Monday, 14 November 2016

Plans for gaming the Cold War in 15mm

I am the supreme example of a wargames butterfly.  I fly from period to period with the attention span of a confused goldfish, although there is one exception to this. 

The so-called Cold War has always been of interest to me, probably because I grew up through it. I started off with a lot of 1/300th forces and played with Modern Spearhead. Then I got diverted into skirmish gaming and got some Cold War figures in 28mm. Now with the widespread availability of 15mm models I am again spending money on 1980s period figures. In my defence I have stayed on one period and I can reuse all my existing 15mm WW2 scenery. ;)

So, I am sorting out a mixed bag of forces, I got British in the Armies Army kickstarter and have recently picked up a lot of Soviet stuff second hand. I have also bought some Battlefront Germans as well. My aim is to have a reinforced platoon for each of the British and German forces while the Soviet forces will end up at company strength. Below is a brief idea of the force structures I am going for, any comments on mistakes would be much appreciated. I have used the old WRG army list books as a guide to what is required. These lists do things by groups so I have had to guess what is in the group in some cases.










    British Mech Infantry Platoon
       Platoon HQ with 1 Fv432, 1 command group and 1 light mortar group
       3 sections each with 1 Fv432, 2 rifle groups, 1 LMG and 1 MAW
I have translated this into the following
HQ – 1 Fv432, 1 CO, 1 SNCO, 1 RTO and 1 light mortar man.
Sections – 1 Fv432, 1 NCO, 1 LMG with 2 crew, 1 MAW gunner, 4 riflemen.
Support wise I have the following
A tank platoon of 3 Chieftains (I may get 1 more as they could be 3 or 4 strong)
AT section of 2 Milan teams (1 additional Fv432 needed)
AA section of 2 Javelin teams in a Spartan
SFMG team to be carried in the command Fv432 if needed
   









     German Heimschutzkommando Platoon
       Platoon HQ with 1 M113 or Marder, 1 command group, 1 LMG and 1 Milan
       2 squads each with 1 M113 or Marder, 1 rifle group, 1 LMG and 1 MAW
Translated into
HQ – 1 M113, 1 CO, 1 RTO, 1 LMG with 2 crew and 1 Milan with 2 crew
Squads – 1 M113, 1 NCO, 1 LMG with 2 crew, 1 MAW gunner and 3 riflemen
Support
A Panzer platoon with 3 Leopard 1
AT section of 4 Jagpanzer Kannone
AA section of 1 Redeye team attached to PHQ
I will also get some Marders to give me the option of "upgrading" them to regulars.

 








    3 Soviet BMP Platoons each with
       Platoon HQ with 1 BMP, 1 command group, 1 rifle group and 1 LMG
       2 squads each with 1 BMP, 1 rifle group, 1 infantry group and 1 LMG
Turns into 3 platoons each with
HQ – 1 BMP, 1 CO, 1 NCO, 1 SAW, 1 RPG, 4 riflemen
Squad 1 – 1 BMP, 1 SNCO, 1 NCO, 1 SAW, 1 RPG, 4 riflemen
Squad 2 – 1 BMP, 1 LMG with 2 crew, 1 NCO, 1 SAW, 1 RPG, 4 riflemen
Support
2 Tank Platoons each with 4 T-72/80.
1 AA section of 1 SA-7 team in 1 BMP

There are a few other options I am considering getting, some recce vehicles for each force are a prime example, but that's the plan for now. Just need to get on with painting it all after Christmas. And find a set of rules for it, current options are FEBA, Force on Force and Sabre Squadron.  Decisions decisions.


Big Dux Brit game and some painting

It's been a long month but I am still kicking.....just.  I have had a bit of a downer for a while, but things are a bit better now.

Despite the really bad start to the month I have managed to get some painting done, some for me and some for Nathan.  He had a mixed load of Dark Ages figures that he has picked up from ebay and various shows that he asked me to paint for him.  So far I have done over 50 of them with another 30+ to go.
 Here are some of them, a mixed lot of Romano-British first.
 Followed by a couple batches of Saxons.








So that's 36 of them, I also did another 20 that I gave back to him without taking any bad photos first.

