Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hearts of Foamcore part 3

As I mentioned previously, the next plan was to add some anchor chains to the pointy end of the ship.  These were made from bits of broken jewellery chain provided by the lady of the house.  The winding gear is represented by a couple of spare stowage boxes from the Matchbox Stuart kit.

I've also had a go at making some hatchways for the superstructure...

... and as you can see, I've slapped on base coat colours to see what the overall effect looks like.

Detail painting and the addition of crew begins soon.

Monday, February 27, 2017


I've finished another element of the British forces for Crisis Point.  This is part of the logistic train for WoosterForce.

The figures are actually WW2 Indian Army figures from Friend or Foe. They have the wrong pattern of webbing for WW1 but I'm not that fussy.

They've been very simply block-painted and then washed with Vallejo Sepia Wash.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Hearts of Foamcore part 2

More progress on the "cruiser" this evening.

Front and sides of the turret built up from plastic card. I'm in two minds as to whether to add a roof or to leave it open topped.

Then I added portholes to the superstructure.  They are costumier's eyelets set into holes bored into the foamcore. You can also just see that I've added a piece of brass tube in the stern.  This will allow me to swap in different nations' ensigns as required.

Next up I want to find some bits of plastic and a couple of lengths of chain so I can crudely represent the anchor chains for'ard.  Oh and I need to decide how to represent crew access hatches on the superstructure.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

On the workbench - Hearts of Foamcore

Over the last week or so I've been gradually building a generic WW1 cruiser in 20mm scale.  It will serve in April's Crisis Point game.  I'm not going to reveal yet whose ship it will be!

The hull is made from two pieces of foamcore sandwiched together.  I glued a plan downloaded from the internet to one piece to give me a cutting guide for a suitable ship-shape.

The superstructure is two foamcore boxes with artist's mounting board tops.  The funnel is a piece of half-inch copper pipe. It's just balanced in place in the photo above.

The gun will eventually be in a partly enclosed turret.

It's the gun from the Matchbox Wespe with the muzzle break cut off.  I've built the turret floor and the gun mount out of 1mm plasticard.  A white metal hand wheel from the spares box added a nice piece of detail.  The turntable under the turret is a 30mm MDF base and a slice of cocktail stick forms a pivot.

Since the above photos were taken I've painted the gun prior to building the sides and top of the turret (it'll have an open rear).

The funnel is glued down.  I packed the bottom of the tube with Green Stuff whilst it was standing on a piece of polythene.  This gave me a flat surface onto which I could apply glue. There was no way simply running glue around the rim of the tube was going to provide a secure attachment.

You'll see that I've plated the outside of the hull with thin card.  I've also added a bit of detail to the deck at the stern.

Next up, build up the turret and work out how to do hatches and portholes.  I may also add some anchor chain detail to the foredeck.  Then painting!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Upgraded Brits

These are a starter pack's worth of Tumbling Dice WW1 British in shorts and pith helmet. I first painted most of them for a game I ran at Gauntlet in 2007. I've now updated the basing, given them a going over with Vallejo Sepia Wash and painted up the previously unused Lewis Gun teams.

This gives us a depleted platoon (or depleted battalion in Rapid Fire terms).

I've rebased the officer and NCOs on 2p coins.  I've started doing that since I discovered Chain of Command - it's a lot easier to distinguish leaders at a distance that way.

They'll form part of the British contingent at April's Crisis Point; probably as part of the WoosterForce flying column.    

Prone Lewis Gun team

Firing and moving Vickers guns - the ammo carrier provides a third
figure in either case

Friday, February 10, 2017

Vapnartak 2017

The three non-student members of the family headed up to York on Sunday to see Jamie and so he and I could visit Vapnartak. This is one of my favourite shows, mainly because I always get to meet loads of friends from across the broader war games community. Hi again to Andy H, Mark K, Kenny T, Colin R and Phil G.

Vapnartak isn't hugely endowed with display or participation games but I did take a few photos.

One of the most prominent games was this 28mm scale Kut-al-Amara game. Lots of inspiration for Andreivia...

It would be good to get some naval support like this on the table in April....

Interestingly this WW1 British defeat was also the subject of another game, this time in 15mm scale and taking a much more strategic approach.

British forces in Mesopotamia retreated to a fortified position in a loop of the River Tigris (see the far end of the picture below) and awaited relief that never came.

More random photos...

Jamie spent a little while talking to some late Roman reenactors. As a part-time Viking himself I'm sure he had lots of experiences to share.

Finally, what is a war games show without a little shopping? With birthday money burning hole in my pocket I bought a couple of X-Wing ships (a TIE Bomber and another Z-95 Headhunter) and a bag of WW1 Turkish infantry in fur hats. The latter are ideal for the Caucasus campaign and hence for Andreivia.  The two Saga packs are Gripping Beast Arthurians. They were my present from Jamie.  The Bible Abridged Beyond the Point of Usefulness came from Charlie. 

