Thursday, 20 April 2017

Operation pending and yet more ACW

I am off to hospital tomorrow for the long awaited operation.  It's not the op I hoped for but at least I won't have this damn tube stuck down my nose anymore, so happy days.  Now onto the serious stuff.......

I have finally been motivated enough to get some paint onto lead and plastic.  A while ago I bought the ACW army box that the Perrys sell and it is mostly good.  Some cracking figures, some nice scenery and a couple of mounted officers only available in the box.  Sadly a chunk of the figures are the original ACW figures and not the newer, more dynamic, poses but they will do for a while.  So I have cracked on and now have a near finished Union force for Sharp Practice.  I added to the box contents with a pack of commanders and dismounted cavalry for both sides, plus a sprue of Zouaves, one of cavalry and 2 of union skirmishers from ebay.

140th NY Zouaves
I have nearly finished the Union force now, just the artillery to do at some point but they are a rarely seen support option in the games we have played so far. My planned force is six units of 8 infantry, 2 units of 6 skirmishers and one unit of 8 cavalry with 6 dismounted figures.  Along with that I have 2 standard bearers, a drummer, a physic and 9 leaders, 6 foot and 3 mounted.

Officer types
Cavalry and Skirmishers
I already had some of the older figures painted up, so they make up half of the infantry units with 3 groups of 8 men and a unit of skirmishers.  Newly painted are 24 Zouaves, 2 Zouave leaders, 3 mounted officers, 1 foot officer, 8 mounted cavalry, 6 dismounted cavalry and 6 skirmishers.  I shall replace the older figures with a box of the new Union Infantry from Perry Miniatures soon......maybe.

The zouaves are painted up as the 140th New York Volunteer Infantry, who started out as a regular uniformed unit but were changed to zouaves in the winter of 1863-64 as a reward for their seamless record. 

 I did a little bit of modelling on the cavalry, changing the arms and chopping bits about to give them carbines instead of sabers and pistols. 

I am partway through the Confederate forces as well, but none are based yet.  So there it is.  I had hoped to get the rebs done too but time and other things got in the way.

One of the other things was fixing a computer for a customer.  It was "making some funny noises and not working properly" was the clear and concise information I got.  After a few questions it became clear that this PC was a few years old (Windows Vista!) and had never, ever been cleaned.  So I opened it up and, after removing the dust that was inside the case I started cleaning the fans.  The main fan vents at the back were completely blocked and the fan was so jammed up with crap it had burnt out the motor so I had to replace it.  The cpu fan was also full of crap, so I removed it and found a load more crap.  That's the picture below, after I have removed the cpu fan to clean it. 
I'm actually quite surprised it worked at all, given that the fans were clogged up so badly.  The graphics card fan was also blocked, so it all got a damn good clean out and was soon looking almost as good as new.  A new fan, a good clean and it's all quiet again now.  A quick check of the systems and I find 2 copies of Vista, 3 different users, all with the same name and lots of multiple copies of various programs.  It's all done and gone back now and he is happy as Larry, but it took a bit longer than planned so my painting is now behind schedule.  Ah well, life goes on.

Good luck with whatever gaming you do, I shall return after the hospital release me.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

ACW Sharp Practice Campaign part 2

When we left it the Confederates had gained control of Sequatchie and pushed the Union forces back out of the town.
For a couple of turns both sides gathered themselves, the Union marched to area 10 then marched back again in dense fog while the Confederates recalled their cavalry from scouting to form up for battle.  While it didn't slow down the troops movement it did manage to throw off all the explorer and scout rolls, meaning the Confederates lost sight of the Union force.

A sudden realisation of the proximity of the main Confederate force led to Major Trump attempting a ruse de guerre.  He managed to gather enough grey uniforms to outfit 2 units which he despatched under Captain Lambert to attempt a flanking attack by pretending to be the lead elements of the Confederate main force.  Meanwhile the rest of his force, under his leadership, would attack and draw off the defending troops.  That was the plan anyway.

The main force was delayed due to the severe movement penalty caused by an orchard (-1 pip per dice is bad if you keep rolling 1's and 2's).  It took them 3 turns to get through, resulting in dawn arriving before they could get out of the trees.

