Friday 24 December 2010

The Last Post

Likely for this year...

Well a bit of an up and down year personally and wargaming wise. Not near as much wargaming but understandable in the circunmstances. Via the joy that is the Smart Phone, I have managed to keep abreast of what has been going on in the industry and on the various forums across the net. But actual painting and gaming has been what might be termed as a 'fail'.

January and February and this past month have seen some productivity with AWI being the main theme. Peter Pig have now around 65 packs in the range and now includes Hessians. Somewhat impatiently, unable to resist some Friekorps 15 Dragoons, I have now painted a unit of 17th Dragoons for my British and the 3rd Conitnental Dragoons for the Yankees. Should Peter Pig release some then they will be replaced. I do have the Peter Pig Dragoons in Tarleton helmet which will be painted as British Legion and 4th Continental in due course.

Recentley released are Continental Line wearing hats. These will be painted as 2nd New Hampshire for the Yankees but I will also paint a unit of Loyalists, probably in a green coat. I'll probably end up with more units than fought in the real thing, but at least I'll have plenty of choice.

I'll end now. If chance I'll put up a full review of 2010 and list some hopeful plans for 2011.

More soon...

Thursday 9 December 2010


Yes I am painting again. Sorted out the painting station. I have made the ground breaking decision that all the paints I use most frequesntley will be stored together in a small box so I dont have to scrabble around each session and waste valuable time.

I must have around 200 pots of paint, maybe more. But of those, I use half a dozen on most figures I paint. Black, white, leather brown (Cote d' Arms colour)almost all browns, chainmail, flesh and buff. At the moment I am painting AWI, so reds and blues are also in the mix. The blue is GW's Ultramarine blue which I am using for Continental's. I use the same blue for my ACW Union, which when coated with Army Painter Dark Shade, comes out just right. Years ago I would agonise over getting the right shade of blues or reds or similar. Now, so long as it comes somewhere close I really dont mind. The red I use is I think called scarlet red from Vallejo. Using the Army Painter means I need a bright red otherwise it gets lost under the dark shade.

My mojo is definately returning. I am currently crossing my fingers that a new project may be coming my way at the end of the week. I wont say anymore until the deal is done. I am also thinking of getting the table set up and playing a few solo games just to keep me ticking over until the new year when I may get to the club or play some mid week games.

The AWI range at Peter Pig has grown nicely over the last few months with more Militia types as well as ragged continentals and now the Hessians! Trenton anyone?

Peter Pig are currently in the midst of playtesting a new version of Squarebashing which Martin has graciousley involved me in despite my lack of time to contribute to. Intriguingly listed as the game for Salute is Hammerin' Iron. At Warfare speaking to Nigel he let slip that a revision of Hammerin' Iron was in the works. So, its looking promising for the new year. I've also been having hankerings for Pieces of Eight action.

Went to see the new Harry Potter the other day. Very good, but quite dark and gritty in places. And, as I am only on book 4, the story is a bit lost on me. But recommended nonetheless.

Next some pictures coming as once again I promise to increase the photographic content of the blog.

More soon...........

Saturday 27 November 2010


Well with one thing and another, wargaming has taken a back seat. Ava is now 11 weeks old and doing well, though full of cold at the moment. Sleep deprivation hit a few weeks ago now and myself and Lisa seem to run on one notch above exhausted most of the time.

With the news of Martyns death on Monday, coming on top of other bad news in the family and work being more hectic than ever I have struggled to find the time or motivation for anything other than the occasional browse on the internet. I did get down to Warfare last weekend and had a short chat with Nigel and Julie on the Peter Pig stand. I picked up a couple of packs of the Tatty Continentals and some of the Rebs in Civilian hats. Not sure when they'll see a paint brush though. It was a very enjoyable day, with John B drinving us down giving us chance to catch up on each others news and discuss wargaming ad infinitum. Once there we met up with Keith and Ade. It was great being with good friends for a few hours sharing each others company.

I was VERY close to cracking and investing in TSS terrain tiles for my home set up. I resisted mainly due to the fact in 5 months at the new house I have played 1 game (**cough** warhammer **cough**). But I am still considering it. Storage is an issue but with a dedicated room it is less of a problem.

Some light at the end of the tunnel though. We are getting into the semblance of a routine with Ava in bed from 8pm and typically waking around midnight. Lisa is usually too pooped to stay awake past 9pm. So I am looking at 9pm-11pm as a window of opportunity for some 'hobby' time.

I did manage half an hour or so this afternoon but I am just not organised in my new painting space. I am in the middle of painting markers for Washingtons Army and was looking at adding white straps/ haversacks to the figures. Unfortunatley it took 10 minutes to find my white paint and then a few more to find a decent brush which dampened my enthusiasm some what!

I was due down in Weymouth this weekend but with Martyns death and other matters on my mind I couldn't face the 4 hour drive. A real shame as I love the battle days Stewart Meecham puts on and Martin is always happy to accomadate me for the night. Hopefully come the first one next year I will be raring to go and in a better frame of mind.

The Stoke Wargames group held its AGM a couple of weeks ago. To be honest with the policy of paying a yearly sub of £150 with no weekly payment option I was seriousley considering leaving. The amount was really the issue (though it is a lot of money). It is the fact that with my shifts and now Ava in our lives, 1 or 2 visits a month would be the norm. With an absolute maximum of 24 visits costing me £150.00, I feel the money could be better spent elsewhere.

So, when it was agreed to up the cost to £160.00 due to falling membership I was even more doubtful I would be renewing. Then the option of £5.00 a week was mooted for occasional visitors, which i would class myself as. John B later suggested £40 up front for 12 visits which appeals even more. So I will remian a member of the club and feel I am getting some value for my money.

Hopefully I may be able to post up some more content on here over the coming months now I feel some of my mojo returning. Fingers crossed.

More soon...

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Martyn Smith RIP

A really difficult post for me to type. Martyn Smith shown above on the right shaking hnads with Keith, passed away last night after a long battle with cancer.

I know that all Stoke Wargames Club members both past and present are tonight thinking of Martyn and the good times they shared with him. I have mentioned him before in this blog. Martyn was a constant friend and wargaming companion over the last 20 years. We travelled the length and breadth of the country with him visiting shows (often getting lost along the way). The games at his house either in his garage or dining room were legendary. He had a propensity for buying and painting armies and then selling them to fund a new period. His knowledge of militairy history was vast and you could always rely on him having the answer for some obscure fact whether it be on Ancient campaigns or German tanks. And everything inbetween.

To my knoweldge he never spoke badly of anyone and I know for a fact everyone who met him found him to be a genuine, friendly, funny character and a pleasure to be around. Countless are the times when standing around a table we have been doubled up with laughter, unable to speak with tears running down our faces. He was a genuinely nice bloke.

He wasn't bad at wargaming either. He earned the nickname 'Six Smith' for his uncanny ability with a D6. He won the inaugural club Warhammer tournament in splendid style using a Vampire Counts army to thrash the previousley all conquering Lizardmen army in the final. We always knew things were going well when he would gaze at the table, rubbing his his hands together so fast he could make fire. Personally I lost far more games against him than I won, but each one was memorable and I shall always cherish my memories of each encounter.

We last gamed together at Mark Whites house on 4th August 2010, playing on the same side in a 15mm Napoleonic thrash (Martyns favourite word for a good game) up against Tim and Baz. It was like rolling back the years to my first time at the club.

Martyn can be seen below in the middle, on form as usual.

Well, I've so much to say, but I am unable to do justice to it at the moment.
Rest in peace old lad.

Monday 20 September 2010

Sculpting miniatures

My first attempt at sculpting is a bit bigger than 15mm. This is Ava Georgia Grace Clark was born by elective cesarian section on 7th September 2010 at 11:09. She weighed in at 7lb 9oz. Mother and baby doing well, dad is knackered.

Wargaming is taking a bit of a back seat understandably for a bit. I'm still snatching the odd painting session but actual gaming will be limited.
On 5th September I helped run the Washingtons Army participation game at Partizan with Martin Goddard. I had a great day introducing the game to new players including 3 from my neck of the woods, Rod Paul and Dave, who seemed to enjoy their game. I also picked up a load more AWI figures from Peter Pig which should keep me going until Christmas. Of course any new releases that arrvive will be snapped up in due course.
This year has been a bust one with a house move, change in role at work and now baby. All ontop of turning 40. The blog has suffered as a result. I will try and update periodically but I dont expect much content to be added for the foreseable future.
More at a later date!

Friday 20 August 2010

Baby on board

Around three weeks until D-Day. Unfortunately at a scan yesterday we discovered baby is breech. We go into hospital on Monday to see if it can be turned using a technique called 'External Cephalic Version'. If it works Lisa can go through natural childbirth, if not she will have an elective caesarian, probably on 6th September.

Exciting times. And I turn 40 on Wednesday. Mmmmm.

Take a deep breath and ......... relax.

Martin Goddard - You Tube star

Martin talks about Washingtons Army rules.

Battles in the Age of Weymouth

In late July a merry band of wargamers met in a church hall in Weymouth to recreate battles from the Sengoku period.

For once I wasn't the furthest travelled. That went to Kevan Gunn seen here in the yellow.

This is a picture of my attack on Chris Cunninghams Daimyo sitting pretty in his Maku. Chris cleverly put his large mounted Hatomoto unit in front of me which was akin to a brick wall.

Not sure whose playing here but it looks like a good game!

An overview of the hall.

A nice picture of a game in progress on Peter Pigs lovely scenary board. This gives you a good idea of how a game looks.

Stewart in the red 'Levellers' shirt organised the day. For the second year running, he won. It's all down to the Ikko Ikki. Stewart is trying to look humble. Martin is still in shock from my diabolical tactics when he partnered me in the last game.

The Band of Brothers

A great days gaming which Lisa and myself turned into a weekend staying in a picturesque village of Piddletrenthide.

Stewart organised a great day with no hitches and lots of smiles and laughs. Looking forward to the next one.

Thursday 29 July 2010

Still Here

House move done.

Wargames room, known locally as 'The Office', sorted.

Episode of food poisoning now recovered from.

Nursery nearing completion.

Baby only a few weeks away.

Just back from a round country trip. Weymouth for Samurai battle day. Bristol for a night out. Luckington to see Lisa's cousin Martin and his wife Vicks. Barmouth Wales for a few days with my family. Home.

I think that covers the last few months since the last post. Not much wargaming, either painting or playing. But with everything else going on no surprise there. No presssure this year to hit targets or beat last years total. Get some in as and when and relax.

Missed C.O.W. due to aforementioned food poisoning. Cross fingers for next year now. But with bambino that may need adding to the agenda for the next round of negotiations with Lisa.

Plodding on with AWI painting having picked up some of the new figures from Peter Pig whilst down in Weymouth. Also spurred on to paint figures for Squarebashing for which playtesting is about to start in earnest. Whilst in Barmouth soaking up the grey skies I read Norman Stones 'Workd War One, a short history'. Very digestable account of the war in its entirety with some interesting points on the eastern front.

Thats all for now, but a full report of the Samuria day will follow.

More soon...

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Ups and downs

Living as we do in a small terraced cottage has its advantages. In the morning we open the curtains and look out across fields, in which as I sit and type are half a dozen horses grazing away. We are in an ideal location, with a village cricket ground next door to us and woods behind. But it does come with its downside.

