Wednesday 30 December 2020

Battle Report

It seemed somehow fitting that, having started 2020 with a Battle involving the forces in The War of the Vaubarian Succession campaign (WVS), the year should end with the same protagonists fighting a highly enjoyable action today.

Both sides were on the march early, in a bid to contend the road junction and Koronaberg, and hoping that their reinforcing units would arrive to support the action.

Both sides also advanced their light troops to seize the Tierwald, The Karavani Croats for the Astrovians, and the Muller Light Dragoons for the Vaubarians. The latter advanced stealthily but steadily as the mist shrouded the open ground between the villages, and entered the woods. The Croats ascended the hill, and then descended into the woods on their side. The ensuing firefight was bloody, and after a couple of turns, the dragoons got the better of it. The Croats evacuated the woods and headed back to the village of Kovyd, no doubt to cause some trouble in the taverns (even though all such hostelries had been ordered to close).

The arrival of extra troops onto the table was controlled by random dice rolls, from turn 3 onwards, and the gods of battle were smiling on the Vaubarians today, both in terms of the speed of their arrivals and the points of entry to the table. It soon became apparent that the Astrovians would struggle to from a consistent battle line with which to carry the fight.

In the centre, the Dremel battalion and the Frankl battalion, having marched at pace towards the vital junction, were exchanging musketry. The Vaubarian Field Gun, in support of  the Dremel battalion, unlimbered and joined the fight, unleashing cannister shot onto the hapless Frankl men. It was too much for the Astrovians who eventually failed their morale test and retreated. 

Soon after, the Dremel battalion were shaken by Astrovian artillery fire from the hill by Kovyd village, but it was too late.

The Vaubarian battle line was fully formed, and they held the key parts of the battlefield. The Astrovians decided that, rather than spill more blood, they would withdraw from the field.

And so, Vaubaria ends the year triumphant...

Here are a few pictures of the action...

I have once again included the battlefield sketch map for ease of reference.

Above: Muller Light Dragoons.
Below: The Karavani Croats.

Above: the firefight in the centre. Dremel take on Frankl.
Below: action in The Tierwald. The black counter indicates a morale test for the Croats, and the Green counter indicates they have failed and must retreat.

There's one thing that inspires more painting... a good game. Needless to say, more figures will be appearing on the workbench in the next few days...

All the very best


Tuesday 29 December 2020

Seize The Koronaberg

Here is the table set up for tomorrow's game:

It is based on the Dominant Hill scenario by Charles S Grant, slightly adapted.

The villages of Kovyd and Vakczsyn are approximately 2km apart by road (you might say, socially distanced). They are overlooked by The Koronaberg, a large 'saddle' style mountain whose twin peaks are crowned by rock formations giving it its ancient name.

The curved road between the two villages has a junction with the road leading across the Koronaberg saddle... a vital strategic point in these parts.

Both Vaubarian and Astrovian forces have been ordered to secure this vital junction and The Koronaberg itself.

Vaubarian forces have arrived in the village of Vakczyn as follows:

  • Dremel infantry battalion.
  • Field Gun
  • Muller Light Dragoons

Meanwhile, a similarly sized force of Astrovians is reported to have garrisoned the village of Kovyd to the north as follows:

  • Frankl infantry battalion
  • Field Gun
  • Karavani Croats

Both armies have several other units operating in the region, and reinforcements will arrive randomly from turn three (apparently hastening to the sound of the guns)... each side has 2 further infantry battalions and 2 cavalry regiments in the vicinity. Where they will arrive, and at exactly which point on the table edge, will be determined via dice rolls.

The scene is set, and tomorrow the action will unfold...

Monday 28 December 2020

Review of the Year

It's traditional to take a short glance back before launching into a new year, and I jotted down a few notes yesterday afternoon whilst enjoying a nice malt.

Painting totals for the year:

  • Successors 202 points
  • Pils-Holstein project 30 points
  • Napoleonics 58 points
  • Back of Beyond 157 points (including terrain and adobe buildings scratch-built)
  • miscellanous bits n bobs 10 points

... making a grand total of 457 points for the year. 

Not a bad output, and best for a few years, helped in some small part by me being able to make particularly good use of the early weeks of the pandemic which afforded plenty of time at the paint desk.

Gaming has been poor, of course, although I am resolved to do more solo games from now on (I have one laid out in the wargames room right now which i will get to play over the next few days).

Shows - well, the York weekend seems so long ago, almost another world, but it was a highlight of this current year, with Steve Gill and I taking the opportunity to also see the delights of York, including the Yorvik Centre which I hadn't been to for a few years.

Virtual Wargames Club - very much a highlight of the year, with a zoom gathering taking place every Saturday since 2nd May. Packed with inspiration, ideas, and a chance to share and appreciate others' efforts, it has been a hobby morale booster for all members, myself included.
I have decided to hand over the reins now to a new President/ Chairman/ organising commitee, and am delighted that what started out on a bit of a whim will continue into the new year. I will still attend when possible, and sit on the 'back-benches' contributing where possible.

So, that was 2020.

As mentioned earlier, I have a game laid out at the moment, and will post a few pictures over the coming days along with a brief battle report.

To all who have supported the blog this year, many thanks. I note that I have posted over 50 times, which is very good going for me, and perhaps reflects (along with the improved painting output) just how important the hobby is when the world around is in turmoil. I know I'm not alone in being very grateful to have such an absorbing and engaging pastime. Long may it continue...

Saturday 26 December 2020

So that was Christmas...

... and what did you get?

I did rather well, on the wargames front, even though much of that was my own doing.

Here are my hobby acquisitions:

The Back of Beyond project is well represented, via Copplestone Miniatures, and an Empress Miniatures tank for the Chinese Army (I ordered 3, but only received one... I will chase up, and I'm sure the other two will be on their way asap). There's also a box from Front Rank with some 18C cavalry for the WVS campaign.

The film DVD, Battle of Kruty, was a complete surprise. Look it up. It's right in the Back of Beyond flavour... a great guess by the donor. 

The Helion book was part of a shortlist given to a good friend some weeks ago, so was one of those happy moments on opening it up.

One additional festive item was the Virtual Wargames Club Annual which I compiled from submissions from our little club which has been so valuable during the last 8 months. The 'Members Only' 60+ page pdf is packed with articles, great galleries and eye candy, battle reports, and all manner of 'good stuff'. Members of the group are currently enjoying its contents as we speak.

I do hope all blog visitors had a great day, and managed to find some hobby-related items under the tree.

In a couple of days I will review the year... as it turns out a highly productive and fulfilling hobby year.

All the best for now...

Saturday 19 December 2020

Under the Tree

Firstly, a very Merry Christmas to all readers and commenters on the blog.

(Hmmm... these ornamental Christmas scenes happen to fit nicely with my Little Britons!)

It has been quite a year... and I will do a full review in due course.

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here, with the tree up and the kitchen cupboards full and the fridge and freezer at bursting point.

Under the tree, I have three wargame-related parcels (gifts from me, to me!)...

I just wondered if anyone else does this?

Or... if you have been brave enough to trust others with your Christmas hobby list, what are you expecting (or hoping for) under the tree on Christmas morning?

Whatever the day brings, Merry Christmas, one and all!

Sunday 13 December 2020

Terrain and Buildings

The past couple of weeks, I have been scratch-building some terrain and making adobe buildings for the Kaimenistan expedition.

The hills are made from styrofoam (using a simple styrofoam hot cutter) with some sand and stones for texture, and several layers of emulsion paint from a dark brown to a very light final highlight.

The bits of cork bark were added to MDF bases, tetrioned, and then given the same paint treatment as the hills.

The mountainous peaks were a set of plastic ones made by Kallistra which i picked up at the York show around 5 years ago. They've been waiting to be 'tarted up' since then, and I final got round to it, and painted with the same method as described above.

