Monday 30 December 2019

Plans for 2020

Before I start I should mention there are 2 events which will impact on my wargaming this coming year. From mid February I will be away for 5 weeks. The second, and rather more impactive, is a house move. Assuming we manage to sell our house ok we intend to move before the end of the year. This will severely restrict the gaming side of the hobby although I hope to maintain at least a degree of figure painting. One of the criteria for our new home will be it possesses, or has the potential to possess, a wargames room. So, all being well, normal service should be resumed in due course. It may of course give me the opportunity to experiment with skirmishing in 6mm. Chain of Command on a coffee table looks promising!

My plans therefore will be more modest than usual. As in previous years I will break it down to 3 sections: Battles, Campaigns and Painting/modelling:

Continued -

Saturday 28 December 2019

Review of 2019

Hope you all had a great Christmas. It is that time of year to review my wargaming through 2019. 

What I had not planned at the start of the year was to sell off my entire 15mm collection. This was a time consuming exercise which detracted from my wargaming. Both number of games and figures painted fell short of what I had anticipated.

In looking back over the past year I will refer back to my original plans and examine what has been achieved and what has not. Under each of the three headings, 'Battles', 'Campaigns' and 'Painting', I will add what I have completed but not planned for originally.

On to the review. The text in Italics is taken directly from my original 'Plans 2019' -

Continued - 

Sunday 22 December 2019

On the Workbench: ECW Parliamentarian Cavalry & Dragoons

For the final posting this side of Christmas I present the last of the Parliamentarian cavalry for Glastonbury together with a regiment of mounted and dismounted dragoons.

Within the last couple of days I have started on the last of the Roundhead dragoons and when completed the game will be ready to go.

I did annoyingly discover that although I had enough dragoons to cover the last Roundhead unit a great many were command strips. This left me two strips short of the troopers required. So, although I am progressing painting the final unit, I am awaiting the last 6 figures which have now been posted from Baccus to complete this part of the project.

Before the new year I will be reviewing 2019 which will be closely followed by my plans for 2020. 

In the meantime I wish you all a great Christmas. 

Tuesday 17 December 2019

Blitzkrieg Commander Errata and Polish Ramblings.

I have just spent the best part of 2 days worth of painting figures updating Blitzkrieg Commander IV with both the rules and army lists errata. I nearly lost the will to live!

To cap it all the book began to disintegrate! I have seen comments elsewhere regarding pages coming loose. I feel spiral-bound rules is the way to go these days. They may not look as good on your bookshelves but they are more practical for wargaming purposes. Being able to lie flat on the table and more rugged is ideal for our requirements. 

Errata is frustrating and this is where pdf rules come into their own. I do prefer though the printed variety but acknowledge the ability to download updated rules is more convenient. 

BKCIV gained a good deal of praise for the extensive army lists contained within the rule book which is no small feat for WW2. Here again I do wonder if it would have been more practical to download updated lists printing off only what you require. This exercise though has fired up my interest in getting some WW2 stuff onto the tabletop. 

On the subject of WW2, I recently listened to a podcast interview of Roger Moorhouse, the author of a new book "First to Fight: The Polish War 1939". 

It was a fascinating interview and dispelled the myth that the Poles were reduced to cavalry charges against German armour. This was pure Goebbels propaganda designed to show the Poles as being inferior in every way which has stuck through time. Far from it. The Poles had a professional and reasonably equipped army that was far from the push-over Nazi Germany liked to portray. Had it not been for the Russians stabbing them in the back they would in all likelihood have held out for longer with ramifications for the rest of the war. 

I have yet to buy this book but is very much on my purchase list for the near future. My only concern being that it may will drag me off into another WW2 project!!!

When I was a young boy in the 1960's, a close friend of the family was a Polish ex-servicemen. I only ever knew him as Uncle Woj and although not related he felt like an Uncle to me. His wartime history is mind-boggling. He was an officer in the Polish army when Germany invaded. His home and family were in the area occupied by the Russians. Having fought both the Germans and Russians he became a member of the Polish resistance before being captured by the latter and transported into a POW camp deep in the Soviet Union.

When Russia changed sides they released all the Poles from captivity but provided them with no transport or provisions. Uncle Woj walked across Russia eventually making it to the UK in an emaciated state joining the Free Polish Army. He fondly recalled how some British troops taught him to speak English - but only swear words! He walked into a pub and cheerfully practised his new-found English only to get a thumping for his troubles! 

