Saturday, March 18, 2023

A bit of an experiment

Concentrating on a single wargaming project seems to be beyond me at present. 28mm ACW and Punic Wars, 15mm Samurai and 20mm WW2 toys have all found their way across my workbench in recent days. And now it's 6mm WW2! 

I recently saw a Youtube video in which a gamer uses different styles of tuft to distinguish between platoons in an O Group infantry company. It struck me that I could use a similar approach to mark members of a particular company in TacWW2 games.

I picked nine T-34/85 platoon bases out of storage. Their bases already had various grades of flock and static grass so I tried adding distinctively coloured material in particular locations. Here's the result.

The rear and centre companies are marked with bushes made by dipping clump foliage in PVA and then rolling them in different colours of flock while the lead company has Gamers Grass 2mm tufts.

Quite pleased with how this worked out. I'll have to try it on some infantry later.

Friday, March 17, 2023

They've all got it infamy!

I've been meaning for ages to have a go at playing Infamy Infamy. So far I've only had a couple of tries at Ebor Lard and haven't really got my head around the rules.

I don't have suitable forces for the core period covered by the rules (late Republican to early Imperial Rome) but I should be able to do something with my Punic War models albeit they aren't based correctly.

I have some stats for Hastati from a Punic War playtest game Richard Clarke ran a couple of years ago and the rulebook includes Numidian cavalry and skirmishers so I tried a small game. The Numidians peppered the hastati with javelins for several turns before I discovered I'd unwittingly dropped the Roman warlord's card on the floor! No wonder they seemed reluctant to launch a charge!

I then switched to Gauls against Romans. The four sixes show the result of a particularly bloody volley of pila from the legionaries!

I'm keeping on getting my head around the rules and will play a proper game some time soon.

Monday, March 6, 2023


My late war Fallschirmjäger platoon for Chain of Command is based around a load of old Raventhorpe 20mm miniatures I bought when Rapid Fire still looked like a set of rules I might play regularly.

I originally painted them in early war uniforms (plain green jump smocks and brown leather equipment) but I had several figures left over that I've since done in later war uniforms.

I've found that the spare heads available from Raventhorpe are good for making other manufacturers' models fit in quite well with the chunky Raventhorpe lads. For example, my Fallschirmjäger engineers are old Battlefield miniatures with head transplants. The difference in stature isn't too obvious once you've done the head swaps.

For a platoon properly organised for CoC, I need some rank and file chaps armed with SMGs but I've used all of the Raventhorpe SMG chaps as NCOs. I decided to see if a Raventhorpe head would allow me to convert an Italeri plastic engineer to fit. Taking the figure with a grenade bundle and a Sturmgewehr, I did a quick head transplant and swapped out the weapon for an MP40 from another plastic figure (the Sturmgewehr was held in an unrealistic position and anyway I'd accidentally sliced off the magazine trying to move flash from the moulding).

The result was this:

Obviously he's wearing an SS camo smock that he's scrounged from somewhere but with the Fallschirmjäger jump helmet I think he fits in ok next to a Raventhorpe figure:

Finally, if you're interested, here he is alongside the original Italeri figure (who's on a Leader base aka 2p piece):

Please don't zoom in on these pics by the way - they are very much wargames figures designed to look reasonable at normal playing distances not precision military models!

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Books and authors

Yesterday brought some good news and some bad. In the morning this arrived. 

It's something of a classic and I was very surprised when Stella found it on line for about £9. It's a book I had out of my local library on almost permanent loan when I was a kid and I later obtained photocopies of most if not all of the contents but I always wanted a copy of my own. An Italian Wars large skirmish game is an appealing idea. Perhaps an adaptation of Sharp Practice or Muskets and Tomahawks? I guess Donnybrook would be closer to the period but I've never played it.

The bad news was a note picked up via Facebook that Ian Heath has passed away. I never met the guy but, like Don Featherstone before him, his books have been key reference material for me since, well, when I was first reading the Gush book.

Fight hard in Valhalla Ian!

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Siege of Hachigata part two

We recently played the second game of our Siege of Hachigata campaign with The Pikeman's Lament

The scenario was based on Dan Mersey's scenario The Relic from Lion Rampant. The general background was as follows:

The Takeda clan, under the famous warlord Takeda Shingen, are besieging the Hōjō clan’s castle at Hachigata in Musashi province.

The Hōjō generals have discovered that the Takeda have brought with their army a suit of armour that belonged to a famous clan ancestor. Takeda Shingen plans to wear it when his troops capture the castle. 

A plan was hatched to steal the armour, in its carrying chest, and take it into the castle. Ninja were hired to sneak into the village where the armour is kept. They would obtain the armour and carry it out of the village where they would meet up with a small party of Date Masamune’s men who would escort the relic back to the castle.

Last night Masamune led his men out of the castle and they stealthily made their way to a position on the road outside the village. There, they waited for the Ninja to return. Something seems to have gone wrong though. Dawn is breaking when the Ninja finally show up with a pack horse carrying the armour chest. The Date Samurai will have to fight their way back to the castle through the besieging Takeda army. 

Hōjō Tsebedetsu, seeing what is about to happen, leads his men on a rescue mission.

The table set up was identical to that used in the previous game. We began with a unit of Ninja (I used the stats of A Forlorn Hope unit but applied the "Thrown Weapons" rule to reduce their shooting range to 6" and their cost by one point to five) positioned on the road just outside the village.

The remainder of Masamune's men were deployed along the road by which the Ninja would leave the village.