The buildings are mainly scratchbuilt, very simple. The gatehouse is a Sarissa MDF piece, as are the two towers, and the domed building is one of Renedra's adobe kits. The whole lot was given a simple colour scheme, and it seems to work ok. I left them 'unbased' to give maximum flexibility.

I have still got some extra details to do, such as ladders, pots and jars, and other paraphernalia to give it a 'lived in' look.

Although I had my Back of Beyond project firmly in mind when creating this, the whole set up will, of course, serve for many theatres and periods... I can see my ancient Successor armies fighting over it, for example, and my Colonial troops.

The Renedra building, in a certain light, looks like it is some sort of christmas cake, with an icing covering! Well, it keeps it festive! 

Finally, I added a bit of flock to indicate sparse patches of grass, typical of the region, and the picture shows the British contingent arriving to garrison the town.

And so, the Back of Beyond project moves forward! Next up, some more troops...

Sunday 29 November 2020

Take the High Road?

 Progress with the Back of Beyond project continues, and following the recommendation of one of our commenters, Jonathan Freitag, a couple of posts ago, I ordered the DVD, High Road to China.

An enjoyable couple of hours on Friday evening... ok, it's an 'average' film, but plenty of enjoyable bits for the wargamer, and a few decent battle scenes to get the creative juices flowing.

I'm currently working on some buildings for the project... hopefully something to show before too long.

Sunday 22 November 2020

Did anyone order Chinese?

The build up of forces for the Kaimenistan (pronounced Ky-men-istan) expedition continued this week.

As yet, the composition of the sides is rather shrouded in mystery. The Brits shown last time, of course. But who will they fight? Who will they ally with?

Meanwhile... a Chinese warlord is amassing forces on the border, and threatening to extend his influence west into Kaimenistan. 

So, here is the first unit of Chinese infantry:

These are Copplestone figures. Lovely to paint. And fairly simple... so i was able to speed paint them; Fifty Shades of Brown-y- Grey.

More of these to come.

A couple of Chinese officers also...

I'm also working on a whole load of buildings, and other terrain items too. Inspiration is coming from all angles. Not least frequent visits to the now archived Major General website.

With so many possibilities for this project, it's difficult to keep it in check. I'm already thinking planes, trains, automobiles ... and boats.

Rules will be the popular "Setting the East Ablaze" which have a certain flavour and ethos which fits for me.

So, back to the workbench. Thanks for your interest and comments. 

Sunday 15 November 2020

New Project - Welcome to Kaimenistan

Thanks to all who commented last time, and for some interesting guesswork about what the new project might be...
40K indeed! Lol! 

So, welcome to Kaimenistan (pronounced Ky-men-istan). Somewhere in the Back of Beyond, circa 1920s.

I have long wanted to own a model Rolls Royce Armoured Car, so that's where I began (Empress Miniatures).

Then came a Lanchester Armoured Car (Empress Miniatures) which I painted a slightly different shade of tan/ buff.

For both armoured cars, I added my own 'decals' and also the 'campaign clutter, boxes, tarpaulines etc.

As for the figures... I began with some Sikh infantry, and British officers (Copplestone Castings).

And then, a Naval detachment (Copplestone again).

and Naval Officers... Lt Gieves, Lt Hawkes, and an as yet unnamed character...

Here is the British force so far...

I have enjoyed pottering around with this. Painting units of 10-12 figures certainly makes a change from the larger Horse & Musket battalions I'm used to, so it is satisfying to be able to get something complete in fairly quick time.

The other thing I am noticing about this project is the range of activities involved... not just painting figures, but modelling the armoured cars, and making buildings. I am even contemplating some plastic kits which will really test my skills as I haven't built such things for decades.

More to come soon...

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Changing Gear for a Bit

Thanks to all who commented on my previous post... some interesting viewpoints. It's all a question of personal taste, in the end, and no one approach is right or wrong.


Over recent days, I have been reflecting on the past six months of painting output...

