Saturday, 28 December 2013

A review of the past year and a hopeful look ahead.

With the events of December this year, I have been having a bit of a reflective look back at what turned out to be a pretty crap year all in all. 

The year started off well, with the birth of our 4th grandchild on the 6th of January.  It also began with the doc saying "This is whats wrong with you and we will sort it out!".  Wargaming went well and I got quite a bit painted, so it was a promising start.

Things then started going downhill, with the doctor changing his tune about my stomach and Gus starting his chemo treatment for bowel cancer.  The problem with my stomach were now starting to affect work, which was starting to impact on the home life too.  Wargaming was still generally good, with the painting still going fairly well.  Being a playtester for the Too Fat Lardies forthcoming set of rules helped, with many fun games being played.

As we approached May-June, Gus began to feel the chemo quite badly and I was starting to feel pretty crap too.  So much so that I ended up having to give up the "extra" work I had at Tesco as I just couldn't do it anymore.  The gaming took a bit of a hit while the painting also dropped off as I felt rough a lot of the time.  The doc had now gone from "we can fix it" to "Ah, well, uhm", which did nothing for any positive feelings at the time.  The highlight for June was the trip to Market Larden in Evesham, a day of Lard games and good company put a shine on the month.

July and the wargaming got a big boost with the release of not one but two sets of rules I had been waiting for.  Chain of Command from the Lardies has become a favourite and is my first choice for WW2 small scale games.  Its a definite hit and has prompted some new purchases (more about them later).  The other set was Longstreet by Sam Mustafa, which has brought about the dusting off of my old, unpainted 15mm ACW figures.  They are about 50% done now, but the drive to finish them took a hit as Gus' health began to fail. 

August to October was generally crap too, as my health seemed to get gradually worse.  This paled into insignificance next to the gradual decline of Gus though.  It was painful to see him slowly losing the fight against cancer and not be able to do anything to help.  Painting had practically stopped and gaming had been drastically hit too.

November and December were probably the worst two months of my life since my father died back when I was 13.  Gus went downhill rapidly, ending up in the RD&E hospice for the last 4 weeks or so before passing away on the 18th of December. It was bloody awful seeing him gradually fading away in there and I will miss him for a long time.

At the same time I was struggling to get a handle on my feeble stomach and intestines, which resulted in some family problems with the kids.  Two of them threw teddy out of the pram over the actions of the third, which somehow ended up coming back as being my fault and, because she stuck up for me, Tina also got stick from them.  I will not go into details here, but they saw a side of both me and Tina that perhaps they should have seen before and hopefully realised that the world does not revolve around them.

Christmas has now been and gone.  Things are (hopefully) sorted with the kids, if they are not then heads will be getting banged together in the New Year.  Tina got some things she wanted, the kids got a lot more than any of them deserved and I got figures that I had ordered, then they got taken off me and wrapped up.  I now have several platoons of 15mm figures to start my 1940's Chain of Command forces.  British, French and Germans are ready to join the painting list, along with the ever present Napoleonics that seem to just keep coming in a never ending stream.

Tomorrow sees the last wargaming of 2013, with the Monday night gang getting together (yes, I know its Sunday tomorrow) for an all day bash that we do every year.  A large multiplayer game of CoC is planned, with Zombicide being the evenings entertainment.  Its a good way to end the year, although it will be a bit bittersweet this year as it will be followed by Gus' funeral on December 31st.

Next year had better be an improvement on 2013!  Things I am going to change are few and modest, but important.
1 - Lose weight. Seriously...........  I need to lose several stone and am going to do so.
2 - Be more cheerful.  If 2013 taught me one thing it's that life is too short to be grumpy.
3 - Be more disciplined with my time.  Stop wasting time messing about with pointless things and get on with what matters.

So there it is.  I will leave you now with a picture of Gus in happier times.  Keep smiling, no matter what life throws at you, and keep rolling those damn dice, even when they hate you!
Fergus Murchie   1959-2013

Friday, 20 December 2013


It is with great sadness that I have to say goodbye to my friend and gaming buddy Fergus "Gus" Murchie.  He sadly lost his fight with bowel cancer on Wednesday December 18th, passing away peacefully with his family around him.  My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. 
Gus with his granddaughter

Thursday, 21 November 2013

No pictures this time

Because I keep forgetting my camera!  Some things never change.......

Its been an interesting couple of weeks since my last post.  I have been pretty rough for the majority of it, yet again missing gaming days and other planned excursions.  It's been pretty crap, but things are improving hopefully.  We have had a new boiler fitted which only caused one leak, which was good as it was least than expected.  Unfortunately it was above the living room, so we may need to redecorate sooner than planned.  We also had a leak from the bath when the new bathroom was fitted, so we now need a new ceiling in the hallway.  Hoo hum and all that.  At least we now have hot water all the time and the radiators heat up in about 5 minutes!

The one downside was the lack of heat in my work/lounge about room.  It used to have the hot water tank in the cupboard, but now its doesn't and the drop in temperature has been considerable.  The end result is that things had to be moved so the radiator wasn't blocked off, so I am now in the process (sort of) of going through all my "old" projects and things are going to be sold-on or given away.

