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Thursday, 21 September 2017

A plus for Internet shopping.

 Well I'm back from my latest jolly which should hopefully give me a clear run up until Christmas. I'm not complaining, far from it, but as the dark nights approach there are a lot of things I need to do wargaming wise. Just before I went away I decided to take the plunge and purchase a large terrain mat which I hope to use at wargames shows later this year and next year. The mat, ordered from Tiny Mats at the TinyWargames company was waiting for me when I returned.A very prompt return of product.
I wanted a mat big enough to cover my table should I decide to use it instead of my generic boards, and also be big enough to use at a show to give a large wargame. They agreed to print me a 13' by 7' mat. An irregular size but I want to put hills under the mat and then fix the whole thing to a table, hence the strange size. It will give me a 12' by 6' table. While I was away this time I saw a lot of sunbathers were using large plastic clamps to fix their beach towels to their beds. The little wargaming buld came on, and courtesy of E Bay I have ordered some. Except they wont be fluorescent pink in colour.
Unfortunately my images dont do the mat justice. As wargamers will know, the mats are a much better green than the image I have took.I would thoroughly recommend the company and on first look, the terrain mat. A big investment but its a lot lighter than the mdf boards I have used in the past.
As I have alluded to in my title page we are experiencing something of a Golden Age in wargaming, and the ability to buy such items at the press of a button is first rate.I now just need to move a 100 plus terrain boards.










Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Catawumptiously Chewed Up!

Well today was my inaugural 28mm ACW battle using my latest armies. I started this project on the 31st August 2016 and today I finally saw both armies in use. That's the good news. The bad news was I got my backside absolutely tanned by John. I am still a little bit stunned as to how I suffered such a defeat, the final insult being my Virginians suffering from being Catawumptiously Chewed Up!
 We were using Dave Brown's excellent ACW Picketts Charge rules  and to have a brigade reach the chewed up stage, basically means there is no coming back.

We started the game with two brigades each, I had the Elite Texans, and Barksdale's Mississippians while John had the Iron Brigade and the Irish. There were an additional three brigades each off table. All marching to the sound of the guns. As each brigade arrived, we decided to dice to see what classification they would be.

 Nothing is certain in Pickett's Charge. It definantly helps if the player wins the initiative each move and gets the drop on his opponent. This however becomes harder to achieve if your orders fail to get through to the brigade commanders and they become 'Hesitant' prior to the initiative throw.
My command throws were frustratingly consistent, with my brigades going Hesitant at the drop of a hat. At one stage I was able to have two reserve brigades arrive on the battlefield in quick succession, only to see them flounder in confusion.

Below; my Virginian brigade gallantly marches onto the battlefield only to refuse to advance towards the enemy after that?

The Mississippians start to rout. They were probably sick of waiting for those damned Virginians to move.
 As the Mississippians ran through a second supporting regiment, these needed to throw to see how they felt.  Clearly a double one wasnt going to make them feel too good. So they ran to.

 Meanwhile my Louisianians entered the fray to support the Texans. Yep, they decided to have a picnic before advancing again.
             Meanwhile, the Union infantry were getting their dander up and doing a sneaky march onto my flank.
                                                   Still waiting?

 John, trying not to laugh, sends his Irish forward again. This time the Texans struggled to handle them.
 My Virginians, finally were able to shake out into a decent looking line. The only problem was they were classed as 'Green'. It should have been yellow. Just after this, John would shell the Virginian Cadets who decided that they were too young to fight, and legged it.
  On the flank, one of the Union reserve brigades appeared. Just a few zouave types. Nothing that I couldnt handle.
    One of my green regiments, reached the zenith of my success, by chasing off an Iron Brigade regiment, before the brigade decided to leg it, leaving them stranded in a cornfield, surrounded by Yankees.
    Another test, another fine double one, another regiment decides they have had enough.                                

   The Virginians, leaving the battlefield, just as I had managed to rally my Mississippians..
 Yes, you guessed it, my newly rallied Mississippians produced a fine throw. On to Richmond I think.

 The Union zouaves parade across the battlefield, looking for a rebel to shoot.

 

 Rebel, 'Man of the Match', my sniper who was attached to the Texan brigade, and manged to kill more Yankees, than ALL of the Texans combined.It was one of those days.


Saturday, 2 September 2017

Border Reivers Wargame Show 2017.

Well I attended Border Reiver's show at Gateshead as intended. The weather was beautiful and surprisingly sunny as I traveled into the dark domain of the Geordies. There was quite a queue outside of the Sports centre when we tipped up at the stadium, and parking was also at a premium.
John and I were hoping to offload a few unwanted items at the do it yourself bring and buy, and I had high hopes of moving on some ephemera that wargamers always seem to collect. I managed to sell about two thirds of what I brought, and managed to make a few quid for myself. I never expect to make a profit at these events, but simply recoup a few quid. The problem was I ended up buying some nice trees and hills from another wargamer running another table while I was attempting to off load my stuff. Still my intentions were pure.

The show was busy for the first couple of hours, but invariably after about 1.00pm things begin to tail off. There were less games on show this year, but a few new traders selling stuff that looked interesting but I didnt need. John and I always used to put a game on at the show when it was at the Arena venue, but it is becoming increasingly harder to find the necessary energy to stage a game.
 I often feel I should start putting on games again. But then I often feel like pulling on my old football boots, and that's not going to happen either.
Still there were a couple of qualitity games that stood out. My favourite which had been at Partizan a couple of weeks ago, put on by a group from Harrogate, and used some beautifully painted 28mm renaissance figures.I love this period in history and when you see beautifully painted toys it cant be beaten in my eyes.
Where have all the wargamers gone? Mind it was after their curfew time of 2.00pm.
There was a very nicely staged Napoleonic game using quality terrain built by the players, who happened to be selling the terrain tiles. It was very good looking terrain.
I bumped into Charlie Wesencraft one of the wargaming greats, who somehow looks younger than ever. Charlie is 90 next year. He was clutching a bag of unpainted metal he needed for a Montrose battle he is staging.


                                   And finally my favourite game of the show;
 A steam punk affair called the Invisible Men. I liked the realistic terrain and well painted invisible toys sculptured and painted by that award winning wargaming personality, John Coutts.

The reality was a misunderstanding between the shows organisers and the lads at Westerhope which led to no game being staged. All show organisers should ask for confirmations from wargamers and not expect them just to show up with a game. For once John Coutts seemed lost for words............                     Well for about five seconds.
Still I enjoyed the show and its great to bump into wargamers old and new. Thanks to the people who organised the show, and stick at it.


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

And back to more pleasant tasks.

Well I think its time to return to more pleasurable pastimes. Painting time has been in short supply for the last few weeks, but I have managed to find time to complete a couple of units.First are some dismounted Union cavalry, I based these in open order, and then discovered that in Picketts Charge one can actually have the option of them being used as infantry in closer order. Not to worry,I like the open order.
The second unit I have finished are my Maryland Regiment, the Band of Brothers. I painted these up simply because I liked the state flag. That seems to be the extent of my ACW historical research. Colourful regimental history or uniforms. These figures are a mix of figures, but in the main Foundry. I am gearing up for my first ACW 28mm game next week, but have discovered that I have more Rebel units than Union. I'm not too certain how that happened to be honest, I suppose I do favour the Confederates, so I need to focus on the Union to get things right.
I will be attending the Border Reiver Wargames show in Gateshead on Saturday, which is a decent show. I need to offload some wargames ephemera without falling for the temptation to buy new stuff from the other wargamers trying to offload their unwanted things. Last year I managed to come back with more than I went with.
 I haven't been completely idle as regards wargaming and have been reading a decent account of  Fredericksburg and my favourite battle, Antietam. The common denominator being the poor showing by General Burnside. Hindsight is a terrible thing, but Burnside consistently performed badly at both battles. I am not certain how to accurately reflect the consistent poor showing of Burnside whilst allowing the Union a fair chance of success. Perhaps I should simply throw for his figure given my propensity for poor dice throwing.
                             What was it napoleon said about 'is he a lucky general?'


Tuesday, 22 August 2017

I Told You So;.....................................