It began with the Successors project, and after a short interlude in the 18h century with the Oldenburg Regt for the Pils-Holstein collection, continued with the Napoleonics (French in bicornes).

Recently, however, it has started to stall a bit...

Now, there are a couple of reasons for this, perhaps; mitigating circumstances, if you like 

- namely, the recent deterioration of my cancer prognosis (bad news, but them's the breaks, as they say), 

and the recent arrival on the scene of a new relationship (good news).

But, notwithstanding those things, I was also mindful that I'd turned my 'hobby' into a bit of a painting slog... a feeling that has been heightened by the lack of even a feint chance of getting any games just now, and for the foreseeable.
It doesn't take long for us to start asking: So, what's all this painting for?

To the rescue (and they don't know it yet)... the members of the Virtual Wargames Club. 

You see... each week, members send me pictures of what they've been up to hobby-wise, and I have the immense pleasure of preparing the weekly show n tell presentations for our meetings. 

I am constantly amazed and inspired, every week, by the inventiveness and the broad range of periods people play. Most of all, I am buoyed by the level of enjoyment people can derive from even the most modest collections, projects, and games.

This got me thinking...

The upshot is that I decided I needed a new injection of something fresh, alongside the Napoleonics but very different in style and approach, to offset the slog with some escapist fun. After all, it's a hobby. Right?!

I wanted something skirmish-y. But not a traditional skirmish of a few figures per side. Grand skirmish, I suppose you might call it.

I wanted something outside of my normal realm (so not one of the mainstream periods).

I wanted something which would allow my imagination to roam a bit wild.

I wanted something which would allow me to add ad-hoc units as and when I fancied painting them.

I wanted some hardware... not just figures.

In short, something very different than I have done in the past. 

At the same time, Steve, my chief wargaming buddy and confidante, was also having similar thoughts.

And so a fresh project is gestating, and we're almost ready to bring it into the world. 

More news on this soon...

Tuesday 6 October 2020

A Question of Style

At a recent meeting of The Virtual Wargaming Club, we discussed style and design. 
The club meetings always have a broad mix of periods and scales, but also a huge variation in styles. The design approaches are indeed eclectic. 

It got me thinking. Many people have a design style that they use for all their wargaming projects. 
Yet, I tend to decide on a 'look', a presentation style, that's particular to each specific project. 

No more is this evident than in the look of the terrain, and in particular the colour of rivers. By way of example, here are a few of my projects to illustrate what I mean.

Now, don't let's get too bogged down in the true 'realistic' colour of water, or how rivers 'should' be presented... (I suppose being 'bogged down' should in fact be reserved for marshes anyway). 

When starting a new project, do you decide on a deliberate 'design style'? 
Or do you just do it in your 'usual way.'? 
Food for thought...

Sunday 30 August 2020

Brigade Commander and Skirmishers

First off, thanks to all who have commented on the previous couple of blog posts recently. It's very much appreciated. Keep 'em coming.

Now, here's what I have been up to over the past ten days or so:
More of the steadily growing Napoleonic collection.

This is the Brigade Commander...

Plus the Brigade skirmish screen.

The Brigade so far...

Next, the remaining two battalions to paint in order to complete this first brigade.

The weekly VWC meetings are proving just the tonic to keep the brush wielded, as it seems to be for others. Yesterday's was a great session, with lots of material submitted by the guys for the show n tell section, a great presentation from one of the members on his collection of 20mm plastics, and a vibrant discussion in the breakout rooms. The banter level rises each week, and the chat box went to a record 130+ messages (and that's just the comments and asides). 
I'm grateful to all the participants, and each week I never cease to be amazed and inspired. The over-riding essence of the group is that everyone has their own way of approaching the hobby, and all are equally valid.
Much enjoyment can be found in listening to people describing their plans and ideas, many of which you will see on their blogs. Getting the 'inside track', and behind the scenes thinking, adds meat to those bones. It's a wonderful way to spend 90 minutes each week.

And new members are always welcome...