Wednesday 20 December 2023

Compliments of the Season

Merry Christmas to all followers and readers of the blog.

This year has been 'quiet' to the casual observer, but I can assure you that behind the scenes there has been wargaming productivity aplenty, and a fair bit of painting. I'll do a full review of the year next week, once the festivities are over.

In the meantime, I wish you and yours peace and goodwill, and a very Merry Christmas.

Wednesday 13 December 2023

First Steppes

 A few snaps of the growing Eastern Renaissance project.

Muscovite commander:

Figures are from The Assault Group (TAG). Really enjoyed painting these chaps. Flag is by Mark Allen. 

Next up - Tatars:

These are from the Fireforge Mongol plastics box. I decided to paint them in dull brown clothing to match my perception of Tatars, largely formed by watching the film "By Fire and Sword" many years ago. 

Sometimes it's nice to just set up a few scenes on the tabletop, without necessarily having a game... or at least, that's what I like to do...

Here, Cossacks and Streltsi are fending off a Tatar attack on a small settlement on Muscovy's southern border.

Whilst I don't yet have sufficient for a game, I am working to remedy that and early in the new year I will begin to play some games with this collection. The large numbers of cavalry will make for some interesting scenarios.

That's all for now folks! Hope everyone is enjoying the 'wind down' to the festivities and the prospect of some hobby time.

Sunday 26 November 2023

Here's the Evidence

The lack of activity on the blog might lead some to believe that if I was accused of being a wargamer there wouldn't be enough evidence to convict me.

However, dear reader, let me assure you that I have been up to various hobby-related activities of late.

In fact, there's been a bit of a Renaissance.

So, I decided to do a sort of mish-mash post, a smorgasbord of stuff, a digest of various topics, just to bring you up to date.

is definitely the word... Eastern renaissance to be more precise. The TAG Muscovites have always tempted me, and recently I took the plunge. In fact, having got rid of my previous Eastern Renaissance collection a number of years ago (Poles, Cossacks and the like), I've decided to do it again... it's an illness, not a hobby!

First up, some Muscovite Streltsi.

This is Moscow Streltsi regt number 4. 
I went for the uniform which is recorded for this regiment in the 1670s, even though I am setting this project much earlier (c 1600-1650). There are a few uniform differences just because I did them how I wanted them rather than be a slave to 'accuracy' (for example, the raspberry coloured hats, as opposed to the original dull grey, and the yellow button lace as opposed to the original black).

The painting process was set back by a week with this unit when I experienced some spray undercoat bobbling which resulted in the figures spending as couple of days in Dettol, then being washed with soapy water for a couple of days before finally being left to dry thoroughly for a couple of days, finally restarting with some trepidation. After that it was plain sailing and they came out ok.

Recent Game - Never Mind the Condottiere...

On Thursday Andy came round for dinner and a game as he's currently working close to where I live. We decided it was time to get Billhooks out and give it a go. A first outing for The Army of the Duchy of Bavetta (a sort of Milanese condottiere based force) against Andy's army of Haut-Dijon ('not-Burgundians'). We had a lot of fun, enjoyed the first go at the rules, and some hilarity too when my artillery decided to blow itself up with it's first shot! I discovered that Longbows can be devastating against my cavalry, especially in the hands of a player who knows how to roll very decent dice!

A few snaps of the game in progress...

Above: The Haut-Dijon camp... 3D printed tents by Andy.

All in all, Billhooks as it was intended... fun, and bloody. 

...seems a long while ago, back in the mists of October. It was a terrific weekend, as always, and the show was very good. There have been plenty of photos and reports online, so anything I can add might be a bit late to the party. However, I noticed some interesting trends.

  1. The visual and aesthetic appeal of Participation games has been steadily creeping up and nowadays rivals those games designated as Demo Games. Some lovely stuff on show.
  2. Whereas in the past many demo/display games were put on by small groups of 1,2,3,4 people, the number of games being put on by large clubs with the input of a large number of members is evident. It's good to see.
  3. There is still much inspiration to be drawn from the smaller games too... and especially when they are so nicely presented. I spent a lot of time chatting with Kevin and Peter of The Iron Brigade and their Winter is Coming table based on Game of Thrones was very spectacular. I also really liked the Bramley Barn group Elizabethans in Ireland set-up. 

Above, Iron Brigade's "Winter is Coming".
Below: Elizabethans in Ireland

Castles are always an attraction on any display game, and this Partizan the stonemasons had been very busy. The pick of the bunch, along with that seen in the Winter game above, was Dave Andrew's edifice on The Bodkins game, below:

Other inspiration

The recent posts on Facebook by The Perrys regarding the acquisition of some of Peter Cushing's hobby notes really are worth taking a look at. 

There's lots to be learned about the way he (and others of that era) went about the hobby... lots of lovely sketches, flag designs, battle reports, jottings and ideas. It's clear that back then wargames were events. Great efforts were made to ensure the few times each year that fellow hobbyists got to spend across the table from each other were well thought out affairs. There was no sense of 'Fast Play' being preferable - games were fully supported with scenario maps, objectives, and written orders. Great stuff.

That's about it for now... more soon. I am currently painting up more Eastern Renaissance figures and at the same time wondering how to bolster up the Army of Bavetta before next facing the dastardly Haut-Dijon rascals.

That's all for now. All the best ...

Tuesday 19 September 2023

Change of Plan

Contrary to my previous post about painting bits n pieces for Partizan, unfortunately I will now not be able to put a game on at the show.

However, I will be visiting as a punter/shopper, so look forward to seeing a few of you there.



Wednesday 16 August 2023

Bits n Bobs for Partizan

Having booked in to do another Display game at Partizan in October, I decided to create a small graveyard by utilising a pack of Renedra gravestones that had been languishing in the back of a cupboard for quite some time.

Here, the churchyard is being 'defended' by a rabble of rowdy rapscallions...

More news on the actual game, scenario, etc nearer the time.

Have got an Old berks game coming up in a couple of weekend's time - Never Mind the Billhooks is on the agenda, using our fictional Condottiere armies, so that will be fun. I will post a few pics and a small report on that when it happens.

Meantime, all the best...

Sunday 16 July 2023

A week reflecting on 'obbies

Last weekend was a milestone birthday, for which I had a bit of a 'do' for family and close friends (some wargamers amongst them). 

Once the gazebos had been derigged, on the Monday Lisa and I set off for a rather special trip.

We went to Framlingham... somewhere I have longed to visit not least because it is where the fantastic TV series "detectorists" was filmed.

We were able to stay in the centre of the town, and all week were darting here and there following a very detailed google map which has many of the specific scene locations marked (a labour of love by someone who is as mad as me about the programme I guess).

So, "what's this all got to do with wargaming?" you may ask.

Well, the series is very much about middle-aged blokes and their hobbies. It just so happens that Lance (played by Toby Jones) and Andy (played by Mackenzie Crook, who also wrote and directed the series) are metal detectorists. But the parallels with our own hobby, and indeed any hobby, are so very obvious.

Anyway, having watched all three series from the very start (plus the Christmas specials) and many hundreds of times since, I was able to indulge.

For those who have no interest in the show, apologies...

Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Meantime, a few snaps:

Below - Maggie's shop, as seen from our hotel room.

Lance's flat

Castle Inn was used for "The Two Brewers" external scenes 

The King's Head in Orford was used for internal shots of the quiz night at The Two Brewers.

Becky's school

The Lemon Tree cafe where lance met his long lost daughter Kate is now a rather nice Italian restaurant... we insisted on the corner seat where Lance and Kate sat!
The tree in the churchyard opposite where Andy spied on them has since been felled, but other than that the scene is easily recognisable.

The field where King Sexred's ship burial is shot.

The Two Brewer's Beer Garden (in real life this is the White Horse at Ufford) where Lance and Sheila had a rather moving scene.

Saxon Round Tower church... Boom! The church at Aldham

The spot where Lance makes his big find!

The Mayor's house

The Crown at Great Glemham was the location for interior scenes at The Two Brewers.

For those who are interested, all series are on BBC iplayer.

Monday 3 July 2023

Holding Action

A couple of weekends ago, The Old Berks (myself, Steve G, Andy M, and John K) gathered here for a catch up, a bit of show n tell, and a game.

We shared latest projects, and chewed the wargaming fat for quite some time before settling at the table for a small game I had prepared. I wanted to trial my 18th Century rules using the 1704 Wars of the Vaubarian Succession (WVS) armies and decided to create a 2 player v 1 player game based on one of Charles S Grant's 'teaser-style' scenarios (Holding Action).

I called the battle Hugellucke as the Vaubarian force (under the command of Steve) were to defend a hill line and the pass against the two columns of Astrovians (John and Andy).

There was also a bit of random Hussar arrival, and a few other little surprises thrown in. The benefit of having an umpire allowed some of the defenders to be concealed behind the ridgeline and in woods too.

It was a good game, and the Vaubarians held out in the end, despite a spirited and intense attack. 

I won't give a blow-by-blow account, but will let the pictures tell a bit of a story....

For those who like to know a bit more detail of the set up, the forces were as follows:

Vaubarians (commanded by Etienne Graf von gill)

  • 4 infantry battalions (Liebgarde, Dremel, Breitner, Ratzinga)
  • dismounted dragoons
  • Podolski Hussars (began the game off table... random arrival time and place determined by dice throw)
  • 2 field guns.


column 1 commanded by Herzog Johann von Kerplunk

  • 3 infantry battalions (Frankl, Schrodinger, Mahler Grenadiers)
  • 1 cavalry regt (Klammer Kuirassiers)
  • 1 Field Gun

column 2 commanded by Brigadier Andreas von Tielemans

  • 3 infantry battalions (Wittgenstein, Klimt, Schindler)
  • Karavani Croats
  • Czardas Hussars (began the game off table... random arrival time and place determined by dice throw)
  • 1 Field Gun

It was a most enjoyable and close encounter. The rules seemed to work well, and those unfamiliar with wargaming the period soon got into the swing of them which was very gratifying.

Meantime, there's all sorts of fresh things afoot here... more of which soon.