Painting has been slow as I feel so crap.  I have finished some more zombicide figures off, but that's been about it.  Napoleonics are still ongoing, I have some more WotR figures to paint up etc.

The poll came out in favour of doing platoons for CoC in France 1940, so that is the plan.  I want to get the following platoons, each with some support options.
1 - German Infantry (40 figures) with HMG, Pak 36, 75mm IG, PzI, PzII, PzIII, Pz38t and Sd222 support.
2 - British Infantry (28 figures) with HMG, 2pdr, 25pdr, A9, A10, A13 and CS9 support.
3 - French Infantry (40 figures) with HMG, 75mm, R35, H35, S35 and Char B support
After these I will consider getting Belgians, Dutch and possibly Polish too.  So, that's the plan for my next project anyway.

Gaming wise we finished the game of Zombicide, with Zob also getting munched but Andy, Panjo and I got away ok.  Soon we will playing the next game in the book.  Last week we had a couple of games on, Colin and Zob tried out an ACW variant of CoC that Colin is tinkering with.  Looked pretty good, but playing it showed that it needed some changes.  Panjo and Nathan played a battle in out ongoing Dux campaign.  Nathan's raid on the church did not go to plan, basically because he couldn't hit anyone.  His plan looked pretty good, but fell apart on contact with the enemy.  The end result was that Panjo won by 4, gaining 2 more warriors, a priest and some loot.  Despite some niggle between the two of them, I think they had a good game.

Tomorrow myself, Tina, Michael and Gemma have tickets for the Wales vs Tonga game in Cardiff.  I am looking forward to it, but a bit worried about being sick!  Ah well, think positive, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Right, off to go through all the crap that has come out of the boxes, drawers and cupboards and sort out stuff to get rid of.  Catch you later.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

More Zombies and other such randomness

Another week has flown by and I have done less than I should have, but more than I expected.  I painted some more Zombicide figures up, but am still struggling with the Napoleonic figures.  I don't know why I find them such a chore as I enjoy painting most of the time.  Its probably because there are so many of the little ba people.
Berserker Zombies
The zombies are from the Prison Outbreak set and have mutated into bulletproof berserkers, which can only be killed by melee weapons or a molotov!  We palyed on Monday night and were a bit worried by the berserkers.  We didn't manage to finish the scenario, but will do next week.  Lets just say that I won't be stepping through any doors first again, as they all locked me outside and buggered off to play.........  I managed to kill the big abomination with my trusty concrete saw, then legged it up a watch tower, zombies don't do ladders apparently.  This gathered all the zombies in one space as they looked at the ladder and said "Bugger" in zombie.  There were close to 30 zombies in one area,which is not good unless you have a Molotov Cocktail.  Luckily they had managed to get a molotov assembled, after abandoning me outside, and Colin went from 4 kills to 32 kills in 1 action when he threw it and had a zombie barbeque.  Unfortunately we got caught out when the zombies got some extra moves instead of spawning more zeds, sadly Nathan and Colin were munched.  Shame that.....

Rebs face off the Northern aggressors
 The only other gaming I got in was a pretty quick game of Longstreet with Gus on Sunday morning.  Its part of an ongoing campaign that he has been playing solo, but I took his Confederates for this game.  I was defending and Gus' strategy just didn't work for him.  I managed to get in some devastating volleys thanks to the "Exposed Position" card and his losses were horrendous.  He quit his attack and retreated when he got to 16 casualties on a breakpoint of 18.  The gallant defenders of Southern rahts (yes, I know its spelt wrong but I watched Gettysburg again yesterday) had lost a grand total of 2 bases.  The post battle sequence saw the Confederates lose several men to illness and disease, before they gained some replacements, some extra guns and a new unit of cavalry.  Their commander was also revealed to have been a cavalry officer before the war.

The Yanks have more men still, but less guns and less cavalry than the South.  The next battle should be interesting as the forces are more evenly matched and there are less 3 base units now.  I really do recommend this game, its probably my 2nd favourite ruleset at the moment, just behind Chain of Command, just above Dux Brittanarium. 

I was going to be stuck here with no electric while some sparks types put in some sort of "necessary" wiring for the planned new boiler, but they are now coming tomorrow instead.  So back to the brushes and its time to paint kilts..........oh the joy of it all! 

One last thing.  I am stuck between projects at the moment.  I have several things that I want to do but can't decide which I should be doing first.  So I have created a Poll at the top of the page.  Please feel free to vote.  The options are
1 - Paint some more AWI to add to the current forces I have.  I have some Highlanders and Hessians to paint up to complement the existing British line units.
2 - Get on with the forces for Longstreet.  My existing figures are painted, but I need more to finish a force and the ones I have were painted a long time ago.  The problem is going to be matching the painting as I have improved since I did them.
3 - Start some 1940 Chain of Command platoons.  I have always liked the Low Countries/France conflict in 1940 as there are no super tanks, but there are some weird and wonderful contraptions in use.  Char B2, Matilda I etc

Cheerio for now and keep rolling those dice

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Another day.....

