Wednesday, 15 August 2018

2nd Afghan War: 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot II

I wanted to try and get one unit of the 66th Foot finished for tonight's try out of The Men Who Would Be Kings and have just given the first 12 a spray of Anti-Shine...

The Perry plastics were just undercoated Army Painter Bleached Bone, the flesh, webbing and guns blocked in and then "dipped" in Army Painter Soft Tone dip. Think it has worked well and I'm happy with the result. 24 more to go...

Monday, 13 August 2018

2nd Afghan War: 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot I

Playing some games of Outremer at BIG over the last couple of weeks led in a round about way to conversations about colonial wargaming and George said he fancied trying out Osprey's The Men Who Would Be Kings and would I be interested if he brought along a couple of Field Forces for it, even if they were only undercoated? Of course I would...

We will be doing Sudan as George has a number of boxes of Perry Madhists which he said he would try and stick together over the weekend and after a little pondering (and reading the rulebook) I thought I could jump in by raising a British Field Force, three units of Regular Infantry requiring the same number of figures found in one box of Perry's plastic British Infantry (Afghanistan and Sudan) 1877-85, so I popped in BIG on Friday and bought a box. I just need to find my Bengal Lancers now to complete a 24 point Field Force...

Over the weekend I've stuck them together and based them, along with three Warbases 12 figure movement bases which I had sitting around...

Now whilst George is bringing along a pile of Madhists, I have to confess that the North-West Frontier floats my colonial boat more so I have used the Afghanistan covered pith helmets rather than the uncovered Sudan ones and will paint them up as the ill-fated 66th Berkshire along with the regimental mascot Bobbie, who is also found in the box.

The figures look perfect for a dipping approach, so I am going to spray them a bone colour and see if dip will darken that to a Khaki look, otherwise I will find a darker sand colour and use that.

Postscript: As the BBC Weather forecast got it wrong and it did not poor down with rain after lunch, I sneaked outside and undercoated them...

Thursday, 9 August 2018

(Outremer) Death in the Dust!

Popped down to BIG last night for some more Outremer with George, Matt and Tom. Unfortunately no plan survives contact with the enemy and Tom was unable to make it so I volunteered to "umpire" a game between George and Matt - the Caravan scenario.

This was good as it allowed me more time to get to grips with the rulebook with a real life game going on. At its heart Outremer is a really a very good game with some great ideas and mechanics and I do like it a lot. However it clearly has not been blind-playtested properly (I suspect people read it rather than played it). For example, the only reference to terrain is a line that "more is best" but the scenarios would benefit from some indication of what would be reasonable given the objectives of both sides and I can't imagine playtesters playing these scenarios would not have flagged this. That said it is not anything experienced gamers should not be able to cope with.

I suspect we should have had more terrain on the table as Matt's Crusaders struggled against George's Arabs with their missile fire advantage. That said he did manage to get his caravan to within one move of safety before his final character was taken down.

I then played George at the Rescue scenario. I had made a few changes to my warband. My new leader was now an Arif, I removed two Ahdath spear and added another Peasant with a bow. Having seen how kick ass George's two characters with the Sneaky trait were last week I had come up with a cunning plan to thwart them (which I promptly forgot and split my band into two like I did previously).

George's sneaky guys (bottom left) move up the sand dune having emerged from their hiding place...
His Sneaky guys took out one of my peasant bowmen in turn one and my Arif then failed a Faith test and ran off the board! My Mamluk tried to get into hand to hand combat but went down under arrow fire...

Mamluk and Peasant down! My Leader having ran off!
My other group had a bit of success taking down one of George's bowmen, but under bow fire from in front and the flank, I lost two more men before fleeing the battlefield and leaving the captured hostage in enemy hands.

One bad guy down, the Scavengers advance across the desert... 
Next time I shall try and remember my cunning plan to deal with them Sneaky types!

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Panzerfäuste: Dwarf Pilot

Hysterical Games are giving away a Dwarf Luftbest Pilot this month with any order £25 or more. A lovely little figure I couldn't wait to slap some paint on him...

Not quite sure what I'll use him for, probably a scenario objective, but he is a great miniature...

