Saturday, 10 September 2016

Colours 2016

Today I spent a very pleasant day at Colours, the Newbury and Reading Wargame Club's show at Newbury Racecourse. I was there with Simon Stokes and Roger Hutton on the NWS participation game which Simon had put together. The subject was gunboat operations in the Russian Civil War with a British squadron attempting to force its way through a Bolshevik flotilla, likely to be backed up with mines, booms and troops on shore. As with the game at the Naval Wargames Show earlier i  the year Simon was using 1/600 models from PT Dockyard, but this time he was using my "Steamer Wars" rules with the recently published RCW supplement and some additional rules put together for the show. The game ran several times during the day, with honours just about even between the RN and the Bolshies. As well as visitors playing the game we also had a number of old friends and  other popping round for a chat. And indeed, as in previous years the show for me was an opportunity to catch up with chums that I hadn't seen for ages, and it was great to chat with Andrew Finch, Zig and AJ, Tamsin, Simon and many others during the day.





Shoppingwise I picked up a few bits and pieces, an Sdkfz 222 for a conversion into a 221 with a 2.8cm AT gun along with a T70 and M5 tuart from PSC, some 1/600 ACW deck crew from Peter Pig for my gunboat collection, some more aircraft for my Cod War collection from Tumbling Dice (also a very nice US Yangtse river gunboat) and more Victorian forts from Brigade.

Steal of the day was an early swoop on the B&B where I picked up a nice stash of Wings of glory stuff for absolute peanuts -  the haul included a WW2 Rules and Accessories pack, a couple of Spitfires, a brace of He111s, a Warhawk, Fw190, Bf110, Gladiator, a Beaufighter and a WW1 duel pack.



The show itself was fun, there were many lovely games and I took a number of photos, but alas failed to keep tabs on exactly what most of them were, so they are offered here for your enjoyment as is" :)














Monday, 5 September 2016

Odds and Ends

Hectic events in "real life" mean I've not had much time for modelling recently, so what I've done has been mostly just "odds and ends". But some focus was generated by a game this last weekend at the Abbey Wood Irregulars where a Cod War game was run using my rules (available on the NWS website) . I spotted some handy markers on Angus Konstam's blog from when he ran the game recently and decided to make my own using sculpted sea bases and those handy drawing pins with round coloured heads. 




I also found the old Nimrod (in 1/700) and Fokker F.27 (in 1/600) that I bought years ago to supplement the game; whilst the played no formal part in the game on Saturday they did look nice!



Also recently finished, three 1/1200 cogs from Outpost Wargame Services. These were painted in the black hull / red sails scheme of Jeanne de Clisson,a  noted French woman pirate who, following the execution of her husband by King Philip, terrorised French shipping in the English Channel for many years.




Monday, 8 August 2016

Another Win at Thornbury

In what is becoming an August tradition I once again lifted the trophy for "Best Participation Wargame" at the IPMS show at Thornbury yesterday. This year I was back with the Wings of Glory Aerodrome, the game that won the award in the first two years (I broke the Aerodrome run last year by inning with my "Stingray" game). As usual a fun day out with plenty of games played and for once I managed to shoot down a few opponents whilst not losing a plane myself!


The rest of the show was its usual collection of modelling loveliness, and I snapped some of the models that I enjoyed the most. Here's a selection.....








At the end of the day worrying developments were spotted at the Wings of Glory game. what is this we see tucked in to Chris' "Wings" box of essentials?


Closer examination reveals the truth.....


Dice in the diceless game!! Shocking :)





Monday, 1 August 2016

The Schleswig Holstein Question

My latest release from LFG is a supplement for "Broadside and Ram" entitled "The Schleswig Holstein Question". 

This supplement allows players of “Broadside and Ram” to extend their games to the Second Schleswig War, fought between Denmark and the allied Prussia and Austria in 1864, and also the Franco Prussian war of 1870 (although here the naval warfare element is conjectural). Summaries of the naval aspects of both conflicts is followed by ship data for all the major and minor warships involved. 



Additional data is provided for a selection of British, Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish ships of the era that could have been “on scene” and may form the basis for a hypothetical game. Finally a short set of additional rules covering sailing ships is included.

A copy of "Broadside and Ram" is required to use this supplement, which is available from Wargame Vault for $2.50

.http://www.wargamevault.com/product/187696/Broadside-and-Ram--The-Schleswig-Holstein-Question-supplement


Saturday, 30 July 2016

More Confederate Gunboats

I returned from my break on Vis to find an email from "Wargamer 6" at Spithead Minatures with some pictures of what is hoped to be their latest set of releases. This time the subject is the Confederate defence fleets at New Orleans and Commodore Hollins' flotilla at Island No. 10.





As with the recent Memphis release the models are beautifully constructed and full of character. My Memphis collection painted up very well (expect to see them in a forthcoming blog entry) and I'm sure these will be no different.