Its been 2 weeks already since my last update.  In that time I have been a bit ill, then a lot ill and now I am back to a bit ill again.  The ongoing battle between me and my digestive system is still ongoing, with the medical professionals being less help than a chocolate fireguard. So the war is still being waged.

Wargames wise, I have had a quiet time of it lately.   Last Monday was the arrival of Zombicide season 2, which 5 of the Monday night gang had chipped into.  Unfortunately we didn't receive everything we were supposed to, so no original game or extra figures.  We did get Prison Outbreak and Toxic Mall though, so we could at least play the game.

Scenario 00 was selected (original or what, start with the first scenario in the book) and we quickly set off.  We had to open a door by finding the purple key, which was luckily the first thing we found.  Because of the quick find we all got through that one alive.  In fact nobody even got touched by a zed.  We set up scenario 01, but the playing time was 2+ hours and we didn't get time to finish it.  The games look good and the figures are rather nice, with new poses for the zeds and more survivors. 
Zeds, the start of a horde

We have split the figures up between us, so everybody has a few figures to paint from Prison Outbreak.  I started on mine and the first 8 zeds are done.  I had 5 walkers, 2 runners and a fattie to do first, so here they are.  I am mixing up the skin shades a bit, with some being pink, some fading towards grey and 2 are grey.  It makes them a bit more varied to look at and makes some appear older than others.  How long does a Zed live anyway?

Other gaming has been limited to the previous Monday night, when we played Pandemic and everyone died several times.  Its probably a good job we don't fight infectious diseases for a living.

Irish Guards Shermans
Painting is still ongoing, with more Napoleonic Highlanders being done as well as more Sherman's for ebay.  Still Guards Armoured, but Irish Guards this time to make a change.

I have also just ordered another box of PSC halftracks, to give me the extras I need for my Battlegroup force.  I need to make up a command halftrack and a communication halftrack with the extra radios.  I'm not sure yet what I am going to do, but something will come to me.

Ah well, time to get back to the painting.  Keep rolling those dice.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

More Shermans.

Another week, another lack of gaming week.  Bah humbug and all that.  I missed Monday nights conclusion to the Chain of Command game as my wife and I went to Plymouth Theatre Royal to see Warhorse and very good it was too.  If you can get tickets to see it then I recommend you do.  Cleverly done and very entertaining to watch. 

Tuesday to Thursday I was sick as a dog with some sort of virus that seems to be doing the rounds.  Not pleasant and it exacerbated my stomach problems so I spent several days in close proximity to the toilet.  I was meant to be going to the Devon Wargames meet on the Saturday, but felt like death warmed up so gave it a miss.  Probably a good thing as I didn't want to infect the others. 

Painting took a hit again, which seems to be a common thing of late.  I did manage to get the Shermans I put together painted up, so I now have 4 more Shermans to go on ebay, while the American force in the cabinet have been joined by 5 M4A1 Shermans, to give the Germans something else to blow up.
Another 4 Battlefront plastic Sherman V's, painted and decaled up as  C squadron, 1st Coldstream Guards.  Part of the 5th Guards Armoured Brigade which was itself part of the Guards Armoured Division, this unit fought all the way through Europe.  The yellow markings stand out quite nicely, giving the Germans an aiming point.  
 Front view of the same tanks.
 5 Plastic Soldier Company M4A1 Sherman 75's, with US stars and tank numbers.  Lovely little models, these have joined my WW2 collection as my US troops were lacking any medium armour.
 These have also been based as I like bases on my vehicles.  The Battlefront ones are not based as they are not for me and not everybody likes bases.  I do it because the figures are based and also because it gives the model some support.
 One nice thing is that I managed to make up 2 extra turrets with 76mm guns.  These are mostly PSC bits, except for the left hand hatch which are spares from the Battlefront models.  At least I can give my M4's a little bit more punch.

 These next pictures are a comparison shot of the BF plastic Sherman V(left), Peter Pug Sherman(center) and PSC M4A1 (right).  The BF Sherman is bigger, but not too badly compared to the Peter Pig one.  The PSC one is smaller but I prefer it personally.  Please excuse the painting on the Peter Pig model, I painted it many years ago and it could really do with being stripped and repainted.

Anyway, that's it for now as the in-laws turned up yesterday and I have to go and make nice.  Catch you all later.

Friday, 4 October 2013

15mm Plastic Shermans

Recently 15mm wargamers have been spoilt by the rapid influx of 15mm plastic model vehicles, allowing larger forces to be collected without breaking the bank or getting a 2nd mortgage.  As an example 5 traditional model Shermans will cost you £35 from Peter Pig, £35 from Battlefront or £32 from QRF.  This made a reasonable size armoured force quite expensive, prohibitively so for many people.  Then Plastic Soldier Company appeared and brought out 15mm models in plastic, with a box of 5 models costing £18.95, so just over half the price.

Battlefront then released their Open Fire starter set, which is a bargain if you want German infantry, US Paras or British Shermans, with all the models and figures being excellent.  I have recently painted up and sold some of the Open Fire Shermans, but still have 8 sat here to support a planned British force for CoC and/or Battlegroup games.  I also have a box of PSC Sherman M4A1's for my American armoured infantry force, as Stuarts are nice but no match for any sort of German armour.

