Thursday 29 August 2013

Old School Ancients - Battle in the Pass

I have a game in progress on table at the moment. A Greek Confederation army is attempting to force a pass through the mountains while a Spartan army rushes to stop them.

Here you can spot two large units of Spartan hoplites snaking towards the pass supported by some Macedonian cavalry and a unit of helots on the high ground above the pass. Contact so far has been between accompanying light units but nothing will stop their heavier comrades coming to blows.

The mountain road passes through a swampy area where there is little room for deployment.

A unit of Italian mercenaries armed with deadly Pila come thundering down the road and may cause an upset amongst the Spartans.

More Greek infantry await their chance just around the corner.

There are plenty of them.

These chaps will be unimpressed, 'We are Spartans', they shout.

This game will be continued at a later date. The figures are all old 25mm mostly from Minifigs, Garrison and Greenwood and Ball. The rules we used are Slim Mumfords Ancient rules dated 1972.

Now that's Old School.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Dark Future - Car Wars

I am about to pass on a whole collection of bits and pieces to an old friend who recently asked about them. They are a collection of rules and road sections, cars and bikes, and various figures that I acquired with a view to writing a better set of rules for Car Wars.

It never happened.

My old chum wants his bits back so I offered him all the other bits to save splitting the collection up.

Best of luck James.

I snapped two of vehicles which I thought looked quite the part. They are my own work, of course!

Saturday 24 August 2013

Reading Quandary - What do I read next.

I recently received Dux Britanniarum from the Two Fat Lardies stable.

I have skimmed through the rules a few times and have read some of the chapters to do with background and force creation. I am still painting figures, almost finished my Britons and am about to start on my Saxons. It will be a few weeks yet before I have to read these rules properly.

I have just finished a major skim through The Wargaming Compendium by Henry Hyde. A weighty tome indeed, 519 pages covering 11 chapters. I strained my wrists holding it upright as I tend to do most of my reading in bed late at night. The Compendium covers just about everything you need to know about wargaming even if you are a crusty old devil like me. A good bible for a youngster to follow.

I will certainly read and re-read many of the chapters in due course, especially the one on gladiator rules as I think they may have some mileage.

I have just started reading The Swordbearers by Correlli Barnett. This is a study of supreme command in the First World War and focuses on four commanders. Colonel-General von Moltke, Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, General Philippe Petain and General Erich Ludendorff. The backpage claims that these characters span the war years although I fail to see why he couldn't include Field Marshal Douglas Haig!

This book can be picked up very cheaply on the internet.

Before I got as far as Chapter 2 in The Swordbearers two parcels dropped through my letterbox.

First of all was Chain of Command by the Two Fat Lardies. A long awaited publication which has caused quite a stir in certain circles. I can't wait to get started although I have pledged myself to get my Dux Britanniarum forces on the table first. They are a radically nice set of rules though!

I need to check out my 20mm (1/72) World War Two collection or perhaps my 10mm collection. Both are suitable. I also think my chums have enough forces in 28mm and 15mm to get us going.

The second book was Second World War Infantry Tactics by Stephen Bull which tells me it will cover the infantry combat experiences of the British, German and American armies in Europe.

So, therein lies my quandary. Do I finish reading The Swordbearers (I have started so I will finish) although I am only reading this until something better turns up. Or, do I start reading Infantry Tactics so that when I read Chain of Command I can perhaps understand better what Richard Clarke is trying to simulate (emulate). Then again I should maybe read Dux Britanniarum as this will be the next ruleset in use on my wargaming table but I will have to finish painting some figures first. Or, finally should I have a proper look at the gladiator rules in the Wargaming Compendium as I have gladiator figures already painted and ready to go.

I just don't know!

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Dux Britanniarum - Plastic Cavalry - The Build

I need a few mounted figures for Dux Britanniarum, 4 Shock Cavalry and 4 Light Cavalry for the Britons and 4 Light Cavalry for the Saxons. In line with keeping the overall cost down I purchased a box of Wargames Factory Celtic Cavalry which conveniently comes with 12 horses.

The figures are multi-part hard plastic, the horses are in 2 halves with separate heads and can all be made unique by mixing left and right sides with any one of 4 different heads. The riders come in both armoured and unarmoured bodies, 12 of each, with lots of separate heads, separate right arms and a lot of weapons and shields.