Unfortunately, Phil (aka Hōjō Tsebedetsu) was unable to be with us having been taken poorly on the way over. I was forced to stand in. Sorry Phil, both for your feeling poorly and for my dreadful performance as Tsebedetsu.

Andy (Honda Gozemon) and Mark (Takeda Mochinaga) were coming on from opposite sides of the table with the objective of stopping the enemy getting away with Uncle Shingen's armour. 

Advancing from the castle gate I sent forward a unit of dismounted Hōjō samurai into the marshy area to the left of the road. This was ideally positioned to lure Mochinaga's cavalry into a wild charge that would have seen them floundering in the mire and cut down by their ferocious opponents.

Stupidly, though, I sent forward a second unit that remained in the good going. This game Mark the choice of which unit to Wild Charge against! In the picture above you can see the result. My second Samurai unit (red sashimono, top right) has been reduced to two figures, one of whom is Hōjō Tsebedetsu!

That the Hōjō Ashigaru have gained a morale-boosting agitator (marked by the green token) was small compensation.

Nearer the village, Ron was working hard to try to get away with the packhorse carrying the armour box. The ninja were wiped out early and a samurai unit was escorting the relic. Threatened by a nearly intact mounted Samurai unit and some Ashigaru arquebusiers, it wouldn't be long before they were caught.

At this time Honda Gozemon decided to challenge Date Masamune to single combat (thus achieving one of his pre-game Boasts).

The result was a draw and both samurai returned to their units. 

As it happens, we'd discussed single combats prior to the game and came up with a house rule for this particular campaign. 

Normally in The Pikeman's Lament any officer's death results in a post-game roll on the Officer Casualties table with results ranging from dishonourable death to heroic escape. We weren't sure, though, that this fitted well with Samurai duels, which would often have ended with the losing fighter being beheaded! It would be fine, from an historical flavour point of view, to say that duels that end in a victory to either side are fatal to the loser but that would be less fun from the campaign point of view. In the end we decided that, in the case of duels only, we would roll twice on the Officer Casualties table and apply the worse result. This makes death a more likely outcome whilst still leaving open the possibility of escape.

Shortly after this, with my/Hōjō Tsebedetsu's forces too far away to assist, the last member of Date Masamune's samurai infantry unit was cut down. This took Ron's leader out and meant that the Takeda were able to safely retrieve the box of armour for the win.

This left us needing to roll for both Tsebedetsu and Masamune to see if they survived the battle. 

Hōjō Tsebedetsu, it emerged, had been captured whilst fighting honourably in combat. He was ransomed back by defenders at the cost of three points of Honour. He had also failed to achieve his boast that all of his units would succeed in making at least one attack during the game.

Date Masamune was also captured but only after he had been caught hiding in bushes alongside the river. Ransoming him back cost him 5 points of Honour. He had made no pre-game boast.

Meanwhile, Takeda Mochinaga had won the action and although he had acted without panache at one point and failed to achieve his boast (that he would kill or rout at least half of his enemy's units) he gained a net three points of Honour.

Honda Gozemon was the hero of the day, however. Also on the winning side, he achieved two boasts (The katana not the bow! - killing more enemy models in close combat than by missile fire; and Hear my lineage! - challenging an opposing leader to a duel). Acting without panache at one point was the only negative and he finished with an additional seven points of Honour!

After two Takeda wins, the campaign scores are now very spread out:

Honda Gozemon has 27 points 
Takeda Mochinaga has 17 points
Date Masamune has 14 points
Hōjō Tsebedetsu has 7 points.   

In addition, Honda Gozemon now has the Banzai! trait. This is my Japanese-appropriate replacement for the rules' Gå På allowing a unit within 12" of him to automatically pass a Move activation once per turn.

Given that the Takeda have now won two consecutive actions, I wonder if the next one should be an attempt to storm the castle (or at least to seize an isolated bastion)?   

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Plan for the year

I know we're well into February but I'm just now beginning to get a picture of what I want to get done over the coming, let's say, ten months.

First up, I plan to host at least one game a month across the year. The emerging Samurai campaign using The Pikeman's Lament will go some way to making that a reality.

I've got quite a lot of ACW figures still to finish. I'll certainly get them done and plan to organise a Sharp Practice mini-campaign based on the operations of the Mississippi Marine Brigade but that'll probably be towards the end of the year.

Before that, Richard P and I have a plan to do some Sharp Practice set in Latvia in 1812 and we're also down to run the Riga game at Sherwood Outlard in April.

I've decided that a major modelling project will be to concentrate on upgrading my existing stuff rather than buying loads of new terrain and armies. This afternoon I've been upgrading some 20mm Fallschirmjäger and painting a second Humber Scout Car (the original one, furthest from the camera, was done a year or more ago). 

I've also upgraded this ruined building from Commission Figurines, adding more rubble, internal floors and roof as well as adding more painted detail to the exterior.

I'm tempted to have a go at adding some broken glass to the windows but that may be a step too far.

I'd like to get my 20mm Second World War collection to the kind of standard that I'd be happy using it to present a game of Chain of Command at a Lardy Day. That's a high standard to aspire to though. Not sure my existing plastic figures will cut the mustard, even with improved paint jobs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Quick terrain

This is by way of a recommendation. If you're at a show where Richard Phillips is selling the Scotia Grendel resin terrain, it's well worth having a look at what's available. 

They come in blister packs and, once undercoated in black, they paint up really easily. These two dungeon terrain bits took me about a hour to paint this morning (I'd undercoated them a few days ago).

I'm not sure how much longer Richard will have them in stock so it's worth making a purchase while they're available if you think this sort of thing will improve the look of your fantasy games.