Friday, March 31, 2023

Out in the Fields

At Vapnartak last month I bought some Eastern European peasant figures by Bifröst Miniatures from the Warbases trade stand. I thought they'd probably come in useful for our planned 1812 Sharp Practice games.

When designing scenarios for either of the Too Fat Lardies narrative-focussed, large skirmish systems (Infamy Infamy and Sharp Practice) it's helpful to have civilians available as plot devices. They can be maidens in distress, sources of intelligence on enemy movements or just a source of player paranoia! 

A maiden - not currently in distress

What do these guys know?

Do these count as Big Choppers?

The figures were enjoyable to paint and I reckon they'd work for Eastern Europe right into the twentieth century. Actually, at least some of them might serve as European immigrant farm workers for ACW games.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Confederate Forces Progress Report

Having shown my progress with the Federals, it's probably about to share a pic or two of their ACW opponents. Here's the full collection as it stands:

Reading across the front row first we have, from left to right, two units of infantry skirmishers with an NCO in charge, and a line of Confederate pickets in rifle pits.

The second row starts with four groups of line infantry (with a fifth behind awaiting a sabot base). They are led by an officer and an NCO accompanied by a drummer. Then there are three groups of cavalry with a single officer (probably wants an NCO adding for true tactical flexibility) and the recently completed artillery unit.

Finally sat the back we have a few casualty figures, a general officer, a horse-holder base, and three units of dismounted cavalry. The last are deliberately done as irregulars as I think these will be most appropriate  opponents for my Mississippi Marine Brigade.

Close-ups below:

A close-up of the cavalry

Regular CSS infantry

Guns and guerrillas!

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Load cannister!

The latest addition to my American Civil War collection for Sharp Practice is a Confederate artillery team with a 3" Ordnance Rifle.

They are made from the Perry Miniatures plastic ACW Artillery set with the addition of an officer (whose base needs flocking) from the same company's Confederate infantry box but with red cap and facings to transfer him to the gunners.

This is my second box of the Perry artillery. The first was to provide gunners for my Mexican forces. I now have as many limbers as I will realistically ever need (you get parts to build three in each box) so I thought it might be fun to have a go at building a caisson.

Caissons were used to carry additional ammunition beyond the ready supply in the gun's own limber. During the Napoleonic wars a caisson was usually a four-wheeled vehicle with a sloping wooded top that allowed rain to drain off and not dampen the powder. ACW caissons on the other hand seem to have been two-wheeled affairs carrying two of the ammunition chests found on a limber. The caisson was designed to hook onto the rear of a limber. It also carried a spare wheel in case one was lost in action.

A Google search found sufficient pictures of caissons to allow me to cobble one together out of the parts for two limbers and some bits of plastic card and brass wire. It's not a perfect scale model but it's good enough for my purposes.

I understand the paint used by both sides on the wooden components of artillery was made by mixing yellow ochre and black paint. That's exactly what I did and the result is a somewhat surprising greyish green. All of the metal work is black (with a little gunmetal grey dry-brushed on the wheel rims). I understand the tops of the ammunition chests were covered in sheet copper. I don't have any specifically copper paint but Citadel airbrush colour Castellax Bronze will do until I can pick some up.

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!