So, heres my view on the 2 different plastic Shermans that I have to hand.  They are different versions of the Sherman, an M4A1 from PSC and a Sherman V or M4A4 from Battlefront, but this is more to view the differences in model style as much as anything else.

Battlefront produce their sprue of 21 parts in green plastic.  Of these you need 10 parts to make the tank, with the others being an optional open hatch, a 50cal MG, some stowage (3 rolls, 1 line of bags, 2 track lengths, 1  box and 1 wheel) and a commander. 

PSC make the sprue in a cream plastic (which isn't attractive), containing 46 parts.  Of these you need 19 to make the 75mm M4A1 version.  The vast number of spare parts allow the construction of the 76mm turret and gun, the addition of skirts or various bits of stowage.  It also has 2 commanders, but the detail on these is rather less well defined than on the Battlefront one.

Of the two models, Battlefronts is easier to put together, but requires a lot more work to put together neatly.  I have made models in many scales and from many manufacturers and this Sherman was one of the worst for getting a good fit to the parts.  The sides wouldn't stay tight to the hull top despite the use of elastic bands while the glue went off.   However, the model itself looks good and with a little bit of filling it makes a good Sherman V.

The PSC one takes a few minutes longer to put together and does require a bit more skill than the Battlefront one.  However, it goes together perfectly and the time it takes to put together is slightly less than the combined construction and filling time for the Battlefront one.  One nice feature is that all the joins between parts are hidden beneath the model as much as possible.  It also has separate tracks, which I prefer as you can paint the tank, then paint the tracks on the sprue before attaching them.

The PSC model is significantly smaller than the Battlefront version though.  Length is 52mm vs 60mm and width is 22mm to 25mm.  I am not that bothered which is accurate however, as both look good with 15mm figures.

One feature of the PSC one is the option to make the 76mm turret as well.  There are features that make this technically incorrect (the hull front is wrong for the 76 I believe), but it works ok on the table and I only need a couple of turrets as options for my Battlegroup force.  It does require the theft of the spare hatch from the Battlefront model to fill the second hole in the turret, but I have both here so I can do that.  Lucky me.

Anyway, marks out of 10.

Battlefront gets 8.5, being marked down because of the difficulty of fitting the sides on neatly.  Apart from that its a good model and I am quite happy to use them to supplement my Cromwells.
PSC gets 9, because it goes together so well and also has all the options you need for either a 75mm or 76mm version.

Just as a note Battlefront also do a Firefly sprue, but this is a different sprue to the Sherman and is not an upgrade or modification.  Looks good though.

Off to do something productive now so I'll catch you later.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

It's been 8 days already!

Time flies when your having fun.  The last few days have flown by to be fair, but fun?  Not so sure.

First things first, I have backed my first ever kickstarter!  Anarchy Models have a kickstarter for some stencils for painting camoflage, which looks pretty useful on their videos.  I wasn't sold until 2 things happened.  They said they would do 15mm scaled stencils, which is ideal as I am sold on 15mm WW2 as the best scale for my space, budget and concentration.  Then my tanks on ebay took off and are going to finish today at a total of over £60, which means I can get away with spending a few quid on things I can use.  The stencils should, if they work, speed up spray painting of vehicle camo schemes which means, in theory, that I can paint more in the limited time that I can paint.
15mm Panther painted using stencils
Anyway, that's the theory.

Not much gaming this week.  Monday night saw a multiplayer Chain of Command game, with Panjo, Zob and Colin taking the British while Nathan and I had the Germans.  I had German infantry, giving Nathan command of the Panzergrenadiers.  The Brits came on and Panjo gathered his forces, while Colin snuck into a wood with a single section.  This proved to be a mistake as the British came within sight of 3 deployed squads of Panzergrenadiers, who promptly opened fire with their MG42s.  After the gunfire died down, Colins British were down to 2 men and running for the boat home.  Six MG42s churn out a lot of bullets (or dice in a wargame).  On the other flank, Panjo advanced a squad with another in support.  His Bren team tried to take on an MG42 team 1 on 1, but also came up short due to weight of fire (9 dice vs 6), although he did manage to kill one of the MG42 team before his team broke and ran.  At the moment things are looking ok for the Germans, with the British waiting for their support and Panjo is attempting to sneak around the flank.  The one Sherman that came on managed to bog itself down in a bocage hedge and is now stuck.  It is still turn 1, although their have been many many phases.

We are carrying it on tomorrow night, with more British due to arrive and the German commanders expecting things to get a lot harder.  Hopefully this time I will remember the camera.

Painting has been slow again, although I have finished basing the US HMG teams in the snow and a V1 rocket and launcher rail.
V1 rocket from Open Fire box

US HMGs in the snow
I have also been busy fixing computers this week, with Gus' PC, Panjo's sisters laptop and a laptop from a woman Tina cleans for all getting fixed and or upgraded.  All in all, not a totally wasted week. I am not a certified PC engineer in any way, but have learnt many things from watching others and then doing it myself, so much so that I built my current PC from parts I bought online, and then rebuilt No2 son's girlfriends PC from two PC towers that were not working for different reasons.