Here are the 4 I chose for the British Light Cavalry.

The next 4 will be the British Shock Cavalry.

The final 4 will be the Saxon Light Cavalry.

I snapped each figure individually before I get around to the paint jobs.

As you can see there is a great variety of poses and finishes available in this boxed set. Closer inspection will reveal some mould lines yet to be cleaned and I will do that before I start the painting process.

I have textured the bases as I use the same undercoat colour for the figures and the bases and it also helps bind the filler together.

You can see the filler is quite grainy although it can be smoothed with a wet palette knife. I use this stuff below.

It dries overnight and is fairly tough, takes paint well and I use it for all my basing texture needs.

Thursday 8 August 2013

Page 3 in the Daily Record

Earlier this year I posted a report on meeting a very old friend while on vacation in the States.

One of the things Ed brought up in conversation was along the line of 'do you remember doing...'

I certainly did remember and I said I wish I had a copy of the picture concerned. Ed said no problem, my mother has a copy somewhere.

Ed has sent me a scan. Thanks Ed!!

I'll let the picture speak for itself, please feel free to comment.

Monday 5 August 2013

Dux Britanniarum - Britons - Work in Progress

I have already mentioned that I'm already working towards playing Dux Britanniarum but I still have some way to go. I have made some progress with my Romano-British force although I'm trying to make them more British than Romano.

I started with an eBay purchase of two boxes of Wargames Factory Saxons, retailing at around £14.50 a box although I got both boxes including postage for £27.40. A good start at keeping the overall cost down.

Yes, I know they are Saxon and also from a period later than that covered by Dux Britanniarum but they are available, cheap, and will do fine for me.

These boxes supplied 32 each of armoured and unarmoured Saxons with separate heads, arms, weapons and shields. For the Britons I needed 10 armoured figures and 48 unarmoured figures so I have a bit of adjustment to make. I might also need some mounted figures but I will tell you about them later.

To start I need to have a Lord, two lesser Nobles and a Champion. These are probably the best equipped guys in the force so they have chainmail armour, helmets, shields and swords. They are singly based on hexes as they need to move about the battlefield and join other groups when appropriate.

I also need 6 Elites who are the personal following of the Lord so are also armoured in chainmail, with helmets, shields and hand axes. There weren't enough round shields to supply all the figures I used so they got Norman looking tear shaped shields as they were included on the sprues. Not quite accurate for the period but I think I can get away with being a bit loose here. The whole project is designed to get up and running at minimal cost as you will see in due course. In any case I can always relegate these figures to Foederati (who are quite mercenary) if better figures come my way.

The next group are the Warriors, unarmoured but with helmet, shield and mixed weapons, largely spear although some with sword or axe. I need 12 of these and possible another 6 as re-inforcements so I made up a total of 18.  I didn't have enough unarmoured bodies to make all that I need so some of them are armoured bodies modified into unarmoured ones by some careful scraping with a hobby knife and several thin coats of polystyrene cement. They're not brilliant but they will do.

The last major group of figures needed are the Levy. 18 in total, unarmoured with bare heads, shields and spears. I found that when I was basing these figures that the supplied plastic spears were very fragile and snapped as soon as I looked at them. I replaced all the spears with ones I made from some wire I had lying around.

I also need a variety of light troops, archers, slingers and javelinmen, in groups of 4. The bows were supplied on the sprues but I had to scratch build the slings and the javelins were shorter versions of the wire spears I made earlier.

You can see that the movement sabot bases are in a variety of finished and unfinished states as are the figures themselves. This is a work in progress report.

The final group of figures that I may need as re-inforcements are cavalry. 4 Shock and 4 Light cavalry which I will get from this box of Celtic Cavalry purchased at Claymore. It contains 12 horses and 24 riders, half armoured and half unarmoured.

So, there you are, a British force, in the making for Dux Britanniarum.

Once these are complete and my chum hasn't finished his Saxons I'll get on with the Gripping Beast Saxons that I bought at Claymore last week.

Saturday 3 August 2013

My Day at Claymore 2013

Claymore is Scotlands Premier Wargames show and is run by my club SESWC.

I toddled along, as befits a veteran wargamer to the show but unusually (most unusually) with a plan in mind. I wanted to leave the show with more money in my pocket than I went in with but also with a collection of goodies to further my wargaming enjoyment.