 Also I have finally finished replacing the Dark Ages Wargames Factory figures I had in my Dux forces with Gripping Beast ones.
Here are the "Romano-British", actually a mix of Dark Age warriors and Saxon Thegns.  18 Levy, 12 Warrior and 6 Elite foot, supported by 4 archers and 4 skirmish javelinmen.  I have painted up a few extra command figures to make up the command bases.  There are a grand total of 7 metal figures in this force, cheap is my middle name.


Then the Saxons, 18 Warriors and 12 Elites with 4 archers and 4 skirmishers again.  Same basing system for the leaders as the Brits.Again there are just 7 metal figures in this lot.


Finally I got some cavalry painted up as well.  The 4 at the back are Gripping Beast figures from the lead mountain that came from somewhere long ago.  They are used to represent light cavalry for either side.  The front 4 are Black Tree late Roman cavalry.  They have painted up nicely, but the amount of prep work to get the horses cleaned up was ridiculous.  I think there was more mould leaked metal on these horses than there was metal actually in the horse castings themselves.  Anyway, they will be used as shock cavalry eventually.

Yesterday was the Devon Wargames monthly meet again and, for the first time in several years, I actually managed to stay for the whole day and get some gaming in.  It wiped me out for today but it was worth it.  The game was great, with multiple players on each side and about 200 figures a side.  Not bad for a 2 player skirmish game.

Jon put up a nice report on the blog and took some cracking photos, so please pop over and take a look.  Don't mention the size of his warband though, he gets all defensive about it.  ;)

I am now going to bed, so I'll catch you all next time.


Monday, 17 October 2016

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly! (Please note, some profanity)

So, things move on and so here I am again.  It's been an up and down few weeks.

First up the good

Congo, it's a cracking game and gives a good evenings entertainment.  So far we have played 3 games, with no one force dominating and plenty of mad moments.  We have had white explorers defeating African natives, Forest tribes ambushing white explorers and Zanzibari slavers picking up all the pieces.  Highlights included monkeys throwing coconuts at British soldiers, Lions eating some Zanzibari slavers in a thicket and a mass of giant ants upsetting everyones day.  I thoroughly recommend it and plan to play it again soon. 

Then there was Llardiff, a Too Fat Lardies day held at Firestorm Games on Saturday.  A gathering of like minded folk saw several games put on to introduce new players to the games.  Sharp Practice, Chain of Command, I 'Aint Been Shot Mum and Dux Britanniarum were all put on and several purchases were made after games were played.    The venue is cracking, with about 50 tables, a bar, cafe, lounge area and shop all in one place.  On the day itself there was also a bring and buy event, where I picked up a bargain of some 15mm Cold War era Russians for a bargain £50.  12 assorted tanks, 13 BMPs and 3 BTR-80s plus some infantry made it a deal I couldn't turn down.

Now the bad

On Friday I received a letter from my consultant, who informed me that my operation had been refused and the only remaining option is a PEG tube through my stomach, replacing the nasal tube I have currently.  So instead of a device that has a 75% chance of curing my constant nausea and stomach pain, frequent bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, being unable to sleep for more than 3 hours and generally feeling so shit that I have also been diagnosed with chronic depression, I will now have a tube that does the same thing as the one I have already.

Well fuck you very much to the medical panel that made this decision.  Despite the fact that I am basically now a burden to my family and the state, the operation can't go ahead as my condition "Is not severe enough".  Despite the leading gastroparesis consultant in the country saying that I am a prime candidate for the operation with a very good chance of it improving my quality of life, the operation can't go ahead. So that's it now, I am stuck like this.  FML as they say and I hope the esteemed members of the panel are stricken with piles and get infested with the fleas from a thousand camels.. 

And finally the ugly.  

I have managed a bit of painting, so here they are in their "glory".
 First up are some carts for my Dux Brit games.  One of the scenarios requires 3 carts as objectives for the Saxons and I bought the carts from Warbases a long time ago.  More recently I got the loads to go in them and the animals to pull them from Colonel Bill and Warbases, plus a few civilians to lead them from the lead mountain.  Here they are, two one horse carts and a two oxen cart loaded with sacks and supplies.  I'm pretty happy with how they came out and they did the job on Saturday in Cardiff.

