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


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:

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

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

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.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Coastal Defences

Some Brigade Models sea forts have been sitting on the shelf in their packing looking at me for a while, so over the last week or so I've been slowly painting them up and they are just about done now. The models are resin with some details in white metal. The surface finish of the resin seems a bit rough on initial inspection but they paint up very well, giving very respectable results. I'm extremely pleased with them and I think I'll be adding to my collection when I see them hopefully) at Colours in September.

The forts of Portsmouth, two incarnations of Southsea Castle in the foreground, two versions of No Mans land Fort at the back (one as built, the second with the five turrets as originally designed), St Helen's Fort in the middle and Spitbank Fort to the right

Southsea Castle, 1544 to the left, 1850 to the right

A closeup of St Helens and Spitbank, the former modelled at an intermediate tide (the rocks surrounding the fort are completely covered at high tide)

No Mans Land in its two versions - I may get a second "as built" to give me all of the models for the seaward defences as in the 1850s

Moving to the American Civil War, this is Fort McRee with an added scenic base

The landward side of Fort McRee

Fort Moultrie, a lovely casting that has obvious utility outside the Civil War era

Friday, 8 July 2016

Steamer Wars Goes To Russia

The second of three supplements for Steamer Wars has just gone live on Wargame Vault. "War on the Great Rivers" covers  naval engagements on the Dvina, Volga and Kama river and the lakes of Russia during the Civil War. The supplement includes a host of new rules covering mines and torpedoes, troops on shore, land based features and targets and the riverine environment.  Data tables are included for many new ship and vessel types from the navies and irregular forces of the Bolsheviks, the White Russians and the Royal Navy.

WotGR is available for a mere $2.50

The third and probably final supplement covering additional African lake scenarios will be some time coming now, so likely to appear in early 2017.