Difficult? Yes it will be, but with a good plan quite achievable.

The show is held in Telford College, Edinburgh although I see by the signs that they are called Edinburgh College now. I think there have been several college mergers recently.

It's a smart, fairly new building and a very pleasant change from Meadowbank Stadium of a few shows ago. On arrival I was greeted by a couple of the club kids (joking) who marshalled me to the car park.

Once inside I surveyed the main hall.

Then the Bring & Buy. It was very busy!

And then the second, sports hall.

I had my camera with me, obviously, but my plan was not to photograph everything, there's just too much with 40 traders and 30 visiting clubs. Instead I snapped a few things which caught my eye.

Kirriemuir Wargames Club caught my eye very quickly since I thought there was a completely bare table.

A closer inspection revealed the truth, Russian gun batteries lined the table and at the far end there was huge brigade of British light cavalry.

Yes, it was the Charge of the Light Brigade. "Onward, onward rode the Six Hundred, 5,4,3,2,1", the pop tune rattled through my brain until the six page handout promptly dispatched the 1964 song to whence it came from. The game itself was a little beauty, the Light Brigade was ordered by a collection of 5 players, a D10, and handfuls of 3 cards. Each of cards themselves was a line from the famous Tennyson poem and indicated a game action.

The rules themselves were authored by:

I bumped into a few acquaintances, nice lads but I wouldn't want to bump into them down a dark alley :)

I spoke to a good few of the traders who are all very friendly. Here's Paul and Sally of Kallistra. I have a bucket load of Pauls figures as well as a shedload of his Hexon II terrain.

The League of Augsburg put on a fantastic display. The Battle of Aughrim, 1691.

Again, some nice lads. I shudder to think how many pairs of trousers young Dave on the left here has worn since I introduced him into the hobby many moons ago. He had a full head of hair then but probably was still in short trousers!

Nice figures.

The Bathgate Wargames Club had yet another interesting game. "THEM". The town of Morvalant is in danger from giant ants, someone has to stop them. The driving forces in the Bathgate club are Slim Mumford, a veteran wargamer indeed (curiously absent when I came around with the camera) and Alan Hamilton MBE TD. Here's Alan centre stage with giant ants in the foreground.

One real surprise I had on the day was to bump into an old friend, Paul Henni, whom I hadn't seen for many years. Here he is with his lovely wife Lynn.

Paul is one these people with an unfettered imagination and he and Lynn have come up with a fantastic game, Magic Maelstrom.

My head hurt just looking at the game board so it probably is great fun to play!

The final game which caught my eye was "Divine Wind" by the RAF Leuchars club.

These guys always put on great games, this one was a bunch of kamikaze pilots having a go at US carrier.

As you can see appropriate head gear was worn.

And there were an appropriate amount of toys on the table.

Now, back to the plan, remember the PLAN.

I swiftly purchased the GOODIES I was after.

A box of Gripping Beast plastic Saxon Thegns.

A box of Gripping Beast Dark Age Warriors.

These will form the bulk (hopefully all of it) of a Saxon force to be used with Dux Britanniarum.

A box of Wargames Factory Celtic Cavalry which will supply a small cavalry unit for my Dux Britons and leave a few bits for the spares box.

Some Dark Ages shield transfers as my eyes cannot cope with fine detail these days.

Some Howard Hues paints from Magister Militum. You can never have too much paint!

Many of you will know that I scratch build most of my bases and many of those have magnetic features so I got some additional supplies from Trevor Holland.

I received a surprise FREEBIE from an old club friend. A shoe box.

The contents were interesting.

These will appear in a future post, trust me.

So, back to the PLAN.

The above goodies cost the best part of £100, par for the course at a wargames show for me these days. I still left with more money in my pocket than I arrived with!

Remember the Bring & Buy.

I put in a few painted figures I will never use and a considerable number of boxed games which I will probably never play again. I got around £300 back less 10% to my club.

Apart from a smile on my face and a bundle of goodies to be getting on with I also have a bit of spare space in my cupboards and sense of well being as a few others will be thinking (knowing) they got a bargain today too. Well done the lads behind the tables in the Bring & Buy, good marketing!

The best bit was seeing and speaking to the many many friends I met at Claymore today. What a great hobby!

Am now somewhat in a modicum of discomfort. My feet are literally killing me. A long day on my feet has done something to them.