Also for the Dux games are these command stands.  The basic forces for each side a led by 3 nobles, a level 3 Lord and two level 2 subordinates.  To make it simple to keep track of the nobles level I decided to make them small bases of 2 or 3 figures.  If they are wounded and lose a level of command then one figure can be removed.
The Romano-British ones first, with a standard bearer and champion on the Lords base while a horn blower and a bishop make up the extras on the nobles.  The idea worked well on Saturday, so I'm sticking with it.  The standard is a Little Big Men banner and looks rather splendid.


Then the Saxons, the Lord again gets a champion and standard bearer, while the nobles get an extra warrior and a mastiff respectively. 





So, there you go.  That's the lot for now.  Its 1am and I really should go to bed.  It's been an eventful weekend.  Catch you all next time.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

New rules, changed plans and other random mutterings.

It seems to me that we are living in a golden age of wargaming, with rules and figures of quality all coming out with startling rapidity.  I have recently purchased 25mm Colonial British infantry, 25mm Dark Ages warriors, 15mm Cold War British and 25mm Crusader figures.  Not much has been painted, but it doesn't stop me buying them..........

Then the rules, Lion Rampant, Dragon Rampant, Kings of War, Men who would be Kings and Congo have all joined the collection recently.  Will I play them all?  Probably not as much as they deserve, but I still have them.  I really enjoy the Dragon/Lion Rampant rules, but they are not suitable for a large battle and some times it's fun to load the table with lead and have at it.  Hence Kings of War, which seems to be everything Warhammer could have been.  And now Congo has reared its head and has been the game of choice for the last 2 weeks.  I have not played it yet, but have run a couple of games for the Monday night lads, with the White Men winning one and the African tribes snatching victory in the other.  I keep getting drawn to North Star and Wargames Foundry to look at the bundles of figures they do but have managed to restrain myself......so far.

So, what do I plan to play next?  Dux Britanniarum is currently the plan as Nathan and I are running a game at Firestorm Games on Saturday 15th.  Also the painting list has been scrapped and replaced with suitable extras, such as carts and the like, for the game.  I have also been painting Romano-British figures for Andy and Nathan.  So far Andys 36 figures have been finshed and returned, while Nathans 19 are awaiting the imminent delivery of shields.  Then it's onto 70 odd other assorted Saxon and Briton figures for Nathans ever expanding warbands. 
 
Bad photo!
Here are Andys British, a mix of metal and plastic figures with LBMS shield decals to finish them off.  Sorry about the crap photo, it was a rush job as I was getting ready to go out.

So thats it for today.  It's just gone midnight and I have to be up early tomorrow for a pointless doctors appointment.  A GPs review of the tables prescribed by the consultant, so they can't change them without his say so and he won't say so, but they have too see me to review the medication every 6 months.  So on that happy note, good night and I'll catch you all next time.

PS  By all I do mean the 2 people who look at this load of tripe every now and again. ;)

Monday, 19 September 2016

Normal service has not been resumed.....oh, and Secret Santa 2016!

But an update is probably past due.  Things are not moving on with the planned operation and I am now totally f****d off with hospitals, tablets and nasal gastric tubes.  It's my four and a half year anniversary tomorrow from when I first ended up in hospital.  I wonder if the op will happen before I die of old age?  I have had the tube fitted more times than anyone else in Torbay hospitals records.  In fact I am such an expert on the bloody things that I now do it myself at home. It saves going to the hospital every 2 weeks I suppose.

I am feeling so crap, both physically and mentally, that gaming and painting have taken a real dive.  Hardly anything has been played, although I did get taken out to Panjo's new house for a game of Black Plague last week.  Apart from that sod all in the way of wargaming and very little painting has happened.
Reaper Bones Ebonwrath Dragon

One of the few things that has been finished(finally) is a Reaper Bones dragon for future games of Dragon Rampant and Kings of War.  The Lurtz figure is just there to show its size.

