Thursday, 14 February 2019

Back in the Saddle.

 Normally I like to keep my blog in chronological order so this post should really be about the Antietam wargame that John hosted for me this week. However it is an image heavy account and I would like to do what was a wonderful game a proper write up. It was a very tense and very very bloody affair, I loved it.

 I have started to paint again imbibed with the enthusiasm I got from the York show. One cant beat a bit of retail therapy to lift the spirits.I had a few plastic union chaps left over so decided to paint them up, of course I had to buy some new Perry command to go with them. These are Pennsylvanian volunteers. I have also been completing the painting of my Renedra purchases. Its quite a sight now and very orderly, so very American.
 I also managed to complete another Royalist regiment for my Hinchliffe project which is now stretching into the use of Warrior and Mini Fig ranges. I can smell the age of these chaps from the keyboard. These are the Duke of York's Foot regiment.Great flags but a static pose I'm afraid.

 Now for some artillery, the red gun and crew are Warrior and very nice they are as well. I've decided if I'm going retro with these armies I might as well go totally retro.
  And yes there is a crew containing Mini Figs which were amongst the box of metal I bought at York, again I really enjoyed painting them.

 I managed to paint up four guns and crew and found in the 'box' two painted limbers which I touched up and brought back to life.
 Finally a regiment of Parliamentarian horse, I really like this pose, very Parliamentarian.

 I havent been neglecting my Grandson either and tackled some 40k chaps. One will need sun glasses for these as I discovered some old bottles of fluorescent paint which I thought would look 'cool.' [See Im down with the kids, yo!]
 So a bit of an eclectic week really. I also received a couple of lovely painted Peter Gilder renaissance horses from the Wargames Holiday Centre which require two appropriate riders AND another converted Gilder? gendarme which I need to base.These were sent by Jason Williams again, so again can I say a big thank you for sending me the pieces. Brilliant. 

Friday, 8 February 2019

A Large Seven Year War Encounter.

 I think its nearly three years! since I used some of my Seven Years War collection in a wargame. So yesterday at John's constant harping on I got some of my collection out. Sadly I'm useless at creating a scenario, I have never been able to create something that could be even mildly interesting. I leave that to John. So instead I set up a fairly open battlefield and went for a set piece battle between the French and Austro/Saxons. It turned into quite a tense affair. I opted to leave a cavalry reserve off table that had to be diced for as and when it was requested. The dice was to determine what would arrive, if at all. 1 meaning the reserve wasnt coming and 6 meaning a cuirassier brigade would be arriving. The scores in between were for either dragoons or simple cavalry.

 We tend to use Blackpowder two for the SYW after we gave up on the Honours of War rules.
 Naturally I chose the poor French led by a cart bound Marshal de Saxe. The Austrians were commanded by a lovely female hussar courtesy of the Willie range. I thought we should adopt a more diverse society even in wargaming battles.I allowed the Austrians to have two grenadier batallions and all the Austrian line to be classed as 'large.' I soon learned I was too generous as when it came to fire fights the extra dice proved critical to the game. John attempted to be very aggressive on both wings, but failed twice to move his right wing which should have allowed me to capitalise on his failure. Unfortunately most of my brigadiers were only 7's and the left wing commander also failed his order throws.
 On my right wing the Austrians were more successful and came on against what I thought were my best troops.I was to be disappointed as one after another of my regiments reeld back under a murderous fire from the Austrians.
 I did manage to 'shake two of his regiments and went for a daring'follow me' move using my Wild Geese. Bad idea. The wild geese were literally cooked and with them being shaken the entire right wing of the French were lost and in retreat.
The image below shows the dice roll I threw for my Irish to test their morale.
                                         Guess what, snake eyes isn't very good!

 On the left wing [French] the Saxons had decided to advance flanked by a brigade of cavalry led by some Saxon cuirassiers. I managed to stop the cuirassiers with firepower, but the Saxon dragoons charged into and through my Arqubussiers du Grassin and into the Regiment du Corse who had thrown a double six and blundered forward out of control. Although I shook and broke the Saxon cavalry I lost both my only light troops but also the Corsican's.

 I rolled for my cavalry reserve and managed to get a couple of French Dragoon regiments. The subsequent dice to see where they would arrive plumped them on the wrong wing! Even with the loss of his cavalry John marched his Saxons forward in a large block. Somehow I managed to hold them up and as my light cavalry moved onto their flank and actually forced him back.