He went on to fight in Italy being with the first Polish troops to capture Monte-Cassino. He also fought in north-west Europe but my memory is sketchy as to where. Throughout his time in the Free Polish Army, he and his comrades fought for the freedom of their country only for it to be handed into the hands of another tyranny. He never harboured a grudge and I remember him as being one of the nicest mild-mannered men you would ever wish to meet. What he and his mates went through beggers belief. Real heroism rather than the over-hyped word of today. I have memories of him joining in with my early wargaming, consisting of lining up soldiers on the floor and rolling marbles at them. My only regret was that he did not live long enough for me to grow to an age where I could have fully appreciated and taken more interest in what he did. 

And finally on a Polish subject, did any of you watch that dreadful BBC production "World on Fire". I saw the trailers which sparked my interest. WW2, Poland, sea battles, Sean Bean, what's not to like? The opening scene was encouraging with lines of Panzer I's and II's ready to invade. That was the high point! The BBC soaked up Goebbels propaganda and even magnified it. The American journalist reporting back that they were equipped with pedal cycles against armour and scenes of Polish troops taking their own weapons, including shotguns to war. After a couple of episodes I found myself fast-forwarding to action scenes in the vain hope there would be something worth watching.

I got to the Battle of the River Plate. They clearly have learnt nothing from HBO and others on how to create credible and exciting battle scenes. Firstly, HMS Exeter! You really would have thought that it could not have been that difficult to compile a CGI recreation of the actual ship. But no, this is the BBC. The ship they depicted was decidedly weird not helped by poor CGI. I have no idea what it was supposed to be. And then there was the action - confined almost entirely to one of Exeter's turret barbettes. 

I really cannot tell you anything of the story after this as I had given up. It ended in France in 1940 indicating the story will continue in Series 2! I think I will give that a miss. This is a crying shame as I have always thought that the wars we research as part of our hobby are festooned with fantastic stories, larger than life characters and human nature at its absolute best and worst. Indeed, an epic could be made depicting the life of my Uncle Woj!

Thursday 12 December 2019

The Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks) Day 2.

We now move on to Day 2 with the arrival of Hooker's and Richardson's divisions reinforcing the beleaguered Union troops. Both sides lost an equal number of casualties during Day 1 and with half of those returning overnight losses amounted to 106 overall each.

The revised orders of battle for Day 2:

Continued - 

Monday 9 December 2019

On the Workbench: Parliamentarian Cavalry

A quick update on the progress of the ECW project. The first two regiments of Parliamentarian cavalry have been completed. As I mentioned on a previous post, the Roundheads will be outnumbered in the forthcoming battle of Glastonbury. So there will be only 2 more cavalry regiments to paint together with 2 regiments of Dragoons.

The larger regiment is actually made up of three small regiments in the battle. Therefore I have varied the coat colours roughly representing the separate commands. The smaller regiment are equipped with the traditional Roundhead Lobster Pot!

Friday 6 December 2019

New Russian WW2 Project - Reconnaissance in Strength

I have spent the last few days pouring over various scenarios and books seeking a suitable game to kickstart my WW2 Russian front project. As you will have seen, inspired by the new figures from 2D6 Wargaming, I felt that it really was about time I involved myself in some Soviet action. It is one of those theatres of war that I have always intended to play, but apart from a brief foray almost 50 years ago using Airfix figures, it never made it to the tabletop.

The criteria I used to select the scenario was that it was not just to be interesting and fun to play, but also with orbats where I could use the goodies being produced by 2D6 and also the new sculpts from Heroics & Ros. I did not want to be in the position of waiting for months, if not years, for the required figures and vehicles to be available (yes H&R do just about everything but many of their products have yet to be updated).

Having gone through my collection of books including some great scenarios in the Rapid Fire Scenario book 3, as well as the extensive scenario listings in Panzer Grenadier (thanks Kevin), I struggled to find what I was looking for.

I then had that Eureka moment. A book caught my eye on my bookshelves that I have used far too rarely over the years. The excellent "Programmed Wargames Scenarios" by Charles Grant.

It contains a mini-campaign "Reconnaissance in Strength" which fits the bill and should be great to play. This book is tailored for solo-play and I could foresee it being ideal to report in a fun way on my blog.

Jack Diomede did an ACW version of this campaign a couple of years ago on his Tabletop Commanders blog and can be found here

Jack showed the versatility of 6mm in that each table was just 17" x 17"! If you really are pushed for space this shows what can be achieved in this scale.

For my game though each table will be much larger. I have yet to determine the precise dimensions but want it to be sufficient for each table to present a decent challenge to a WW2 force.