I also did 6 Falschirmjager for Nathan, he does the basing himself  and they have been painted to match some he picked up on eBay.
28mm Falschirmjagers





Stadden 90mm Marines
Closeup of the drum
Finally there is a change from the normal service, with a trio of Stadden 90mm figures. They belong to a lovely lady that my wife knows who served as a WREN with the Royal Marines, married a Marine and both her sons became Marines.  One of them is currently a Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London.  Anyway, her husband bought these figures many years ago and I was asked to repair and repaint them.  So, from left to right we have a 1980's Royal Marine in DPM, a RM Bandsman in dress uniform and an officer of the Duke of York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot from the 1660's.  It made a change to paint something that large and the figures themselves are beautiful.  The level of detail is amazing, even down to the coat of arms on the drum.  She loved them, so it was worth the week of stripping and cleaning them, followed by several weeks of painting.

However, I have not picked up a brush since finishing them, so when Chris Stoesen of Wargamer's Odds and Ends contacted me about this years Secret Santa, I jumped in with both feet in the hope that it will revitalise things and shake me out of the doldrums I seem to be stuck in.  I can thoroughly recommend this scheme, I have partaken for the last 2 years and it's been great.

So, that's it.  It's now 0130 and I suppose I should go to try and get some sleep.  Seeing as I average less than 3 hours per night there is no real rush though, so perhaps I'll wait a bit.  Catch you later




Sunday, 31 July 2016

Well, that went by a bit quick.........

I didn't realise how long it had been since I bored you all with the inane and dull crap I get up too.  I'm STILL waiting to hear from the hospital about the operation, I'm still on a mainly soup diet and I'm still feeling like crap.  Apart from that it's all hunky-dory.

Gaming has still been limited, I have managed a few board games and I did get a trip in to the Devon Wargames Group last month, although I didn't last too long.  It was nice to get out for a bit though.  We have played a bit of Zombicide:Black Plague now, having finally got our kickstarter package through.  I also received my copy of Shadowstar Corsairs, which is a fun game and plays nicely.  At least it did the one time we played it, second try tomorrow night.  In fact it's been a good month or so for kickstarters, I have received the two mentioned above, plus some 28mm German trucks from Anyscale Models and some lovely 15mm Cold War British from Armies Army.  It's been like Christmas and birthday all rolled into one. ;)

The 15mm British are beautiful figures and vehicles, I really cannot express how nice they are.  I am planning to start painting them up as soon as I can find my mojo again.
 My pledge was for an Infantry Platoon in 4 Fv432s, plus 3 Chieftains, a Spartan, a Landrover and some support weapons.  The vehicles are as nice as any I have had, nicer than Battlefront's latest efforts and easier to assemble as well.  Hopefully that will enough for the level of games I plan to do, but as usual there is bound to be more I end up with.......Scorpions, Scimitars etc

 To face off against the Brits I was planning to get some Team Yankee figures and vehicles, but did a quick internet search as £30 for 5 plastic models seems a bit pricey to me.  I found a little gem of a trader in Butlers Printed Models, who do printed vehicles in scales from 6mm to 28mm.  They do a small range of modern Soviet types for £3 or £4 each.  So I plunged in and ordered myself some, 4 BMP-1s for £12 and 4 T-64s for £16, enough for a platoon of each for less than the cost of one box from Battlefront.  Happy days indeed.

 This is how they arrived, which at first glance is a bit disconcerting. 




 From underneath they look even worse.





However the extra bits are very easily removed and it takes only a few minutes to turn them into a much nicer model and I am very pleased with how they look.  They are also surprisingly strong, none of the gun barrels broke or bent, which is more than I can say for a lot of other 15mm vehicles I have had over the years.  There is also a lot less glue needed, ie none.  No fingers stuck to little bits of metal with these.  I did use a file to clean up some of the edges though, it took all of about a minute for each vehicle.


 
As an idea of how they look compared to the Battlefront ones, here some pictures of a T-64 next to a T-55 from the Vietnam range.  The T-64 is longer, wider and lower, which seems to be about right. 






Another pair of vehicles snuck into the order, although not for me.  Nathan and Andy have Winter War Russians on the go and each wanted a T-28 to support them against the nasty Finns.  So here it is in all its glory.  Really nice and a bargain at £20.  The three turrets are all removeable and there is no glue needed again.



Anyway, that's it again for now.  I am off to do something less useful.  Catch you all later.

Monday, 23 May 2016

I went to Partizan.......

And a cracking show it was too.  The new venue might lack a bit of the soul of Kelham Hall but it is much more convenient and user friendly.  The show seemed much busier and was certainly easier to get around.  A good number of traders covering everything you could want and some excellent games made it a good day.  It was topped off for me with the chance to catch up with a lot of friends, many of whom I hadn't seen for a long time.

