Friday, 26 May 2017

Ad Mare Bellum

Another new release from LFG, "Ad Mare Bellum" (AMB) uses the system developed for "Lord of the Sea" and "Cannon, Cross and Crescent" to give quick playing set of Ancient naval rules covering the period 2000BC to 900AD, They are aimed at small and medium sized games with up to 30 or so ships a side to be completed in a couple of hours or less. They have been written with 1/1200 models such as those from Navwar and Langton in mind, but could be used with larger or smaller models with appropriate changes in ranges and movement. Bookkeeping is minimal, using simple markers to indicate ship damage and crew casualties. Data for over 30 different broad ship types and nine different fleet lists are included, from the Egyptians and Sea Peoples, through classical Greek and Roman to Norse and Byzantine fleets and ships.

Available from Wargame Vault for a mere fiver :)

Monday, 1 May 2017

Fun at the Beach

My "Mad Wet Max" project continues to develop. Over the last week I've made some much larger rooster tail markers and explosion plumes, using damp kitchen towel moulded into shape. Cheap but effective, IMHO. I've also made a dozen mine markers which should help avoid the confusion that we faced at the BV club when we used dice and then forgot which were mines and which ones we were using for play! However, the best development I think has been the parascender who is a "weapon option" for three of the craft in the game. In the post game chat at the club my chums threw in some ideas for various things that one might see associated with motorboating and powerboating that could make an appearance, and some bloke on a parachute towed behind a boat was on the list. The idea is that he can be deployed during the ame and can drop grenades onto boats below (whilst of course attracting incoming fire). I had originally intended to use a surrendering Airfix figure but a look at a model railway catalogue showed that the German firm Noch made a decent set, so a quick email to my brother's local model railway shop had one winging its way to True Cambridge. Three of the boats have now been drilled to accept the brass rod "tow line" - admittedly way out of scale but robust enough to stand the rigours of the game. I may decorate the parawing a bit more, and give the chappie a machine gun but for now he is in a good enough state for the inaugural public game at the Naval Wargames Weekend in July.

Next to make - wrecked boats, plus "spectators". Anyone know of a decent Matchbox-style winnebago model??

Friday, 28 April 2017

Cannon, Cross and Crescent

I’m pleased to announce the release on Wargame Vault of my latest naval fast play set of rules, “Cannon, Cross and Crescent”, which covers Renaissance galley warfare. They are based on my previous “Lanterna” set from many years ago, updated and expanded with new ship types, additional rules and improved detail. I'm currently working on a campaign system, and I'll be supporting the rules with some freebie scenarios as I did with "Lord of the Sea".

The main rulebook can be yours for the princely sum of five British pounds :)–LFG004

The rules have been written very much with 1/1200 models in mind, so ideal if you have fleets from Navwar or some of Rod Langton's lovely models. However, they can be used with larger models by doubling movement and ranges, or with smaller models such as the Tumbling Dice 1/2400 range by using centimetres in place of inches. The rule book comprises 22 pages and includes movement and gunnery templates, and a Quick Play / Fleet Data sheet which holds a precis of the most commonly used rules and an area in which a fleet commander can record the ststs of the ships in their fleet, rather than having to refer out to the rulebook in the heat of battle.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Mediterranean Encounter (2)

Somewhat later than planned due to various equine shenanigans, here's the brief conclusion to the Renaissance galley action that I played out recently. As the previous post ended the Turks had given the Holy League light forces a real beasting and many ships had been sunk or captured. In the centre the Holy League heavies were enjoying more success, but their commander had a tough choice to make - fight on and risk total loss, or try to extricate what was left of his force.