We have also had a new bathroom fitted, which meant no toilet access between 8am and 5pm for 3 days.  This is not a good thing with my stomach being the way it is, but Sainsburys came to the rescue with a couple of trips each day.  Its all done and Tina is happy with it, so things are good here on that front.  Happy wife equals a happy life.  :-)

Anyway, off now to do something productive.  Not sure what, but something.

Keep rolling those dice.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Highlanders and Shermans, what a mix.....

So it's been another week, or so anyway.  Still no news on No2 son and his knee.  We spent nearly 3 hours in Exeter hospital to be told "We are not sure what he has done so we will put him on the fast track for treatment.  Come back in 4 weeks for a scan".  Not overly impressed with not even knowing what he had done, we rang his insurance company to see if he is covered for scans, Aviva said yes so he is know in on the 30th for his scan and to see the consultant. Money talks I guess.

Painting wise, here are some pictures of the Highlanders and Shermans.  The infantry are off to Cornwall soon while the tanks will be on eBay tomorrow.
42nd "Royal Highland" aka The Black Watch.

 The first of three units of Highlanders, these are AB figures I believe.  Painting tartan is still quite interesting, but the other units have more colours in them than this, so may push it into annoying instead of interesting.

A Sqd, 1st Coldstream Guards
 First unit of Shermans, painted and decaled to represent A Squadron, 1st Coldstream Guards, part of 5th Guards Armoured Brigade in the Guards Armoured Division, circa Normandy 1944.
B Sqd, 1st Coldstream Guards

The second unit is marked up as B Squadron, the only digfferences are the turret markings and the number of commanders.  The vehicles are all Battlefront from the Open Fire box set, which are pretty good models and match their metal models nicely.

Gaming has been a bit hit and miss, but an improvement on the previous couple of weeks.  Monday night we played a Cheapass Game, which involved time machines.  It's not my favourite game of theirs, but it was a reasonable way to spend the evening.  I have also had a couple of races of Formula De with No2 son, 'cos he's bored being stuck at home.  Little git kicked the crap out of me in the first race, hitting every corner just right and getting a 1-2 result.  Race two went a bit better, with me getting 1st and 3rd.  Round 3 will come up soon, unless X-Wing rears it's ugly head as my loving wife bought me a Tie Interceptor and B-Wing last week, which was nice. 

Monday night will see us having a multi-player game of Chain of Command, being set up by Nathan.  We will have to play in the wrong scale (25mm) as the more aged members of our group can no longer see anything smaller (no comments please).

Anyway, its late and I have stuff to do before bed, so keep rolling those dice and I will catch you later.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

More random musings and thought-type things.

Yet again it's been longer than I had planned since I have posted here, but I am back....again.

First things first, I have managed to get a little bit of painting done, so things are not all bad.  More Napoleonics have been done, with the third unit of French Old Guard Grenadiers getting covered in paint, as well as a unit of Battlefront US HMGs.  Currently on the sticks are 15mm Highlanders, being painted up as the 42nd "Royal Highland" Regiment of Foot, aka The Blackwatch.  Yes, I am painting tartan on 15mm figures and yes, it is a pain.  However, it has been quite nice to be fair, as I have experimented and played about until I have a method that works for me and seems to give a fair representation of a kilt, at least to my eye.  Once I have finished the unit I will take some piccies and bung them up here.

Of course, there is no guarantee that my enjoyment of painting Napoleonic 15's will continue, as I have another 2 units of Highlanders to do after this one. The 79th(Cameron Highland) and 92nd(Gordon Highland) may well push me from enjoyment to chore, but at the moment things are going well.

Wargames wise, it has been a washout.  Zob spent a few days redecorating the room we use at his house, so we had a break of 2 weeks in gaming.  Gus' hasn't been feeling too well, so no gaming there and Nathan found another job after being made redundant earlier this year, so he is now busy through the week.  And I missed the Devon Wargames meet as I had to take No2 to Devonport so he could injure himself playing rugby.

After feeling reasonable last week, things went downhill on Friday and didn't really pick up until yesterday.  I don't know what I ate that upset me on Friday but having a kebab on Saturday didn't help.  Sunday was supposed to be a day of rugby, but No2 son managed to injure his knee again playing on Saturday, so we spent Sunday morning in A&E.  Back there today to find out how bad it is, but it's not looking good.  As he has had ACL reconstruction already on his knee, if he's done it again then his rugby career is over at 19.  Not good, but he is doing his best to stay positive.  Tina has also injured herself, tearing a muscle in her shoulder, which makes it hard for her to do lots of things that she still tries to do.  All in all its been a good few days in this family.

I am gradually getting my Longstreet armies up to strength.  Many, many years ago, when Peter Pig first brought out a 15mm ACW range, myself and a couple of friends (from the long defunct Torbay Wargames Group) decided to get some armies.  I have since had a small force of painted, but not based, Union troops sat in a box.  They are now on bases ready to get sand put on them.  Unfortunately there are not quite enough to do a full force as I have about 25 bases of infantry and 6 of cavalry, so an order will be going off to Peter Pig as soon as I get some spare cash.  My only concern is that the entire range has been redone and I don't know how they match up with the older figures.  I also have the start of a Confederate force, as I bumped into one of the old club members two years ago and he sold me his force as he doesn't game anymore.  Again, not enough for a complete force, but its a start.