These are the 10 tables to be reconnoitered by the Russians. Tables 3 - 9 are randomised. The maps in the book provide the basic topographical features allowing the gamer to add any detail necessary for the period wargamed. I will probably add quite a few features and terrain details to provide cover and interest.

The basics of the scenario are that several Russian reconnaissance in strength forces explore various mountain passes in preparation for a major offensive. This is one such pass representing a long valley in which they must travel.

In my game I will play the Russians with an AI opponent playing the Germans defending the valley. My force will be based around a motorised infantry brigade accompanied by a medium tank battalion along with various supports including artillery and recce units. The way I intend to report the action on my blog will be through my eyes as the Russians tentatively advance along the valley not knowing what they face.

I will go into more background detail when the campaign starts proper. My order has gone into 2D6 and it will be a small matter of painting the goodies before I start!

I am conscious that this is yet another project. In order to avoid spreading myself so thin that nothing ever gets done, I will be limiting the number of projects to those already listed in the "My Collections and Projects" tab above. This mean that something has to give. Sorry to say for those lovers of the 2mm scale, I will have to mothball that one for now.

As with my other projects, I will periodically report on my preparation progress and I have created a label "WW2 Recce in Strength" for ease of accessing the relevant posts.  

Thursday 28 November 2019

Figure Review: New WW2 Russian Infantry from 2D6 Wargaming Part 2 - Painted

As promised in the first part of this review I have painted up a handful of the new WW2 Russians from 2D6 Wargaming. Here are the results:

They consist of Rifle, SMG, 82mm Mortar, Anti Tank rifles and Female Sniper bases.

Continued -

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Kingmaker Campaign Continues: Siege of Alnwick resolved and Map Moves

My son Jack and I finally got to continue the Kingmaker today. We decided to play out the siege of Alnwick as per the boardgame rules. The Yorkists (myself) captured Alnwick and with it Percy who was executed for his treachery. 

The following moves saw both sides manoeuvring and building up their respective forces. I crowned Richard of York in York and summonsed parliament enabling me to shower several of my nobles with titles. In the subsequent move Jack crowned Henry of Lancaster in London. 

With my strength building, I decided to consolidate my hold on the north, Wales and the south west. I sent Stanley, Talbot and Mowbray to secure Wales with most of the rest of my forces concentrating in the north. Jack in the meantime was building substantial forces in and around London.

With my 3 nobles meeting at Shrewsbury, Talbot and Stanley were ordered to take Hereford, a walled town to the south. Hereford was not as yet owned by either side but will resist the Yorkist aggression. So far so good I thought. With the offices and titles awarded to these nobles they will provide for a very powerful base in Wales. Under the rules I had sufficient forces to capture Hereford and the only danger to me would be if either of my nobles were named as killed in the event card. With only 2 nobles committed the odds were pretty good I would be ok. Event card drawn. Nobles killed - Talbot and Stanley! Jack almost fell off the chair laughing as I stared incredulously at the card. In one fell swoop my plan unravelled.

Jack seized on the opportunity presented by this blow to my Welsh forces and dispatched a strong force from London along with Edward of Lancaster to deal with Mowbray who was now holed up in Shrewsbury. Jack had considerably more success capturing Shrewsbury and putting Mowbray to the sword. He did lose one of his nobles in the attack, Hastings, Earl of Worcester.

Richard of York, incensed on hearing of the events along the Welsh border, lead a force out of York to deal with the Lancastrians at Shrewsbury. As Richard approached the town, Edward lead the Lancastrian force out into the field to confront the Yorkists. And so began the Battle of Shrewsbury.

An overview of the board at this stage in the game. Jack is concentrated in London and the south east apart from his force at Shrewsbury (middle left). My reduced forces are now either at Shrewsbury or in the south west where Pole, the Duke of Suffolk, will shortly be landing in Plymouth to join Berkeley.

A closer view of the Shrewsbury battle. My Yorkist forces will slightly outnumber the Lancastrians but not enough for them to be confident of victory.

I will certainly have to paint more figures before this game can be played and I have yet to decided on the rules to be used. I have my own Ancient/Medieval version of General de Brigade but it still requires a good deal of work and unless I can create a fast play version may not be practicable in the time we have available to play out the game. 

I am therefore looking at others in my possession with Impetus and Sword & Spear being front runners. For now then Kingmaker will be stalled again but hopefully not as long this time.