Of course he chose the former, and it proved to be the right thing to do. The Turks managed to finish off the lighter galleys on the flanks, but in  the centre the heavy artillery of the galleasses scored some critical successes against the Turkish great galleys which left them vulnerable to their Christian opponents. In short order the Turkish centre collapsed. The Turkish admiral, realising his light forces were now at a disadvantage, decided to withdraw with his prizes and captives, and so the wings of his fleet headed for safety, easily outrunning the surviving Holy League fleet which now clustered around the lumbering galleasses. After another 12 phases (2 complete game turns) I judged that the Turks had successfully disengaged, their heavy ships mauled but their lighter forces still posing a significant threat, especially once their prizes could be refitted and turned against their former owners. But a tactical victory for the Holy League who held the field of battle al the close.

I was very pleased at how the rules played out, with the various mods and tweaks of the last few months resolving the last few inconsistencies and niggles that I had. Now to spruce up the formatting and put together a short QPS and they are done :)

Turkish light forces on their left flank decide to make a run for it as their centre falls apart.

The scene at games's end, Holy League heavies in the centre, Turkish light forces heading for the hills....


Saturday, 8 April 2017

Mediterranean Encounter

For the last three days I've been trying to get a game in using my forthcoming fast play Renaissance galley rules. This decent sized battle was set up on Wednesday night but I only got a chance to play the first few turns today. It was worth the wait, as the game has proven to be quiet interesting, and as I write has reached a tricky phase for the Holy League.

The setup on Wednesday night - kick-off was three days later!

The island on the Holy League left flank

Batteries and buildings purely decorative for this action

Holy League light forces poised to the left of the island

The scenario features two roughly equally matched forces in a littoral environment. The Holy League had the advantage of four galleasses. Both sides deployed in fairly standard lines, with heavier ships taking the central positions, lighter galleys on the flanks. On the Holy League left (Turkish right) a large island annoyingly splits the battlefield and led to a smaller virtually independent action on that flank. Both sides have a number of bergantines in support, clustered around the middle of their fleets.

And we are off! Game finally started on Saturday afternoon

Both sides maintained a steady advance, the Holy League slowed by the presence of their galleasses. In the opening salvoes of heavy gunfire the Turks scores better than their opponents, causing a smattering of damage across the Christian fleet and shattering one light galley outright. Return fire caused some damage, then the fleets crashed into a widespread melee. The Holy league hed an advantage in short range gunnery and this quickly tore into the crews of the Turkish ships, but with bigger crews they were able to absorb the losses; the larger Turkish crews proved decisive on the flanks, where over half the Holy League light galleys succumbed to boarding and were captured or sunk. In the centre things were more evenly matched, with the galleasses in particular proving their worth in beating off a number of attacks, and a couple of Turkish heavy ships were sunk or captured.

The situation at the end of Phase 2 (end game turn 2) - the Holy League holds the centre, but the flanks are crushed

For info - red counters represent hull damage (two reds = KO), black indicate crew casualties, green signifies a ship that has been captured

The confused position in the centre - Holy League holding on and scoring some decent victories

But carnage amongst the Holy League light forces behind the island

And on the other flank, with a number of Holy League light galleys captured

As play draws to an end today the battle is poised in the Turk's favour: the Holy League light forces have been effectively destroyed leaving the flanks of the heavier ships exposed. The Holy League commander has a difficult choice to make - continue in the hope of breaking through the centre using his heavy galleasses as gunnery "battering rams", or to try to extricate his force before his heavy units are enveloped in a tide of Turkish light galleys.

Hopefully more tomorrow!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mad Max and the Thunder Boats From Hell (2)

The lack of blog posts for the last few weeks would give you the impression that I've not been up to much. On the contrary, I've dashed off another 40 Renaissance galleys and terrain, a load of 15mm WW2 stuff and a few other projects (of which more in a future post). I've also painted up my "Thunder Boats from Hell" models and started on the rules. These will be based on Dave Schueler's original "Thunder Boats" but will add such niceties as mortars, mines, rockets, machine guns and other fun. The plan is to debut the game at the Naval Wargames Weekend in July and then to take it to the IPMS modelling and wargames show at Thornbury in August. Should be fun :)