Sequatchie was under curfew as the Confederates consolidated their hold.  Faint noises were heard by the pickets, but no alarm was raised.  The early dawn light changed that though as the guards saw blue uniforms in the orchard.
 Major Trump heroically led his men from the rear, appearing out of the orchard and realising they had been spotted.  How did he know you may ask?
 Because the Confederates were firing at him, that's how.  The fire was largely ineffective, but it did drop the odd man here and there as well as starting the slow accumulation of shock.
 More Confederate infantry appeared, supported by the single unit of cavalry.  Could the Reb cavaliers make a difference on the day?  Who knows, well I do but I'm not telling.
 More Union troops struggled through the closely packed widely spaced orchard.  It's amazing how many 1's Colin can roll for movement.  In the meantime the front troops opened up with an uncontrollable volley on the Confederates.  Their rifles soon gained the upper hand against the muskets of their opponents, but the exhileration of seeing the enemy falter was too much as they ignored their officers cries and kept firing straight ahead.
 This gave the dreaded grey-clad horsemen the chance they needed and in the galloped.  Sam Colts equalizers blazed away and many blue shirted infantry fell.  As the smoke cleared the result was plain to see.  Several horses and riders were down, but the Union line was smashed asunder.
 The cavalry were driven off, but at what cost?  The Union formation was broken, with two groups routing back in disorder.  The resulting force morale rolls resulted in the Union command falling below a viable point and Major Trump was last seen heading off for a round of golf.
As it all fell apart on the left, the flanking force finally arrived.  "Too late" was the cry as Trump galloped away, muttering about fake news and alternative facts again.

The Union plan was scuppered by three things.  First up was the inability of the troops to move through the orchard.  They came on slower than a slow thing.  Then, once the flanking force was available, it's command counter only came out once in several turns.  Flank attacks don't work if they don't actually get around the flank.  Finally it was the uncontrolled volleys that spelt doom for the Union.  Being unable to react to the appearance of the Confederate cavalry cost Colin with two rolls for groups breaking and one for a formation breaking costing him 5 force morale points.

The final score for the campaign was Major Major went from being an "Upstanding" officer to being a "Plucky" fellow and gained influence with his Corps commander.  Major Trump started as "Outstanding" but is now seen as a "Likely" candidate, although with reduced influence at HQ. The Confederates ended up with 3 dead and 10 wounded out of 54 men, Union had 8 dead and 7 wounded out of 66 men, including the two Sequatchie militia units.

So there it is, a quick campaign resolved in 2 battles which made it simple for me.  Maybe next time I'll get to play one.

Later folks, maybe with a picture or two of things I have painted.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

ACW Sharp Practice Campaign

Sorry for the extended absence, I have been struggling with a few things and it has kinda knbocked me for the last few months.  However, yet again morale has been improved by regular beatings from my boss, ahem, I mean wife.  So I have done very little painting or gaming, although I have managed a few boardgames here and there.  I will do another post (hopefully tomorrow) with some pictures of the few bits I have done up.  Good news is that I have finally got a date for the operation to put the tube in my stomach.  April 21st is op day, so I probably won't be celebrating Her Majesties 91st birthday.

One thing I did manage was to run an ACW campaign for Sharp Practice using the Dawns and Departures supplement, which I can highly recommend. 

The scene was set when I found a pair of willing victims"volunteers" in Panjo and Colin.  Panjo is an out and out rebel at heart while Colin is happy so long as he gets to use his figures.  Below is the map used for the campaign, there is also a road running from area 2 to area 23 down the centre squares.

Panjo had the mission of securing the town of Sequatchie to facilitate the advance of the Confederate main force.  He started in area 23 on turn 1.  His force consisted of the following units and resources
  1. Major John Major, a handsome, strapping fellow from a military family stricken by hard times
  2. Captain Jefferey Thomas, an average sort from a well-to-do military family
  3. Lieutenant Ray Mawbry, ugly as sin but loaded with cash from Daddy's cotton fields
These fine fellows commanded five units of 8 infantry supported by a single unit of skirmishers.  Panjo spent his 24 support points on an exploring officer, a physic, a musician, a mule train, spirits and tinder, a unit of 8 cavalry and a status 1 leader for them(Lieutenant Oliver Coleville).

