Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Indian Takeaway

A little diversion

Something completely out of the blue I know but I could not resist it! I have an occasional interest in the 18th century - mainly due to Charge! if I am honest - and this has tended in the past to be mainly Seven Years War in Europe based with the occasional foray into the American Revolution. However, I have recently been revisiting the campaigns on the 'fringes of Empire' if you like, namely the French and Indian War and also the wars in India.

As a perennial 'small war' enthusiast neither of the above should come as any surprise...

I am very fond of Stuart Reid's titles and so when the above was advertised I was always going to buy the same. The Battle of Plassey was the battle that cemented Great Britain's place as the upcoming premier power on the subcontinent and made the fortune of Robert Clive, one of my historical interests alongside T.E. Lawrence and others.

The book follows the usual Reid template with notes etc at the end of each chapter and an easy, readable writing style. I am going to savour this and will probably revisit Robert Harvey's excellent biography of Clive as a result.

Would I ever game the period? I doubt it as to do it just would require far more time and effort to produce armies for this than I would be prepared to devote but I would certainly consider a board game on the period if such existed.

As an aside it has also reminded me that there is one other book on the period I need to acquire. Just one, maybe two....

Friday, 15 September 2017

Rommel by Sam Mustapha

Glossy, hard-backed and with an impressive pedigree....

It has been an insanely busy few weeks with both the new job, the new kitchen and assorted other DIY and domestic issues. The former is going well and I am particularly pleased with the sensible and grown up approach to the job and the hours. The kitchen is, at last, coming to an end and so would have only taken around nine months....

From the gaming perspective the man cave will be changing slightly as due to the new kitchen I now have a new table measuring 5ft by 3ft with a leg at each corner rather than the old drop leaf version currently in use. As anyone with a drop leaf table will know you are a little restricted for storage underneath so the new single piece table is most welcome. It does mean I will have a 5 ft by 3ft piece of MDF spare should anyone want the same. I am planning to make the change over this weekend.

I took delivery of a copy of the operational scale WW2 rules by Sam Mustapha and whilst I have not had the chance to read them in great detail seem to have ticked an awful lot of my personal gaming boxes. They are square grid based which will suit me down to the ground especially for the scale I will be using - 1/600th or 3mm if you prefer.

The game uses a 6ft by 4ft table divided into 6" squares meaning a grid of 8 x 12. Now I own (and both have featured on the blog in use) a couple of 3ft by 2ft game boards gridded with 3" squares - exactly the same as the bigger version described in the rules. A 3" square looks fine with the 3mm models deployed therein especially as my plan is to base the models for use with Command and Colours as well. This means a typical tank unit will have 3 bases whilst infantry have 4 and artillery 2. Using these bases will enable the models to deployed far more aesthetically within a square than using a single large base.

Am I excited about this set of rules? Absolutely! I have been waiting for something like this for a while and although I have seen and experimented with a couple of other similarly scaled sets I have yet to find the right fit. I am hoping this will be the one.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Kitchens, Work and Boot Sales

It has been a busy three months since the 'compromise agreement' with my former employers meant that I was out of work. The time has certainly not been idle as not only did we have our holiday but we also had the small matter of project managing a new kitchen - and that has been a trial and a half! We are close to finishing this but suffice it to say it has been a stressful and frustrating experience with yours truly tackling some extensive painting - two ceilings, four walls, three doors and frames not to mention the front door and the garage. That is the only painting I have undertaken....

I start my new job this coming Thursday and although I was trying to secure something local it did not work out as I had hoped. This means I shall once again be on the commute but luckily the hours are a little kinder so at least I will have some extra time during the week. If I am honest I will be glad to get back to work for a rest!

On the gaming front I finally managed to tidy and rearrange the man cave - this was long overdue - so I am hoping to get some games in once again. These will be using the block armies initially and I suspect that the Portable Wargame will feature in some fashion. There are a few other things on the go that may appear but not for a while yet.

On the boot sale front I managed to score a large bag of balsa wood for £1.50 with some very useful pieces. I am looking at knocking up a selection of generic warship types for the Red Sea/Indian Ocean during the Great War. This will mean older, second line cruisers, gunboats, AMCs and Dhows. Lots of Dhows. I already have a set of rules in mind for the naval aspect of the project and hope to flesh this out further once I am closer to gaming it.

The models will be made on a 'cartoon' basis with the largest type coming in at around 8 cms long - large enough to fit on a couple of Heroscape tiles.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

A Blast from the Past....Part 2

Magnificent figures from a bygone age....

As mentioned in my previous blog post I visited the house of the couple I acquired the three volumes of Miniature Warfare from. Alas the the other bound volumes are not of this magazine - they are instead of Military Modelling. The volumes (again, in binders) are for 1971 and then 1973 to 1985. I shall have a look around to see if anyone would be interested in the same. There is also a large selection of bound copies of the Bulletin - the journal, I believe, of the British Model Soldier Society. Once I have fuller details I will let you all know.

