Monday, April 20, 2009

WW2 weekend!

The usual suspects converged on Schloss Burnstone for a weekend of over-eating and battlegaming this past weekend. WW2 skirmishing is something that has been bubbling under in the group for some time but it is only recently that we picked a set of rules that we all liked, 'Rules of Engagement', by Great Escape Games. All the British and German figures in the photos were painted by the extremely talented Edward Jackman, and the US Airborne by the equally talented Patrick Quinlan. Scratch built buildings by Eddie too, and don't they look grand!

The pictures got rather jumbled when I uploaded them and so are in no kind of sequence, enjoy the eye candy! All pictures are clickable for enlargement!

The gamers, left to right, Edward Jackman, Andy Brown, Patrick Quinlan, James Yeo

We played 4 games over the course of the weekend, the first 2 being smallish introductory games as none of us had actually played a game using 'Rules of Engagement' before. The general consensus was that the rules were great fun and the games went as you would have imagined such fights should go. The results seemed realistic and yet the games ran pretty quickly which is always satisfying. Good tactics were rewarded with success. The small red arrows seen in some of the images are potential locations of hidden squads, they outnumbered actual squads by 50% injecting some real tension and surprise into the scenarios.

I modified two of Charles Grant's Table Top Teasers originally published in Battlegames Magazine and available as an excellent compilation book. The first of these scenarios was a variant of 'Turning the flank or losing two fords' that was fought as a British airborne night attack against a German occupied village. The result was in the Germans favour but it was looking very close towards the end, we diced to see when the game would end (between 14 and 18 turns) and unfortunately for the attackers it was turn 14. A few more turns and the result may have been quite different.

British Sappers prepare to blow the bridge at Kronstadt.

German reinforcements rush across the bridge at St Anton in our replay of 'Turning the Flank'

The second Teaser I adapted was 'The Bridge at Kronstadt' which was fought as a German attack. Again things were going very closely until unfortunately the game had to be abandoned due to time constraints. We all had a great time though, and I cannot recommend 'Table Top Teasers Vol. 1' enough. If you haven't got it do head over to the Battlegames site and get yourself a copy. Although written for Horse and Musket games primarily they are great scenarios for all periods and require just a little modification to achieve a fantastic game whatever forces are available.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We are coming father Abraham

A departure from the norm today so I can blog a little about what is undoubtedly my favourite period when it comes to military history, the War Between the States. I have long had a fascination with this period (as perhaps you can tell from my mugshot to the left) but have been pretty unsuccessful with bringing that interest to wargaming fruition as it were. I think my main problem is that in the past I have gone about it wrong or to put it bluntly in the wrong scale. About a year and a half ago or thereabouts I started a 6mm project and completed around 20 regiments for each side. I was unhappy though as although I liked the models up close when I held them I felt they 'got lost' on the table and did not give me the feeling of character, individuality and excitement that I think the period merits. Now I am not knocking the scale in general, it is undoubtedly excellent in many ways, however it just felt too impersonal for me and I am afraid my interest in completing the project waned.

All pictures are clickable to enlarge!

"Hurrah! Hurrah! We bring the jubilee!
"Hurrah! Hurrah! The Flag that makes you free!"

A couple of weeks ago some friends and I attended Salute 2009 in London. I do not know what overtook me but having not planned to I was overwhelmed with the desire when I was there to get some Civil War figures. I had heard of the Perry plastics before of course but I could not help buying a box when I saw them there, and on a whim a pair of Flag Dude flags too. Having got home I was not even planning to paint them straight away - being short on time and heavily involved in my 18th Century armies. I then saw, however, a couple of threads on TMP about dipping these models and saw Monty's great looking troops over at his blog and I knew I had to have a go. The models above are the result. They took but a single evening to produce (around 3.5 hrs painting) and in fact I have to say I really like the results. They are a bit muddy and lacking in detail, but if you can knock out a unit in a single evening then to be quite frank, who cares?

"Hurrah! Hurrah! For Southern rights hurrah!"
"Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star!"

I now plan to develop this project alongside my 18th Century armies, as those are being painted carefully and meticulously and will take some time to reach a playable state. I also plan to use my 18th Century armies with the Charles Grant rules and so I look forward to having armies based for a more modern set to complement them, in this case I am going for Guns at Gettysburg, which are based on the General de Brigade system. The 2 6mm photos above and below are of models I painted over a year ago. I always paint both sides nowadays as the difficulty in finding opponents with complementary armies can be quite a problem. In addition I like to play solo games and to host games for people that do not have armies and so having two complimentary armies on hand is always a bonus.

"We are coming, coming our union to restore,"
"We are coming, Father Abraham, with three hundred thousand more!"

I think the problem for me with the smaller scale is that I felt that when they were on the table I felt more like I was pushing around wooden blocks than model figures. My eyesight is not great and I had serious trouble dealing with the small elements in a game. I know many will differ with me here but I simply prefer the aesthetics of the larger models and the intimacy of smaller brigade and regimental level engagements. It will also help that I do not need to get a whole new set of terrain, with the majority of the pieces I use for 28mm games in other periods perfectly usable with these models.
Anyway it has been a busy few days but the Marquisate of Valerno's first regiment is finished. I will hold off posting any pictures until I can set up my gaming table this weekend - no dedicated gaming room for me I'm afraid. I have some friend's converging on Schloss Burnstone this weekend for some WW2 skirmishing using the Rules of Engagement and with a scenario I have adapted from one of Mr Grant's Table Top Teasers. We shall have the pleasure of using my friend Eddie Jackman's models, his painting skills are of the level the rest of us can but dream of. I shall take photo's!

"Hear the 'Battle Cry of Freedom,'"
"How it swells upon the air,"
"Oh, yes, we'll rally 'round the standard,"
"Or we'll perish nobly there."

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Marquisate of Valerno marches forth!

Well they are not quite finished but I have been able to commit enough time to painting them that at least the rank and file are done, if not yet based. Both pictures are clickable if you wish to see an enlarged version!

These men will make up the rank and file of IR3 of the Marquisate of Valerno, the musketeers 'Conte Di Costa'. Hopefully their commander Basilio Leopoldo the Conte di Costa and his officers will be completed next week and they can all be transferred to their gaming bases.

The flag below is the units regimental flag, the national flag is to be seen on the info bar to the left. I am not quite sure now why I went with orange, it is a singularly horrible colour to paint as the coverage is awful!

I am now off for a long weekend to Portugal to introduce my parents to my fiancees parents. Should be fun :)