Saturday, 4 August 2018

(Outremer) Frankish Warband I

A rummage in the attic at Blease Towers looking for a Coolbox at the behest of SWMBO led to the re-discovery of a tin full of (very) old Citadel Norman infantry (the slottabase tabs say 1985). They are mainly infantry with a number of duplicates and whilst there doesn't appear to be enough of anything other than unmounted knights for use in Saga, there is enough useful models for Outremer!

So I have based up eight and undercoated them to make a Frankish warband to go alongside my Saracen one...

I won't need all the models for a 750 Livre warband but what I have pulled out the tin gives me some options to play with.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

(Outremer) Death in the Sand!

Played two scenarios from Outremer: Faith and Blood at BIG last night, with hugely differing outcomes...

Game One: Camp Assault

Salah's Scavengers surround and attack Tom's Crusader camp with the aim of seizing four loot objectives.

I split the Scavengers into three groups to surround and assault the camp from various points. I rashly advanced one peasant bowman straight over the sand dune and he soon found himself under fire from a Frankish archer. However he had Allah's blessing as the infidel arrows missed and he took the Frank down with his return fire (I must note here that Tom had the worst ever series of die rolls I have ever witnessed rolling five 1's and one 2 in a row at the start of the game which greatly helped my stupid tactics).

Nothing seemed to go well for Tom's Crusaders. I took down his second archer and one of my spearmen took out an axe armed warrior - again the Dice Gods looking after me. Another archer took out Tom's leader and his remaining warrior decided to flee the battlefield.

Tom's extremely poor dice rolls certainly worked in my favour in this battle which flagged up a few problems with the rules, the scenario Victory Conditions especially, as we were unsure whether I could claim the Loot as "seized" as I had not picked it up before Tom fled, although I controlled the battlefield within the game turns. As this meant 80 Livres for either the attacker or defender we applied common sense and gave the Loot to the victorious attackers, though technically the scenario victory conditions say objectives not seized give the defender the Livres.

This led to a lengthy discussion were we concluded it would actually benefit the Defender to flee the battlefield in turn one before the Attacker has the opportunity to seize any objectives and pocket the 80 Livres! :-)

Game Two: Skirmish

The Scavengers next battle was against George's Arabs and I think my guys had been smoking hashish with their winnings against the Franks!

George's band was a little more experienced than mine and had an advantage in two of his characters had the Sneaky trait allowing them to set up pretty much anywhere on the board after I had deployed.

As George was advancing from the opposite table corner (apart from his two sneaky guys) I decided to split my band into two and try and attack from two fronts. Unfortunately this did not work that well!

As one group advanced down the right hand side of the table, one of George's sneaky Arab's burst through a side door and attacked my spearmen taking his down. He then engaged my leader and after a couple of rounds of hand to hand combat took him down too.

Elsewhere the remaining spearmen in this group was shot by an archer and my archer having bottled his Faith test was cut down by George's remaining sneaky Arab!

With half my band down I decided I was going to flee the battlefield at the start of the next turn but was not able to do so before George slit the throats of my leader and archer to gain extra XP!

So unfortunately with Mohammed Salah viciously slain in his second battle, the leaderless Scavengers have disbanded and I will have to roll up a new Band of brigands before the next game...

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

(Outremer) Salah's Scavengers

Off to BIG in a little while for another spin with Osprey's Outremer. I'm hoping I remember some of the rules(!) However I did manage to point up my own 749 Livre warband and finish off two more figures, conversions using Gripping Beast Viking bodies and Arab infantry heads, shields and equipment, to give me a couple of armoured figures that hopefully won't die quite as quickly as the rank and file.

Sub-Arif Mohammed Salah and Mamluk Amhed Hassan
Spear armed Adath's Essam El-Hadrid, Mohammed Awad and Ahmed Hegazi
Bow armed Peasant's Saad Samir, Sherif Ekramy and Ramadan Sobhi
Yes, all the character names are taken from the Egyptian World Cup football squad!

Thursday, 5 July 2018

(Outremer) Kick Off in the Kasbah!