Friday, 17 February 2017

Galleons and Galleasses

My current area of interest and rule development from a naval wargaming perspective is the Renaissance, where I've been building up some nice generic squadrons of galleys and other oared fighting ships. However, a rummage through the "lead pile" the other day uncovered a box of old Valiant Miniatures 1/1200 Armada period ships, some new in their packaging (from when "The Keep" sold off all their stock), some bought painted from Ebay but very heavily damaged. So my Renaissance project has expanded slightly to bring these in and over the last week or so I've started to renovate the battered ships I got from Ebay.

So the first ships I've had a go at doing up are a couple of galleasses, a small galleon and a couple of carracks. Due to their origins they retain a rather war-worn look but I'm pleased at how these have scrubbed up and I'll be adding to their numbers slowly over the coming weeks.

Unfortunately they seem to have been stuck onto their rather thick bases with some incredibly resilient glue and I'm fearful of damaging the models if I try to hack them off, so they are likely to stay on these rather than the thin card that the rest of my ships are based upon, but I can live with that.

Monday, 30 January 2017

You, Ze American Army

Over the weekend I've been finishing off the bulk of my winter skirmish collection. The terrain was just about sorted a few days back, and yesterday I did the bulk of the winterisation and painting of my American AFVs and vehicles. Some final dry brushing and varnishing tonight and now they are all done. A set of worthy opponents for my battle hardened Germans, perhaps somewhere around Bastogne...

Saturday, 28 January 2017

In The Deep Midwinter

It was about a year ago that I started my 15mm Eastern Front skirmish plan, which began in earnest in March. After about 10 months I have finally managed to get figures, vehicles and terrain sorted and so I celebrated by staging a setup on the wargames table to see what it ll looked like. I must say I'm quite pleased with the results

At the time of writing my more recent US force is nearing completion (infantry finished today, whitewashed all the vehicles today as well, so tracks/wheels and detailing starts tomorrow), and I still need to sort out some roads and frozen river sections. I guess no project is ever complete :)

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Mad Max and the Thunder Boats From Hell

After thinking about this idea for a few months I decided today to crack on with my "Mad Max-esque variant on Dave Schueler's "ThunderBoats" hydroplane racing game. I've played the original for a while now and its a lovely game, but some of the locals at the BV club wanted something with more "risk" in it - by which of course they mean shooting.

So I'm working on an overlaying set of rules for various weapons such as rockets, mines, mortars and personal weapons with which boat drivers can do combat as they navigate around a course (I'm thinking "Death Race on Water" here), with a view to running this at the Naval Wargames Weekend in July, and maybe at Thornbury in August. And this morning saw me in the man cave knocking up the first batch of prototype boats. Still some way to go but I think thy are shaping up nicely....

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Something Different for X Wing

Tonight's painting drive has concluded with a bevy of new fighters for X Wing, but not what you'd call "regular" types. I had a small splurge on Shapeways just before New Year, the models arrived on Friday and painting has just completed. This time I thought I'd recreate some happy memories of sci fi TV series gone by, and some of my favourite SF starfigher types.

First up, a pair of Thunderbolt heavy fighters from "Babylon 5".

I'm not sure, but I think the Thunderbolt is just about my favourite SF starfighter.

Next, and coming close behind the Thunderbolt in terms of personal favourites, a flight of Earth Directorate Thunder Fighters from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century". Two of these are basic types, one is the 4 seater variant often seen in the series, the other two are additional variants that made occasional appearances.