Sunday 24 November 2019

Figure Review: New WW2 Russian Infantry from 2D6 Wargaming

Robert Fellows of 2D6 Wargaming has kindly provided me with samples of his new 1/285 scale Russian infantry due for imminent release. As readers of the blog will know, I am seriously impressed by the new Panther tanks produced by this company so looked forward to getting my hands on their new infantry range.

Before I launch into the review I should mention that I have added new label "Figure Reviews" where you will find this, my previous reviews of 2D6 Wargaming's Panthers, and any future reviews.

I have broken this review down into 2 parts. Part 1 is the review of the figures with Part 2 being how they compare for size and quality of other figure producers.

Part 1:

From left to right top row:
R11 Soviet Riflemen
R02 Soviet Signals 
R01 Soviet Command (Officers and a 37mm mortar)
Bottom row:
R20 Soviet Sub-machine gun PPSH41
R30 Soviet Light machinegun DP28
R44 Soviet 82mm Mortar and crew

Continued -

Friday 22 November 2019

On the Workbench: ECW Parliamentarian Cavalry

Fresh back from my break and it is time to review where I am at with painting the forces involved in the ECW Battle of Glastonbury.

Before I began my holiday, painting had ground to a halt for several days with the real world intruding. Unfortunately I have a few more days of the latter before I can really concentrate on painting and playing Day 2 of 'Seven Pines'.

The above represents all the cavalry I shall need for Parliament. There are 4 regiments in total with the 2 ready for priming being pretty much the maximum number of cavalry I like to paint in one batch. There are 54 here and I normally aim for 30 - 50. Infantry can be anything from 50 to 90. You often see on Facebook professional figure painters in particular, painting in batches of several hundred. I simply do not have the stamina! I can see the logic in that painting in such large numbers on a production line basis speeds output and I envy those capable of such a work rate. Personally I tend to find this becomes more of a chore and I have never been a good speed painter. Additionally, if you have a spare half hour it is more of an incentive to paint, say flesh, knowing that they can be completed in that time. 

On another subject - during my holiday I took the opportunity of reading 'Hunter's Rage', the third book of 6 in the Civil War Chronicles series by Michael Arnold. The first book starts with the battle of Edgehill and the book I have just finished reading concludes with the battle of Stratton. The story revolves around 'Stryker', a hard-bitten veteran of the 30 Years War who fights for the Royalist cause. He writes very much in the Bernard Cornwell and Simon Scarrow styles and fans of those authors I am sure would find these equally as good. I thought the third book was the best of the 3 I have read to date and was utterly absorbing. Arnold interweaves fictional and real-life characters with skirmishes and historical events in the same vein as Cornwell and Scarrow. I heartily recommend these books even if the ECW is not your period. They certainly provide for wargaming inspiration with the potential for numerous scenarios including many smaller actions.

Sunday 10 November 2019

The Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks) Day 1.

Next up on my ACW project is the Battle of Seven Pines, also known as Fair Oaks. The scenario is taken from the Fire & Fury Great Eastern Battles Scenario Book. Once again I shall be using the Guns at Gettysburg rules by David Brown.

Conversion is relatively straight forward. I simply replace a F&F stand, typically of 3 x 15mm figures, with a 6 figure stand of 6mm. The base frontage is 15mm, 60% that of F&F's 1" or 25mm. 

This reduced the size of the 6' x 6' board in F&F to 3'7" x 3'7" or the closest for my boards of 3'9" x 3'9". The other change I had to make was the number of turns. Movement distances of 6mm figures in GaG rules are roughly 30% of the 15mm figures in F&F. It takes twice as long to cover the same ground and therefore the number of moves are doubled to that in the scenario.

Units in GaG are at battalion level and thus I introduced a few minor changes to reflect the fact that this will be at brigade level. Primarily around Brigade attack columns with a minimum of 2 stands in each of 3 lines to constitute such a column. Where brigades are too small to form their own attack columns they can combine with other brigades to form what is essentially a division attack column.

This is a two day battle with Day 1 consisting of 28 moves including 2 twilight moves. There is one special night move followed by 36 moves in Day 2.

The map shows the situation at 1.00 p.m. on 31st May 1862. The darker green represents wooded areas and the dotted line is the dividing line for the overnight turn. The letters around the edge of the map indicate entry points - more of that later.. X and Z are targets for capture. All streams are flooded preventing artillery from crossing. All other units may cross at any point but suffer a movement penalty. Any unit defending a stream against a charging unit receive a bonus +1 in melee.