Tom kindly ran a game of Osprey's new Crusades skirmish game Outremer: Faith and Blood yesterday evening at BIG. Matt, George, Steve and myself all used identical forces of Arabs in a four way battle of a leader, two spear and sword armed warriors and three peasant bowmen.

My guys advance into town!
The game was a free for all but largely developed into two separate skirmishes as the bulk of my and Steve's bands of brigands clashed in the marketplace.

Steve's leader and warrior burst into the market square!
The rules are fairly straightforward with some nice touches, like making a Faith roll to charge into combat, combat using different dice types depending on the skills of the fighters, modifiers generally seeing dice move up or down a type as appropriate. Each figure is allocated a playing card and this drives when they can take their two actions in the turn as the cards are drawn from a shuffled deck.

Bloodbath in the marketplace!
Combat between unarmoured or lightly armoured figures is pretty brutal and bows soon make you regret not using cover (Steve's archers atop a building taking out both fighters in Matt's and my band!)

We need find some issues that may or may not be covered in the rules (this was our first play and the rulebook layout is not the best) such as disengaging from combat but things generally went smoothly and the game sped up as we became more familiar with the rules and the card deck grew smaller as characters became hors d'combat!

Stand and Face Me You Cur!
Overall all four of us had a great time (thanks Tom) and are looking forward to taking part in a campaign over the next couple of months. If you have been thinking of getting hold of a copy of the rules, I recommend you do.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

(Outremer) Saracen Warband III

I painted the dip on the Saracens late Monday night so they would have 24 hours to dry whilst I was working on London on Tuesday. I should have guessed there was something wrong with the (rather old) tin of dip from the 5mm thick hardened crust on the surface that I had to hack through with a pair of scissors and whilst it seemed to go on ok, it seemed to dry very quickly. The next morning I had a quick look for heading off and was dismayed by the effect, it had dried matt and was akin to an ink wash not the dip highlight that normally saves time with shading.

I was rather despondent about it all day yesterday and decided as I sat on the train home at 1am this morning to treat it as an ink wash and highlight the figures. Looking at them in the cold light of day they aren't as bad as the quick glance on Tuesday morning so the tunics had a quick drybrush with thr original colour, as did the metal bits. I decided against touching the white areas so they are very grubby looking but wouldn't you be after months in the field chasing down the infidel?

I painted and drybrushed the bases and have had a crack at some hand painted shields (these still need a quick ink wash) which aren't too bad.

Not my best painting but they are almost done and a dozen will take to the field tonight!

Monday, 2 July 2018

(Outremer) Saracen Warband II

I've decided that the quickest and most effective way of getting these figures painted and on the tabletop is the trusty old dip, so today was all about block painting!

I'm not too keen on figures being too bright given the rigours of the battlefield and the lack of Persil so I am hoping the dip with subdue the sky blue which is a little brighter than I would like.

Just got to decide what to do with the shield designs now, the LBMS decals are lovely but do I really want to spend six quid on buying them for dipped figures?

Sunday, 1 July 2018

(Outremer) Saracen Warband I

Tom at BIG has suggested we run an Outremer: Faith and Blood campaign in July and August (Outremer being the new Crusade skirmish rules from Osprey).

The game looks like a lot of fun requiring very few figures and having a box of the Gripping Beast  plastic Arab spearmen and archers I volunteered to join in. Whilst Tom has figures for both sides I thought I'd get gluing this morning and sat out in the garden snipping bits of plastic off the spures and sticking them together.

As everyone at BIG is well into Saga as well I decided to stick together enough figures for 3 points of Saracens as well!

I have a trial game of Outremer on Wednesday so will report back how it goes...

Thursday, 31 May 2018

(OSC) Fighting the Bear

Matt from Evil Bear offered to play a game of his OSC Modern Skirmish Rules with me at BIG yesterday and I have to say what a great little set of rules!

A fireteam level modern skirmish set, OSC has some very simple mechanics but plays exceptionally well and engages both players at all times. The inclusion of Action, Event and Resource cards is a great touch and adds a lot of flavour to the game.

OSC can be played 'properly' or (as I did) 'Hollywood fashion! We played a near future game each with an Encased Armour trooper and teams of regular troopers attempting to recover various Objective Counters.

It was a close fought battle ending in a draw, I almost blew it in the final turn but the Gods of Dice saved me (again). OSC has a lot to recommend it and I'm looking forward to playing it again soon.

Friday, 25 May 2018

(Saga) Saxon Hearts

The second game I played with Rich was Saga, and this time Rich decided to play as Anglo-Saxons against my Vikings.

This was a hugely enjoyable game and the Saxons proved to be a tough opponent, providing lots of tactical challenges, their battleboard if used well seems like it could be decisive, especially with abilities counting units as having 10 or more models!

The battle ended in a draw and to be fair probably would have been a victory for Rich if I had heard what he was saying in a decisive combat between my Beserks and his Thegns (there were a lot of games going on around us and looking at the Saxon ability used I should have rolled a few less dice but didn't hear this and Rich didn't notice at the time). Still it was good fun and we both enjoyed the game.

(WH40K) Wrath of the Space Wolves

Played a couple of games against Rich at BIG yesterday. First off he suggested we try the current edition of 40K. Not having played a game since 1989(!) I wasn't sure what to expect. We played two different Space Marine 750 point armies. The game was fun and ebbed back and forth, but I still couldn't get my head around the relative infectiveness of missile fire in what is supposed to be an SF game.

The melee combat was fun (the game showing its fantasy roots) and advantage swung back and to, I thought I was about to win, but some poor dice rolling let me down at the death and Rich emerged the victor...

Overall, I'm happy to play the odd 40K game like this, but I can't see myself getting into it in any major way...

Thursday, 24 May 2018

A (brief) Partizan Snapshot!

Went to Partizan on Sunday to help on the Hysterical Games stand so I didn't really get a chance to have a proper look around and take photos but a few things caught my eye...

Martian Practice (VSF Sharp Practice):

World War One:

Suez 1956:

Friday, 11 May 2018

(What A Tanker!) Panzer Marsch!

After my Saga debacle I managed to get involved in a six player game of What A Tanker! at BIG on Wednesday evening, taking command of a Panzer IVH!

The game was reasonably balanced points wise with the Germans having three PzIVH's and the British a Sherman Firefly, regular Sherman and an M10. Jim dispensed with the initiative rolling and we drew cards playing cards to see which crew's turn it was. This was a good idea and I'd suggest it as a house rules as it made the game a lot quicker.

It was a good game and much better balanced than my exertions against the evil StuG's on Saturday. I managed to sneak around the side of the blue building in the photo above and brew up the Sherman Firefly who had kindly exposed his flank to me. Unfortunately the M10 lived up to its tank destroyer reputation by destroying my tank a couple of moves later as I tried to get into a position to hit him. Good fun.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

(Saga) The Gods of Dice Fail Me!

Had a game of Saga against Matt last night at BIG. He'd been kind enough to lend me his Viking army for my first couple of games so it was a bit strange facing the very troops who had done so well in my initial forays with the system...

Unfortunately my army (and my dice) let me down big time!

This picture around turn three shows about as good as it got for me, my four beserks having just killed four of Matt's Hearthguard. Unfortunately my badly positioned warriors in the woods to the left were unable to follow up the beserker bloodbath and bad positioning of my Levy archers meant they didn't do a great deal much of the game, though with my Hearthguard they did take out a unit of Matt's Warriors. Unfortunately he managed to wipe out my Hearthguard and almost all my other Warriors.

Apart from some lousy positioning during the set up (I did have a plan, Matt just did something else!), my use of the battle board was poor this week and my dice rolling absolutely abysmal. Obviously the Gods of the Saga dice have deserted me for playing with tanks! :D

Saturday, 5 May 2018

(What A Tanker!) StuG Bait!

The Lardies came to BIG today and ran a three game What A Tanker! tournament. As I had only given the rules a cursory glance and had a Sherman I didn't imagine I would do much in the three games I played. And I was not disappointed! :-)

My Sherman was downgraded to a basic M4A3 to start and with three others attempted to thwart an attack by three PzIV's and a StuG. Under the tutelage of Lardy Rich my tank was swiftly destroyed by the StuG, though my crew survived!