Finally there's a pack of Footsore Miniatures Saxons. These will be joining Jamie's Saga warband but after purchasing them he realised that they came without spears and with undrilled hands. We agreed I'd take them away and get them ready for painting. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Any Star Wars experts out there?

Do you know what this is?

It's been serving as the Stronghold of my matched pair of Battle of Hoth armies for Hordes of the Things for many years.  It's made of heavy grade, grey polythene but there's some kind of mechanism inside. There's a LucasFilm copyright notice printed on it somewhere so I guess it is actually from somewhere in the Star Wars canon.

As the picture below shows, there's a rotating section on top and some kind of ratchet mechanism can be heard inside as it moves.

What the hell is this beast?

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Battle of Sarigan, 1910

For most of the last week I've been in the grip of a nasty little bacterium whose malign influence is only now beginning to wane.  As a result it's only now that I can report on January's Saturday Afternoon Wargame.

This was the first time I'd introduced Perfidious Albion to the Saturday Afternoon crew.  Given that we had four players, two of them youngsters, I decided to keep the number of ships to a minimum and leave out some of the rules.

Our scenario was based on the idea that Carruthers, at the end of his adventures with Davies in the  Frisian Islands (see Erskine Childers' The Riddle of the Sands), reported back the the Foreign and Colonial Office on their discoveries. His account was leaked and caused a public outcry.  How dare the beastly Hun attempt an underhand attack on dear old Blighty?  Something must be done! When our game takes place, the Admiralty has given orders to all Royal Navy ships at sea to engage and sink any Kriegsmarine vessels they encounter.

Our game took part in the Philippine Sea where Rear Admiral Woodward's (Gus's) squadron was to form up at the uninhabited island of Sarigan before seeking out the German East China Squadron (Rear Admiral Krähfeld, me).  Woodward's flag was carried by HMS GOOD HOPE and he was accompanied by the light cruiser GLASGOW. At Sarigan he was to rendezvous with the rather slow pre-dreadnought battleship CANOPUS commanded by Capt AJ Woodward (Arthur).

By an improbable coincidence, the main striking force of the East China Squadron (two modern armoured cruisers) was also to rendezvous at Sarigan. Krähfeld (in SCHARNHORST) was to form up with GNEISENAU (Capt. von Fluhwitz, Leo).

Starting positions were determined by some simple cards I made up at the start of the game. GOOD HOPE and GLASGOW would begin at anchor at the island whilst Canopus would enter from the south eastern corner of the table.  SCHARNHORST would enter from the southwest and GNEISENAU from the northeast!

This gave Gus the potential to concentrate his forces against a single German vessel but the anchored ships would take a while to get to full speed and CANOPUS, though carrying the heaviest guns, was the slowest ship in the action and would take time to join the fray.

Scharnhorst, foreground, with Good Hope and Glasgow
visible near the island and Gneisenau beyond.
Gus, perhaps taking the view that I, having played the game before, was the greater threat, moved GOOD HOPE and GLASGOW towards SCHARNHORST and a gunnery duel soon began.

Scharnhorst prepares to meet the British

Glasbow and Good Hope get under way

The sailed rather too close to the island under the rules as written but
I hadn't mentioned that to them so I ruled that the volcanic island
lacked the usual 3" surrounding area of shallows. 

A turning duel developed between SCHARNHORST and the two British cruisers and the German ship's superiority in big guns (a broadside of six 8.2" guns compared to GOOD HOPE's two 9.2s and GLASGOW's two 6" guns) began to cause damage to the British ships. The British players began to refer to their flagship as the No Hope!

At this point the 12" guns of CANOPUS began to find their range.

Canopus (far distance) begins firing on Scharnhorst
As CANOPUS closed the range, SCHARNHORST began to take damage. Her excellent amour was no proof against 12" shells.  Suddenly there was a mighty explosion and the German cruiser disappeared in a cloud of smoke. When it cleared there was nothing to see but a little floating wreckage.  A 12" shell from Canopus had struck her aft magazine!  

Scharnhorst explodes just as Gneisenau (right)
enters the battle area
At this point von Fluhwitz would have been well advised to withdraw as quickly as possible, albeit he'd have to do so by sailing in between the converging British forces.  But he couldn't resist slowing for one more shot at sinking one of the cruisers and he payed a heavy price.  A close range shot, and a lucky dice roll saw another magazine penetration and GNEISENAU too was lost with all hands. An observer on the bridge of one of the British ships was heard to mutter, "There seems to be something wrong with their damned ships today".

So a clear victory for the British.  There's likely to a knighthood in it for Admiral Woodward.

The rules were enjoyed and I think the decision to keep the number of ships to a minimum was a good one. Gus grasped the mechanisms quickly and was able to help Leo and Arthur with understanding their ship cards. Leo did spot an inconsistency in terminology - what are flooding boxes in the rules are flotation boxes on the charts.

Gus had to dash off to mark some finals papers so I took advantage of our early finish to teach Leo and Arthur the basics of X-Wing. We'll certainly play Perfidious Albion again soon but I think a bit of X-Wing may well feature in next month's Saturday Afternoon Wargame.