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.

Hmmm.

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.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Even Riskier Business....

Following on from my post of yesterday I thought it would be a good idea just to see how the generic 18th century Risk figures could look and also to show the variation if styles from notionally the same edition of the game.


The planned basing convention - note the frontage is 40mm in each case.

I am planning units of four bases for infantry, three for cavalry and two for artillery. the base depths are 20mm, 30mm and 40mm respectively. I am toying with militia types being three figures to a base and dedicated light infantry (rifles and jager types) perhaps having two figures although I have yet to decide on this. 


The two infantry types. I have two complete sets of the left hand type and just the one of the right hand figure - which is a more delicately sculpted and scaled figure.


You just about make out the differences between the two types and you can see that the yellow figures have a much thicker base.


The cavalry figure looking suitably dashing.


Finally the artillery. The gun is not great but usable although why the gunner has a flag is beyond me...The gun looks more early 18th century than later but it will suffice.

The figures come out at anything between 12 and 14mm so I am hoping that Kallistra will be close enough to be able to fill in any gaps. I want to keep the project as self contained as possible and reckon that there are a couple of conversion possibilities - I certainly have enough figures available to experiment with!












Sunday, 9 July 2017

Risky Business or Needs must and all that....


Slingshot arrived on Saturday but the book came from our local boot sale.

It is Sunday which can mean only one thing in our house - boot sale! Sure enough SWMBO and I headed out to our local boot sale on a day that was extremely hot. We were struggling in the oppressive heat before we had even gotten halfway around but we persevered and were able to pick up a few bargains. Whilst Laurel scored a number of bargains (she has a real 'eye' for a good deal) for my part my acquisitions were rather more modest although I was able to pick up the book you see above and a copy of the boardgame Risk.

By virtue of my postponed (and probably cancelled if truth be told) Salamis project my interest in Ancient Wargames has experienced a little bit of a renaissance recently - hence rejoining the Society of Ancients - and the Later Roman Empire is a period I am keen to learn more about. Where this will go I know not but one thing is for sure - it will not be any time soon!



This particular version of Risk contains some rather useful late 18th century plastic figures - infantry, cavalry and artillery at around 12mm scale

I am sure I am not alone in always looking at a board game and seeing what the pieces can be used for. The above set caught my eye when it first appeared as the figures seemed very useful in a generic 18th century kind of way. The infantry look very much like British troops for the AWI but are suitably generic to be useful for pretty much any nation for the period (echoes of Charge! spring to mind....). Some time ago that renowned fashionista, wit and raconteur Kaptain Kobold cobbled together (or should that be Kobold together) a couple of armies for the Great Northern War using these figures - and mightily impressive they looked as well. The idea was such a good one I am sure he won't mind me stealing it....

I have a hankering to cobble together (actually I am thinking that Kobble would be a more appropriate word in this case) a pair of generic 18th century forces on an image-nation basis for use with, well, a number of things really. I already owned a couple of sets worth of the figures so have plenty of raw material to work with. Something to consider although with the imminent release of Richard Borg's Tricorne AWI Command and Colours game perhaps they may even be turned into Redcoats and Continentals.



The core Lord of the Rings set....


....and the figure selection contained therein.


The Mordor expansion to the base game....



....and the figures contained therein.


 For similar reasons I have also been acquiring a number of sets of the Lord of the Rings Risk set. Again the figures are quite useful and between the two sets you have Elvish Archers, Giant Eagles, Riders of Rohan, Moria Goblins, Trolls, Nazgul, Ents, Mumakils, Men and Knights of Gondor, Warg Riders and Uruk Hai. There is more than enough for HOTTs or pretty much any other massed fantasy system.

For both of the above I am keen to compare the figures with the 12mm models produced by Kallistra as there may be some bits and pieces that are usable with the plastics.

I also have some assorted 1/2400th WW1 ships to finish (leftovers from the Jutland project) which will give me a modest set up - a swift order to Panzerschiffe will provide the missing links - and finishing them is first on the list.

That leaves Travel Battle and a pile of 1/600th Tumbling Dice figures and WW1 aircraft as well as the ships for Lake Tanganyika as also being on the 'to do' list.

As you are aware I am currently out of work so any expenditure has to be very carefully considered - luckily I seem to have a good selection of things I can turn my hand to!


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Back from Foreign Parts....


Gotta love a peaceful, empty sandy beach with just the waves and a blue sky for company....

My good lady wife and I have just got back from our two week sojourn to the Cape Verde Islands (actually it was a week ago but I have been rather tied up with a few things) and so now it is back into the domestic round and the inevitable job search. I have a number of 'irons in the fire' so to speak and so am confident that I will be gainfully (or should that be gratefully....) employed in fairly short order.

The island in Cape Verde we visited was Sal and it has been described as a large sand dune in the Atlantic - which is pretty accurate as there is little there for the tourist to explore. We managed a jeep safari which was great fun and swam in the salt lake at the bottom of an extinct volcano - the the Dead Sea experience - so our time was not completely given over to relaxing on the beach. The food and drink were plentiful and the quiet vibe of the place was just what we needed. The motto of the island is 'No Stress' and that is exactly how it felt.