Steve goes BOOM!
In game two against two StuG's and two PzIV's  the Sherman team decided to play more conservatively - initially, making use of every piece of cover going.

A cautious advance - spot the hidden StuGs!

However even this didn't work as we soon lost the only tank who had been successful in the last game, so I decided to try and draw the enemy out by advancing as my two comrades picked off the German armour. That didn't work as one was swiftly blown up but my Sherman led a charmed life, despite its exposed and surrounded position, surviving the game with just one Command Dice left.

A Sherman called Starstruck survives!
For the final game my M4A3 was upgraded to an M4A3 (76) with the other Shermans being replaced with a Firefly and two M18 Hellcats. Against two StuG's, a Hetzer and a PzIV. I lasted two turns before being brewed up by a StuG! 

Steve goes BOOM! - again
My crew though survived and returned a couple of turns later in a M4A2 Jumbo. However pinned in the corner of the table with the Firefly and with a series of crap Command Dice rolls by both crews we saw the M18's obliterated and the Germans roll over the board.

The Jumbo does not a lot - the Cromwell's are proxies for  the previously destroyed Shermans!
A lot of fun, not sure how balanced the games were, the StuG's are powerful and hard to hit, could have done with a Hawker Typhoon! Overall the game is huge fun, not to be taken seriously, but does need a number of tanks on the table for optimum enjoyment.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Saga: Invasion of the Half-Painted Vikings

Saga night again this evening down BIG playing against a new, more experienced opponent in the form of Jason with his Anglo-Danes, using my half-painted army...

We played two games and I learnt a few new rules. The Gods of Dice once again smiled favourably on me at critical times and I am learning to use my Battle Board better now, unleashing Ragnarok at the end of the last game wiping out Jason's remaining warriors and taking down his Warlord.

Even using my own figures, my Thrall archers punched above their weight in both games, twice bouncing back melee attacks from the Anglo-Dane warriors, thanks to some good dice and choice Ability benefits.

A lot of fun, one win and one draw. Hopefully I can the army properly painted before their next battle.

I didn't have time to get in a game of What a Tanker! but watched Matt and Jim playing and it look at lot of fun so I signed up to the forthcoming Tanker Day at BIG at the beginning of May.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Spitfyre: Things to Bomb!

Spitfyre includes air-to-ground attacks (and AA fire) and initially Rob and I thought it would be cool to get one of the artists to paint some targets for people to print off for games. For one reason or another that didn't go ahead but as I wanted to show ground targets in the rulebook I needed to come up with something else.

In the end I bought some of Pendraken's 10mm WW2 British infantry, a Bofors gun and emplacement and a command bunker.

The infantry and Bofors crew I painted up historically. Albeit with green orc faces. When Hysterical get around to producing their 10mm Panzerfäuste game I can repaint the flesh and use them as historical BEF troops for something or the other....

In the end the bunker did not end up in the rulebook, but it was fund and quick to paint.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Spitfyre: Vulture Squadron takes flight!

I got so engrossed with getting the Spitfyre rules reading for printing, the PDF issued to Kickstarter backers, real work and a nagging toothache that I almost forgot the blog today! But here are the Dwarf air force Stukas, sorry Vulture Dive Bombers! :-)

I had lots of "fun" researching colour schemes for the vultures, who knew there were so many breeds! Word of warning though, Googling vulture images whilst eating your breakfast is not recommended!

I think Darko has done an amazing job on these models, capturing the vibe of the Stuka in a bird! I want one in 28mm now... :-)

If you are interested in checking out the game, Hysterical Games will have a demo of it at Salute on Saturday and have said they will have some stock of the game and first models of the range...

Monday, 9 April 2018

Spitfyre: A Kondor Moment...

The great thing about the success of the Spitfyre Kickstarter was the funding of miniatures that I thought would only ever exist in my head, such as the Dwarf air force Kondor 111 bomber!

This is a very impressive model and I guess if it wasn't produced in a light resin I'd have had problems basing it.

As you can see comparing it to the HurriKane fighter wyvern , it is quite big!