Sunday, 28 February 2016

An ACW Theme

Just recently I have been sorting out some of my outstanding ACW models. I've discovered a load of my 1/1200 collection wasn't based and they are now awaiting a spare few hours to have that done, but I also picked up some more 1/600 models from Bay Area Yards and Peter Pig, which I have just finished painting up.

First up are the CSS Selma from BAY and Peter Pig's remastered Frolic. The former is one f my favourite gunboats and this recent model will be replacing my PP model of this ship. The BAY model comes with hogging bars which need a little bit of cleaning up to get them to fit right but which are essential to capture the character of this ship. The new Frolic is a lovely model that has many uses over and above its intended subject. A nice touch is the inclusion of small crew figures around the deck guns and on the bridge.

The other three models I've completed are the Union river gunboats Lexington, Conestoga and Tyler. These are decent, workmanlike models that nicely capture that rather brute force / Heath Robinson look of the originals.

I've also tracked down some Peter Pig wrecks and a Peter Pig model of Fort Sumpter which has been languishing on my workbench for a few months. With luck and a few days painting they'll also be sorted and my 1/600 ACW collection will again be "complete" (at least until the next new models arrive)

Sunday, 21 February 2016


I've just returned from a  couple of days in Dorset. Today was spent wandering the beaches of Bournemouth and Poole, taking breakfast at a rather nice cafe in Sandbanks by the ferry, snapping phots of steam trains in Corfe and enjoying a rather lovely coffee and walnut cake whilst there. But yesterday I was at the Beachhead wargames show at the Bournemouth International Centre. An excellent venue for this very nice show, with picture windows looking out over the sea towards Old Harry Rocks. I was helping out with the Wings of Glory Aerodrome game, but I had a chance to wander around and see the rest of the show. Some lovely games on display, and I hope the following flood of photos does them justice.

Saturday, 20 February 2016


A quick blog entry tonight as I'm in "Fawlty Towers" in Bournemouth after the "Beachhead" wargames show at the BIC  (more onews this in a blog entry next week). Suffice to say I've finished the latest and probably last model ships in my 1/1200 Cod War collection, HMS Mermaid.

The model is a resin kit from Mountford - the kit actually comprises a one piece resin hull/superstructure, with a white metal mast and 4" gun mount. Detail is good although smoothed off in some areas and the anchor detail is completely wrong. It's not a cheap model either, maybe they've taken pricing guidance from Games Workshop :)

That said it is a decent model of an unusual subject and paints up nicely. So a worthy addition to my Cod War fleets.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Bloody Big Battles

After the HFG experience at the weekend I fund myself at the Berkeley Vale club last night laying a Russo Japanese action in 10mm using "Bloody Big Battles". I'd not come across them before but they were described to me as "like Fire and Fury but with 2d6" so they sounded good (I do like a nice bit of F&F).

And so it proved to be. Whilst the detail is obviously different the basic mechanics of BBB are identical. Which was  a bit of a surprise but to be honest a nice one as we got into the game very quickly and had a blast. I suspect I had a better blast than Shaun and Alan since my defending Russians shot up the advancing Japanese on my right flank and at the end of the game I was advancing there whilst holding off the attacking horde to my left. That said the scenario could have done either with fewer Russians or more Japanese, so very much a "training exercise". The rules emphasise the "bloody" aspect, since close quarter combat is quite deadly.

I was very pleased with this set of rules and I suspect we'll be playing more of it in the future. It could also be the answer to my 6mm WW1 conundrum, where I've had a large colelction for over 20 years but still haven't found a set of rules I really like for them.

A look through the BBB Yahoo group file has uncovered a host of variants, in articular WW1 and the Sudan, so plenty of reading and food for thought there......

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Horses, Feet and Guns

Over the last couple of days I've been playing in Peter Colbeck's Marlburian campaign weekend. A hypothetical setting pitting Marlborough and his allies against a Franco-Bavarian force (I was driving the Bavarians), the aim being to secure as many strategically important crossings over a large river - there were five bridges to fight over.

Bavarians vs, Dutch

The campaign map

All well and good, and we were using "Horse, Foot and Guns", Phil Barker's (just recently published) set of DBA-based army level rules. We gave these a spin in one of Peter's earlier campaign weekends with mixed success (set in the Crimea, flippin' stoic Russians hardly ever able to move, my Sardinian light cavalry and horse artillery nipping about like AirCav causing all sorts of mayhem, it was a really weird wargaming experience!)/ So I approached the campaign with some trepidation.

A welcome distraction from the strain of war

I won't go into a blow by blow account of the campaign, suffice to say that Marlborough defeated one of the French armies on day 1, my Bavarians won a very unexpected victory against Peter's Dutch this morning to hold the southern bridge that I captured the day before, and in the final battle Prince Eugene's army held off the second French army to secure their bridge. However, early on day 1 the first French army had sent detachments to the three bridges in the North and they were under our control, so by the end of the game the Franco-Bavarians held four of the bridges to Marlborough's one.  strategic victory aided by us reading the brief, unlike Marlborough and co. who seemed to miss that element and were aiming more for defeating armies in the field.

Marlborough (on the right) about to give the French a bit of a kicking. An unusual deployment for the English army though and the English right flank got a pasting

Attack of the aged Brian Mays :)

It was a fun couple of days, and made all the better by Priti's most excellent cooking (aided by Laura on the first day) and the usual excellent company and bonhomie. But those rules, HFG really isn't on my list of favourites by a long way, not least because of its overcomplexity. Compared with the elegant simplicity of DBA this feels far more like the "Challenger 2000" of DBx games (and anyone familiar with Challenger 2000 will know this is in no way a compliment!)

Still, a fun weekend a a good excuse to get some games in - accompanied by amusing hairpieces from our gallant enemies :)

Lunch, day 1

Laura finding the wigs quite attractive