Toppling statues? Here’s why Nelson’s column should be next







And right on cue, some attention seeking Guardian journalist writes and article and appears on Channel Four News demanding that Nelson on top of Nelson's column be removed because of his alleged support of Slavery. So my posts re dinosaurs wasnt far from the mark, except she didnt dare demand we remove Churchills' statue, well at least not yet. I only wish I could predict the lottery numbers as accurately.
 So for all those Corbyn supporting left wing luvvies who are also paradoxically wargamers, perhaps it's time you thought deeply about both the hobby you love and the left wing views you have, because frankly I don't see how one can square that circle.
Oh and whilst on this rant, can I suggest we remove the saintly Nelson Mandela's statue and street names from all of England. I mean HE was a convicted terrorist unlike the Admiral who saved an entire nation from French Imperialism. 


Monday, 21 August 2017

Partizan, the August Show.


 Well yesterday John and I took the longish trip down to Newark for Partizan part Two. Neither of us needed to buy anything from the attending traders, so really it was about going to see what eye candy was on show from the games. I dont think we were disappointed in that there were several stand out games that inspired and encouraged me to do better. The location of Partizan has been documented many times now, but for me it is a very good location just off the A1. The only small quibble is that it is always hot inside of the large hall. Probably caused by the mass of attendees, the roof, and Global Warming. [ Just joking about that]
I thought there were less people at the show, but it is August, and families come first for some, so I found it more pleasant to amble round, acting like the looney on the last bus and basically talking to anyone who couldnt get away from me quick enough. I have taken photographs of my favourite games only, so apologies to all the other wargamers who put on some really good games.
My first game is from wargaming royalty, Simon Chick, Dave Andrews, Dave Imrie and Mark Bickly, who in my eyes are amongst the most talented painters we have. The battle was of Crecy, so what was there not to like.
My second is by the Derby Wargames Group, who always put on a great game.
The AWI game was a particular favourite of John and contained some wonderfully painted units. Steve Jones put on a great looking representation of the rebellion. Top quality painting with lovely looking terrain.


I particulary wanted to see Ian Smith and friends 40mm game. I know he had been adding to his collection, between holidays and golf. The whole game looked brilliant, with some top qualitity painting.
                                      My favourite Napoleonic unit, the Neuchatel Battalion.


Barry Hilton had travelled down with his Napoleonics which was great to see. 
Barry believes in large units, ie 32 cavalry figures, expensive yes but great to slaver over.

When Phil Olley announced he was putting a game on at the show, I was really pleased. 18th Century imaginary units painted to the highest quality.The whole game was an inspiration, and he had broght along his revolving windmill, a real treat for me.




My particularly favourite unit on the table, decked out in Aston Villas colours, an imaginary regiment of horse grenadiers. Great regiment crap team.


Dave Docherty has been building up his Sudan armies for a while now and for me have reached perfection level,a balloons, an armoured train, loads of fuzzy wuzzies and now the flashes of led lights to represent the flash of rifles. A lovely looking game.


Im not an expert on the British Civil War, but this group had a lovely train, so it was a great thing to look at, well for me it was.

Shaun Lowery and the exiles from the Durham Wargames Group had traveled South with his ACW collection. He put on the Battle of Port Republic. Shaun has a wonderful collection of figures, that rarely sees the light of day, a fine looking game. I have known Shaun a longtime now, and yesterday he showed me why wargamers are a decent group of people, when he kindly gave me a painted unit of Zouaves that he had surplus to requirements. I just need John Ray to donate me his collection and my faith in wargamers will be cemented forever.
                               It was great to see Paul Stevenson playing with the group.


And finally, my personal favourite game, which was a participation game. Certainly not the biggest, and not packed with figures, but it contained, Gendarmes [from Steel Fist], flags by Pete Smith, some lovely looking buildings and of course it was based in the Renaissance period.The game was using Sharp Practice, a skirmish set of rules, yet it looked a lot of fun.


                                     The lads even had a cracking Da Vinci tank.



 As I have explained there were many other good games, but I have only listed my favourite games. Even though I didnt have much to buy, I still managed to spend money, on figures I didnt need,especially Steel Fist figures.
So a good day out all round. The only quibbles I had were the price of the tea, but hey wargamers need it.
  And finally I see they are still pushing the bollocks about attendees not wanting to be photographed at the show. It just seemed so, needless to me, but what do I know. Although I would love to talk to someone who actually doesnt want to be photographed at a wargames show, now that would be an interesting way to spend an hour.

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