Continued - 

Sunday 3 November 2019

On the Workbench: ECW Parliamentary Foote

The Parliamentary foote regiments are now complete for the Battle of Glastonbury. As can be seen they will be heavily outnumbered by their Royalist equivalents.

The 4 figure pike bases are ok so far. Not as fiddly as I thought they may have been. That said I probably would not want an entire army based in this way but all being well this should only affect a minority of regiments.

I apologise for the photo. With Seven Pines and all the associated clutter (rulebook, dice, QRS etc) taking up much of the available space, I have had to squeeze them into one corner of the ACW battlefield.

The Parliamentarian cavalry are now underway and with that the nice feeling that comes with a project nearing completion.

Thursday 31 October 2019

On the Workbench: ECW Pike Basing

I return to the conundrum of basing my pike blocks for regiments with 16 figures. My standard basing for foot figures is 6 on a 15mm x 15mm base. This though would have to be 8 on a 20mm x 15mm or 4 on a 10mm x 15mm base.

The issues to be considered are practicality, appearance when in march column and versatility in casualty removal. 

Having now reached the basing stage for this batch of figures I trialled them as follows:

The first two photos shows the 8 figures option on two bases. When sandwiched between my traditionally based musketeers they actually looked better than I expected. In fact perfectly reasonable.

And now the 4 figure option on a 2 figure frontage. This clinched it for me for the march column test. Although the 8 figure base was ok, this looked a better representation.

For casualty removal, a smaller figure base has the obvious advantage in better representing a gradual reduction in unit strength. So another tick there.

Finally, practicality of handling such small bases in this scale with the potential of slowing play. I decided that given the other advantages, and the fact that this affects only small numbers of figures at present, that it would be worth basing them using the 4 figure option. Peter Little (his blog, 'Little's Wargames Diary', is listed on the right) has also conducted this experiment and feels they are not too small to handle. Having now glued them to their bases I get the same feeling. Only when in play will I know for certain whether I have made the right choice but I am cautiously optimistic.

You have a sneak preview of the ACW battle 'Seven Pines' in these photos which is currently being played through. The ECW intruded briefly!

Sunday 27 October 2019

On the Workbench: ECW Parliamentarian Foote

Wargaming has been fairly limited this past week due to family commitments. I have though commenced playing out the ACW battle 'Seven Pines' taken from a Fire & Fury scenario book. 

On the painting front, my first Parliamentarian Foote regiment has been completed. I will post the results as soon as these have been finished:

Two smaller regiments, a yellowcoat and a greycoat regiment. Both are 40 figures strong and with a 3:2 musket to pike ratio gives 24 musketeers and 16 pikemen. 

This presents a problem with basing. The musketeers will be the usual 15mm x 15mm 6 figure bases. The obvious and sensible way to go with the pikemen would be two 20mm x 15mm bases containing 8 figures each. However, as readers of my blog will know, I like to be able to represent a unit marching in column along a road. A 20mm frontage base will fit within the width of my roads but a 4 x 4 pike block may look a little out of place. I am considering four 10mm frontage x 15mm bases each containing 4 figures. It would solve the column problem and also better represent casualty removal. The downside is the practicality in this scale.

I will therefore try out both before deciding which way to progress.

The large grey figure in the photo is an old 25mm Garrison figure from the 1970's. I had quickly painted him up as a statue in my 15mm games. Having rediscovered it while clearing out my 15mm collection I thought it would be great for 6mm. I just need to find a suitable plinth and give it a better paint job which should provide for a dramatic feature on the tabletop.

The 3 trees on the left are almost completed bulking out of cheap Chinese trees purchased over ebay.

Friday 18 October 2019

On the Workbench: Completed Royalist Army for Glastonbury

The Royalist army under the command of Hopton has been completed for the Battle of Glastonbury:

Since the last update, Dragoons and command have been added.

Mounted Dragoons bottom right of the photo and dismounted along the middle. Now I have gone really small for the dismounted dragoon bases! Something of a trial run for how I will base the British firing lines in the Zulu project. They are 3 to a base measuring 15mm x 10mm depth. The idea behind this being the ability to line them up in a single rank behind a hedgerow, fence or defending walls. I would not recommend basing an entire army (unless small) in this way for 6mm but limited units such as this should be fine.

I am well underway now in painting the first Parliamentarian foot regiment which will be smaller in size to their Royalist counterparts. The Roundheads were outnumbered in this action so will be quicker to prepare. I have to confess I am rather looking forward to playing this period again, it has been far too long since my last game.  

Sunday 13 October 2019

2mm Napoleonic test battle: 'Austria 1809'

This is a fictional battle to try out my new 2mm Napoleonic figures. The reason for having a look at this scale is the possibility of playing the largest Napoleonic battles on my maximum (7'6" x 4'6") table and not taking years to paint the figures. Each base represents a brigade and therefore suitable rules will be used. In this particular action I am using my version of Fast Play Grande Armee. Essentially this is pretty much as written with a few tweaks.

This scenario is by Tom Barkalow and is downloadable from the Grande Armee website. 

The setting for this battle in the 1809 campaign and is a fictitious corps engagement assumed to be fought a few weeks after Apern-Essling. The premise is that French scouts have located an unguarded road that leads behind Austrian positions and a corps is dispatched as an advanced force to get as far along the road as possible. The Austrians detect the movement and hurriedly rush the nearest corps into a blocking position while pondering what to do next.

The French goal is to open the road being blocked by the Austrian forces and to hold it open off the table. The Austrian goal is to prevent this.

Weather: sunny.
Ground is hard
Game length is 4 turns.

Continued - 

Friday 11 October 2019

Battlefield Maps

For some time I have been intending to find software or a method of easily producing battlefield maps for my AAR's. Where I have played scenarios from publications I have been loathe to copy those directly into the blog. Aside from potential copyright issues I have felt uncomfortable using somebody else's intellectual property without their permission. 

Recently I have been viewing the backlog of Little Wars TV excellent Youtube videos when I arrived at one providing a tutorial on how they create their maps using the free Microsoft Paint programme. Even for a technophobe such as myself this appeared achievable. I used a very basic one for the first time the Buq Buq WW2 AAR. 

The following are three I have created for forthcoming games:

2mm Napoleonic test game "Austria 1809"

ACW Battle of 1st Winchester

ECW Battle of Glastonbury
The borders represent my 9" section terrain boards. So top is 4'6" x 3', middle 6' x 3'9" and bottom 3'9" x 3'9". These are the colours used by Little Wars TV apart from stone walls, hedgerows and crop fields which are my own creations. I may experiment a little with the greens to make the hills clearer and likewise darken the blue for rivers.

Unlike Little Wars I switch to PhotoScape X to add text, arrows and unit symbols. For Glastonbury I finally switched back again to Paint to fill in the white section of the cavalry symbols and add the dash to indicate the facing of each unit. I find PhotoScape X is easier to use for moving text around and changing its angle.

To save time I have created a plain map in base green for each sized board I am likely to use. I then just copy over the relevant size that I need and fill in detail from there.

If you get the urge to create some yourself, pop over to the Little Wars TV website (link on the right) and locate the map tutorial. 

Tuesday 8 October 2019

Operation Compass: Buq Buq

For the final action in Battle for the Camps I turn to Buq Buq. It is a scenario drawn from Robert Avery's "Operation Compass" for "I Ain't Been Shot, Mum" rules. Orbats were largely taken from "Benghazi Handicap" by Frank Chadwick for Command Decision with some adjustments to allow for what I possessed.

With Operation Compass progressing well, the 7th Armoured Brigade supported by 2 squadrons of the 11th Hussars had been sent forward to Buq Buq on the coast. There they found the Italians in full retreat and, sweeping through the town, caught up with the 64th Catanzaro Division a little to the east. Some parts of the division were caught while moving and surrendered after a brief hammering from the British tanks. The rest had found a good defensive position amongst the sand dunes between the coastal road and the sea, with their flanks protected by saltpans and mud-flats.

From "Operation Compass" by Robert Avery.
This scenario represents that attack on the remains of the 64th Catanzaro Division as they hurriedly prepare their defensive positions. 

The British armour will assault a makeshift Italian artillery position not knowing than an area of the ground that they will have to cross is a dried salt marsh that will bog down their vehicles.

The Battlefield and Terrain:

The terrain consists of a sequence of long, low sandy dunes with the most prominent marked in a darker colour on the map (mine are a little too large and rocky but will have to stand in until I produce more dunes). The going is very bad and at the start of each turn, any vehicle that intends to move must roll 2d6: If it rolls a 'double 1', then it has become temporarily bogged down and cannot move that turn. A 'double 6', it has broken down.

Otherwise the table is covered with slight undulations and patches of rough scrub that provide some sort of cover and spotting benefits but are shallow and sparse enough not to affect movement. All infantry moving up or down the dunes deducts 2cm from movement. The dunes provide same sort of cover as high ground.

The dried salt marsh is a significant hazard. Any vehicle that ends its movement within that area is automatically bogged down for the rest of the game. Any vehicle that completely crosses the area during its turn bogs down permanently half way across.

The black and white bars around the map edges represent each of my 9" tile sections.

Contintued -

Tuesday 1 October 2019

On the Workbench: Royalist Foot

Good progress has been made of late with the ECW project. 2 more Royalist foot regiments have been completed including another with a slight colour change:

The blue and greencoats in the foreground are the newly completed regiments. I know that very few, if any, regiments managed to maintain any uniform appearance but well.... these are wargame figures! In my old re-enactment days all regiments wore their designated colour coat with pride and although not strictly accurate, it does look good. 

The regiment in the background is Hopton's bluecoats and the first I painted. I have had something of a mental block with these. The first blue I tried was simply not right. A second attempt was better and featured in an 'On the Workbench' post. I was still not happy so once again tried another shade. This time Vallejo 902 Azure blue. They still look a little bright in the photos but are ok in the raw. This is the first time I have used Kevin Dallimore's 3 coat method on 6mm!    

The other issue was whether to go 2 or 4 deep with the musketeers. These are large units and strung out 2 deep would use a substantial chunk of the battlefield. So for these it is 4 deep for now which reflects the above depiction of Naseby quite well.

This brings to a conclusion the Royalist foot for the Battle of Glastonbury. I am now well into the Dragoons followed by the command bases which will complete the Royalist force. 

Sunday 29 September 2019

Little Wars TV

The most recent Gods Own Scale podcast involved an interview of Greg Wagman from Little Wars TV. I had occasionally dipped into some of its Youtube videos but shamefully paid little attention. The podcast piqued my interest and I have begun watching the back catalogue of episodes on Youtube. And I can honestly say I am blown away. The production quality is easily on a par with professional TV documentaries with engaging characters and topics. The fact that no professional equipment or expertise was used makes it all the more remarkable.

Even better still, 6mm features prominently (although not exclusively) and demonstrates well the attractions of this scale. I would urge everyone not already aware, even those not interested in 6mm, to take a look at their videos. They include such topics as battlefield visits, rules reviews, terrain construction and after action reports. You can sign up on their website for access to other free stuff including downloads and videos. I have added a link to my links list on the right for their website which is here The Youtube channel is here:

There is just one drawback. It generates ideas and inspiration for yet more projects!!! Immediately after their 'Trebia' episode I was scanning the Baccus website for Carthaginians!

Tuesday 24 September 2019

On the Workbench: 2mm French Corps complete

For the last few days, in between preparing ebay listings, I have forged ahead to complete the 2mm French Napoleonic Corps for my test game. This is made up of 3 divisions and 1 cavalry division. Each base is a brigade. The 3 artillery units and a Portuguese brigade in the foreground are Corps troops.

I do not like units to be too generic in size, preferring each to more accurately reflect differences in strength. Hence the variation in numbers. The game is now pretty much good to go and will be near the top of games to be played as soon as my ebay sales are finished. The plan remains to test the 'Blucher' rules versus 'Grande Armee' both by Sam Mustafa.

Wednesday 11 September 2019

On the Workbench: Two Regiments of Royalist Horse

Completed today are two more regiments of Royalist Horse for the forthcoming ECW battle, the Battle of Glastonbury.

These are Sir Humphrey Bennet's Regt in the lead with Sir George Vaughan's Bluecoats in the rear. In reality they could be any Royalist Regt and with Bennet's Horse having no distinctive coat colour making it even more generic. In time I will paint up command stands with orange sashes enabling them to switch sides!

The trees in the background are the improved versions of cheapies from China. Aside from adding foliage to bases I am experimenting placing loose clump foliage around the wood perimeter. I will use a couple more different shades when placed on the tabletop to make it look a little more realistic. 

Followers of the blog will know that I prefer single based trees for the versatility that offers. The downside being that it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to replicate some of the impressive dense woods placed on some tabletop battlefields. Foliage is at its most dense around the outer perimeter of woodland and I am hoping to improve the appearance of my woods by replicating that. How far I go with it will depend on how much it affects play. The more terrain you add the more impressive the tabletop but can also be a hindrance to moving figures around.

Saturday 7 September 2019

On the Workbench: 6mm Streams or 2mm Rivers

A few months ago I converted several river sections I had made for 15mm ACW to streams/runoffs for 6mm. These were acetate with one side painted. I am now adding to them and include here a short tutorial on how these were made.