Of course the ED fighters would be rather out of it without some opposition so I also have a flight of four Draconian Hatchet heavy fighters, also from "Buck Rogers"

All I need to do to finish these off is to raft some flight stands. All of them are fitted with rare earth magnets (in the photos they are sitting magnetised on top of 4" nails stuck into champagne bottle corks which makes them easier to paint). I suspect that nail based flight stands will be the order of the day.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Red Lion

About 25 years ago Liz and I went to a model railway show where my brother was exhibiting one of his wonderful layouts with his model railway club friends. Liz liked some of the buildings he'd made, especially brick building made using thin card "bricks" from punched computer cards, and half timbered walls mad by gluing the "timber" over a card wall and then infilling with plaster to get an authentic plastered wall effect. She liked them so much that she decided we would have a go at making something like that ourselves, and so she set about building a model of an old English country pub, half timbered, half brick (obviously extended sometime in the 1700s). We'd work in 15mm so that I could use it for wargaming when it was finished. We used clear plastic from easter egg packaging and coarse brass mesh to give the windows a leaded window look. 

After a cracking start the project languished once we'd finished and assembled the walls. It sat like a half finished Greek house for ages, and successive house moves saw it put away in a box and then forgotten about. Occasionally it would be found again, I'd thin about finishing it, and then it would be back in its box as other "priority" jobs came a long. 

As 2016 ended I found it again, and this time decided that 2017 would be the year that I would finally complete the project. A liberal application of Das modelling clay over a card roof saw the structure completed, and a new base was made from mounting board, painted, sanded and flocked, and hen a low fence and pub sign post made from cut down match sticks. The pub was christened "The Red Lion" with a sign made from a scaled down photograph. After 25 years the project was complete! I may do some more work on the base sometime, but for now the pub is ready to form the centrepiece of my 15mm ECW terrain collection. 

I think it was worth the wait.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

First Models of 2017

As the daylight wanes here at Cambridge HQ the first models of 2017 have been completed. To be fair these should have been the last models of 2016 but I ran out of time :)

The biggest is a renovation of the Skytrex Felixstowe that I completed some years ago. Alas time hd taken its toll on this model, several of the struts were dropping out and it was obvious that a rebuild was necessary. But I also had a spare Shapeways Felixstowe from when I was sent a damaged print a couple of years back, so I decided to cut out the central section of the Shapeways model and graft the wings and upper fuselage on to the Skytrex model in place of its original wings. All went well and the result was, I think, a success.

Of course now I had the nose and tail of a Felixstowe going spare, so I decided to make a vignette of a crashed aircraft, with thoughts to use this as the "objective" in a Wings of Glory rescue scenario. I may put some more work into this piece to add further details later but for now I'm happy with the result

The other four models left to finish were a pair of Spad XIVs and a pair of FBA Type Hs, all seaplanes to add to my burgeoning seaplane/flying boat collection. Lovely models, especially the FBAs, and I hope I did them justice. Still a bit of work to do on the Spads as I have mislaid my stock of aircrew figures.

So, 2017 off to a flying (ha!) start

2017 - The Plan

The new year is but a few seconds old, but here’s the plan for 2017. In true civil servant style, fully analysed and costed (and likely to go horrendously over budget and/or be tossed out the window at some point!)

Renaissance Galleys

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.

Fast play 19th Century

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.

WW2 Eastern Front Skirmish

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.

Form Line of Battle

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

Iron and Fire

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

Coastal Forces

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.

Other Bits and Pieces

There is the distinct possibility that I may be involved in running a 75th anniversary Battle of Midway game

The Naval Wargames Weekend – I’m thinking “Stingray” and “Thunder Boats” this year. Possibly “Mad Max on Water” if I get time to find and sort out the models

Burma Skirmish is an ever present reminder of long term plans that don’t get anywhere so I may well push on with this. Mainly infantry to sort out here, and the Matchbox Japanese are already painted. 

I’d like to get my 28mm Roman racing chariot finished, and then get the BV club chaps to run some more games

 I’d like to finally finish off the 15mm old English inn that Liz and I started making about 25 years ago. The roof has remained unfinished for 23 of those 25 years. If I could get that done it would be an ideal centrepiece for my 15mm ECW collection

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!).