Sunday, 14 January 2018

War of the Pacific (2) - A Second Huascar

I've always had a soft spot for the Huascar since stepping on her decks in Tulcahuano in 1994. My old Houstons model from the 1996 trip to the US was painted up in Peruvian markings, but I really fancied having a Chilean version too. las it seems that, whilst Stone Mountain have all of the old Houstons ACW molds they don't hav the South American models to sell. I mentioned this on TMP and John Kelly from the US very kindly offered to send me one of his unopened kits, and free of charge too! The generosity of wargamers never fails to amaze me.

Anyway, here she is, in rather more muted colours than the Peruvean "Victorian" scheme, and lacking the foremast which was removed in the early months of the war.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

War of the Pacific (1)

One of the elements of the 2018 "Plan" is to cover off the naval side of the War of the Pacific, fought between Chile, Peru and Bolivia from 1879 into the early 1880s. I'm doing this in 1/1200 (ish) using Houstons /Stone Mountain models. I bought the Huascar, Blanco Encalada, Cochrane, Manco Capac and Atahualpa from Campaign Headquarters in Norfolk whilst I was in the US for the 1997 NWS holiday, but it was only last year that I picked up another load of models from the ACW range to convert into the various Chilean and Peruvian wooden ships. I've also added a couple of large British steam frigates (the Stone Mountain models come in packs and I needed the smaller ships bundled with the large US frigates), and the Peruvian fleet has a few additional ironclads in the form of the Independencia (converted from a Davco 1/1200 ironclad), the Loa (converted from a Navwar Charleston), and the monitor Victoria, converted from a Navwar Monitor.

The model aren't strictly accurate but I'm pleased with the way they've turned out. Now to work up ship cards for them for "Iron and Fire", and to get the campaign system sorted out!

Saturday, 6 January 2018

The Plan, 2018

So, here is the plan for 2018. Experience suggests I'll get about half the "big ticket" items done, many of the smaller ones, and that one or two new "big tickets" will emerge mid-year. But here it is for now.....

1. Iron and Fire – I will sort out all my remaining 1/1200 and 1/600 models, in particular my Chilean and Peruvian collection (most of which are just about done in the new year's time off painting frenzy). I’ll also develop a campaign system for the War of the Pacific, and I’ll create pre-made ship cards for that war and some of the more common American Civil War ships.

2. Coastal Forces – I will review and repair my 1/600 collection, and also look to do some development work on my quick play rules. I will also create some pre-made ship cards for more common types for Action Stations

3. WW2 Skirmish. 20mm (Burma/Pacific) and 15mm (Eastern Front/Ardennes). I will finish all the models I have for these, and decide on what rules I’m going to use.

4. Form Line of Battle – Review and repair my 1/450 ships, come up with a handy, not entirely serious but fun campaign to provide context for some games at Berkeley Vale

5. “Project X” – yes, there is another Project X. Its all a bit secret just now but if it comes off it’ll be great, so I have a pile of groundwork to do on this. Target to complete this initial bit – end of May.

Other stuff

Wings of Glory – get a few games in, finish off the few unmade kits I have 

Fire and Fury – I have the second edition so I’d like to give them a decent try

DBA – I want to resurrect this old favourite, both as far as its original setting is concerned but also my ECW stuff.  Oh, and actually get into DBA 3 (I’m still on 2.2 without those hideous BUAs)

AoS Fleet action – something of an “off an on” project, but I’d like to take the ideas I had last year on command and control and apply them to a set that fills the current gap between my renaissance and Ironclad fast play rules

Renaissance operational level campaign system – to give my galley warfare games a bit more context
Notes on using “Fire When Ready” with my RJW and Span Am campaign systems

Falklands Conflict and naval supplement for Air War C21

Oh, and i really do need to have a cull of stuff I'm never going to use and flog it of at the Lincombe Barn tabletop sale (as if that will EVER happen :) )

Monday, 1 January 2018


Sometime around the middle of 2017 I bought one of the first boxes of PSC 15mm T55s on a pre-order. They arrived early, I built the first two, then they sat in a box as other projects overtook them. They have become the first models that I've completed in 2018 :)

The PSC model allows you to make a basic T55, T55A or a T55M. I was intending to use mine with my AK47 collection and thus be typical of types seen in Africa, with various mods, mudflaps missing etc. (I saw a few like this in Eritrea in March and, as an aside, one enterprising householder who had build the front wall of his garden entirely out of T55 main road wheels!). So I kind of followed the instructions - but not completely.

The results are, I think, extremely pleasing. I am a big fan of PSC's ranges and these are well up there in terms of quality and ease of build. They also seem to paint up rather nicely too.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 in Review

As has become customary on the last day of the year, here's a review of how I did against "the plan". Astute readers will have seen that I forgot to do a mid year review, so tgis could all be a nice - or nasty - surprise!

Renaissance Galleys

I said - I will continue to revise my squadron level rules, then work on the fleet action set to bring them to the same standard, and finally a campaign system catering for both fleet and squadron level games. No specific terrain or other bits and pieces needed except maybe an ornate fortification or two, and no need for any new models (any odds and sods I find to be finished off though). As a “stretch” target I may sort out some of my Valiant Armada era models as suitable Mediterranean roundships or visiting English and Dutch raiders.

I did - pretty well. The squadron level rules were completed and published and seem to be quite popular. I managed to repaint just about my entire collection of 1/1200 galleys and for the first time I  decades came up with paint jobs tht I was happy with. I sorted out several shore batteries, fortifications and other scenic bits, and got quite  a few games in during the Summer. The fleet level rules didn't get progressed, and he campaign system was put on hold when Simon Stokes released his "Stato da Mar" system. My own system is something I may come back to in 2018.