The big news though, is that there is a large number of unpainted plastic Spencer Smith Miniatures - the 18th century types. Of those figures that featured in the War Game by Charles Grant there is roughly some 50 or so of the tricorn wearing cavalry and an indeterminate number of the marching grenadier and centre company types. There is also around a hundred of each of the figures pictured above. I will be getting an exact count soon.

All of the Spencer Smith figures are now available in metal and in my ignorance I thought that only the cruder versions appeared in plastic - certainly not the handsome looking fellows above.

There are also books and Hinchliffe figures to be disposed of and as soon as I have details I will be sure to post them.

Monday, 7 August 2017

A Blast from the Past

Now that is something you don't see very often....

Another Sunday and another boot sale. This time I was able to acquire something very special indeed. I am sure that many wargamers of a certain age will remember the magazine Miniature Warfare published by John Tunstill. I can remember buying a copy of this with my pocket money from the shop that John ran near the Imperial War Museum and being mightily impressed - it seemed altogether a more polished and serious offering than the Wargamer's Newsletter. In retrospect one could argue that Miniature Warfare, with its mention of such things as national conventions and such like, was attempting to bring gaming to the masses and more in the mainstream. It is ironic that after the passage of some forty years my thoughts are more Featherstone-like than Tunstill but things change.

I was able to acquire the first three volumes of the magazine in binders from issue number one for the princely sum of £3 in total and will also be acquiring some later volumes gratis. The seller was disposing of the last of the collection belonging to a deceased distant relative and amongst the bits and pieces therein are a number of books and a lot of unpainted Spencer Smith plastic figures that I will be taking a closer look at later next week.

A quick glance through the contents has some rather interesting articles although naturally some of the adverts are a little on the 'quaint' side....

This is a wonderful piece of wargames history that I shall enjoy reading - I will also take a look at Discovering Wargames and the various spin offs that used to be available from Shire Publications - and it will be interesting to see how much of the content has stood the test of time.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

1/600th Thoughts and the Portable Wargame

Tumbling Dice 1/600th infantry and cavalry with Perry Travel Battle buildings and Renendra plastic bases

As well the plans afoot for the Risk figures mentioned in my previous two posts I have also been looking at something a little smaller - namely 1/600th scale or 3mm to be precise. The only issue is that these figures from Tumbling Dice are in fact closer to 5mm than 3mm but are fairly basic in terms of details compared to other 3mm models available or the more extensive 6mm offerings on the market. These are actually rather nice models in a generic kind of way which suits me ideally. You can see that the figures fit rather nicely with the Perry Travel Battle buildings which is a different project altogether although I may be doing something with these in a Command and Colours or Portable Wargame kind of way. If I mentioned that I have some assorted WW1 aircraft and vehicles on the way you may see exactly where this may be headed....

The Portable Wargame - Volumes one and two - with the front cover....

....and the back which also reveals the contents (and saves me having to type them!).

My old friend Bob Cordery has been a busy fellow indeed. Developing the Portable Wargame is the second book about the concept of the Portable Wargame and what an inspirational read it is. Taking the two titles together is a must in my opinion as the second volume expands upon the first and adds a greater degree of sophistication and variety. If you want a well thought out, extensively tested and extremely well written book(s) about how to fight a wargame then look no further.

Both titles are available in paperback, hardback and ebook formats from Lulu and Amazon and are quite simply outstanding.

I know Bob has some further 'Portable' ideas in the pipeline so check out his excellent blog Wargaming Miscellany for updates as to what is happening and when.

Highly recommended!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

On the Bounding Main....

From the collection of Chris Hardman. The models are 1/600th scale and were first used for an Armada based game back in 1988. There is rather a lot of it as well....

Well this is a first. I finally got around to not only having a game on a club night but also to play test a set of rules with my old friend Chris Hardman. The rules in question are 'Galleys and Galleons' by Ganesha Games and whilst they have been around for a while getting them to the tabletop has been a challenge for me due to time.

Kaptain Kobold has used these a lot and if check out his blog The Stronghold Rebuilt you will some of the games he has taken part in as well as some rather nifty scratch built models he has Kobold together for the period.

The scenario was the entry level Pursuit contained in the rules book which pitched a very nimble 'Jacht' against a merchant Galleon. The scenario is designed to get the player used to the game mechanics. Now Chris and I (Chris especially) have played numerous wind and water naval games over the years so you would think we would have a reasonable handle on such things as the weather gauge etc.


After much blundering about and frantic manoeuvring to avoid the islands dotted about the Jacht was able to get a few shots aways but with no effect. It was great fun though and the potential is there for for further entertainment.

The picture above was taken on my phone so apologies for the mediocre quality.

The tool box containing the models was revelation although a couple of models would need a little TLC to get them into fighting trim as the years and much travelling had taken its toll. One model in particular was quite badly damaged. The ship in question was called the San Andreas.

Needless to say I pointed out that it had a fault with it....

Many thanks to Chris for his patience - this play test has been months in the making - and for the game and use of his magnificent collection.