The eventual release of these models depends on enough potential buyers "signing up" at Spithead's website. If you are tempted by these then head on over and send them a message via their "contact" page:

http://www.pitheadminiatures.com/contact.php


Thursday, 28 July 2016

Battle of Lissa, 1811

As well as the 1866 battle of Lissa I also refought the 1811 action whilst on the island of Vis last week. The plan had been to run this as a regular game with my NWS chums, but alas various stomach bugs and ailments befell the valiant travellers which wiped out the last 2 days of the trip. I awoke with a fever early (3am) on the Saturday morning before we were due to fly home and decided that I wasn't going to have carted all those models to the island and back without using them, so I ran the game solo on the bedroom floor.

The game was a hard fought, spirited action. The British line tacked early, heading downwind and avoiding the head of thewindward allied line which turned late and found itself out of position for a good while (apart from the Venetian Bellona which turned and joined the leeward column). However, this was not before some superlative long range shooting crippled Active, a blow from which she never recovered. Their early tack allowed the British to concentrate on the leeward ships and allowed Active to attempt to escape, at least for a while.


The opening stages. A brown towel represents the northern coast of Lissa


The British line has tacked and is heading to the East


Battle is joined against the leeward column

The three British ships still in fighting order eventually forced the leeward ships to strike, but whilst doing so Favorite and Flore had caught Active and forced her surrender in a boarding action. But this left Favorite vulnerable to a counterattack and she was boarded quickly by Hoste's flagship, Active. The battle of the commodores ended in a swift British victory; Hoste would be joined by his foe for dinner in the harbour at Lissa that evening. Seeing the game was most definitely up, Flore broke off the action and headed to Hvar and safety.

Towards the end of the acion. The field of battle is strewn with struck allied ships.

The rules in use were "Form Line of Battle" and I fought the game out using Ares 1/1000 models (they come in rather nice boxes which make them ideal for carriage by air - I suspect my 1/1200 white metal models would have suffered in transit, even if well packed).


Ship Stats for the Battle

Franco-Venetian
Windward Column
Favourite (40) – French, 5th(Sup), Gunnery Class A, Experienced, +1 Crew Unit

Flore (40) – French, 5th(Sup), Gunnery Class A, Experienced, +1 Crew Unit
Bellona (32) – Venetian, 5th, Gunnery Class B, Poor, +1 Crew Unit

Leeward Column Danae (40) – French, 5th(Sup), Gunnery Class A, Experienced,
Corona (40) – Venetian, 5th(Sup), Gunnery Class B, Poor, +1 Crew Unit
Carolina (32) – Venetian, 5th, Gunnery Class B, Poor, +1 Crew Unit


British
Amphion (32) – British, 5th, Gunnery Class A, Elite
Active (38) – British, 5th(Sup), Gunnery Class A, Elite
Volage (22) – British, 6th, Gunnery Class D, Elite (Carronade armed)
Cerberus (32) - British, 5th, Gunnery Class A, Elite


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Battle of Lissa, 150 Years On

This week sees the 150th anniversary of the battle of Lissa, fought on 20th July  1866 between the navies of Italy and the Austro Hungarian empire. Lissa was the first and indeed only ironclad fleet action, and the sinking of one of the Italian ironclads (Re d'Italia) by ramming erroneously focussed naval tactics on ramming for many years afterwards.


To celebrate the anniversary a team from the Naval Wargames Society has been on the island this week, and yesterday on the anniversary we refought the battle. Using Stuart Barnes Watson's lovely collection of 1/1200 models we staged the battle in the utility room of the villa that has been NWS HQ (it was quite cool, plus the floor was a nice blue grey colour, although nothing like the bright, vibrant blues that we have been seeing in the seas around Port George recently.



The original plan had been to use my "Iron and Fire" rules (we used them for a previous NWS Lissa refight some years ago) but in the end we went for my "Broadside and  Ram" rules that form part of my recent Lissa publication. This was a good move as we fought through 25 turns in the afternoon before we had to close up.



The battle itself proved to be a reversal of history, and a black day for the Austrians. The ironclad division accounted for itself well and fought a slugfest with its Italian counterpart. Many ships on both sides were damaged but none conclusively apart from the Austrian Don Juan de Austria which caught fire and after some time blew up and sank. But to the North Persano's leading ironclads faced an oncoming tide of heavy Austrian wooden ships and faced them off with deadly fire (Nathan's gunnery rolls were generally excellent). Soon Kaiser and the other Austrian heavies were burning and shattered, and as losses mounted Teggethoff decided the day was lost and the Austrian fleet moved to withdraw.



The rules worked well, we fought the game to a concusion in 5 hours (which were punctuated by a number of breaks, so more like 3-4 hours of playing time)and the overall feel was just right.

So the first game drew to a close, and as I write we are looking to state a refight of 1811 Lissa before a tour of the island.