It is a very simple method, cheap, quick and quite effective:

The first stage is to paint one side of an A4 size acetate sheet (I apologise for the slightly blurry image but hopefully you get the idea). 

I used a mix of cheap artists acrylic paint. Black, Chocolate Brown and Tan. A dark shade was maintained using the brown and tan to create an irregular look. To protect the paint I gave it a coat of spray gloss varnish.

Continued -

Monday 2 September 2019

On the Workbench: Prince Maurice's Foot Regt

Another ECW foot regiment has been completed. The regiment raised by Prince Maurice:

A slight experiment here. Baccus supply 2 standard bearers in their command strip. So far I have only been using one but with these particular regiments being on the large size, I decided to use them both enabling 2 separate smaller regiments to be created when required:

Continued -

Friday 30 August 2019

Blitzkrieg Commander IV Templates

A new purchase arrived today from Pendraken. They have started producing templates for Blitzkrieg Commander IV and I have acquired most but not all (I did not need suppression and deployed markers). So what have I purchased?

This is the 30cm Air Support Bomber template and the 20cm Artillery Concentration template. 

The 20cm Artillery Barrage template.  

Continued -

Tuesday 27 August 2019

On the Workbench: Prince Maurice's Horse & Lifeguards

More cavalry finished for the ECW Battle of Glastonbury:

These are Prince Maurice's Lifeguards in front with his Horse regiment behind. Probably not historically accurate but I have his lifeguards all in the Continental Pot with near identical horses. I felt his lifeguard should stand out from the rest with a more uniform appearance.

I have been trying out different camera techniques here (thanks Peter Little). I am finally discovering more of what my camera can do having owned it for several years! One of the issues I had with many photos was keeping the whole unit in focus. I have tried here Peter's suggestion of F8 in depth of field with the optimum shutter speed for the lighting conditions. More experimentation is needed. All the photos I took came out a little dark and I needed to lighten this one before posting. With any luck I will be able to eliminate the annoying glare some suffered from, particularly with light desert bases. 

Friday 23 August 2019

On the Workbench: ECW Cavalry

Another unit has been completed for the Battle of Glastonbury. This is the Royalist, Earl of Caernarvon's Horse:

The regiment was split into 2 squadrons for the battle. Rather than one large regiment I painted the second squadron as the Earl of Northampton's Greencoats. They are virtually indistinguishable from Caernarvon's Horse but gives me another unit for future battles.

Another development involves a decision to increase my knowledge of photography! So far I have been only using basic settings on my camera and hoping they turn out ok. It will never be a hobby in its own right for me, I am just simply not enthused about cameras! However, I am conscious that some photos have not turned out as I would have liked. Daylight bulbs have been installed in my room which has greatly helped but I am finding certain colours create glare (especially desert bases) and others become garish (light blue on my Matildas and Hopton's bluecoats). So, fingers crossed, you should see more consistent photos in the future.

For camera buffs, mine is a Nikon D3100 SLR with no add-ons. Apart from that is a newly purchased Remote Shutter Release to speed up the process. Even though the camera is mounted on a tripod, pressing the shutter button can still create a slight wobble resulting in out of focus shots. I resort to using the shutter timer release, which although only a 10 seconds delay, can be time consuming if a number of photos need to be taken.

For the time being, now that I am on a roll, my ECW project will continue (with of course the 2mm Napoleonics and tree upgrades on the side). 

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Nap Campaign: Map Moves 25th March - nightfall 27th March 1808

Starting with an overview of the entire campaign area over the 3 days:

Nightfall 25th March

Nightfall 26th March

Nightfall 27th March
I will now zoom in on the 3 theatres: North West, North East and South West.

Continued -

Tuesday 13 August 2019

On the Workbench: River upgrades completed + ECW Cavalry

A busy time since my return from distant shores has limited my wargaming activity. I did however, manage to complete a project:

The large pond/small lake on the left marked the completion of improving the appearance of my river sections. They are resin purchased from Baccus. The latest river sections are flexible latex so I am guessing the resin versions are no longer available. Next up will be the streams/runoffs using acetate (see separate 'On the Workbench' posting for details).

Some progress has been made on figures. A large ECW Royalist cavalry regiment destined primarily to be the Earl of Caenarvon's greencoats. It was split into 2 squadrons for the Battle of Glastonbury and I have therefore decided to paint the 2nd squadron as the Earl of Northampton's greencoats which, apart from the cornet, will be virtually indistinguishable. 

In the background another small brigade of 2mm Napoleonic French line takes shape.