Thursday, December 16, 2021

Marines in hats

Having used all of the suitable field caps from the Perry's plastic Prussian infantry to convert my ACW infantry into Mississippi Marine Brigade types, I thought I'd have a go at sculpting some of my own. 

After a little experimentation I think I've come up with something that'll work.

The Perry ACW figures come with whole heads that are bald but for a rim of hair. You can then glue on separate caps or hats. I've actually painted one or two in the past as hatless chaps with male-pattern baldness! This has the advantage that the head provides a nice large surface on which to sculpt alternative headgear.

My developing technique is to put a blob of GreenStuff on top of the head and shape it into a low cylindrical shape. I'm being less than scrupulous about cleaning up the sprue mark on the top of the head as it adds some roughness that helps the Green Stuff to stick. Sorry, pictures that follow are the final result, not step by step.

The crown of the hat is then another ball of Green Stuff that I've previously flattened into a disc. Press on and push into shape.

Finally, a small piece of Green Stuff forms the peak. I've found the best way to apply this is to shape it roughly before applying it and pressing it onto the cap with a sculpting tool. I then squeeze it into shape with a pair of fine pointed tweezers.

I need to paint up these samples to see what I think of the finished items. If I'm happy they'll save me buying a whole box of Atlantic Prussians just for the caps!

Friday, December 10, 2021

I've bitten the bullet

Whilst in London on Tuesday I popped into Orc's Nest on Earlham Street and picked up another box of Perry ACW infantry. The last box if these I bought became the main body of my Sharp Practice Mexican Republican force. This lot are destined to help me portray Ellett's Mississippi Marine Brigade under the same rules.

This unit is going to need a large number of peaked caps. I've used up all of the service caps from my Napoleonic Prussian infantry. If anyone has any going spare I'd be very grateful.  In the meantime I've had a go at making one from Green Stuff and plastic card (rear left). We'll see how it paints up. 

These infantry can be added to a few other figures I made earlier but haven't previously revealed here. These first two were left over from the Mexican Republican infantry project.

While the artillery box I bought, also for Mexico, is in the process of providing the Marines with some useful firepower. Another crewman in needed and there's a little more weathering to do on the gun.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

FV432 with Wombat

I have rather too many 1/300th scale FV432s. I'm very unlikely to field a 1980s British force with two mechanised infantry battalions in a Cold War Commander game so I've been thinking of ways to use what's left over.  

This picture, found on the Internet, inspired me to have a go at building an FV432 with 120mm Wombat RCL on the basis of a FV432 mortar carrier.

A length of plastic rod and a couple of cut-down 1/300th scale gun crew figures gave me a basis to work on. A bit of Liquid Green Stuff allowed me to create the flared-out rear of the recoilless launcher tube and the balance weight under the business end of the barrel.

It's crude but it'll do.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Steel Lard 2021

On Saturday morning I got up early (but not too early) and made my way across the city to Jury's Inn Sheffield, the site of Steel Lard 2021. 

There were in total ten games played using ten different sets of rules (well sort of; you need to decide that Chain of Command and Big Chain of Command are two different sets), which is pretty amazing.

The day was divided into two three-hour sessions. For some players a three hour slot was divided further to allow the playing of two 90-minute games.

I was one of those players and started off with a short game of John Savage's What A Cowboy! Thisadapts the mechanisms of World War 2 armoured skirmish game What A Tanker! to gunfights in the Wild West.

John's terrain was, as usual, fantastic looking with a mix of MDF and scratch-built buildings...

The game involved the good guys (myself and Andrew Beechener) had to ensure the the bearer of some property deeds got from one end of town to the other...

We had to get there in time to catch the 11am train. The bad guys led by that legendary gunman Trojan Sheeth (played by Kevin Fisher) were trying to stop us.

The time limit made for an exciting game. I used our own legend (Marshal T B Jabb) to lead the way and draw the enemy fire and allow one of the other gunslingers to reach the train. Sadly Marshal Jabb's luck ran out and he didn't live to see the deeds safely dispatched.

After a quick relocation to the other room I was delighted to experience Sidney Roundwood's Flashing Blades, a small skirmish game set in Paris during the time of Dumas' Three Musketeers.