Anyway, thats my ramblings done for now as I need to get sorted to take No2 up to RD&E in Exeter for the good/bad news about his knee.  Fingers crossed.  Catch you all later.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Longstreet ACW game.

Longstreet, the latest game in the Honour series by Sam Mustafa, has finally arrived in sunny Devon.  Gus' hosted the first game of a campaign last week, but I stupidly forgot my camera.  Net result of that game was a Union victory, but that was due to a final gasp all out attack that broke the Confederate army.  Nathan commands Johnny Reb while I lead Billy Yank.

Monday saw us gather again at Gus' for round 2, with the Rebs attacking a Union position.  The aftermath of the first game saw Nathan gain a big veteran cavalry unit and an extra gun, giving him a force of 3 infantry units(19 stands), 2 cavalry units(13 stands) and 2 batteries of artillery(4 guns).  I had 4 infantry units(28 stands), 1 cavalry unit(5 stands) and 1 battery(2 guns).  As I was defending I had my newest unit(8 stands of infantry) off table until turn 6!  
Initial setup
 The initial set up had Nathan massing on the left and a single cavalry unit on the right.
The first move was nothing special as Nathan advanced towards the Union lines.  Turn 2 saw me spring a confusion card on the Rebs, with their 3 gun battery suddenly deciding it needed to be on the other side of the advance and cutting across in front of 2 units of infantry.  This slowed the advance of the centre, but sadly I wasn't quite able to get in a flank volley on the limbered guns.
Turn 4 and the Rebs close in
 Turn 3 and 4 was spent on moving again, with Nathan moving his troops into position to charge and me moving my 3rd infantry unit into a position to cover the line in case they broke through.
the gathering storm
 Turn 5 and the Rebs charged, with all his infantry and both cavalry units making contact with the valiant blueclad defenders.  Luckily I had a sneaky "Fresh Fish" card in hand, which turned out to be crucial.  It makes all recruits on the other side hit at -1 and, as all but one unit of Nathans were recruits, it saved the day.
Fight 1.  TWO-ONE to the blues
 Fight 1, one unit of cavalry and one of infantry against a solitary Union infantry.  The two dice show the respective "score" of hits in the fight.  Purple for Union and green for Confederate.  Win for the defenders of truth, justice and Mom's apple pie.
Fight 2.  5 to 1!
Fight 2, two Reb infantry against another Union unit.  Same dice as before, but a much bigger swing this time. 
Fight 3.  The cavalry clash
Fight 3, dismounted Union cavalry against a Confederate veteran cavalry unit.  This was a much closer fight, but I just managed to swing it 2-1 again.

Rebs bounce back
So that saw off the initial Reb charge, with Nathan losing 1 stand from each unit and me holding the line as the Rebs fell back.
Sneaky flankers
Nathan then got sneaky and moved his cavalry around the flanks, doing his best to isolate my units and potentially get in a flank charge.  Luckily I had an ace in the hand as my reinforcements arrived and pushed back one of his cavalry units.
Unfortunately his other cavalry got around my dismounted cavalry and I was forced to fall them back.  Nathan then sprang confusion and marched them forward again, into open sight of his guns, who all missed!
Its all going wrong on the right
As I fell them back and turned to face his cavalry, he managed a single hit with his artillery, reducing my cavalry to a single stand which was removed and counted as broken.  Bah.  Then his cavalry charged my guns, winning the fight and destroying a gun.  Sadly I then ran out of cards, ending the game with a Confederate victory.  I had broken more of Nathans troops than he had of mine, but he still won the game and gained a promotion for himself.

Nathan the Reb
Despite losing, I got myself in the papers, two more units became veterans and I also gained another unit of infantry and one of cavalry.  Nathan also got some units become veterans and gained another infantry unit.  The biggest problem I have now is that I only have 1 gun, while he has 4!
Gus the host
The game was thoroughly enjoyable and I will be buying my own set of rules and cards very soon.  The command mechanism is very good, with the Confederates having a bonus in the early years of the war, but losing their edge as the years progress.  We have 1 more battle where the Rebs have the advantage in cards, then we get to 1863 and the playing field gets even.

I can recommend these rules to anybody who likes ACW games, but it is the campaign system that really sets them apart.  You get points for charging with 10 stands or more, so Nathans big charge with all his troops gained him lots of epic points.  It makes you play aggressively as epic points are what determines the victor, not the battles.  This may seem strange, but it is all about you as the commander, not your troops.

Thanks to Gus for putting on the games and to Nathan for playing them.

Off now to try and paint something.  The mojo is definitely lacking in the painting department at the moment. Keep rolling those dice.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Display Cabinet type thing

A while ago, after my eldest son moved out, I gained the second bedroom as my painting/computer/stay out of her way room.  This meant the dining room was returned to the family.  Yes, my new room is smaller, but its much better for painting, is out of the way and stops any earache about using the dining table.  I still have stuff in the dining room, but its all in cupboards so I am allowed that.  I did manage to get a glass fronted display cabinet (cheap from a local 2nd hand store) so that some of my wargames collection would be on display, so here it is.

Top Shelf - 15mm WW2 
Italians, enough for a full platoon with supporting HMGs, 20mm AT rifles, 47mm AT guns, L6 light tanks and Semovente 47 SPAT.  I do need to add some Semovente 75s to give them a decent(ish) vehicle.  Peter Pig figures and Battlefront vehicles and guns.
15mm US Armour.  Plastic Soldier Company M5A1s, a Battlefront M10 and Forged in Battle M8 and M16, to support my US Infantry.  At least it makes a change from Shermans.
US Infantry and M3 halftracks.  Enough for two full platoons, but only enough halftracks for one of them.  The figures are a mixture of Peter Pig and Battlefront, while the halftracks are Plastic Soldier Company. 

2nd Shelf - 15mm AWI
British Army for Maurice or Washington's Army.  These you have seen before.
American Army for Maurice or Washington's Army, also seen before.

3rd Shelf - 15mm WW2
US Airborne and plenty of them.  Loads of Paras with BARs, LMGs, 50cal AA MGs and 57mm AT guns in support. 
British Armour, German Grenadiers and German Armour.  Battlefront Cromwells and Firefly, the Battlefront plastic Grenadier Platoon, which needs some support options, such as HMGs or Pak guns, to be added.  Then there is a motley collection of German vehicles with a Panther, two each of Marder III, Stug III and Hetzer and a single Sd10 with 2cm flak, supported by a 3.7cm flak gun.
German Fallschirmjagers.  Battlefront figures with additional support from 2cm flak guns.  I need HMGs and AT guns to add to these as well.

Bottom Shelf - 25mm Assortment
Assorted Lord of the Rings figures that I painted for my son.  There are more (lots more) in boxes upstairs, but here is a small assortment of some of the nicer figures.
25mm War of the Roses and Greek Hoplites.
The Perry WotR figures were painted for a Devon Wargames club game and have sat in the cabinet ever since.  Hopefully they will get added to and used at some point soon.  The Greeks are my first (and so far only) unit of Hoplites for the 25mm Persian army I have upstairs in its unpainted glory.  One day.........

Well, there it is.  I did take a picture of the cabinet but, for some reason, Blogger won't let me show it to you vertically only horizontally.  Ah well, at least you can see what is in it.  Now I am off to start these Napoleonic French infantry because I love them so, I really do. 

Apologies and what I have bought.

Sorry I haven't posted for a while, but I have had a pretty bad month.  Despite the best efforts of my wife and various doctors I am still feeling like crap, so crap in fact that I even missed several opportunities to do any gaming.  After having a stern word with myself (and a bit of earache from Tina), I am doing my best to stay positive.  No matter how bad your day/week/month is, there is always someone worse off than you are.

Painting has taken a hit as I just lacked any form of motivation to do anything.  I have turned over a new leaf today though and am about to start another unit of CGM Napoleonic French for my brother-in-law's ever expanding army.  Nice enough figures, but I still find Napoleonics a chore to do.  I have managed to paint up some 15mm WW2 vehicles, but they are just green.  I have 8 British Shermans for ebay and an assortment of US armour for my Chain of Command/Battlegroup Overlord force.  Pictures in the next post.

Speaking of Chain of Command, the countdown has commenced and money has been spent.  Release day is fast approaching(3 days to go) and I should hopefully have the new rulebook in my hot little hand by the end of next week.  If you like WW2 skirmish games and fancy something different then I can recommend Chain of Command, even if you have to do it in 25mm instead of the correct 15mm.

I also splashed out a bit of cash and bought The Wargaming Compendium by Henry Hyde.  I have been most impressed with it and recommend it to you as a good book to add to your collection.  No figures were bought, but I did buy a couple of boxes of 15mm US vehicles from the Plastic Soldier Company to give my US infantry some armoured support.  Again, pictures in the next post.

Right, that's it, I will be posting occasionally again and I can only apologise for the lay off period.

Keep rolling those dice, eventually you will hit something!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A slow week, but the outlook is improving

Last week was noticeable for its complete lack of gaming.  Monday night saw the whole group of us go down to the cinema to see World War Z, aka "A movie to show off Brad Pitts long hair".  While it claims to be based on the novel by Max Brooks, the only similarity is the title.  Zombies moving like olympic atheletes and no sign of the Battle of Yonkers or the Singh Square.  Its a fair film I suppose, but it could have been so much better, 5 out of 10 for me.

Due to Gus' poor health and both Nathan and I lacking access to a car through the week we didn't get together to play anything.  This week Gus is feeling better so we have scheduled Friday for a game of Maurice, which will be nice.  Unfortunately Nathan is babysitting some of his grandchildren up in Sheffield, so he is going to miss out.