To cover the loss of the infantry on my right, I sent in my reserve cavalry intending to charge the shot up Austrians. Ah the best laid plans?

 As I charged with successive dragoon regiments they were shot up and although they were able to actually fight the brigade was effectively spent very quickly.
 Below is an image of the regiment Deux Ponts getting to grips with some Saxons. They were the last regiment remaining on my left wing. Although it sounds like the French were well beaten the Austro/Saxons were also in pretty bad shape but somehow John had managed to rally some of their causalities whilst the French continually failed to do so which caused the collapse of my army.
 It was a great game and very exciting.
I foolishly thought at one stage that I could break the Austrians with uncoordinated cavalry charges. Clearly there is nothing like an old fool.
                                                My wagon train legging it off table.

I had to take this image of a lovely building created by Andy Copestake of Old Glory fame many years ago. A great piece.
On Tuesday John and I are having another crack at the entire Antietam battle, except this time I will be the Confederate and will take my camera.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Vapnartak 2019

                                                             Vapnartak 2019
 Firstly before I launch into a critique/ review of Vapnartak 2019 can I apologise for the fact that there are no images of the show. Why I haven't will become apparent as one reads the text.
 Secondly can I also say I really enjoyed the day,again the reason why I did will become obvious.
 John, Neil and I arrived at the show very early 09.00 ish in order that we can get parked near the main entrance and also in order to be able to stand in the foyer where it was slightly warmer than outside where a large queue quickly formed in the cold wind.
 As we were standing I spotted a friendly gent in front of me with a lot of boxes of stuff he was wanting to sell in the Bring and Buy. I'm sorry I didnt get your name, it was very remiss of me given as you have actually read my blog.
 Being a nosy chap I had to ask him what he was selling. When he opened the box files I saw rows of partly painted Hinchliffe and Mini Fig ECW cavalry. He explained they had belonged to a now dead wargamer who had collected figures. He seemed convinced that no one would be interested in them!      Under the box file was a large but old cassette box [ cassettes were a small rectangular form of recording music etc.] which was filled to the gunnels with unpainted Hinchliffe and Mini Fig ECW infantry. Kismet!
  I had made my first and best purchase of the day and before the place was open.That helps explain why I found the day very enjoyable.
 We were finally allowed in at exactly 10.00am and not a second less. It seems very important that no one entered a few seconds before the official time. So after a cup of hot tea [quite pricey, but welcome] I began to prowl the halls.
 I quickly formed the impression that the show was quieter than last years event and it seemed easier to walk about show.I think the weather may have had something to do with this even though there had been no Armageddon like wintry conditions in North Yorkshire.In fact there was no snow? [Are you reading this BBC]
 I made my way up to the Bring and Buy and joined the long queue to wait my turn to file into the heaving mass. I sometimes wonder why I put myself through this ordeal given the risk to body and soul. I hope my grandson appreciates the effort his grandfather made to buy him some cheap Space Marines.
 The Bring and Buy was mobbed with large men of various shapes bearing rucksacks that invariably ended up in my face.[ Im a bit of a short arse] That I could handle, but the assault on my nose was a bigger issue, and this year York seemed to have more people in need of soap and water than in other years. It must have been the weather, perhaps their pipes were frozen.
 I did buy some Space Marines so it was worth the effort. After buying the stuff I needed? from Dave Thomas etc I decided to check out the demonstration games to see if there was anything that would inspire me.
 Can I say I have put on a lot of demonstration games over the years, I know the effort it takes to stage a game. It was one of the reasons John and I retired from such games, its very tiring. So I fully understand and appreciate when people take the time to stage a game.
 Well the very large 28mm ECW was present [check] Lovely figures, great terrain.
 The very large 28mm desert game was present [check]  Lovely figures, great terrain.
 There was a very nice Indiana Jones game on show but unfortunately no one seemed to want to explain the game and more importantly for me, how they made the terrain. I must have picked the wrong time. To be honest I was more impressed by the smaller card table games upstairs and yes, even by the competition games. So for the first time I didn't take any images. No doubt someone will have done so, and good for them.
 So off to the cafe for a sandwich and some chat to anyone who could suffer my wittering. I felt like the nutter on the last bus home.
 I then decided to face the crush of the Bring and Buy again, to check out the new sellers and their stuff.Now here's the thing, the same people were still at the tables selling exactly the same stuff as before. It was very obvious that they were bone fide traders. Other bring and buy tables were actually standing empty, as if last years crush had put people off.
 I like bring and buy's, sometimes I will book a table to sell off some stuff at cheap prices, but it is becoming increasingly obvious that some smaller traders are seeing this as an opportunity to set up in a wargames show and not have to pay for a trade space.It doesnt seem right somehow.
 After a bit more retail therapy and some more chat to various wargamers I know we headed home, tired but happy.
 I enjoyed the show, but then I like any wargames show within reason. Will I attend again? Of course but the York Group should really think about how to improve the bring and buy situation and perhaps redress the issue of traders booking tables. And of course there remains the elephant in the room, the demonstration games that seem to barely if ever change. IWG show rating...6/10.


