Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Return To The Lord Of The Rings.

This week we had to go to Preston so that my wife could get her mobile phone repaired - a protracted  sad story worthy of a Icelandic Saga in itself . We had to go to Preston because that's the nearest place were they could fix the phone (sigh!) , to make matters worse she also announce that she would be doing Christmas shopping (sigh!) . Trying to salvage something from this debacle  I decided to go to the museum and then to Waterstones bookshop and then looked in at  Games Workshop , I always approach a GW shop with caution and a little furtiveness (perhaps like visiting a sex shop - so I'm told !!!) and seeing there was no one in the shop actually went in ! . Now normally the assistants try to hard to engage the customer (the average customer only being a quarter of my age) but this time the chap seemed quite refreshingly normal and we had a chat about the forthcoming Hobbit film . The upshot of this was I actually looked around the shop and even bought a couple of packets of plastic figures . (note rather paint scarred table - used before I had a paint table - and was married - when that sort of thing was more acceptable)

So this morning I started gluing them up , having had to buy a new tube of glue - the old one being gummed up beyond redemption . First I did the 'Easterlings' , I've always liked these figures and have about 10 of the original metal figures that came out years ago  , their red and gold colour scheme is a nice change to all those rather grubby Orcs . They went together very easily and I'm looking forward to painting for them .

The next thing was an Ent , this took a bit more putting together - and a bit more bad language - the dog retreated to his bed thinking he was to blame (not this time !) . You can adjust the arms and legs but this proved a bit of a problem as they kept dropping out of their sockets , however I persisted and the finished model is impressive , it comes with a choice of heads and arms and will be interesting to paint up , so next time I take the dog for a walk I'm going to take some photos of trees to try and get the colours right. 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

An Optical Aid For Gaming.

Whilst at the Warfare show last weekend I noticed a display game using periscopes to view the action , on enquiring were they got them I was directed to the 'Curstsey Miniatures' stand . I was so take with the idea I bought one . 

The French General's view of the enemy - not a good photo - my camera didn't like being poked into the periscope .

The Prussian's point of view - again not a good photo . Think this device will be of great use especially in WW2 battles to see who can see who . The idea of a periscope (or should it be a reversed periscope ?) is not new, I think Don Featherstone mentions his colleague Lionel Tarr using one for his WW2 games back in the 60's , but it is the first time I've seen one commercially made for sale .

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Grand Plan For Next Year.

The author muses on next years gaming outside his ancestral pile. About this time of year I always start to reflect on the years gaming and start planning the next years projects . With the large amount of unpainted metal Napoleonic figures in stock the main task is to get some more painted up . Now I'm happy using 'Black Powder' with them I should be playing more games and this will encourage me to paint more figures . The successful start to my Garibaldi project (again using Black Powder) means that I will be expanding with the other combatant forces in Italy in 1859/60 probably with the Papal army then moving on to the Piedmontese . I do find that if I successfully play games with a collection this spurs me on to paint more and after the great 10mm AWI  game we had in Reading I will be painting up more of them . I also have a few 'Bolt Action' WW2  figures to finish off which hopefully will get done this year . The one thing I do mean to do is not to play any new rule sets - as I get older I find I can't be bothered to learn them (or remember them) . The one exception to this may be purchasing a copy of the 'Black Powder' variant 'Pike & Shotte' as this is so similar to the existing rules learning them should not be a problem and as I have painted 15mm ECW armies already I will be able to get straight on and play some games. I will also be continuing with my homecast 40mm SYWish as and when I have the casting metal to hand. Well it will be interesting to see how much of this gets done and if I am able to keep to the straight and narrow . 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Warfare Reading 2014 .

First an apology - sadly there are no photos of the actual show , on the Saturday I forgot to take my camera and on the Sunday I found the battery was flat . Sorry 'bout that !.After a nightmare journey down to Reading - the M6 was closed at junction 22-23 and the diversion was blocked by an  accident - it took us 3 hours to get to the Manchester Ship Canal bridge , this normally takes 1 hour  and there were numerous other road works which slowed us down at one point 'A' feared his his bladder would explode (even with my assurance that bladders don't burst !) when stuck in traffic betwixt service stations . It was 11.45 when we finally arrive at our hotel in Reading - it had taken 7 hours !!!! - not happy bunnies !. However we were up bright (ish) and early and set up our wargaming table for our weekend games - no a bomb has not gone off in our room , we use a couple of 2 foot square polystyrene tiles with a cloth over them sat on the table in our room  - this worked very well .

We even played a couple of moves of our first game before breakfast , it was a Napoleonic 15mm game using General D' Brigade - Spanish versus French . We then leisurely strolled down to the show in the Rivermead leisure complex ,I made my modest purchases and 'A' went into a buying frenzy . 

The show was very busy and as there were no games in the main hall - the organisers have tried to get more traders in this year it was very crowded , the competition hall was also packed with gamers  . About 3 ish were returned to our room to finish off our game and much to my great pleasure I won ! .

A rather poor photo of my moment of triumph - my Conscript Spanish Hussars counter-charge rout and pursue the French Dragoons driving them from the field and forcing morale checks on the surrounding French units which all broke and won me the game - to add insult to injury my Conscripts rallied and were ready to charge again - Superb Discipline !. We then called into the nearby 'Toby Inn' to meet up for a drink with 'S' and Alan you had had a very good day trading . We then went for a curry at a very good Nepalese Restaurant were we had a VERY  hot curry - what we thought were green beans turned out to be chillies  .

Sadly there are no photos of our second game , we re fought the Napoleonic game using 'Black Powder'  (I blame the curry and exhaustion . I won again ) - 'A' was somewhat reluctant as he is a big fan of General D' Brigade and doubted how 'Black Powder' would handle his favourite period but was impressed how quick it played . I awoke early and reset the table for a 10mm AWI game using 'Black Powder', I took the British and 'A' the Americans we played a few moves and went down for breakfast - luckily we did  as the hotel was soon invaded by about 20 railway workers who had been working nights and were going to stay at the hotel and were having huge breakfasts before retiring . We went back to the room and I proceeded to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory ! in this final game . We packed away our figures and scenery into the car and visited the show for the final time to pick up the last few items . The return journey was thankfully quicker and without incident , a successful weekend away and the games added a lot to it , plans are being made for a repeat performance next year. 

Friday, 14 November 2014

Off to Warfare 2014

Off to Reading to visit the Warfare show this weekend , this year there will be games played ! - last year 'A' commented on the fact that we were at a wargames show all weekend and didn't play any games !. So this year we are taking some figures and terrain to play some wargames in our hotel room (hopefully not as weird as it sounds !?) - photos will be taken ! 

Monday, 10 November 2014

Shiney Napoleonic's and the Corner of Shame .

The other day I got locked out of my wargaming room ( not my wife doing a sit in over the amount of toy soldiers ), I could only get the door open about a foot (not enough for me to squeeze through !) and so I had to resort to lying down and feeling around the door to find what had jammed it - the culprit being the boxes of unpainted lead that reside under my table in the 'corner of shame' ( a phrase coined by wargaming colleague 'A' I believe?) they had slid down under their own weight and due to my bad stacking ! . Whilst reaching round the door trying to move things out of the way the cat joined me thinking this was a game I had devised to entertain him . When I managed to get in I started to try and sort things out and was shocked by the amount of Foundry Napoleonic's I have amassed , they were bought in a few years ago when they did some great deals and there has been the odd purchase off eBay - 'that was to good to miss !'.

This set my thinking I should get some more painted , Napoleonic's are not the easiest to paint and I've had problems with finding a rule set I like . Now I have been converted to 'Black Powder' ('A' takes the credit for this) this would be the time to lessen the lead mountain . My original concept for my Napoleonic was to be a Old School project so everything is high gloss and mounted on pennies , now in 'Warbase' sabots . 

This Napoleonic expansion is to be part of my master plan for next year (more of this anon) . To start off with I've got this French Infantry Battalion done - they are in campaign uniforms so this made them easier to paint and have been give a coat of yacht varnish to finish them off .

Trying to photo 36 figures in line is a bit of a problem !. My next unit will be a Austrian unit I think . I think most gamers have a 'corner of shame ' in one form or the other as it's easier to buy figures than it is to paint them !. I was once told that all an alcoholic needs is a acquaintance who drinks more than he does - so he can say "I'm not as bad as him !" - well when it comes to unpainted figures I can say " well I'm not as bad as 'A' ! ".

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Garibaldi update.

Just a couple of photos of a battle taking place using my new toys. 

The Neapolitans even with their poor leadership are fast becoming a favourite with me (perhaps sub-consciously reflecting my own generalmanship ?!) . This Brigadier has a very mediocre level of only 6.

Garibaldi watches a column of Red shirts march towards the enemy .

A rare bird !- an enthusiastic Neapolitan General , converted from a Irregular ACW general . One of the problems with Irregular is that they are true 25mm and have a style all of their own so not many 'modern' figures match them size wise . Hopefully at the forthcoming Reading show I will be able try and source some similar types. This photo was taken on some new shelving we have had put up in the living room - my wife said - 'I hope you are NOT thinking of putting some of your toy soldiers on there ! ?' - I hastily said I was only trying out their suitability for photography - she remains unconvinced !.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Neapolitan and Redshirt Reinforcements.

I am on a bit of a roll at the moment with my Garibaldi project , playing lots of games with them using Black Powder (which are working very well) and the good thing about the Sicilian campaign was that neither side had much cavalry . The Neapolitans may not have been the most dynamic military force but their uniforms are rather splendid ! . 

Here is a squadron of the 2nd Dragoon Regt. Regina (Queen's) being reviewed by the Neapolitan General Francesco Landi . This completes this army (well for the moment).

To balance this I've painted a unit of Italian volunteers to fight with Garibaldi . It's is a battalion of the Regt. Malenchini from Northern Italy . One of the sad facts of life is that not all of the volunteers wore red shirts and mostly grey/brown drab in various shades . Just read that probably only about a fifth of 'The Thousand' wore red shirts at the start of the campaign - but all mine do !. (cos they look prettier that way)

This then completes my force of Garibaldinni , my next army I think in this era will be a Papal Army - because the are cute and have Zouaves - what more could a wargamer want !?.