Tuesday, 10 August 2021

I can see and I AM THE LAW!

 I have finally had my first cataract operation, following a screw up in May that resulted in the op being cancelled. While it was a totally weird sensation to have somebody poking about in my eye, the result is good so far. I can now see really clearly out of my right eye, while my left is still crap. Woohoo! I am happy that it is finally getting done and even happier that the result has been so good already. I now have 4 weeks of eyedrops and behaving so I don't put too much pressure on it but today is a damn good day.  Hopefully the wait for the left eye being done will not be too long.

Gaming wise I have not done much. I did play a game of Quartermaster General : Cold War with Stumpy, Andy and Zob. Andy and I were the neutrals, Nathan was the Soviets and Zob was NATO. We won, primarily because Zob concentrated on "beating" the Soviets, allowing us to concentrate on holding back Nathan's repeated incursions into our areas. It wasn't so much that we won as the other two lost, but I will take the win.

Painting has been limited due to my crap eyesight, although things are now better in that area obviously. My son has decided he wants to play Warlord Games new Judge Dredd game. I was brought up in the 2000AD period and JD was always good to read. So, a few shekels were parted with and he bought the base game. I then ordered Dredd and the Arch Villains box. I have painted the judges up so far, as you can see here. 

Dredd, Street Judge and Rookie
I like the figures, the detail is great and they paint up nicely. I am not a fan of the stupid little cast on bases but that is a minor niggle. I have to decide on a base style for them and it will either involve cutting off the cast base or building up the base to hide the cast base. Decisions will be made soon(ish). Junior is painting the gangers up.

The game itself is pretty good. Higher ranked judges are deadly, but weight of numbers and lucky dice can swing the game for the gangers. I managed to blow away a senior judge with a wounded juve ganger with a sawn off stub gun. I had great dice and he didn't(obviously) but it was a win for the gangers.

Anyway, that is it for now. Take care folks and I'll catch you next time.

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Some more Wars of the Roses figures and other news

 Well it's been a while since I had anything to report, but things have been a bit manic. First up my eye operation was cancelled while I was at the hospital, so still no movement on that front. No idea when it will be rescheduled, but fingers crossed for soon.

Then my Mum had a stroke while on holiday in County Durham. It's sods law that it happened while she was so far away, so my sister and I had a panicked over night 6+ hour drive up to help out. My step-father is not in great health either and he panics a bit when things go wrong, so we had to go and sort him out as well. Mum is on the mend and back home in Cornwall, having been informed that she is not allowed to go any further north than Devon now. 😉 

Wargames wise, I have not played much. I did get a game of Trojan Wars Dux Brittanniarum at the Devon Wargames first meeting since lockdown lifted a bit. There is a write up here which is rather one sided as it was written by Vince Hector. It was a great game though and thanks to Chas, Vince and Andy for making the first game back so enjoyable.

I also played a game of Sharp Practice at the Monday night gaming group, where the Confederate forces saw off the Union trespassers and cleared the way to Washington. Sadly no pictures, but it has inspired me to run a campaign for Colin and Panjo to play. The first battle is under way and will be completed next Monday hopefully. While that was going on I played a couple of games of Tumult Royale with Andy and Zob, which is an enjoyable and fun boardgame, well worth the £7 it cost Zob. I came last in the first game but turned it around and won the second. It is quite tactical, more so than I realised in the first game.

Painting has been very slow and the quality has suffered due to my eyesight being so crap currently. I did manage to finally finish off the revolting peasants I have had on the go though. Wargames Illustrated had a nice article about rabbles and rebels in "Never Mind the Billhooks" and I was sold on the idea. A few clicks on the interweb and I had two boxes of Fireforge Games Folk Rabble and a box of Gripping Beast Dark Age Warriors on the way. I worked out that these boxes would give me enough figures to make up three units of 24 revolting peasants. Also the Folk Rabble had enough spare arms and heads that I could use them on the Gripping Beast figures to make them match in. 

Once they had arrived I started assembling them, using the extra arms and heads as described and chopping and gluing bits here and there. The figures came with a really nice mix of "weapons" including scythes, flails, a bow and various choppy type things. A couple of slings and spears from the Beasty figures and I had a reasonable mix, at least I think so. So I slapped on some paint. 

