Friday, 29 November 2013

Best 6mm 'woods' I have seen!

I have been reading up on a few blogs and found this video of a Gettysburg game in 6mm. What I think struck me immediately was the way the wooded areas have been created, maybe I'm out of touch, but I have not seen this method before! It's really very clever and realistic for this scale.

The rules used here are 'Altar of Freedom' ACW, a set that I have been sitting on as a purchased PDF for some time but I have yet to be able to print!! The whole game is very clean and tidy, something that appeals to me.

Monday, 25 November 2013

It's back to sea again for me!

I'm already thinking about what I want to do next. I remembered today that I only got as far as undercoating and blocking in the initial colour on my second Langton Napoleonic ship earlier this year. The little frigate I built was and remains a source of real joy, and she sits on my bookshelf where she is often admired and commented upon, but I think she could do with a fleet! So I took her down for a few pictures and a play with my camera settings. Number two is a 74 gun (I think) and I'm going for the stylish black/ red colour scheme shown in the Langton guide. And I'm even looking forward to the challenges of rigging!

Pics show the first red blocks in, needs strengthening up and somewhat untidy, but that will be corrected when I paint the grey/black. Amazing detail in those hull castings.

I also did a test paint on 8 of the US Airborne 15mm troops from Peter Pig. Used a white primer with a sepia wash as an undercoat and these figures took around 45 minutes to paint them as you see here (not including basing of course) ..... not bad going. Not sure I have the uniform shade correct yet (and a slice of that 45 minutes was lost in mixing and recording shades), but I like the way they paint up.

I also enjoyed a game of Commands & Colors over the weekend, the River Coa scenario. Always a tough one for the French side and again it ended in an Allied victory. As the French commander I wasted time demonstrating against the Allied left as I attempted to bring up infantry from my  left and centre against the right. I could not prevent units slipping away over the bridge - even a rifle unit reduced to a single block got away for another Victory Point ( any Anglo - Portuguese unit exiting over the bridge earns a VP!!). The French were pounded in the centre from horse artillery and infantry, at one point a 5 die throw turned up 5 infantry symbols destroying a unit of light infantry and causing it's attached leader to retreat having survived a casualty dice throw. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the game.

Can a block game be as beautiful as a miniatures games?

Sunday, 24 November 2013


I don't know why they have to do it, but leave something new in the house for a few minutes unattended and cats will always make a bed of it. I went to fetch the blocks to set up a C&C N game and came back in the room to find KitKat snuggled up in the middle of the board!

Anyway, main news this week is something that I'm sure won't come as a surprise to those who have followed this blog for a while - the entire AWI project is now up for sale on ebay, figures, hex board the whole lot. I'm not sure I understand this myself, but I think I'm moving closer now to wanting to play block games, and I simply cannot find enthusiasm for painting stuff for myself any longer. It only took me a couple of tester games to understand that it offered me very little potential for enjoyment, and that hopefully somebody out there will be able to put it to far better use than I ever will.

The future is blocks.
I have decided that I will stick with board games for the future and I'd like to collect all of the C&C expansions and the Ancients game. I will of course be continuing to paint on commission for others, and I still find it very rewarding from a painting perspective, but I doubt I'll paint any major projects for myself any longer. At the end of the day I regard the AWI project as just another piece of work that can go up for sale, and any cash generated can be ploughed back in Commands & Colors games.

I have no idea how it will do, I enjoy the anticipation of an ebay sale, (not so keen on the high fees though!), but should anybody care to take a look here's the link:

15mm AWI figures and game board.

So onwards and upwards it is ..... commission work continues on the 10mm AWI's, 24 figure battalions and I have nearly completed 4 so far. I'll have some pictures soon to post here.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Memoir 44 - the next project.

I managed to delete my previous post re Memoir 44.... so here we go again.

Having taken the AWI project to it's logical conclusion - each side now consists of 10 infantry bases, 4 skirmish bases, 4 artillery bases, 2 cavalry bases plus Generals - I have decided to make Memoir 44 the follow up. It's won't be a huge project, but does look so much fun. I have decided to focus upon the fights between US airborne troops and German forces based upon the Band of Brothers series. I was delighted to see that the published scenarios include the very same battles featured in the series, perfect.

I'll be getting a copy of the box game - lovely graphics on the cards, medals and additional hexes etc - but I'll be making all of the new terrain tiles from MDF hexes for my board and replacing all of the supplied plastic figures with 15mm metal figures from Peter Pig. The first order for figures is in so I hope to get started at the weekend. The armour units (3 blocks) will be replaced with a single scale model tank and hits marked on the base. It's been a very long time since I played WW2, in fact it was at SELWG club nights in the late Seventies!

Memoir 44 is a relatively simple game, typical of what was to become the Commands & Colors system, but this suits me well as I'm no student of the period I must be honest. But like C&C it offers many subtle command and control challenges and decision making and the emphasis for me is to have fun and enjoy playing  the games.

For a peek at the rules (PDF) click here. Note it's for ages 8 and over!

There are literally pages of scenarios available, this is the 'Carentan' scenario for example as featured in Band of Brothers. Here.

Other news.
I'm ready to write up the report of the AWI game played recently completed. I won't spoil it, but suffice to say that the British Guards and Grenadiers suffered heavily in the action as a result of an impetuous early attack. Back soon.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Time for Battle!

I added the edge pieces this afternoon and I think it really sets it off and finally it looks like a C&C game board. I kept it to the standard 13 x 9 hex grid and marked off the sections on the edging in white. Just the outer frame now to find and fit.

The board set up ready for battle. Viewed from the British side.
At last it’s time for battle!
This game is loosely based on the fighting between Washington and Howe’s forces during the White Plains campaign of 1776. It not intended to be a recreation of any particular action from that campaign, but rather I have based my orders of battle for both sides around the campaign.

It’s Autumn of 1776 and following a prolonged period of heavy rain both armies are cold and wet, the American’s being ordered to sleep on their arms in readiness for the expected engagement.  The narrow river that snakes across the battlefield has swollen from the recent downpour but is still fordable along its length, although a much easier crossing may be found at the two fords.

The American army consists mostly of troops from New York, Delaware, Connecticut  and Massachusetts,  the latter providing a good number of militia who have turned out with Patriotic zeal for the engagement. The Maryland battalion are also present and are considered to be one of the best Continental units on the field for this battle, and so have been rated as ‘elite’. Command of the army has been divided between three Generals, namely General Charles Lee, Major General Spencer and Nathaniel Greene. Expecting the Redcoats to attempt to cross the river light field works have been thrown up with a clear field of fire across it.

The British forces have already delayed their attack once in order to allow the troops to dry out and grab some rest, but are now advancing on the American position. The British command is also divided between three Generals with Hessian Von Heister commanding the right flank with elite troops consisting of the Brigade of Guards, British Grenadiers and  light infantry (fighting in line), backed up by Hessian Jagers and musketeers. General Henry Clinton commands the centre which includes the crack Hessian Grenadiers, backed up by a couple of 6 pound guns and Charles Cornwallis has command of the left flank which includes a couple of squadrons of light dragoons and Loyalists.

At the start of the game both sides are deployed as shown in picture 1. Only skirmisher bases can begin deployed on line 3, the rest must deploy on the first 2 hex lines. On the American side the Massachusetts militia begin deployed behind the light works, waiting for the main body of infantry to come up.

The cloud has broken and the day is brighter than recently, Howe orders an advance to cross the river and smash the Continental army. Washington is concerned about the condition of his troops, but must fight in order to prevent the crossing.

Each side begins with 8 command cards and may elect to play 2 ‘sector’ cards together should they wish or a single  tactic card as normal. If a player plays 2 sector cards they only pick up a single replacement.  (Great idea Chris!).

6 VP’s for a win. The destruction of a militia unit does NOT earn a VP, and the destruction of a British ‘elite’ stand (Guards or Grenadiers only) will earn 2VP’s for the Americans.

Washington moves first.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

That's it ..... it's done, now to enjoy it!

A surprisingly beautiful and bright day here today for Remembrance Sunday, such a contrast with the darkness and gloom of yesterday. Always uplifting to see the old veterans assembling in their berets and medals for the short march to the village war memorial, followed by a few pints in the Legion. I'm reminded that both my Grandfathers were fortunate enough to come back from France in the first war, one a veteran of the Machine Gun Corps and the other an infantryman. My Grandmother used to tell me the story of how she prepared for Grandads homecoming by making up a fresh bed with clean cotton sheets only to find he arrived at the door running alive with lice  - 'lousy' as she put it - and unable to stop scratching!

It's been a busy week re-basing these figures and finishing terrain hexes etc, but finally it's its done. I can now sit back and enjoy fighting some battles, and I intend to do just that! I can also get back on track with other (domestic) jobs that need doing including tidying up the garden.

This is probably the last of the 'posed' shots I'll do on the boards, in future it will be battle reports etc. I must say that I feel I have achieved everything I set out to now, and it's important to know when to stop. I hope to get some edging bits cut this week by Tony at ERM, I need half hexes cut both ways - if that makes sense - and then a few quarter hexes for the corners. Once they are in place it just requires a thin bead edging to finish it all off.

Back to commission work tomorrow.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Re-basing - taking the plunge!

A quick post this one to feature a few test bases with figures removed from the individual coin bases and rebased on 50mm x 35mm unit bases. I like them a lot, even though it's going to be hours more work to do this it makes sense now to go for it and make the change. I have far more figures than I could use as individuals and I think the visual impact on the new board is much better like this. I guess they represent a small battalion or something. I'm keen to get this done now and it's distracting me from other things I should be getting on with, but after so long planning this it's great to see everything coming together finally and once it's done I intend to sit back and enjoy playing wargames again. With luck everything should be finished over the weekend. I'll have to mark losses again as I used to with the 6mm Napoleonic games, but I have an idea how I want to do that too.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

C&C terrain board - part 2.

Following the advice of a few guys on the TMP forum I gave everything a good spray over with 'firm hold' hairspray and it has really done the job of sealing all of the loose flock. I was a little worried about something going wrong but I have to say I'd recommend this method of stopping loose flock blowing around.

I should have mentioned previously that part of the plan from the start was for this to be a 'portable' game board and I took into account the dimensions needed to be able to carry the entire thing through doors and upstairs where I could leave it safely in the spare room and continue a game when I wanted to. Main problem in this house is four cats who will insist on jumping on everything and especially something that is 'different' or 'new'. I was in no doubt that if I left the board downstairs they would quickly make a bed of it! I have had a couple of test runs up and down the stairs and I'm pleased to report that everything remains where it should be and the hexes do not slide about at all.

You may notice that I actually have 14 x 9 hexes laid out (C&C is 13x9 of course), as I have plenty of spares of plain/roads/rivers etc I decided to leave the extra width and make the centre section 6 hexes wide for now. I could of course make a much larger playing area.

Now for the one issue I'm still thinking about...... I laid out my American troops, but could not get them all on! The collection is still growing rapidly and I now have to decide if I should take the plunge and rebase all of the individual figures onto unit bases of 10 - 12 figures on 50mm x 35mm single bases. I did a tester and they actually look really good like that, and to be honest it would be far more practical for this game board. I estimate a few evenings work would see the job done, and I'd have 10 - 12 infantry units per side plus cavalry and artillery.

The roads are of course not a feature of C&C games, but I think that they give a bit more purpose to a game, even though no movement bonus is available. Rivers end movement for that move unless crossed at the fords as per usual C&C rules and I might add a couple of freestanding bridges later. All trees etc are freestanding, wooded areas being indicated by the stony hexes, as will be town/villages.

More to do, but I'll take a couple of days break while I ponder the question of rebasing.

A plug here for Tony at East Riding Miniatures who provides such a friendly and efficient service supplying quality laser cut MDF bases (and much more). Tony has added the 55mm hexes to his list now and has said he can cut me some half hexes for the edging, which might be a nice touch if painted black I think. The planned outer frame moulding will then be fitted to hold everything in position.
Laser Cut MDF Bases : The Original and the Best! Top quality bases in 2mm thick MDF as standard. Perfect for all your basing requirements.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

My new Commands & Colors board - part 1.

Here are a few shots showing progress on the new hex terrain board. It's not exactly as I had envisioned it to begin with, it has evolved into this 'fluffy' version (and I can see Foy right now dreading the thought of the horrible stuff!). It's not finished yet, I'm still making hexes etc as I want to break up the flat green affect slightly and I'm thinking about a couple of freestanding 10mm buildings for the 'town' areas, 15mm buildings just look way too big on this.

Next I need to 'fix' everything with a spray of varnish or something. If anybody has any ideas on what to use to spray the tiles with that will give a hard seal finish but without darkening down the grass too much I would appreciate any advice. I tried an experimental 'Klear/magic wash thinned with about 50% water and a touch of black ink - the dry was very good but it killed the static grass too dark, obviously a touch less ink!

Anyway, on Saturday I practically took over the kitchen and dining room and covered every surface with wet and drying hexes, a true production line job, I think I covered about 150 hexes to begin with which gave me plenty of spared to play with. I was glad when it was over and I could tidy up and have a shower, but it had been worth the effort I thought.

Sunday it was all change as it was our Grandaughters 4th Birthday and we had 10 around the table for dinner eventually. I was coaxed into having my photo taken with 'Peppa Pig' in order to prove to the birthday girl that she was not in the least bit scary, but to no avail, she went back upstairs and refused to come down until 'Peppa' left. Funniest bit for me was seeing the cash exchanging hands outside the front door, she still in full Pig costume.... cost my Son in Law £30 for that 15 minutes of 'interaction' I just could not help laughing.

Back to painting tomorrow, but here's a few shots of the last few days production on the terrain board. Much to still do including a thin edging strip to hold everything in place. There's still a bit of loose flock floating about as you can see!

*Edited to add ..... the Hardy's Ale 1981 is going to be saved for the inaugural AWI battle on this board, soon as it's sealed and framed.

I made those fieldwork strips especially for my Militia units!

This is Foy's nightmare, look at all that loose flock Captain.

Friday, 1 November 2013

A few more 'Hinton Hunt' ACW shots and plans.

I sit here surrounded by piles of 55mm hexes, packs of scenic materials and glue etc as I have finally decided to make a 'fluffy' version of the Commands & Colors board! I now have about enough hexes required to begin. I have made a couple of test hexes and I'm finally happy with them. I'll put all of this together in the next post as I hope to get started on this project tomorrow morning, and I'll explain my thoughts behind this.

For now I'm a little tired having painted these lovely Hinton Hunt figures with the hand painted/cast on flags this morning and then spent an hour photographing my AWI Americans for the new page. I can see a few dodgy stars on the flags, but for now I'm too tired to make corrections..... time to relax. I have 6 Hinton Hunt Union cavalry to paint on Monday, which I think finishes the HH figures for now. All of course are for the collection of 'Old John'.