This time Kevin and I teamed up to play the dastardly Cardinal's guard trying to accomplish the lawful execution of one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting.

As you can see the game (it's only about 18" square) looked gorgeous.

My only problem with the game was a repeat of the problem at Ebor Lard. With so many games going on simultaneously, and with my declining hearing, I struggled to Sidney's briefing and explanations of the rules.

I found the rules slightly less engaging than What A Cowboy! but it was great fun all the same and a privilege to play on Sidney's wonderful evocation of seventeenth century Paris.

In the afternoon I ran my Cortina at Matamoros for existing mates Simon and Dex and for new friend Nigel Curtis.  Not too many pics as I was busy keeping the game going...

This was the scenario's third outing (the previous two being at Virtual Lard) and yet again it went right down to the wire with Dex's Republicans conceding defeat when time beat us but probably only a game turn before the result would have been clear one way or the other.

The other games were uniformly great-looking.  Here are some pics, firstly one of Alex Sotheran's 15mm terrain for Through the Mud and Blood...

Charley Walker's Kiss Me Hardy...

John Savage's Spec Ops adaptation of What A Cowboy!...

Ken Reilley's If The Lord Spares Us...

This was a large game covering the Turkish attack on Kut during the Mesopotamian campaign.

There were some nice DFS230 gliders in Graeme Atkinson's Crete Chain of Command game...

Sadly I was so busy playing or running games that I missed a few of the other ones. Apolgies to Andy Crow (Bag The Hun), Ade Deacon (Big Chain of Command), and Ioan Davies-John (Packing Heat) for not capturing your games in the morning and to Richard Clarke and Jeremy Short whose Infamy Infamy and Shattered Shields games respectively were set up, played and packed away while I was busy with events in Matamoros.

Fortunately, Alex has provided a video report on the event.

The whole event was admirably organised by various Sheffield Lardies under the distinguished leadership of Chris "Chief Cat Herder" Barnes.  I'll certainly be back next time!

Monday, November 22, 2021

Hen of the South Award

This past weekend saw the second Steel Lard wargaming day at Jury's Inn in Sheffield. My report will follow shortly but first: the Hen of the South.

This is the award given to the player deemed guilty of the most egregious act of cowardice in any of the games. Last year Jamie won the award when, in John Savage's Retreat from Moscow game he stood off and bombarded a column of retreating French civilians rather than mounting a suicidal charge. Pretty realistic from what I understand of events at the time!

Earlier this week I got a message from Chris Barnes that basically said, "Help, can you make us a new Hen of the South award? By Saturday!"

Looking through the bits box I found that I had one 28mm hen left over from a set of farmyard animals I'd bought to adorn the settlements of the Woebetide Islands. Not much to work with but rooting about in the bits box, inspiration struck...

I decided that the plastic container in which a set of Apple earphones arrived could make the basis of a 6mm scale fast food restaurant. The ornamental roof is from a suitably shaped piece from a plastic toy - I thin one of the cheap nerf guns I bought as a source on parts for Rogue Stars terrain.

I was going for the effect of wrap-around glass on the front half and brickwork at the rear. I'm not entirely happy with it but it was the best I could manage in a couple of evenings' work.

I'm told the award was presented to Kev Pierce for somehow managing to kill only five figures all day across six hours of gaming!

Monday, November 15, 2021

Battered GNW Russians

My progress on gradually painting up odds and sods of previously unused 6mm stuff has now reached the Great Northern War.  I had a small number of Baccus 6mm Russian infantry left over and I thought I'd have a go at producing a unit that's been under fire for some time.

Using the Shot, Steel and Stone rules it's unlikely that a unit will ever get down to a single 30mm square base before routing off the table so I decided to make a two-base (60x30mm) base that could be used as a unit in its own right or swapped in for a particular three-base unit after it has taken a base's worth of casualties. Alternatively, if I go back to Black Powder, it'll serve a small unit.

I'd normally use four strips of musketeers, one of pike and a command strip for a unit of this size but while I had loads of command strips going spare I was down to three of musketeers and no spare pikes.

I decided to sculpt on the base a couple of casualties (from Green Stuff) and I found a spare dismounted dragoon who could be added as a straggler.