Now the quality of these paint jobs are basic to say the least. Most of it is Contrast Paints from Games Workshop because they are easy to use when your vision is blurry. I don't think they look too bad considering, they are only revolting peasants after all.

Unit one. For some reason they have ended up with 5 torches, ready to burn down the establishment. I quite like the look of the chap second from the right in the front rank, he looks like he means business with his two axes.

Unit two, who only have a single torch. No notable figures in this one but a nice mix of weaponry. 

Unit three, again only the one torch. I liked the look of the chap third in from the left, extorting his comrades on while holding a scythe. 

Well, there they are. I now need some more Men-at-Arms as I apparently do not have enough, oh and some more archers. My force is sadly understrength for Saturdays game at the Devon Wargames meeting.

Take care folks and I will catch you next time.

Monday, 3 May 2021

Not much going on.

 As the title says, there is not much to report. My painting mojo has moved on, at least for painting my own figures anyway. I have built some extras for my Cold War project, adding 10 T-64s, 4 BRDM2s and a few command vehicles but they are all sat in their unpainted glory looking at me in disgust.

One thing that has happened is the attic space has had a sort out. My darling wife(She Who Must Be Obeyed) decided we needed to sort it out as we are not getting any younger. So, a lot of old wargames stuff game down and is gradually being sold off. So far some old metal GW Goblins have gone with more to follow. I also had a look at the Bretonnian army I had over 20 years ago, back when I started painting. To say my standard has improved would be an understatement.

Here are a couple of pictures of a few painted(sort of) figures. At the time I was chuffed to bits with them but age has not been kind. No shading, no real details, no highlights. I was almost sorry to see them again. 

Metal Bowmen

A Knight and a Wizard
I decided to strip the paint off, either to repaint them or, more likely, to sell them on. So a quick search on the web for the best way to strip them and I came up with a new system. Previously I had tried brake fluid, oven cleaner and various other concoctions, but nothing really worked well. Now however there is a new (at least to me) paint stripper and boy does it do the job.

Here are the same figures after a couple of hours, literally 3 to 4 hours, soaking and then a rinse and quick brush with an old toothbrush. It worked wonders, even on the thick layers of paint these figures had.

A cleaner knight and wizard

Three shiny bowmen

Now it is not perfect, there is some undercoat showing on the horses etc, but the figures are very clean. So far I have stripped over 100 figures ranging from very old, pre-slotta base figures up to the more recent(ish) Necromunda gangers. 

So, what is this remarkable stripper you may ask. You probably didn't but I will tell you anyway. It is called Biostrip 20 Paint Stripper and I bought mine on Amazon for £20 for a litre. This has stripped over 100 figures but has now become more paint that stripper, so I have just ordered some more. I got the idea from this video on YouTube, although I use gloves to avoid direct skin contact with it. 

So, there you go folks, that's my latest bit of advice and I am off now to strip off some more knights that I put in at 7am today. Catch you all later when hopefully my painting will be back on track.

Sunday, 28 March 2021

Cold War British and a big cat.

 I can't believe its been nearly a month since I posted anything. My painting mojo did die after finishing the Wars of the Roses figures, but I should have posted something before now. 

So, here I am with another update on my meandering wargaming habit. I have finally painted up my 15mm Cold War British vehicles that were discussed way back in May/June last year. There is still no sign of the former Armies Army models appearing from Scotia-Grendel, so I have bitten the bullet and accepted that I will have to have various sizes of vehicles. So, after slapping some paint about I completed the mix of vehicles I had, adding more tanks and APCs, plus some AT and recce assets.

Team Yankee British Vehicles
All told I did 16 vehicles and a helicopter, more than doubling my British vehicle force.  This lot gives me enough to put on a decent sized game at some point, assuming we are ever allowed to get together again.

One thing I decided I wanted was a Gazelle helicopter as a recce element and annoyance for the Soviets. While it has no armament, it is a good scout and could spot the enemy advance, assuming it doesn't get shot down by a ZSU-23-4 or SA-9. The model is a French HOT Gazelle without the missiles and painted up as British.
Strikers, Fv432s and Chieftains
I needed some more basic elements as well, so 3 extra Chieftains and some additional Fv432s were added. One area I was sorely deficient in was anti-tank guided weapons, so I picked up a box of Spartans and made two up as Fv102 Stikers. These are small and fast, able to hopefully hit and then run before they get spotted and blown to smithereens. They are lovely little kits.

Another anti-tank option is the Fv438, an adaptation of a standard Fv432 APD with a twin Swingfire missile launcher. Nice enough models which at least gives me another option.

I only had a single squadron of 3 Chieftains, so added another. These are big targets that will attract a lot of fire, but they do look nice and pack a big punch.
Scorpions and Spartans
Reconnaissance is very important in Battlegroup games, as it is in reality. So I picked up a box of Scorpion/Scimitars as well. Two were made up as Fv101 Scorpions, with a short 76mm gun. These are lovely little models and will look the part on the table. I also made up a pair of Fv103 Spartan APCs to carry support teams such as Milan or Blowpipe teams.

Finally there is a pair of Fv107 Scimitar light tanks. these are identical to the Scorpions except they have a 30mm cannon instead of the short 76mm gun. 

So, there they are. All I have to do now is paint up a second platoon of British infantry and everything I have for the British will be done. Until I get some more that is, I want some AA support, either a static Rapier or a tracked Rapier system. Maybe a Lynx with TOW missiles too, just to use the gunship token if it ever comes out, maybe an AVRE Centurion too as an option.

Finally I got around to painting this wee beastie.
Warlord King Tiger
I have had this kit sitting on the shelf for about a year now so decided enough was enough, built it and painted it. I don't have any late war Germans so this will probably end up on ebay at some point soon, but it was a pleasant change to do something this big. It's a decent kit and comes with the options of both turret types, I just went with the Henschel turret as that was the most common.

That's the lot for now, stay safe and I'll catch you all later.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Even more Wars of the Roses

 Normal service has been resumed and I am still on project! Those who know me will tell you that this is a miracle, but the Wars of the Roses itch has still not been fully scratched.

So, forty more foot figures have joined the ever increasing throng. Some pikemen and skirmishers this time. Another six handgunners and six archers to be dismounts for my previously painted mounted archers. 

To make a change from Bills and Bows I have also done two units of pikemen, along with some more command and standard bearer figures.
Again, these are all Perry Miniatures plastics, as that is the cheapest way of doing this period. All told I now have 36 mounted and 249 foot painted, all done since Christmas. All I have left to do is base the two cannons and crew I have sat on the table.

I now have more than enough for a game of Billhooks, with enough to give both sides some options and some variety. I think I will call it done there, based on space, time and money I will have to move on to something else. I am thinking I need to get back to my 15mm Cold War project, I still have to play a game of Battlegroup:Northag at some point and I have a lot of unpainted vehicles sat in a box calling my name.

Catch you all later, stay safe folks.

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Not wargames related but........

 In the local news today we had this headline.

Exeter WW2 bomb detonated after homes evacuated

In that report is the best "state the obvious" phrase ever. 

Now I for one always expect a bang when a bomb detonates, if it's a f*****g big bomb then I expect a similar size bang. In other news from Devon and Cornwall police "Water is wet" and "Rocks are hard".

The other news to mention is commiserations for the England rugby team, the RFU and all the fans. That French referee was poor and definitely got the first try wrong, possibly the second one too. However, even if you assume that he got both calls wrong that takes 14 points off the score and Wales won by 16, so thank you and well done to Wales for another Triple Crown in the year when every "expert" wrote them off. They may be playing crap, but they can win when they play crap so be afraid when they start playing well.

Normal service will be resuming with my next post when I return to wargaming and such things. More Wars of the Roses beckons.

Saturday, 13 February 2021

A solo game of Never Mind the Billhooks

As lockdown continues it is very hard to get any wargames in, what with work, family etc all taking up time. On top of that, my PC is a long way from the gaming table and my wife has been using said table for jigsaws. Fortunately I managed to sneak a game in when she had finished one and before she started the next. Unfortunately it was mid-week so all my gaming mates were working. In a moment of madness I decided to have a game of Never Mind the Billhooks solo and see how it went. It went ok and here are some pictures and a bit of a review of my solo attempt.

First off I needed two balanced forces. So I made up some cards with the units I had, as detailed in the final section of the rules, and after picking the core troops of two units of bills and bows each I randomised the extra forces.

The left side gained a unit of Knights, one of light horse and a Men-at-Arms group. The right side gained light horse, Knights, another unit of bows and some handgunners. The forces were split between the three leaders on each side, then each leader was drawn at random from left to right on their side of the table. It ended up with all the cavalry on one flank, but that was just the way it happened.

My solo rules were pretty basic, if an archer or handgunner unit had a target in range it would fire, otherwise it would advance to get into the range. The bill units, Knights and Men-at-Arms would advance until they could get into a fight. Pretty simple but it seemed to work.

Here are the initial positions, with the right cavalry being separated from the main force by a wood.

Pre-action moves saw the Lefts cavalry move up onto the hill, only to be matched by the Rights Light Horse. Most of the infantry advanced until..........
The Lefts archers got into range. A veritable storm of arrows saw three archers from the Right side fall, despite only hitting on 6's and only firing once.
As the cards began, the Rights archer unit returned fire and even managed a third volley due to a bonus card. And what a bonus it was with six hits from nine dice at the rapidly nearing Lefty bill unit.
During the first action round several things became clear. Light horse are very very fragile! The Rights light horse lasted one round against their opposite numbers, routing after rolling three on 2D6 after losing the fight. Double archer units can be deadly, somehow killing four enemy archers at long range. While their cavalry was getting spanked, the Right sides extra archers were proving the saying that quantity is a quality all it's own.
So in the centre things were progressing nicely. The blue and yellow unit were whittling down their opposing bill armed unit while the double archer unit was completely outshooting it's outnumbered opposition. The one question was how would their arrows do against the armour of the Men-at-Arms.
On the flank the Lefts light horse moved up to close range of the Rights Knights, while their Knights took position to threaten the flanks of their opponents. The Men-at-Arms advanced through a withering hail of arrows, relying on their thick armour to save them. Sadly it did not work too well as nearly 50% of them fell in the shade. Even the leader was wounded so they charged the archers, who bravely evaded and fell back through their supporting billmen.
Here is a closer look at the action in the centre, as the denuded unit of Men-at-Arms closes with the enemy line.
On the other flank the handgunners finally got a move, coming out of the woods to fire at the Men-at-Arms. At the same time the billmen clashed as the archers fell back before their charge. 
It did not go too well for the Lefts billmen though. The dice behind the units are how many armour saves they need to make after a round of fighting. Nine to three is never a good score, as the Left billmen were cut down to a man. At the same time the Rights Knights charged the light horse, who evaded. They were then charged by the Lefts Knights and a bloody combat began. The culmination of which was that both units were nearly wiped out, but the Lefts broke and ran. Then the Men-at-Arms got into the fight and lost by one, promptly rolling snake eyes on their morale roll and routing. 
This was enough to take the last of the lefts morale chits, they had lost their Knights, Men-at-Arms, one archer unit and a billmen unit, while only killing the light horse and some scattered figures from the other enemy units. 

I enjoyed the game and look forward to playing it again, either alone or with my son. I might even try an online game using WhatsApp on my phone. We shall see. 

That's the lot for now, just a quickie as they say. Take care and stay safe folks.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

The end is here, at least for now.

 Don't panic, it's just that I have painted all the Wars of the Roses figures I have, everything is done and there are no more. At least until my Perrys order for a pair of cannons turns up.

The last unit I had to do was some Claymore Castings crossbowmen with pavises. These figures are absolutely lovely and I cannot recommend them highly enough. Plus the service was excellent too, 2 days from order to arrival. I ordered three packs, one of crossbowmen, one of pavise and crossbow teams and one of crossbowmen hiding behind pavises. One slight issue was some of the figures are lying down which made them too big for my usual penny bases, so I decided to do some multiple skirmisher bases, with two men trying to hide behind one pavise.  Each six man unit has two multibases and two single figures. I think they came out alright, I like them anyway.

12 Crossbowmen taking cover 

Having taken this picture I decided they could have some extra detail added, so I cut off some arrows, drilled some holes and voila, the reason why these mercenary Frenchies are hiding behind their big shields.

Added arrows just for some fun

Like any self-respecting wargamer, I decided to get the whole force out and take a group shot. So here they are arrayed for battle. 36 mounted and 221 foot, ready for battle. That'll do for a small scale skirmish game I think. The whole lot has been painted between Christmas and now, so that's pretty good for my own stuff.

My army deployed for battle

So now I need to find something else to focus on. Maybe some of the WW2 desert figures will be next? Or some Persians? Who knows.

Take care folks and I'll catch you next time.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Still on project, which is a miracle!

I am still getting on with my Wars of the Roses project, which makes a change. Normally by now I would be on to a third project leaving partially finished figures behind me. So here are the latest offerings. First up are another two foot blocks, each with 12 archers, 12 billmen and 3 command figures.
That gives me six blocks each of a similar make up, which should be enough for a decent sized game.
I also finished another unit of mounted Men-at-Arms, giving me two units of them as well now. 

The total force is now 168 foot and 32 mounted. All I have left to do now are four mounted figures as commanders and 12 crossbow men. I made a slip yesterday and ordered two Perrys cannons as well though. 

I may need to get some Irish kerns just to give some other options. 

Anyway, there they are. I am going to set up and play a game tomorrow, just so I can get all the figures out on the table. 

Stay safe folks

Sunday, 24 January 2021

More Wars of the Roses

 January is rapidly passing and I have finally got some more painting done. No gaming except online, but staying in is the least I can do during this pandemic.

Anyway, painting. Firstly I made and painted up some stakes for my archers to hide behind use when enemy cavalry threaten. Just toothpicks cut to size, hot glued to a spare plastic base and then painted and based. I think they will do the trick when I finally do get some gaming in and they have the added bonus of being cheap.

Ten bases of stakes

Now onto the figures. All these are plastic Perrys Miniatures figures. Firstly some mounted archers, an 8 man unit for Never Mind the Billhooks. A light horse unit which has the option to dismount as a skirmish archer unit, at least they will do once I paint some figures up for them.
8 Mounted Archers

Then some Hobilars, 8 light cavalry again but with spears this time. 

Finally some mounted Men-at-Arms, again 8 strong and much heavier armoured than the others. 
Mounted Men-at-Arms

That's the lot for now, I am hoping to get some more done soon but real life keeps getting in the way. I have some more mounted MaA to paint, then it's back to the foot troops with some more bows and bills. At some point I will get some crossbows too, but not just yet.

Take care folks, stay safe.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

First post and painting of 2021

 Happy New Year to you all, I hope it's better than last year. Although it's not off to a great start with a new national lockdown here in the UK. 

Anyway, fingers crossed and all that. I have been a bit productive over the Christmas break, cracking on with the Wars of the Roses figures I mentioned last time. The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that I painted a few of the Perry Miniatures figures back in 2012 for a Christmas game at Devon Wargames, sadly they were sold on some time ago due to lack of use. So now I am painting more of the same again. 

So, here we go. Just the infantry done so far but there will be some cavalry done at some point. All these figures are Perry Miniatures plastics, bought 2nd hand at one show or another over the last few years. The revival in the period for me has been caused by the arrival of the Never Mind the Billhooks rules. These rules use units of 6 foot for skirmishers, 12 foot for everything else and 8 cavalry for mounted units.

First we have 24 foot men-at-arms, 6 hand-gunners , 4commanders and 2 standard bearers. That's enough for 2 units of men-at-arms, a unit of skirmishers and up to 4 leaders. 

Next we have the blues, blue and yellow on the left with blue and white on the right. Each group has 12 archers and 12 billmen, along with a 3 man command group with matching flag. I do need another musician for the blue and white unit though. An extra man-at-arms has stood in for now.

Finally, for now, we have the red and black/yellow units. Again each has 12 archers and 12 billmen with a command group of 3 men, both with musicians this time. That lot gives me about 150 points worth of units, so most of the way to a 100 points per side game.

All told that is 144 figures finished so far, with another 52 foot and 40 odd mounted waiting to be painted. The extras will add another bill and bow combined block, an extra unit of archers, some crossbowmen and a couple of units each of light horse and mounted men-at-arms. That should be enough for a small scale skirmish I hope.

Adios for now folks, stay safe and I will catch you next time.