Monday 30 October 2017

Fiasco 2017.

Well yesterday was the Leeds Wargames Club show. Commonly known as Fiasco. The show has been based at the ex Jimmy Saville Conference suite for the last few years. [I cant help myself, I still find it bizarre. Sorry.] Previously to that it had been based across the way at the Royal Armouries.
  So firstly the positives. Well its a wargames show of that there is no doubt. Secondly its based in the North of England which is great for me. Thirdly its usually on the Sunday after the clocks go back, so one gets a lie in.Fourthly there is quite a bit of wargames trade that I like to buy from.
 The Leeds show has maintained its position as a medium sized wargames show run by some friendly Yorkshire chaps who do their level best to make it a success. So whats not to like.
  Now for a few negatives. The actual hall has dreadful lighting caused by having a black ceiling? I suppose its great for cabaret nights and the like, but for wargamers, it leaves a lot to be desired.
 I think I can understand why the Leeds lads hold the show there. as its only across the road from the Armouries, which is a wonderful history museum that everyone whose interested should attend. But the lighting is not good.
 Secondly its £5.00 to get in, which is a lot for what isn't that big a show.
Thirdly the refreshment area is tiny, and yesterday they ran out of Bacon sandwiches at about 11.00! That was a shock I can tell you.
 But these are minor quibbles for me really, but areas that maybe can be improved upon.
 The biggest whine for me, was the paucity of historical games. Luckily James Roach of Olicana fame had set up his Zorndorf 1759 display which is a wonderful thing to behold.
  James is annoyingly not just a great painter, he is also damned quick at creating top quality units. I had a talk to him yesterday in the hope of pinching a few of his secrets. The main one is, he uses enamels! He reckons the coverage is far better than acrylic paint, and if one is lucky enough to see his work one cant argue with the use of oil based paints.
 I can only apologise for the lack of images of the battle. I took a lot, but most came out badly. I blame the light.

 There was a really nice Napoleonic battle in the foyer of the hall, staged by Chris Flowers and the Legendary Wargames group. I think the battle, using lots of 28mm figures was from the 1812 campaign. They were using Grand Manner rules, so one knows how big the units were. The rules are like Marmite for me I'm afraid. But the spectacle was great.

 Another very nice historical game was hosted by Battlefield Design who were showing off their quality terrain boards at the same time. They make very sturdy boards. Again I'm sorry about the crap images.

 Kallistra were hosting an historical game showing off their hex terrain, which always looks very good. The other 16 or so games were small skirmish type affairs which although very popular with the punters are just not my thing. I know its very dismissive and no doubt some of them were very well presented, but they are a different type of wargaming than I am interested in. Still they hold the interest of younger gamers, so crack on.
I met a few old faces and chatted about odds and sods. One thing I did learn was that the Perry twins are going into the pre painted business, not only for figures but also for buildings. Dave Thomas very kindly showed me a few prospective images and I was impressed by the buildings, which were mainly ACW ones.I couldnt really comment on the figures because of, you guessed it, the light.No doubt they will be figures painted to a decent standard, but not by the twins I hasten to add.
   So how was the show. Well I'm pleased to attend any wargames event and it felt good to be there, but I was disappointed by the lack of historical games. I think this disappointment will grow even more in the near future as more skirmish games come to the fore. Still, I know that Battleground in November will have a lot of historical games. Well certainly one. That's mine.

Tuesday 24 October 2017

79th New York.

The key to retirement is ones health. Without that, basic living is crap, but in retirement it is probably the most important thing, even greater than having a bit of cash. The last week or so has reinforced this given yet again. Im not complaining, heavens knows there are so many people worse off in this country, but it does knock the stuffing out of you sometimes. Anyway on a brighter note, I finally finished the 79th New York Volunteers. I really struggled to finish them, whether because I wasnt at my best or that I simply wasnt excited by the castings!
Still they will now take the table thank heavens.I did manage to paint up another Union battery using Perry figures that I do enjoy painting. I dont know whether its the simplicity of the way they are made and by that I mean they just look lifelike and not in an exaggerated way or its the fact that the figures faces are always great to paint. But I do find them a pleasure..
I also completed the final 'rout' markers using the odd Perry figure. I like the way these turned out, again they were a pleasure to paint.This last week I received this months Miniature Wargames and Wargames Illustrated. And although it would easy to twist on about their contents I am determined not to, however one thing has increasingly struck me and that's the real lack of articles with a historical background that a wargamer can use [copy].
Whilst attempting not to hark back too much, its very obvious that the era of amateur wargaming historians is well gone and has been replaced by something, dare I say. More bland.

I suppose it was inevitable. One can only have so many articles on a certain battle before it becomes very tedious but it was a great source of scenarios and one off battles.I have been lucky enough to keep all the early Arqubusiers, Slingshots and Zouave magazines.Each was produced by enthusiasts of a certain historical period, and the early magazines were always full of wargames that could be refought. Some were very good. Now I'm afraid, and certainly in the case of the WI, its an eye catching set of photographs and drawings coupled to some very generic information about some historical event or feature.This month its 'heavy cavalry? I'm not certain who they were aiming at with this months magazine but I cant imagine its the usual subscriber to the WI, well not unless they have been off planet for the last 40 years.I promised myself I wouldnt be too negative so I will stop there. I did like the images of the Crecy game though, all very inspirational. Hopefully this weekends Fiasco show will also inspire me to paint up some new stuff, preferably something that I actually enjoy painting.

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Back in the Groove.

 Well after a bit of a setback over the weekend I am back in the painting groove with another regiment of Union troops and a command base for a regiment of Union in skirmish order.Having now realised that one doesnt need specific skirmish figures apart from specialised troops in Picketts Charge I have created another unit.
 In the background of this image is a maize field based by John.I really like the effect. The pieces were obtained from a model railway company.
 I have also painted up some Reform bases and started on some Rout bases, just to make the whole game look pretty.I have also finally finished painting my 79th New York Volunteers, those of tartan fame. I had to have the unit simply because it was a ridiculous idea to clothe a unit as such. I found them a pain to paint, and frankly didnt like the actual figure, but they are done now.

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Baggy pants and fezzes.

Its fair to say that if I could get away with it I would have a Union army of zouaves. In a period know for drabness I am attracted like a moth to a flame when I see a baggy pair of pants and a fez.
This will be the final Union zouave regiment, and I chose the 146th New York naturally. Simply because they wore a beautiful dressy uniform.
The figures are the old Foundry range, which are still quality figures. 

I also completed a spare Union limber, just to show I am still progressing towards completion.

Another week, another drubbing.

Its over twelve years since John and I had our last wargame with Steve Taylor, but when we met him last year it was great to see him. It was a shock to see him moving slowly on two sticks but he was in great spirits although clearly in pain. Anyway when he contacted me out of the blue about trying out a set of ACW rules based around Fire and Fury and DBA, how could I say no.
Steve brought his lovely collection across to my home but insisted on acting as umpire between me and John.Its been years since I had played either set of rules but I managed to pick things up pretty quickly.Selecting the rebels, naturally. I thought I would surprise John with a holding attack in the centre whilst I turned his right flank with my best veteran troops.
Well guess what, my plan unraveled in double quick time as John had craftily massed his troops on one side of the creek, and left my best brigade in splendid isolation doing nothing.
Needing pips to move is okay if you throw high, well needless to say that didnt happen too often to the Rebs. Meanwhile John trundled inexorably forward against my green brigade which was duly peppered with Union artillery.They retreated in disorder, probably wondering where their best troops were.
I was surprised it took so long for the Union to shatter two of my brigades but they eventually did.
As a try out the amalgamation of two rule sets worked very well and will only need a couple of tweaks to make them very playable.It was great to see Steve again, and even better to see him moving better than last year.

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Plastic Week.

 I have a bit of a love/ hate relationship with plastic wargames figures. I love the price and what is pretty good value for money. I like their paint ability [ more of that in a minute] but I hate gluing the damn things together. I end up with strings of plastic glue hanging off the figure and invariably on my fingers and beard.I just cannot do a really neat job of sticking them together. Anyway I wanted to use up a box of Perry Union troops and stuck them and me together.
 I have noticed when it comes to the actual painting I dont do a precise paint finish on them unlike my metal chaps. Subconsciously I think back to my Airfix soldier days when I just used to slap the paint on them.Anyway I have completed the regiment, the 90th Illinois, an Irish regiment that fought in the western theatre. Why them? I liked the flag, simples really. They are an average painted regiment, but they will do.
 As for the gory exploding union troops. Well that is courtesy of reading Wargames Illustrated and the Ron Ringrose article. Again I know they aren't up to Ron's standard, but it was my first attempt. Now I know the pitfalls I may do a couple more to stand around my table. 
 Anyway tomorrow I'm hosting an ACW game using a set of rules based on Fire and fury and DBA. God knows how that will work, but let no one accuse me of trying different things.

Tuesday 3 October 2017

BBC4 The Vietnam War.

In my down time [ of which I seem to have quite a bit] I have been watching A History of the Vietnam War on BBC 4. Usually I only have a passing interest in 'modern' warfare and have a cut off point of 1870 or thereabouts. But I must admit I am pleased that I have taken the time to watch what is a fascinating and very interesting series. Apparently it took ten years to make and is seen from all sides, including the French who frankly didnt exactly cover themselves in glory from the get go when they created their Indo Chinese empire.
 I was only a child when the conflict escalated and dragged the USA into the malestrom, but I can remember the civil turmoil as the war dragged on and my annoyance that Harold Wilson refused to help our allies. I was still a teenager then and in hindsight it was one of Wilson's smarter decisions.
  I thought as I am going to Cambodia and Vietnam next year that I should get a better idea about the conflict.
   If one is able, I would recommend that you take the time to watch the series. I have just finished viewing the footage where the American 7th cavalry [ Airborne] deliberately decided to take on three whole battalions of Vietcong, even though a deserter had warned them of the numbers they were facing. Talk about re living a historical mistake. The unit survived, just. Although it took the entire US airforce to stabilize the situation and stop them from being overun.
  Brave men on both sides and very moving. And yet we still make the same mistakes. Never start a war unless one has an aim and knows how we are going to get out of the damn thing.

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