Saturday, 2 February 2019

Miniature Wargames 29.

One of the best things about wargaming is the people you meet who not only share your love of toy soldiers and gaming but also turn out to be great people in their own right. One such person, Jason Williams is a wargamer/collector of all things Peter Gilder who out of the blue several years ago sent me some Wargames Holiday Centre renaissance figures he had 'spare' for my growing Italian Wars armies.We have remained in irregular contact since, bumping into each other at the odd wargames show.
Last week I won an auction of six causality bases that contained a couple of figures I recognised as having belonged to Peter Gilder.
I had to have them  [ you know how things are concerning all things Gilder.]
When they arrived, they had actually been sold by Jason who very kindly included a 'spare' standard that was beautiful in its own right. I knew the banner immediately and searched through my Miniature Wargames magazine collection to find it. The image was in Miniature Wargames 29,
 [ see below.]

I re based the figures to use as eye candy in my Italian War games. The two gendarmes clearly from the WHC I intend to use in my Gilder gendarme unit. 
 The figures are attributed to John Blanche who was a wonderful painter who painted for Citadel and the early Games Workshop company.

 The standard I fitted to the mounted Bill Lamming conversion. The quality of the paint work on the standard after 35 years is still amazing. Thank you again Jason for the opportunity to possess some wargaming history.

The day before the York Show.

Well I'm sat here looking at a beautiful wintery scene, and hoping I can clear all my drive before tomorrow when John and I are heading down to the York show. Can I say a big thank you to everyone who sent a kind comment to my last post.  They weren't necessary, honestly although it was very nice to feel the love as it were, I keep saying the mantra that dying is part of life, but it doesnt make it any easier.
I think I have just about recovered from two wonderful Armarti ancient games that John had set up on Thursday. I had forgotten just how good these rules are and how tense are the games they create. Both games went down to the wire, one a close win for my Carthaginians against Republican Romans, the second a very bloody draw with Alexander [me?] against Indians. Two wonderful games.Thanks John...
 I am slowly getting back into my painting although it has been very eclectic. Firstly some Royalist dismounted dragoons, these are lovely figures and were a pleasure to paint.This time I filled the bases with some model rocks I picked up off E Bay. I have made a slight deviation from only using Hinchliffe figures for my two ECW armies and again prompted by John I bought some Warrior figures as a test.It is only a small range but apart from being cheap they are also very charming and fit in nicely with my Hinchliffe. Great postal service as well. I knew they were good but was still very impressed with them, well done.

 I follow the Olicana blog. James Roach is a wonderful painter and has some top class wargames to boot. He gave me the heads up that Rendra were selling ridge tents for a rock bottom price. I got some and then saw they had a camp scene using some Perry ACW figures, well it would have been rude not to have some. 

Games Workshop have re discovered what made them so successful and returned to publishing amongst other things. Their Conquest magazine with regular goodies in it, has been a great way to pick up the odd figure for my Grandson who I hope one day will 'discover' real wargaming and possibly want some of my burgeoning collection. So I have been painting up some green monstrosities for him. Not up to Golden Demon standard but still pretty in a perverse way. 

I will be very honest I enjoy the challenge of painting them, they clear my painting palate as it were, GW. have some very talented sculptors and Im pleased they are on the up again, it has to be good news for wargaming in general. So heres hoping there is no more snow before the trip down to the York show. Last year was stressful simply because of numbers, but it still is a great show and I hope the weather holds off. I hope you will stop for a chat as I trundle around the event, there's nothing like a talk about wargaming and the hobby in general. 

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating