Projects line up for 2013

Assuming the world doesn’t perish in a great fiery cataclysm tomorrow (although with the paucity of posting you could be forgiven for thinking that I had already gone that way), the following are the wargaming projects I have earmarked for completion in 2013.

1. The French Revolutionary Wars. This is my ongoing 15mm project that I hope to have completed and ready to game with by the end of January. A month ago I was on track for this, but then I just got so busy that my production line of painting halted completely.  I’m looking at solo gaming this using an adaptation of Neil Thomas’ rules in his Introduction to Wargaming book. I love the basic simplicity, but I have altered the structure to make it simultaneous phases allowing all units the opportunity to move and fire. I’ve also added a command structure with a purpose, so I’m looking forward to trying this out.  I plan to game out the Battlegames tabletop teasers and scenarios out of Charles Grant and Stuart Asquith’s Wargames Scenarios.

2. Star Wars. I’m pretty happy with the adaptations I’ve made to the basic FUBAR rules and the lists I’ve created. I’ve had several games now, but I keep forgetting to take my camera, so no battle reports I’m afraid. Anyway, I’m just painting up all of the bases unit by unit at the moment, and this looks due to be finished  at the beginning of next year. I had considered repainting the old prepaints, but it has occured to me how much less stressful it is not to worry about chipping paint jobs. I have no qualms with handling the figures indelicately and for that reason I don’t think that I will bother. It is not, at least, a priority.

3. Superheroes. I’m just getting more and more into this project, despite the fact that I am still not sure exactly how the rules will work. I have Supersystem, but to be honest, I’ve read through and had a couple of trial solo games, but the rules just don’t work for me. I like simple, and although many people have commented that these are simple, I don’t find this so. I’ve discovered some rules written by Pete Jones of Freewargamesrules which, like FUBAR are written on one sheet of A4. I’ve read through them and find them very elegant. I have some ideas to add to them which I’ve been dreaming up over the last few days, although I haven’t yet put pen to paper.  I’ve also been building up a cityscape terrain and repainting the odd character here and there. Below are a couple of my efforts.

Confronting Magneto 1

And a close up of the figures. Recalling the first issue of X-Men, it is the original X-Men vs Magneto. Although versus the modern versions of the most uncanny teens of all I think the master of magnetism is in a bit of trouble. Then again, the odds are pretty good that Jean Grey will actually be dead within a few seconds, as is her wont.

Confronting Magneto 2


4. The Yom Kippur War. This is all painted now, with an accumulation of 21 lovely T-55s. The terrain is done too. So all that is left is to actually playtest the lists we have for 3rd edition. I’m determined to do this in 2013, along with writing some scenarios based on the fighting in the Sinai.

T 55s charge

‘So Shmuel, another boring day sitting on this hill… Hang On! WTF!’

Yes it is a T-55 parking lot – so actually quite realistic for some of the Egyptian tank attacks in 1973. Still, I wouldn’t want to be in one of those two Sh’ots. Quite impressed I got all of the T-55s into the picture actually.

5. The Three Musketeers. Unless it is sci-fi or superheroes I am making 15mm (18mm) my scale of choice, basically because of the interchangeability of scenery and the swiftness of painting. I purchased all of the different packs in the Blue Moon Miniatures Three Musketeers range because I couldn’t resist the figures or the idea of gaming it. I’ll be using Flashing Blades from Ganesha Games and these are the first few figures that I’ve painted.

Three Musketeer fight

‘Ah Monsieur! You giggled! Your giggling is an insult to my honour. Prepare to fight to the death!’ 

Yet again our heroes skewer their enemies over an insignificant matter which would be indefensible in a court of law today, but which was apparently a perfectly reasonable incitement to kill in the France of Louis XIII. Anyway, they are the cardinal’s men, and obviously baddies that deserve it.

Close up of Aramis dueling away.

Aramis en garde

6. The Great War. All based up and ready for undercoating, these are the 18mm Blue Moon Manufacturing British and German Late War figures. This is a major project, not because of the figures, but because I am going to construct a detailed 4′ x 4′ trench system for them. I’ve weighed this up a lot. My favourite period to game is 1918 where the lines were much more fluid, and for that modular free-standing trenches would be sufficient. But I might want to fight out earlier battles, and in 1918 there were still trench lines that were the old ones from the battle of the Somme and the Hindenburg line which had been reoccupied and were fought over. So I am going to go the whole hog and construct a system.  I’m looking at using the Too Fat Lardies rules – Through the Mud and Blood, and have recently made up a series of cards for them.

Also Great War, but a departure from the norm, is the construction of naval fleets for the Germans and the British in 1/3000. I just love Dreadnought Battleships,  especially in this period and so earlier this year I purchased to starter packs from NavWar. I’ve been surfing the net looking at possible rules, and it came down to a choice of Naval Thunder or Victory at Sea (WWI version). After reading several reviews I came to the conclusion that I will go with Victory at Sea, because everyone has said that they are simple – and so am I.

My first completed Battleship is below:

Royal Sovereign side Royal Sovereign stern


HMS Royal Sovereign, ready to set to sea.

So those are the aims for 2013. I have plenty of other projects kicking around which I may get to next year as well, but for now I want to keep it modest and achievable. Then anything else will be a bonus.  More to the point, I want to make sure that I actually play the games that I am working on. Too often my plan is to build and paint a project and i don’t really give the gaming a fair go. The one exception was the Marlburian period where I played a series of solo and opposed games in a linked campaign. The aim is to do something similar with the French Revolution (again set in the imagi-nation of Frankenberg) and the Superheroes (a linked series of adventures).

Well, have a happy end of ages when the long count finally gets to where it is going, and hopefully over the Christmas holiday period (we get 6 weeks in NZ), I can post a little more often.






Foreseeing future frolicking in Frankenberg

When last we heard from Frankenberg they were in the middle of the War of Spanish Succession. There is still more history to be written in regards to that epoch, but we now focus our attention on another era in the life of that rather special Principality-Archbishopric.

In 1794 Frankenberg joined the First Coalition to challenge the chaos taking place in France. Austrian troops were sent to the Principality-Archbishopric which soon found itself on the frontlines of the great Revolutionary mission to liberate all of Europe – whether they wanted it or not. Internally things were not as they should have been. Fed up with centuries of extravagant and wasteful excess from their rulers and buoyed by the writings of Rousseau,  there was an element in Frankenberg prepared to support the French in their quest to make Europe freer and Frencher.

This is where the new tales of Frankenberg will take off, as a French army moves into the lands of the Holy Roman Empire and the valley of the Frank river.  To play it out I have been putting together 15mm French and Austrian armies for the Revolutionary period using figures from Lancashire Games and Battle Honours (via Old Glory 15s). By and large the French army is Lancashire Games and the Austrian army is Battle Honours, although there is some crossover as well. The completed forces so far are as follows:

IR4 the Hoch und Deutschmeister regiment. These are all Battle Honours figures.


Here they are close-up.

This is IR25 Brechainville, composed of Lancashire Games figures, but with a Battle Honours standard bearer. The Lancashire standard bearer is holding the flag a little too low for my tastes, but I really love the officer in the long coat.


Grenzer regiment 73 (the pink regiment). Not pictured but complete are Grenzer Regiment 63 (they’re orange).

On the French side I’ve completed six battalions and have another four to paint for the first phase of the project. Among them are the following (all are Lancashire Games figures):

The 8th Legere represent the early French as they go through the amalgame. A mixture of uniforms, some blue, some still Chasseurs green with pink cuffs, some in bicornes, some in Tarletons. Stripey pants, breeches, and white culottes all looking tattered and makeshift. The French of this period are an atmospheric bunch.


This battalion of the 75th Line is much more uniform and is composed of figures from Lancashire Games’ most recent release for this period. These are French with Backpack:


Before the release of these I had made backpacks out of green stuff for all of my French figures.  When I mentioned that the French usually had backpacks to Alan at Lancashire Games he went and sculpted some figures. Fantastic! Here they are from the front:


The rules that I am using are a modification of Neil Thomas’ rules from Wargaming: an Introduction.  These are simple but capture the feel of the very first old school type Napoleonic games that I played with plastic figures as a kid. The Revolutionary War campaign in Frankenberg should be ready to kick off before the end of the year.






Last Games Night

Not a lot of posting happening, sorry, but heaps of things have been happening. Hopefully I can do an update next week. Meanwhile, here are some photos of what the Irregulars got up to last Friday:



John and I played an ancients game using the Neil Thomas Introduction to wargaming rules. Greeks vs Persians.


Shane, Richard and Jeremy played a 40K game set somewhere in Arthurian Britain.


Terry ad Chris played Flames of War – Germans vs US

More later



Burning Jedis – a Star Wars game

Last night we played another Star Wars game, but this time using the FUBAR rules that had been recommended to me by John Leahy on TMP.  A scenario was written up, and I just guessed what would be balanced forces, I didn’t try to use the points system that is also available on the page. In the end, it was a pretty good guess.

The scenario was as follows:

Pelagios 9 is secret research facility set up by the Republic. It is so confidential that only the Supreme Chancellor knows its true purpose. Despite this, the Separatist leaders have somehow found out about it and are preparing to make a raid in order to capture the scientist Cham Zharr (seen above  – he’s the Nikto with the Mon Calamari bodyguard).

In the vicinity of Pelagios 9 are Anakin Skywalker and his padawan Ahsoka Tano with a platoon of Clone troopers. They have been dispatched to aid in the defence of the research facility until more help can arrive.

Meanwhile, Count Dooku and a large droid contingent are leading a lightning raid on the facility. Even Dooku is not 10% sure about what is going on a Pelagios 9, but Darth Sidious is adamant about the importance of this mission (how does he find out about all of this secret stuff?).

So the scenario set up with four units of battle droids and one AAT arriving on randomised table edges. Defending the facility was a squad of Clones and half a dozen Mon Calamari security detail. There were also two Golan Arms defence turrets ( I might repaint these in camo colours – what do you think?)

Reserves arrived at random times based on the whim of the random gamesmaster (me).

The first couple of turns saw the AAT and right flank turret go head to head and not achieve much. A lot of units failed activation rolls and so couldn’t move to allow the ‘on guard’ units to retaliate.

The first Clone reserves to arrive got a rude shock as they headed to the research facility to bolster its defences. Led by Ahsoka they were caught in an ambush by a unit of B2 Battle Droids arriving (below).

On the left flank the Clones faced a unit of B2 Battle Droids ducking and weaving (is that standard operating procedure for droids?)

Oh no! A series of successful activations and Ahsoka’s unit is taken down in a hail of blaster fire – including the Padawan herself!

The Republic’s remaining reserves arrived at the same time as the rest of Separatist forces ( I just wanted to get everything on the table). A LAAT blasted in and dropped Anakin and a clone squad into the middle of the melee.

On the left three ISP speeders arrived and wiped out the B2 droids – and the Sith apprentice leading them.

In order to get the AAT to activate, Count Dooku turns up and jumps in to tell the droids what to do. They say Roger, Roger and ignore him totally.

Clones, the turret and Speeders have to hold off the Hailfire Droids and a Spider droid (see photo below) on the left. The Speeders kept having their guns knocked out, which made them pretty pointless – although I allowed them to fly close and throw grenades.

Boom! the LAAT takes out the AAT – finally! As you can tell from the smoke, the right turret had been taken out in the previous turn by the droid tank, so Dooku was feeling quite proud of himself. Just as well he got to have his moment as he failed his 3+ saving roll and went up in smoke with the AAT.

The clones waded into the droids, led by Anakin, and despite a good kill record, couldn’t clear them out. For some reason Anakin then broke off contact and ordered his squad back.

Which left him vulnerable to a crossfire from the B2 battledroids and a Spider droid.

The last Jedi on the table went down. And at about the same time, as they were not anywhere near capturing him, the Separatist Hailfire droids bombarded the Mon Cal squad and killed Cham Zharr. So in the end no-one held the objective. It ended up a Separatist victory anyway, because it turns out Palpatine wanted the scientist dead and figured that would be the most likely outcome if he sent Dooku in to screw things up again.

Overall everybody agreed they enjoyed the game very much, and the FUBAR rules were extremely easy to pick up. We did think that the Jedi were a bit wimpy and had virtually nil influence on the outcome.  I’m going to power them up a bit (even more h2h attacks and able to strike any model within 3″ – not just base to base) and make them a bit more survivable (give them a number of wounds). We’ll see how that works.

We also had a couple of turns where pretty much no-one passed their activation roll. This caused mirth at the time, but if you play the rules on a frequent basis I can see this getting just slightly irritating. I think that the answer might be to give the squad sergeants a higher activation rating than the rest of the squad, but I’ll think that one through a bit more.

FUBAR did seem to lead to a fairly static sort of firefight game. I’m not sure if that is just because the players couldn’t really be bothered moving, because there were so many missed activations, the defensive nature of the Republic side,or what. With characters a bit more suped up there might be more movement in the future – even if it is a case of rampaging Jedi and Sith doing their thing.

Terry played the Republic side and Adam and Sam (both pretty much newbies) played the Separatists. There was a lot of laughter, so everyone obviously had a ton of fun.


The French are revolting

I’ve come back to my French Revolutionary Wars project and completed another couple of battalions. I’m quite taken with the Songs of Drums and Shakos Large Battles rules, and this is what I am building my French and Austrians for. Only 12 figure battalions, buts as a solo project this is a good thing so that I can get them up and running quicker.

And a close-up:

I am currently thinking through whether or not to give anybody in the Revolutionary period skirmishers. In game terms skirmishers give a +1 combat die on the approach. But I’m not convinced that the ‘skirmish’ tactics of the french in this period really rate a bonus in this instance.  Something to ponder.


Games night 30th march

John has gone to India for work for three weeks, so before he went we quickly organised a game at his place. It turned out to be only myself, John and Terry in the end, with 3000 points a side on an 8′ x 4′ table.  the plan was to have Chris there as well, and everyone would bring a 1500 point force – John and Chris would provide the allies and Terry and I the Germans. Then we would randomly draw for which army we played with. But Chris had the flu, so we ended up with John and I taking the allies against Terry with all of the Germans.

The scenario saw a British armoured regiment coming to the relief of a Para company, and was the first time I have ever played bocage. If I had known at the start of the game what I know now, I would have deployed a lot differently.

Lines up in the bocage – I should have massed the armour nearer to the camera if I had known that there would be no way to fire from one hedge to the next…

I had two platoons in the centre of the table – John’s paras are in the town.

The Paras deployed with the German assault massing on the far side of the river.

The German Panthers advance –

– and set about wiping out the Shermans in the centre.

Terry attempts to get his forces across the bridge, but only succeeds in getting his trucks set alight (along with most of their passengers)

While John blows up his support on the far side of the river.

My tanks resemble the parking lot that so many purists insist Flames of War becomes. But it is because of the Mexican stand-off at the bocage (were the Mexicans in World War Two?). Who will blink first?

Me of course! After all, I have numerical superiority – I should be able to get at least half my tanks across and that will be enough… D’OH!

John’s paras launch  counterattack and whack the remaining Germans pretty convincingly.

With nothing left to lose (actually, pretty much just nothing left) I launch a desperate infantry attack on the advancing Panthers. My infantry didn’t even manage to make a decent speed bump. Sigh. This is Terry’s revenge for the walloping my Russians have given him the last couple of times. Set me up in the bocage and watch me flounder around!

At least I have the satisfaction of knowing I’d designed a pretty solid 1500 point army list…

This was the situation before my infantry did their death or glory charge. It was a very short trip to the objective for the Panthers once they were disposed of.

So, a lot of fun (especially for Terry), but it was quite a slow game without Chris there as well, as terry had to effectively fight two opponents. Next games night we might try this switcheroo again.


US tank company support

I haven’t had a chance to post anything over the last month, due to a hectic work schedule and, of course, the new baby routines. I’ve managed to sneak a little painting, but haven’t been able to get into the shed to do any photos. So the holidays are here and it is time to catch up, starting with the support options for my US tank company. I’ve also finished the 76mm Shermans for 1944, but have no decals for them so will leave the tanks themselves until they are totally complete.

The artillery staff team (Command Decision artillery crew with leftover Battlefront Italian staff team table)

6 Priests (all Command Decision)

A tank destroyer platoon with 2 x M10 (Battlefront)

Armoured mortar platoon (Command Decision)

Armoured rifle platoon (Battlefront)


Irregular games last Friday

On Friday night I was able to head out to John’s for games night, and was joined by Chris, Terry, Paul and Jordan. That was good because it meant that we had even numbers to play with. We paired off with Terry and Chris playing Afrika Korps vs Kiwis and Paul and Jordan playing Afrika Korps vs British armour. John and I decided to have a game of Napoleonics using Black Powder, as we hadn’t played either of these things in several months.

The Battlefield looking down towards the French ourtflanking movement after Turn One – John has already turned his line to face the threat. Grrr!

John set his British up on a ridge in Spain somewhere, preparing for a French attack. I decided that it was folly to simply assault the ridge head on, and brought the French on in two wings. I would contest the church with the infantry and try to bust through the British cavalry and loop around behind the British infantry. Meanwhile I would take my other infantry brigade down the extreme flank to try and cross the river and upset his balance. It was a fine plan on paper, but was fouled up in the first turn when John rolled three moves for the brigade on his left and simply turned his line to face the river.

It was now not going to be a single head on fight anymore, but two separate head-on fights. Hoo-bloody-ray.

The British Line patiently waits while the French deploy to cross the river.

The attacks went slowly after that. John occupied the church before I could get there and the cavalry just eyed each other for far too long. I tried to bombard the Church to soften up the defenders prior to assault, but my attacking troops kept getting shot up. In the end the British came down off the ridge and drove the French infantry off. At the same time my cavalry finally wiped out the British cavalry, but it was too little too late.

Artillery pounds the church but little softening up is happening. After their first clash the cavalry rallies and prepares for the next round. 

On the other side of the table the French and British went tit for tat as John’s general suffered paralysis of command while the French crossed the river (we house ruled the river would take three turns to cross unless by bridge). In the end, though, the French Brigade simply lost too many battalions and broke before the Brits did. The French army was broken and the battle ended with the Brits victorious.

The French cross the stream slowly – but the British just sit and wait.

I have to say I had rotten luck with the dice, failing the break tests at the end of the game quite spectacularly with aq series of 3s and 4s. And John getting three moves with his left hand Brigade in the first turn was also a rotten piece of luck, but then ’twas ever thus in the Peninsula.

The motivation for this battle was to see what sort of game I will get when I have painted my Peninsular War armies – 8 battalions and 2 cavalry a side. I may have to work towards 12 battalions for each, as I felt that there just wasn’t really enough to play with in the end. I also think that the scenario would probably have benefited from some late arriving reserves.

On the other table battle raged in the North African Desert. The final verdict was a triumph for the Afrika Korps, but it was hard work. The British armour under Jordan fought literally to the last tank, and Chris was giving as good as he was getting for large parts of the game.

Chris’ Kiwis, already burning up.

Terry’s Afrika Korps. He hasn’t quite got around to putting together desert PaKs. The Infantry are a commission I did for him, using Command Decision figures. Their Afrika Korps are very nice and I enjoyed painting them.

Stukas say hello to some Portees. The objective is, of course, the only piece of grass in the Desert..

Above is an example of Paul’s resin dug-in markers. He sculpted the originals and then cast them in resin. They are perfect for Flames of War and can meet up to form a trench system if you want. If anyone would like to purchase some, just let me know and I’ll put you in touch with him.

Lastly, nothing whatsoever to do with games night. I thought I’d paint up some of my Wargames Factory Romans (this is pre-baby) and construct a light box to try photographing them.  The result – fail. I may not be using enough light for my box or maybe the paper is too thick. Back to the drawing board.

I’ve hit painter’s block at the moment, as happens every year. This year I think it is a combination of starting back at school and having a new baby at the same time. I’m hoping I’ll feel a little more settled in a couple of weeks and get back to the brushes.


Desert Terrain

I completed my desert boards a couple of weeks back.

I borrowed some paint off John because I am colour blind and have had real issues trying to come up with decent desert colours. I bought a sheet to spray paint but it was way too green by the time I got it on the table. I bought some paint but it was too light. I don’t know what colour this is, but it works perfectly.

Desert terrain is important this year as I build my WW2 Desert Italians and aim to playtest some army lists for the Yom Kippur War using Flames of War 3rd Edition. I’m now waiting on the Battlefront big desert building and some Pegasus palm trees to complete the set.



Being Budget

The latest Soviet Tankovy army for Flames of War that I put together has cost me very little. It consists of Zvezda, Command Decision and some Battlefront models. The Battlefront stuff is mostly infantry, which Chris gave me in exchange for a Warhammer Chaos Warriors army for his son.  The rest was purchased for considerably less than if I had bought the entire army from Battlefront. True, the quality may not be as good, but it is good enough.

Tankovy force Budzhetskii ready for action

Now the reason for this post is not to skite about how cheaply I can build an army, but to give a clue as to where I go and what I do to make sure that my hobby dollar is maximised. I sometimes meet people who say ‘HOW much did you pay for that?’ or ‘Where did you get them from’? It surprises me a little in this age of internet and web business that people still don’t always shop around for the best deals. So here is some advice:

1) I regularly scan TMP and Tabletop Gaming News to see what is being released or who is having a sale. I also look through the postings on ‘Blogs of War’ regularly to see what people have been up to in the hobby. This keeps me up to date with what is going on in the miniatures world. I also buy magazines – Miniature Wargames and Wargames Illustrated as occasional hard copies (but see below), and Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy as a PDF. I often find that in terms of keeping up with news these are a little behind what I get from the web, but they do have advertisers of figures that I may not know much about or which have slipped off my radar.

2. I don’t buy locally when I can help it. This might sound a bit of a mercenary attitude, but I find that although the exchange rate on the NZ dollar has been high for quite a few years now (with the odd fluctuation) vs the pound and US dollar, local prices do not reflect this. Hence I can order from the UK through a store offering 10% discount and no postage and receive it within a week, paying only two thirds of what I would pay in a shop here. Every now and then I think that it would be nice to be loyal to the local store and then I do the maths.

My go-to guys are:

  • Caliver Books for historical miniatures. Spend over 10 pounds and they are post-free world-wide. I’ve been dealing with them for almost eight years and always get great service. In a sense I am pretty loyal to these guys even though they are literally on the other side of the world.
  • Maelstrom Games for magazines, scenics and a few other bits and bobs. Wargames Illustrated is $12 NZD in our shops, but I pay $8 for it delivered from the UK. There is no point taking out a sub as I don’t buy every issue. And because they also require 10 pounds to be spent before free postage, I usually throw in Miniature Wargames and some static grass or some paints – occasionally a miniature if I don’t need anything else.
  • Book Depository.  If you have not found this site yet, then shame on you! A huge selection of books at regular huge discounts. Like Amazon but worldwide shipping is FREE! Most of my Flames of War books have come from these guys, along with most of my hobby reading, and in fact, reading in general. I cannot remember the last time I bought a book from a bricks and mortar bookshop. I’m one of the people killing bookstores. Do I care? Not a lot.
  • Old Glory 25s. The boys at the Irregulars all chipped in and paid for the Old Glory Army membership (40% discount on orders) and share postage on orders that we make.  This has added greatly to the construction of Flames of War armies using Command Decision figures.
Zvezda Katyushas fitting in with the rest of the 15mm on the tabletop.

So those are my big four. I don’t buy from them exclusively. I surf the web, always check shipping costs and keep an eye out for sales. I do have some loyalties. For instance, I started dealing with Lancashire Games because their battlepacks were a real deal. But like so many retailers, Allan has had to put his prices up. His figures are still cheap, but postage to NZ often negates that and they end up the same price as other manufacturers. Despite this I try to buy from Allan if he makes figures for what I want – for instance to complete the French Napoleonic Army for the Peninsula that I am putting together with figures I’ve swapped with John. His recent 15% sale was a good excuse to do this.

3. Don’t hold onto a project for more than two years if it has been continually shifted to the back of the queue. I do impulse buy and regularly bite off more than I can chew. My OCD nature makes me rationalise my projects on a regular basis, and this leads to selling – which is then reinvested into the hobby in something that I am actually going to play. My latest sell-off has seen various bits transformed into the Soviet Tankovy force and two 15mm Peninsular War armies.  It has also enabled me to increase my Star Wars armies (expect a battle report on this early this year). All of these are projects that I will paint and game with this year. And I won’t miss the Ancients that kept going to the bottom of the painting list. I have never regretted selling anything, painted or not.  Not even the Marlburians and WWI figures.  I had my fun out of them.

4. Selling is one way to complete armies, but we also do a bit of swapping around in the club, especially when we have extras. Hence, I have inherited a whole British army for the Peninsular War from John and he has gained a pile of unpainted American Civil War figures.

So those are my tips for being budget. I have pretty limited cash to sink into the hobby so every cent is carefully counted and allocated. The result is being able to pursue the projects and play the games that I like.