Colin had the ambiguous mission of "stopping the rebs", without knowing what they intended.  He started in area 2 on turn 2.  To do this he had the following force
  1. Major Donald Trump, an average fellow flush with cash from the families factories
  2. Captain David Lambert, a large chap and former gentleman ranker
  3. Lieutenant Richard Hudson, thouroughly dislikeable and a downright cad
They commanded a force of five units of 8 infantry supported by a single unit of skirmishers. Colin had 26 points to spend and bought an exploring officer, signal stations, a physic, a transport cart, an additional status 2 leader(Lieutenant John Ford) and upgarades for his original 3 leaders.

The map below shows the map moves for turns 1 to 7, with Panjo neatly sidestepping Colin and attacking the Sequatchie militia in turn 7.  The use of the Confederate cavalry as scouts gave a decided advantage to Panjo as he had a clearer view of what was going on.  A random event in turn 7 allowed a double move, so Colin was just able to get to the town before the end of the day, but a determined Confederate attack forced the Union forces back in disarray.  Colin lost his transport wagon and 5 wounded men to the victorious Rebs.  Can the Rebs hold long enough to win though?

I will finish off the report tomorrow, this is long enough for one post.  Sadly there are no pictures of the Battle of Sequatchie, which resulted in Major Trump referring to the result as "not real news" as he had some "alternative facts" about the battle...........

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Greetings and all that malarky.

Sorry about the complete lack of updates, I have been a bit crook for the last few weeks and it doesn't seem to be improving.  Not much painting has happened and even less gaming, so it's a pretty crap update really.

I did manage to make it to the Devon Wargames Christmas Big Bash, which was fun.  Arranged and managed by Nick I think he did a marvellous job of using a 2 player game system to cater for 16 players!  Fun was had by all I believe and the valiant Brits saw off the Saxon invaders.  I didn't play but helped Nick a bit with running it, mainly by sitting in and guiding the table of 4 new(ish) players.  See the DWG blog for a good report with some decent pictures.

Too Fat Lardies have brought out a campaign supplement for Sharp Practice 2, and very good it is too.    It reads well and will make for some interesting games in the future.  I may have to bump my 28mm ACW forces up the painting list.....maybe.

It has some nice ideas for different types of mini-campaigns and adds some "oddities" to the game as well. 

Right, as it's nearly the end of the year I am going to sit down and work out exactly what I want to get painted and based to use for next year.   I am a quintissential wargames butterfly with the attention span of a gold fish, so I am intending to concentrate on a few things next year and mainly focus any expenditure on terrain and the like.  So the aims are
  1. Finish off the Dark Ages figures I have and make up enough forces for larger games.  I do need to get a bit more cavalry for this...and maybe some Picts......maybe.
  2. Paint up the 15mm Cold War British, Russian and German forces I have bought already.  I need a few support bits to finish these off but the majority is bought
  3. Finish up basing the 15mm buildings I have here already.  I still have several houses, a church and a factory that need basing up.
  4. Do my Perrys 28mm ACW forces for SP2, as mentioned above
 I have several other projects that are being put into storage now, 28mm Crusades, 28mm NWF, 28mm Dragon Rampant, 15mm ACW, all the various 6mm stuff......the list goes on and on.  So that is the plan, I want to get the Dark Ages finished sooner rather than later as I enjoy the games we play and really like the figures so they are first on the list.  However, that may well be scuppered by Christmas and Birthday presents as I know that my mum has ordered me some Congo figures from North Star and I believe No2 son has also ordered me something similar.  Time will tell, but they are small forces and won't take long to paint.  I also have received a secret santa, which will be opened on Sunday too.

See how long that plan lasted!!!!  It's pathetic really isn't it? :(

Anyway, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and I'll catch up next week hopefully with an update of what I got and how it has totally scewed my plans up.  Oh, and I will be a year older on Sunday too, the scarey thing is I will be 48 and am still the youngest of the Chuckadice group!

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
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
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.