Summary - pretty good.

Fast Play 19th Century

I said - Continue to develop the rules for pre-dreads and WW1. Possibly develop a set of ship stats and a campaign system for the pacific War between Chile and Peru (probably sits best with” Broadside and Ram”. Look to push the B&R system back to cover the 1850s, possibly earlier.

I did - the main developments here were in my Russo Japanese and Spanish American War collections, both of which were overhauled and, in the case of the latter, significantly expanded. On the rules front I developed the quick play set from "Broadside and Ram" into a more pre-dread focussed set and then published campaign packs for RJW and Span Am. Both doing well at the moment. The Pacific War project was put on hold and is likely to be one of the first to kick off in 2018/

Summary - good

WW2 Eastern Front Skirmish

I said - Now “Winter Skirmish” as I have a US Army to finish, so the objective here is to sort out the Americans, knock up the requisite play aids for Operation Warboard and then get some games in. Also, sort out a few more terrain bits and pieces (slushy tracks, icy rivers and a European farmhouse based on the old Airfix La Haye Sainte, one of which I have kicking about somewhere.

I did - lots of modelling on this, both I terms of forces (plenty or new Russian, US and German vehicles, artillery and figures painted) and terrain 9a new terrain cloth, winter roads, woods, buildings etc.) The one thing I never got around to was actually playing a game, so the "Op Warboard" play aids are still outstanding.

Summary - pretty good

Form Line of Battle

I said - Yes, I WILL get some 1/450 xebecs and galleys sorted out

I did - not! Whilst I had plenty of ideas on what to do here I never actually got started. Hopefully yht interest at the BV club in doing some more FLoB games will prompt some action in 2018.

Summary - poor

Iron and Fire

I said - I have uncovered some more 1/1200 models (plus there’s some new ones from Pithead to do) so aiming to get these all finished. Then to embark on a programme to pre-generate ship cards in I&F format for all my models

I did - I managed to get all of the ships painted up, plus some renovations on my 1/1200 collection. I also managed to paint up several fortification sets that I'd had lying around, and at the time of writing I'm part way through modelling Fort St Philip and Fort St Philip. No work on the I&F cards however

Summary - fair

Coastal Forces

I said - As last year, I intend to spruce up my existing 1/600 collection and get a few games in. A stretch target will be to revise my fast play 1/1200 rules.

I did - some sprucing up, but precious little else

Summary - Poor

Other Bits and Pieces

As usual, other stiff cropped up and took away time from the planned projects. These included:

The 75th anniversary Battle of Midway game at the Tudor Arms

"Mad Wet Max” - went from a silly idea to an award-winning participation game in the space of a few months. It had its first outing at the naval Wargames Weekend, and then went on to win the "Best Participation Game" award at the Thornbury IPMS show (the 5th year in a row that I've won!)

Burma Skirmish - a big push on this with just about all my Australian/British and Japanese forces painted up, some scenery done and most of my USMC vehicles painted as well. Only the USMC troops to do now,

Liz and I started making a 15mm old English inn about 25 years ago. The roof remained unfinished for 23 of those 25 years.  I decided enough was enough and this was completed in January. I was very pleased with the results.

Ancient Naval - having sorted out my Renaissance galleys I applied the same techniques to my ancient collection. The result was a revised set of fast play rules and a collection of ships that I was very pleased with.

So, all in all a busy and productive year. As always some aspect s of he plan just didn't happen but generally because time was diverted into other things that went well. Overall, a pretty good wargaming year.

And I’d quite like to get some DBA, Fire and Fury and Napoleonic Fire and Fury games in too (oh, and my Sudan game too – been in the box for far too long!). 

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Op Corporate for Air War C21

I've had a number of requests for the Falklands Conflict supplement that I wrote for Air War C21 many years ago. Its long out of print so I have spruced up the booklet and put it up on Wargame Vault. It is for the FIRST EDITION of C21, although it will, I hope, be of some use and interest to users of the current edition. The plan is to thoroughly update it next year to reflect the current edition of the rules, so for now its "pay what you want".

You can find a PDF copy of the booklet here:

Friday, 8 December 2017

Splendid Little War

My latest Wargame Vault production has finally hit the streets after a busy few weeks getting the finishing touches in place. "Splendid Little War" covers the Spanish American War of 1898, and features a short history of the war, a campaign system covering both the Caribbean and the Philippines, and my "Broadside and Salvo" pre-dreadnought rules. The set comprises a 60 page book, A3 copies of the campaign area maps, ship counters for US, Spanish and other nations vessels, and a set of patrol/blockade counters for use on the campaign maps. The approach is based on my earlier "White Bear Red Sun" campaign pack for the Russo Japanese War, but builds on that system in a  number of areas.

Astute readers will be aware that the war at sea ended up being something of a one sided affair due to the poor material state of much of the Spanish fleet, so the campaign allows players to work with the Spaniards as they should have been with well maintained ships and operational weapons, as well as the historical state of poorly maintained ships with inoperable weapons (and in some cases, main armament not even fitted). For added fun there are options to allow British, German and other European national interventions, so plenty of scope for some unusual actions in a historical setting.

I'm rather pleased at how this one has turned out. And it gave me the ideal excuse to spruce up my US pre-dreads and splurge on some of the lovely WTJ 3D printed models!

Splendid Little War can be found here: