area on the table centreline and whoever got there first would inevitably dominate the game.

Our sector - but missing 15cm or so of open ground from
baseline to woods
Hastily selecting about 3000 points from my whole force, I found that my opponent Steve was using units from a Soviet Tank Regiment (I think) in T-62Es, some of them armed with the latest in through-the-barrel ATGMs.  I was in trouble!

Steve went first and rolled really well with his command dice.  Before my Marines were even on the table he was deploying into the centre-line built up area.
Steve's BTRs have reached the middle of the table already!
On my first game turn a blunder by my neighbour (Hi Neil!) saw two of my units, including my only ATGWs (a Dragon and a Landrover-mounted TOW)  hit by friendly fire.  The TOW was immediately eliminated and the Dragon was suppressed!

The one chink of light came when I rolled double ones when calling in an air-strike.  I got a "broken arrow" - all the aircraft from five draws from the support deck!  I actually got two Tornados, four A10s, two Phantoms and an F-5 Tiger.  Sadly, we were playing the rules incorrectly, it later turned out, and the strike had virtually no lasting effect!

My first two Marine companies deployed to the only cover available - the woods on my right flank.  Sportingly, Steve sent his tanks forward into range of my C-90 infantry anti-tank weapons.  These proved ineffective and an attempt at close assaulting the tanks foundered on my inability to roll dice decently.

The Marine battalion was pretty quickly at half strength, whist my tank company found itself swamped by T-62s.

When it became apparent that I was rapidly losing the battle (and, personally, the will to continue) Umpire Richard P allocated me a battalion of US Marines and a tank battalion in M60A1s to arrive on my baseline by mobile deployment.

Unfortunately my die rolling got no better.  Half the tank battalion arrived and took up firing positions from just ahead of the baseline.  There seemed no reason for them to go further as there were plenty of T-62s already at close range.  Sadly the next command roll (to fire) was a blunder and half of the newly arrived tanks pulled back off table and were lost.  The other half of the tank battalion, some recon elements, and a Marine infantry battalion all failed their rolls to enter scoring 10, 10 and 11!

At this point I'd had more than enough.  I decided not to prolong the inevitable and started to withdraw.  Even that I couldn't do.  With Soviet artillery raining down most of my remaining infantry was pinned as the enemy tanks approached.

In consultation with the Umpires we decided to close down the sector and plan something else for the morrow.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Fugitive

Andy came over last night and we played another game of Lion Rampant.  The scenario was The Fugitive, in which one side (in this case my Burgundians) was trying to find and rescue and hidden person.  I decided that the fugitive would be a Burgundian spy (Jacobus Bund) who had recently escaped from Swiss custody.

The table had six areas of bad going (woods and rocky outcrops) any one of which might conceal our man.  The remaining single trees were just for show.

I lined up along my base edge so as to have the ability to reach all of the potential hiding places.  From the far end in the picture below I had mounted men-at-arms, longbows, coustilliers (mounted sergeants), bidowers, and more mounted men-at-arms.

Andy lined up opposite me with, again from the far end, bidowers (Italian mercenary crossbows), halberdiers, mounted crossbows, pikes, more pikes, and more bidowers (Swiss hand-gunners).

The game start well enough for me.    My Burgundian bidowers reached the first woods and confirmed that the prisoner wasn't there.  My coustilliers advanced to engage Andy's mounted crossbows.  My longbowmen advanced to just short of a second woods.

But then things began to go horribly wrong.  The men at arms on both flanks refused to advance.  The coustilliers, who should have defeated the mounted crossbows didn't and the longbowmen, who just didn't have enough move left to get into the second woods, came under fire from Andy's Italian mercenary crossbowmen (bidowers) from the opposite woods. Immediately the longbowmen failed their courage test.  They would spend the next few turns being gradually whittled down by fire before they finally fled without once getting a shot off!

The coustilliers charged Andy's mounted crossbowmen and should have driven them off but I rolled poorly and was soon they were in a bad way too.

All this time Andy's pike were advancing slowly towards my right centre.  They threatened to overwhelm my coustilliers and then, the coustilliers having joined the longbowmen in rout, to cut off the escape of the left flank men at arms who I'd finally managed to roll forward into the same area.

On the right flank I committed a grave error.  My right flank men-at-arms, finally advancing, headed forward to explore the rocky outcrop to their front.  Suddenly among the tumble-down boulders they spotted some red-clad Swiss.  With a sharp battle cry they charged!  This was a Wild Charge - exactly the kind of thing men-at-arms are prone to and exactly the  kind of thing you don't want them to do in these circumstances.

The Burgundian knights, the impetus of their charge broken by the bad terrain were cut down and forced back.  But of course they would continue to throw themselves at the elusive enemy!

The only small bonus was that, in falling back from the first, confused melee, they did so accompanied by Jacobus Bund who had been hiding among those same rocks!  

I could now win the game but only if I could find a way of disposing of these Swiss hand-gunners who would otherwise continue to lure my men-at-arms to futile death among the boulders.

My own Burgundian bidowers (a mixture of crossbows and hand-guns) were fortunately within range.  From among the trees (of the first wood we'd entered) they kept up a a reasonably constant fire. Would they clear out their Swiss opposite numbers before the Burgundian knights dashed them selves to destruction? Or before the whole force broke as a result of losing the other group of knights surrounded in the centre?

Fortunately for me the dice now began to be kind.  One more than one occasion my knights failed to make a Wild Charge into the rocks and on more than one occasion Andy's pikes failed to close in on my centre.  All the time the Burgundian bidowers were killing more and more of their Swiss counterparts in the rocks.  

Eventually the Swiss hand-gunners broke and Guy de Gadbois, leader of the retinue and lone survivor of his unit, was able to escort Jacobus Bund off to safety. 

Our opinion at the end was that this was the most Pyrrhic of victories.  I had only two units left on the board at the end.  My bidowers would probably sneak away but the remaining men at arms would, had the action continue, have smashed themselves to pieces charging Andy's now rapidly approaching pikes. 

For the first time we had two poor leaders. The Vulnerable Guy de Gadbois has led the Burgundians through half a dozen small actions and remained unscathed whilst the Insipid Gerhardt Schupp now became the first of our Swiss commanders to survive a skirmish!