I managed to read two books whilst we were away - The River War and The Malakand Field Force by Winston Churchill - but constantly referred to Bob Cordery's The Portable Wargame for a number of ideas so I suspect you can guess where this may be heading....


Back in the boot sale groove

Sunday just gone saw our first visit to a boot sale for about a month and I was fortunate enough to score the above goodies. The Blandford title needs no introduction and was not only in tip top condition it also only cost me 50p. The Fort by Bernard Cornwall is on my to read list and I am rather embarrassed to point out that I have still not read the paperback version I also acquired from a boot sale ages ago. Still, a hardback edition is very nice to have and yes, there is a plan of sorts behind this.

The final title is a great doorstop of a tome and is one of books that answers pretty much everything you wanted to know about a very specific piece of a war, in this case the fighting in Tunisia as experienced by the second battalion of the Coldstream Guards. Maps, orders of battle, photographs, after action reports, patrol reports it is all there and as a source of gaming ideas and scenarios from Bolt Action/Chain of Command upwards to Memoir 44 you would struggle to find better.

I have absolutely no idea what I shall do with this but for £1 it was crying out to be purchased!

I managed to get a few ideas organised whilst we were away and am currently awaiting a modest delivery to start on the first of these so watch this space as something will be happening - at long last!



Saturday, 3 June 2017

The End of an Era and The Start of a New One


Gosh that was a long time ago! Block armies with an early version of Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame

It has finally come to pass. As of the close of play 31/05 I am once again among the ranks of the unemployed. I had been with my company for a shade over four years and so whilst the pay off was hardly retirement money it will suffice to keep us going for a few months. It is no secret that the job was demanding - I was working for a recruitment company - and that it took a lot out of me and many aspects of my life suffered as a result. I will not miss the commute and given that the job was largely sales based in an extremely competitive market with a very modest base salary the money will not be a major miss either! I am exploring a few options a little nearer to home so am confident my absence from gainful employment will not be a long one.

In the meantime though I am looking forward to getting some quality life time back - or should I say hobby time - so I fully expect to posting on the blog more regularly than I have been of late. This will also mean more time for gaming, painting and modelling so in a way I rather glad of the opportunity to tackle a few things.

SWMBO and I are off on a belated honeymoon on the 12th of June for a couple of weeks so I am looking forward to relaxing in the sun with my good lady wife, a fully loaded Kindle, a notebook or two and my IPad. I have a few ideas (I always have a few ideas....) I need to add some weight to and also I need to order the project list into something that is viable. Needless to say I will report all in due course.

It is good to be back.....




Sunday, 21 May 2017

Of Charity Shops, Boot Sales and Holidays

Once again life has gotten in the way of anything gaming related so the posts have been pretty sparse. For a pretty significant event (which for legal reasons I am unable to elaborate on....) this state of affairs may well be changing soon and all will be revealed at he appropriate time.


There is a certain style about reading a book by an author with a double barrelled surname....

Last weekend (14/05) SWMBO and I did our annual boot sale in which we attempt to fit a lorry load of surplus clothes, household items, CDs, DVDs and other bits and pieces into the back of our trusty 2003 Honda Civic - and usually manage to do so, albeit with much cursing and shoving. We had a very successful day and as is our usual routine some of the items that had not been sold are then donated to one of the local charity shops - in this case for a local hospice. I duly carted four boxes of stuff to them and whilst they were sorting the items out I happened to notice the book you see above. The very nice lady noted my interest and told me to take it.  A free book from a charity shop? Well she took the view that as I had just donated a whole pile of stuff they could afford to forego the GBP 1.25 it would have cost me.

I have read 'A Good Dusting' before and it is a quite tidy history of the campaigns in the Sudan so I was pleased to add this to my modest collection of books on the subject. It is a book club edition rather than the originally published version but that matters very little unless you are a purist over such things. Just the inspiration one would need for some mini campaigns Portable Wargames style.


A great doorstop of a tome and a steal at £2.00 - pity about the dust jacket though

The second title is rather more imposing and is a copy - sans the dust jacket - of Lachouque and Browns seminal history of Napoleon's Imperial Guard: The Anatomy of Glory. This was acquired this morning from a boot sale for the princely sun of GBP 2.00 so I am feeling rather smug at the moment. The book has a small dent on the cover and some 'foxing' of the pages but all the maps and plates are intact - and very nice they are as well.

At the time of writing we are still no nearer getting the kitchen sorted out - we have now been some thirteen weeks without a kitchen floor and having to go back and forth to the garden shed for certain essentials is fast becoming a chore. At least it is not the winter though!

We are also some three weeks away from our belted honeymoon to the Cap Verde Islands so I have been quietly adding titles to the Kindle for my holiday reading. I shall also be taking the IPad and a couple of notebooks to get some ideas together but the most important thing is that my wife and I will be able to R-E-L-A-X for a couple of weeks - and after the year we have had that in itself will be most welcome!

