Painting wise I have been slowly grinding through some bits and pieces.  I got 16 Gripping Beast plastic Dark Age warriors done to replace the Wargames Factory ones I have been using.  Another 18 to go and thats the Romano-British done again.  Then I just need to inspire myself to paint up enough for the Saxons and I will have enough to play a game here.  I also did up my Peter Pig American infantry, the start of a new force for BGO and CoC.  So far I have 38 figures done, which is enough for a platoon.  To mix up the figures a bit I am waiting to start on a Battlefront platoon now, which should give me enough figures to field 2 platoons for BGO.  I have some Shermans waiting to be finished, as well as some Jeeps.  All I need now is the halftracks and I am on my way.

I also got a few German bits done, a 37mm flak gun and an Sd10 with 20mm flak on the back.  No idea why I have them, but I do and they are painted now, so they will join the German troops I have already.  On the pegs now are some French Guard Lancers, the final 20 of a 40 strong unit.  Then it will be onto some 15mm Highlanders for Waterloo.  Does anybody sell Tartan paint yet?

The best result I have had has been a new addition to my painting desk.  After years of making do with a normal palette to mix paints on, I have been forced by the hot weather of the last few days to try something new.  I have had the problem of the paint drying out so fast that it has been problematic trying to paint anything.  My nice big 3 window painting area has meant that the temperature has been slightly excessive.  Basically it makes my painting room a greenhouse as it gets the sun from sunrise to sunset, which is usually a good thing.  Open windows didn't help as there was no breeze to talk of and the fan seemed to exacerbate the problem.  The remedy has proved to be a wet palette.  I have heard people mention them on various blogs but always thought that I wouldn't need it, after all I live in sunny wet and mild Devon. 

A quick search on the wibbly wobbly web and a plan came into focus. Most people use a blister pack that they can reseal but I didn't have any to hand, so I used an old take away container.  Some foam from Battlefront packs, some baking paper (actually cup cake paper laid flat) and a small bit of water and there it was.  Its bleeding awesome and I should have tried it long ago.  The paint stays wet for ages and painting is back on.  Happy smiling faces all around now.

Just to really make the week complete the Lions gave the Wallabies a right stuffing, then a Scotsman won Wimbledon.  All in all not a bad weekend really.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Battlegroup Overlord British vs Germans

Last week brought another chance to visit Stumpy Towers, this time for a game of Battlegroup Overlord.  Gus was attacking with a British Infantry force while Nathan defended with German Infantry. 
Nathans initial line of defence consisted of an Ost platoon spread over the frontline, some in trenches, supported by a HMG, 2 MG bunkers, a pair of Pak 40s and a nasty 88 on the hill.

Gus started of with most of his infantry platoon, his forward observer and 3 Churchills.  He piled most of this force, except the observer, on the right flank as it gave better cover from any long range 88 fire.

Nathan quickly called in some artillery fire and managed to get hold of some 210mm Nebelwerfers.  With much whooshing and banging they came in and managed to catch the infantry and Churchills.  Despite the large number of hits, Gus managed to save almost everything.  He's getting some damn good dice lately.
 To return the favour, Gus called in his own artillery, receiving a barrage of 8" shells in return.  These deviated a bit from the intended target (the 88), but did manage to rout both the Pak 40 gun crew and the German HQ.  A bad turn for the Germans to be sure.
 As the big guns blazed away, the initial British force was reinforced with the arrival of some Shermans and more infantry.
 Another artillery call by Gus brought in some even bigger guns, some US 240mm howitzers this time.  Again they managed to miss the 88, but they did some serious damage to the supporting German infantry and Stugs.  Somehow the Stug commander was destroyed by this barrage, further hindering the German command ability.
 By this point things had definitely swung in favour of the Brtish, as can be seen by comparing Nathans morale counter pile with Gus' in the next photo.
 See, hardly anything there!
The British kept advancing and pushed back the German defenders.
Somehow Gus failed to notice the 20mm Flak gun hiding in the corner, until he drove up to the hedge and the gun opened fire.  Although a Shermans armour is not exactly thick, it was too thick for the 20mm gun, whose shots all bounced off.  The Sherman then crossed the hedge and crushed the Flak gun.
 In a valiant, but ultimately failed, attempt to slow down the advance, Nathan sent sped forward with a recon unit in a Kubelwagen.  After shooting down the road at breakneck speed, the driver slammed on the brakes and the soldiers jumped out, readying their Panzerfaust.  The Churchills promptly opened fire withtheir mgs and pinned them, before doing the same again and routing them.
 Desperate now to cause some damage to the British, Nathan pushed his remaining 2 Stugs forward, but it was too little way too late.
 Even though the 88 managed to exact revenge for the crushing of the 20mm Flak gun, the Germans morale was now teetering.

A final volley of fire killed off the German HMG and infantry on the right flank, the resulting morale chits were enough to see the Germans break and run.  Losses were heavy for the Germans, but only moderate for the Allies.

It was a fun game to watch, the amazing number of 6's that Gus rolled for infantry saves had to be seen to be believed.  Battlegroup rules are pretty good and I will hopefully be playing them soon.

More later folks, as we are all off to watch World War Z tonight.  Keep rolling those dice.