Nap time.  Poor old fella
We travelled up on the Saturday morning, myself, Andy, Sleepy Paul(aka Pingu) and Nathan, and visited Wargames Foundry before heading to the Premier Inn in Lincoln.  I spent more than I planned too at Foundry, but could have spent a lot more than I did.  Pingu found it a bit tiring in the back doing nothing so he had a nap.  After visiting Foundry and getting to the hotel we went to the adjacent Mill Lodge for dinner.  I would love to recommend it, but can't.  The "manager" had an attitude that could have curdled milk and made small children cry.  He acted like he didn't want us there.  My stew was tasty enough but the dumpling looked like it had been runover and had the texture of a stale rock cake.  Still, mine was better than Nathans, whose sirloin steak looked, and according to him tasted, more like a cheap ass rump that was 20% gristle.  The hotel itself was good though and the staff were excellent, very friendly and incredibly helpful.

After a pretty good night, I even got to sleep before 3am, we went over to have breakfast at Mill Lodge.  Expectations were not high, but we were pleasantly surprised.  The staff were pleasant and the food was good.  If you can manage a large breakfast, which I can't, then it is well worth it.  So at 9.15am we went off to Newark showground, glad to see the last of Licoln for the day...........Which was a bit premature as it turned out.

The show had some cracking games and, like the idiot I am, I didn't take photos of any of them.  So I have nicked a couple off of various other sites, so thanks to all those who did take some pictures.


A very nice Winter of '79 game was put on, with nice atmospheric bits added.  My favourite was Del-Boy and Rodney of "Trotters Independant Traders" leaving the scene at low speed as the forces of law and order moved in to quiet the rioters.

Steve Jones AWI game was a beauty, as usual from him.  He's a cracking painter and does a decent bit of scenery too.  I hates him I does. ;)




There were other very nice games, but those two caught my eye, so that's why they have appeared here.


 I bought a few bits and pieces, some wagons and an armoured car from Warbases and a couple of scenic bases from somebody else.  Not a vast amount, but the day was more about seeing friends.  It was good to catch up with Ade "Big Nose" Deacon, Gary "Manc Gaz" Amos, Lau and Tricks the Partizan organisers, Big Rich Clarke and various others.  I was surprised to bump into Steve from the Devon Wargames Group there, seems he arranged a Family visit" to cover his trip to the show.  As the day moved along I was suddenly confronted by an agitated Pingu who had lost his wedding ring somewhere.  Despite the condolence and support he received from us, with comments along the lines of "You twat" and "Where did you last have it you numpty?", he couldn't recall when he had last noticed it.  So, a quick call to Premier Inn and a very helpful receptionist told him that they had found it..........back in Lincoln...........which was 15 miles the wrong way.  Then he realised that he had also lost his new, bright green trainers.  No, the hotel didn't have them which worried Pingu.  To make him feel better he rang his long suffering wife to tell her about losing his trainers.  She was quite surprised that he had lost them, as they were in the hallway at home! Anyway, we left Partizan and heading back to Lincoln, full of thankful comments about how lucky Pingu was to have found his ring.  Comments like "I have this feeling of deja vu" and "Oh look, there's that shop again".  Finally we got to the Premier Inn and Pingu went in to collect the one ring. 

My Precious


As GollumPingu left the reception area I took this picture of him.
Nap time again


So, off we heading to sunny Devon.  Along the way several comments were made about the trip, such as "We would have been at Bristol by now, if we hadn't had to go back to Lincoln".  The excitement proved to be too much for Pingu, so he had another nap.  We stopped at the services for a "comfort" break and bumped into Steve Childs, an old friend from Teignmouth.  It's amazing who you bump into when your 200 miles away from home, he lives about 6 miles away from me!



In the end we all got home safely, despite the best efforts of some of the retards on the motorway.  Thanks to the lads for a cracking weekend and thanks to everybody, organisers, crew, traders and gamers, who made Partizan such a success.  We will be back again and I recommend it to anyone who can make the trip.

It has done the trick of raising my spirits, so it was worth it all.  Take care folks, catch you next time