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.






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.


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.


Waterloo (not the ABBA song*)

*No matter how much I keep hearing it over and over in my head.

Latest development on the Warhammer Waterloo front – two elements of British infantry for the 27th Inniskillings:

Use of the dip for the first time on Napoleonic Brits – let me know what you think.

OK, on with US WW2 15mm. Waterloo! I was defeated you won the war… da dum de dum de dum…


Plastic progress

Warhammer Historical’s Waterloo has inspired me.  I get the feeling that this is a Napoleonic project that will get finished – a case of seventh time lucky!  This isn’t just based on blind optimism, but the fact that I only need six units for a whole army!  Of course this will expand when I make it to the required minimum, but it is being able to reach a playable army size relatively quickly that will ensure I don’t give up and move on too quickly.

Here are my first 2 elements, some Perry Plastic light infantry for my 1er Legere:

This was an interesting painting project.  First of all, I had given some of these guys a white undercoat, and some a black undercoat.  The white undercoat figures were definitely more labour intensive, but my original plan had been for them to be part of a Ligne battalion with white trousers, so I thought that white would be a sensible base coat.  I used the dip only after I had painted everything, and then went back over some of the white areas (the officer’s trousers) as a highlight.  This worked quite well.  But my thoughts for the future are to use neither black nor white and to go with a grey undercoat.  This is the technique suggested in the rulebook, and I think that it is worth a try.

For the first time ever I decided that I would not paint eyes on the figures.  A close up is below.  I don’t think I have lost anything really:

I painted these chaps in the last week as a bit of a trial run, but previously I had managed to finish half a French battalion for the War of Spanish Succession.  This is the Regiment Tourville, because my daughter liked this flag better than the other options I gave her:

The flag is made out of a piece of an old sheet, and the paint stiffened it enough for it to have a slight fold.

As much as I like these figures, the Marlburian project is on the backburner until the initial Napoleonics are finished.  I also have to finish off my last two units for my Flames of War Soviet army, and then I will do a photo essay blog entry on the whole host.  Then into my US FoW army, and slowly my modern Brits and Taliban for Force on Force.  The latter will be a total immersion project where I paint the figures, terrain and play the game hard out to get a grip on the rules, so in a couple of months time when school holidays are here it will probably be ready.  But for now, here is my first almost completed 15mm Command Decision WMIK:

In the mean time I’ve been rewatching Ross Kemp, reading War by Sebastian Junger and have 3 Para ready for when that is finished.  I have to say that I’m looking forward to this one immensely.  Looks like 2012 will be the year of Waterloo and Afghanistan.


OK, so I bought it…

With the half price sale on at the moment and the recommendation of my mate Scott, I went ahead and bought a copy of Warhammer Waterloo.  I thought the rules might be good to convert for Marlburians and in any case, that it would be pretty.  I was right on both counts!  I really like the gist of the rules, the fact that they will play well with just a few units, and they seem easily convertible for earlier periods.  It is astonishingly pretty.  I would not hesitate to call it the most beautifully presented wargaming rulebook of all time.  Everything is laid out in a (to me) sensible order, the photos of games being played and the full colour diagrams make it a joy to leaf through.

My largest beef with Black Powder is that I didn’t think they worked well for playing out the table-top teasers and wargames scenarios of Charles Grant because the command and control system didn’t suit only having a few units.  Warhammer Waterloo will be perfect for playing out teasers – from smaller scale games of only two or three units a side to a dozen a side – with ease.

Of course, this all comes with a warning. Under absolutely no circumstances should a Wargames Butterfly not currently intending on embarking upon a Napoleonic project go anywhere near this book!  Keep away, whatever you do!  I now have hithertofore unplanned boxes of British and French Perry plastic infantry on their way from Caliver Books along with some artillery for both sides from Old Glory 25s.

I hope plastic mountains have the same life-giving powers as lead mountains.





Testing out some Napoleonic rules at the Irregulars

The last games night was on the 12th August, and consisted of the small turnout of Paul, John, Jordan and myself.  Paul and Jordan decided to play a 2500 point Late War clash between Brits and Germans, just so Paul could get all of his beloved big cats on the table (not really all – it would have to be 10,000 points for that to happen).  John and I decided to test out my recently updated take on the Irregular’s Napoleonic house rules.

We had a small game, 8 battalions of infantry and 2 cavalry regiments with one battery a side.  John took the French and I took the British.  The game cracked along at a fair old pace and it was looking likely that we would be finished before the others had completed deployment.  Then, things went wrong…

Above: intention cards down the French right advances upon the British lines.

On my right John had occupies a town, and I just didn’t have the troops to evict him from it.  On reflection the terrain was too big for the size of the game.

Above: French troops occupy the town.

Above: The British realise that any assault is pretty much a foregone conclusion.

On my left I ended up without adequate support for my infantry, who had to form square.  When I sent my cavalry over as support they were enfiladed by artillery and driven back.  I had not deployed in any preconceived plan, and too late it dawned on me that I was not going to capture any of the objectives.  Now it was a case of going on the defensive and hoping to inflict more casualties on the French than they did on me in an effort to cause a stalemate.  This also did not go to plan.

Above: The French bear down on the left of the British lines.

The battle then devolved into a slugging match as John whittled down my troops.  They kept passing morale, to the point where even at half strength they were still hanging in there.  On reflection I had not made provision for accelerated collapse one 1/3 of a unit was removed from play.  The game went on and on, and only finished ten minutes before Jordan and Paul at 1.00am.  Unbelievable.

Paul slapped Jordan silly, but having said that Jordan had never played with any army other than Germans before.  Halfway through the battle with his tanks providing large amounts of smoke from their burning engines, Paul suggested that Jordan could fire smoke to even up the playing field a bit.  Of course, their wasn’t much left to actually fire the smoke by that stage – real sporting, Paul!

Above: Jordan’s artillery support… ‘you mean they can fire smoke?’

Above: Big Cats and burning Shermans.  Story of the night…

Above: Schwimmwagens are just cool.

Above: Paul’s love of modelling is quite extraordinary.  His objective marker of repairing Wittman’s Tiger is simply fantastic in its attention to detail.

So 2-0 for Continentals vs British.  A sad day for the Tommies all round.

As for Napoleonic rules, I’ve ordered the new ruleset Napoleon at War.  If what I’ve read is to be believed they are exactly what we are looking for – the Flames of War version of Napoleonics with simple and fun mechanics but good historical results.  I have no doubt that the Napoleon at War crew are aiming to do for Napoleonics what FoW has done for WW2, and I’m hoping that they succeed.  It would be great to have some Napoleonic tournaments with a dozen or more players involved using a ruleset that wasn’t so intricate it made my nose bleed.

I’m tempted by the 1815 range of French and British (and Prussians) that they offer, but I’ll finish building my ‘Napoleon in Italy 1796-7’ armies around these rules first.  If the rules turn out to be a flop I can just keep them based the same way and use Black Powder.



1815 and all that

Looking to the future, the Perry’s have just revealed plans to produce plastic Prussian infantry for 1815 .  I simply won’t be able to resist an 1815 project. At the moment I’m thinking 4 battalions of British, 4 battalions of Prussians and 8 battalions of French, with several cavalry units. I’m not sure what size to make the units. The 18s that I’ve used for the Marlburians look too small. I want the figures double-ranked, because I like the look. But 36 figures times that many battalions feels like too big a mission (remember my butterfly-like nature that cannot be tamed).  I’m wondering about a compromise with 24 figure battalions.  As the project won’t have to be complete until 2015 there is plenty of time to buy, build and paint. I have a large 28mm 30Years War project in the wings first, which could be a couple of years in the completing, not to mention finishing Mordred’s 1500 point WAB army and a Soviet FoW army.  So I’m asking you, good reader, to help me out with this poll.

By the way, the rules will be Black Powder, but it will be for a 4′ x 8′ table.

Next Regiments

As promised, I managed to finish another Marlburian unit. This is the Regiment Picardie, the senior line regiment in the French army. I thought that it would be a bit boring to paint with all that grey, but on the contrary I really enjoyed it.  Marlburians are really a joy to paint – I love seeing them come to life under the brush.

Regiment Picardie

And here is a close-up of the drummer. I really like how the livery turned out.

Picardie closeup

Not content with finishing the required regiment on time, I have also managed to sneak in a Demi-Brigade of French Revolutionary infantry. These are also Lancashire Games figures, but closer to true 15mm.

18e Ligne (2)

Yes, it is yet ANOTHER period. These were very easy to paint as well. I think it is just the whole 15mm thing being so different from 28mm in terms of painting time. The plan is to do about 11 French battalions and the same of Austrians. I’m thinking Bonaparte in Italy 1796, and basing the armies on the orders of battle for Arcole. If the project flies (and like the Marlburian one, I’m pretty sure that it will), I might even get some Prussians in there too.

And in the true spirit of Anglo-French friendship, here is a photo just for the hell of it:


‘Tirez les premiers Monsieurs les Anglais’ (OK it is a little early for Fontenoy, but it is a great quote!)

Yes, for the eagle eyed amongst you, I have rebased the English. It doesn’t matter what size your bases are for the Rank and File rules, and this system gives me the flexibility of using Beneath the Lily Banners or Principles of War, or even Shako.

I’ve also decided to amputate the command system from Warmaster and sew it on to rank and File. I think the two will complement each other superbly.

Next: Churchill’s Foot for Marlburian, due 26th July.