Monday, 1 May 2017

The Portable Travel War Battle Game....Part 3

One of the things I really enjoy about blogging (and have missed due to the paucity of posts I have written over the last year or so) is that often one is lucky enough to get a comment or comments that really strike a chord - the kind of thing that really makes you think about what it is you are doing and how you are doing it. I had such a comment in my last post from Steve-the-Wargamer and it is to him that this post is dedicated, ably supported by Arthur Harman - and this is no way a criticism of these two worthies. Originally I was going to merely answer the comment but my thoughts took it into a post so I thought, why not?

I have been a wargamer for some forty odd years yet I do not possess a single painted army. I have owned numerous over the years but am blessed/cursed with a very short attention span so many ideas tend to come ago - usually with the amassed material being offloaded at a discount to either the club, my circle of wargaming friends or, more usually, eBay. More recently I have been working in a job that, to be frank, leaves me little time to consider anything gaming related - especially in respect of the work needed to get armies assembled for use on the tabletop. The problem is that I am generally guaranteed to run out of steam with a particular project long before it is ready to be used and the lack of time available tends to make this worse. It was for this reason I made such an effort with my huge collection of block armies - I can game with them in pretty much any period I fancy with the block colours being the sole difference between the two forces. This worked really well as the Games folder on the blog will testify. The blocks however, are not figures.

I have always liked using figures but I am very particular about the type I use. I do not like 28mm as I believe that for armies the figures require too much in the way of work to get ready as well as more space than I have readily available - not to mention terrain and practical considerations like storage. I take my hat off to those who choose this scale and can produce large and fantastic looking collections - it simply is not me. The closest I would get to using this scale would be for skirmish level games - but these are not 'war' or even 'battle' games. I suppose I am a little old fashioned in that I like my armies to look like armies which means a lot of figures. Messrs. Young, Grant and Lawford were able to do this using 30mm figures and large tables - neither of which I have access to nor the inclination to replicate. At a smaller figure scale though that is a different story.

I like figures that are simple in terms of details simply because they are easier to paint and are more forgiving of a basic painting style. I really like the flat colours and gloss varnish approach but most modern figures simply do not look right with such an approach and it is also difficult to find professional painters that want to 'dumb down' their painting skill (and the cost). Detailed figures need a detailed paint job which takes time or money so you can see the problem I have - no time to paint detailed figures and no interest in doing so, nor the finances to consider the professional approach. I am kidding myself if I think otherwise. Smaller scale figures are a different kettle of fish though.

These days even 6mm is fast becoming more detailed and needful of a modicum of effort. It is a scale I could be comfortable with - the same applies also to 10/12mm although they are also becoming more and more detailed with the corresponding increase in time and effort. The downside of course is that there is nothing available hat could be described as suitably generic in a chocolate box kind of way. One could dive into a number of ranges if one wished but, as a crude example, a Napoleonic 1815 British infantryman will always look like one (unless one used them 1812 Americans of course....).

The figures contained in the Perry set have struck a chord with me for a number of reasons. Firstly, they are very generic. They are loosely based on a homogeneous composite of Napoleonic uniforms so the difference between armies can be limited to the uniform colours used. As they are so generic there would be no twinges of conscience when painting up, for example, a French Fusilier figure with a green jacket for an imagi-nation type army. Using a generic troop type in this case is a positive advantage with the useful feature of doubling up as a proto-historical type when needed. If the scenario being fought represents, for example, a battle from the Peninsula War between Wellington and Soult (or whoever) then as long as the two forces can be told apart (mainly red or blue) then who cares? I certainly do not - which means I will probably be burnt at the stake for heresy. The fact that the Perry figures are completely generic is for me a positive boon. I will paint them and will differentiate nations by the uniform colour - possibly even a standard or two - because that is basically what I have been doing with my block armies. The figures themselves will cover a time span or around forty years if you are not too fussy - and believe me I am not!

I could have used historical figure ranges but that would defeat the purpose of what I am trying to achieve.

As far as the terrain in concerned I am really pleased with what is available. For sure one could make or buy something similar but again, that would take time and to be frank I could not do it as well as the Perry twins have done. The permutations of board set up are not endless but should serve to give sufficient variety for all but the most pedantic gamer, especially when one is using scenarios to define victory conditions - terrain will assume much more importance. My thoughts at present run to using a 6 board set or 30 by 20 squares as this will give the army feel I am looking for. this is a personal choice as I believe I could have endless fun merely using one base set.

For the 20th century I shall be using Tumbling Dice 3mm figures and the vehicles available from Magister Militia. Interestingly enough the buildings look fine with these figures so straight away the base set of terrain will be usable for both early years of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The rules are actually not bad within the context of what the Perry twins sought to achieve - I would have no problem using them as they are written. I may add a couple of house rules to go with them but then to be fair what wargamer worth their subscription to whatever society/magazine they take has not 'tweaked' a set of rules in some way?

From my point of view the Perry set has an awful lot to commend it and in many ways is ideally suited to my present circumstances. I appreciate that it may not be all things to all people but then within the diversity of our hobby it certainly serves a need. I also acknowledge that the sum of the parts could be acquired more cheaply but in many ways this would defeat the object of the set.

I would like to end this ramble by thanking both Steve-the-Wargamer and Arthur Harman for giving me pause for thought - which is something I do not get much time to do these days!