Green Stuff also allowed me to create a couple of spent cannon balls that have ploughed themselves to the soft ground on which these Russians stand. The flag is by Baccus.

I'm now down to just a few generals and infantry command elements. I'm tempted to have a go at producing a selection of Russian and Swedish generals. 

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Anyone playing TacWW2? - updated

I was recently asked on the SOTCW Forum if I know anyone else who was still playing TacWW2. 

I'm not sure that I do know anyone else outside of the group of players upon whom I occasionally inflict the rules. 

So I thought I'd put up a post here to act as a landing site for anyone who's interested.  Please leave a comment below if you're playing TacWW2 (or interested in doing so) and let's see what we can do to establish a communications net!

A few links to TacWW2 content on the blog:

Rommel vs de Gaulle

Adapting Bob Mackenzie's Scenarios

Operation Nostalgia (includes Tac vs BKC)

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Panzerkampfwagen VIII Maus

One of the scenarios I'm tempted to have a go at in the near future is on Bob Mackenzie's website. Battle for Zossen is the last of Bob's Great Patriotic War scenarios. The action takes place just after the Soviet forces have overrun the German OKW and OKH command headquarters at Wünsdorf before pressing on to try and capture the bridges over the Notte Kanal at Zossen.

Right next door to Wünsdorf was the Kummersdorf armour testing ground where the Wehrmacht tested captured allied tanks but also where the trials of many new German vehicles took place. It is understood that one of the two Maus prototypes was sent from Kummersdorf to help defend the Wünsdorf command complex but that it never got into action. Bob uses this to justify including a Maus in his Zossen scenario.

I'm keen to give Zossen a try and originally planned to follow Bob's advice: If you don't have a Maus, use a King Tiger. But then I thought, "Sod it - I'm gonna build me a Maus!"

My Maus is built from various grades of cardboard and plastic rod and has a 128mm gun barrel from a length of paper clip. The gun mantlet and roof hatches are from Green Stuff. Obviously the base still needs flocking.

It's a fairly crude job done over a couple of evenings but it'll do - I'm not going to be fielding these things often or any any quantity after all!

Finally, here's a pic with a T-34/85 to give some idea of the scale of this beast!

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Ebor Lard 2021

Yesterday I drove up to Green Hammerton in North Yorkshire for my second (and the think the third) Ebor Lard celebration of all things Too Fat Lardies. A great selection of games was on offer and it's was wonderful to get together and talk games without having to rely upon a Zoom link.

In the morning I was honoured to play in Richard Clarke's playtest of the rules to appear in Infamy Infamy book 2. Bob Connor and I ran a Roman force against Carthaginians commanded by Ned Willett and Mark Pullan.

Bob commanded the Hastati

I commanded the velites - some of them seen
here menaced by Numidian horse 

Nice architecture

The Carthaginians were accompanied by Fat Nicholas the elephant; a striking force of extraordinary magnitude.

I did my best to weaken him with my skirmishers but even so he crashed into Bob's legionaries with considerable force and disrupted their formation somewhat.

In then end, I think the Romans scraped a victory in a damned-close-run little action. It was excellently run by Richard despite what sounded like a hangover of biblical proportions!

I took a few pictures of other games including John Elwen's What A Mecha:

Charley Walker's Kiss Me Hardy:

Jeremy (Virtual Lard) Short put on a game using Shattered Shields, a Lard-inspired fantasy set:

Our host John Savage ran another of his beautiful Infamy Infamy games, this time a winter action between Romans and Britons:

Simon Walker ran a very nice looking Sharp Practice game set during the Maori Wars:

In the afternoon I had my first ever game of Dux Britanniarum, albeit in the form of a Samurai variant called Seven Spears. This was most engagingly run by Malcolm Bowe. As far as I know he didn't have a hangover.

This time Ned and I were on the same side and we were opposed by Paul Pettit and Jamie Tattersall. I suspect I contributed to our defeat as I couldn't hear most of the rules and scenario explanations due to the background noise and my failing hearing. Great fun though!

That was my first Lard event as a player only. I thoroughly enjoyed it but I'm definitely looking forward to running Cortina at Matamoros at Steel Lard next month.