If I want to spray paint or varnish my figures it usually takes some planning as I have to wait for warmish weather and then dash out to my garage which is behind our house or else do it in the rear yard as I have just done. I normally wait until I have a tray full of figures to do rather than on a unit by unit basis. Unfortunately whilst doing so this evening I left the back door open and the resultant odour drifted into the house. Much to the dismay of Lisa who is now nearly 19 weeks gone with our first child. Fortunately she has gone out for a 'horsey meeting' at the local, leaving me with the windows open hoping the smell will be gone by the time she returns.

We are on the verge of a house move to a considerably larger property with attached double garage. Negotiations are at a critical phase over which bedroom in the house will be the study (read wargames room) and which will be bambinos nursery. Unfortunately the fields woods and cricket club will be replaced by other similar properties on what the estate agents choose to call an 'executive development'. Exciting times but it does mean that I need to take advantage of what time I have free as it will be in short supply come late summer/early autumn.

I am continuing to add to the AWI collection with a unit of American Light Infantry on the block next whilst tidying up a few bits a pieces across my other collections. The Sudan is calling to me at the moment for some attention.

More soon...

Wednesday 14 April 2010

Imaginations and AK47

There is a current trend across the internet to create 'Imagi-nations' based typically around fictional 18th century nations as a basis for table top battles. These harken back to the like of Charles Grant and Peter Young and encouraged building units of 40 or 50 individually based figures almost in a toy soldier style. Of course back in the mid 90's when the first version of AK47 came out you were encouraged to create your own country, giving it a name, a flag and a name for the army such as the Freedom Party for Democracy and Truth. Very much in the 'Imagi-nation' theme. In fact there were tables on which you rolled dice to come up with original names and flag designs, going as far as to encourage you to get your crayons out to draw your new flag. This theme continue in AK47 Reloaded.

Spurred on by the excellent AK Day last weekend, I feel like creating my own Modern Africa 'Imagi-Nation'. I know of only one dedicated blog on a similar theme, set in the ficitional country of Bongolesia. I may create a seperate blog, or just put the occasional post on here. I'll use it to link some games of AK and explore my creative side, whilst hopefully not crossing any boundaries of taste and decency.

More soon...

Sunday 11 April 2010

Weymouth Battle Day

Ralph Ashdown with his trophy. Well done Ralph!

Friday saw me travelling down to the south coast for the Peter Pig Battle Day in Weymouth. AK47 Reloaded was the order of the day. Martin at Peter Pig had kindly agreed to put me up for the night and take me down to the 'Levellers' club night for a warm up game.

On arrival Martin greeted me and we settled down to some wargames chat, before the arrival of Rob Roriston for some tea with the rest of the Goddard family, Julie, Rachel and Grace. Following this we took the short drive to the club where two games of Reloaded were played to blow away any cobwebs. Myself and Martin took on Paul and Lee. Having performed poorly in the pregame we found ourselves with very few on table forces, but managed to hold on to the objectives somehow and won the game despite Lee's attack helicopters causing havoc for Martins armour.

We left our stuff at the club ready for the following day where battle would commence in the Church next door. It was again back to Martins for more shooting the breeze over a cup of tea. I also got to look at a pre-release copy of Washingtons Army. Unlike recent RFCM rules they will be spiral bound which I think is a good idea for the longevity of the book. It was then bed with a 7.30 alarm call, breakfast and then back down the road to the Church.

The Peter Pig Battle Days are organised by Stewart Meecham in Weymouth or Miles Milton in Bournemouth. Both have a similar passion to me for friendly games where there is no emphasis on crushing your opponent , just a fun few hours rolling dice and pushing around toy soldiers.

Although only a handful of us were there, it didn't matter a jot. For me so long as I play a couple or three games, preferably against different opponents in the right spirit, it doesn't matter whether 6 or 60 turn up. In fact the more people that turn up, the more stress for the organiser!

Anyway some pretty pictures of the games.

A nice day had by all. I came 6th which is some kind of record for me. I think my first top ten finish in one of these things!

Ralph was a deserved winner even if he did shoot my militia in the back as they were running away! We had a great game in the true spirit of RFCM games. My game against Miles was much closer and could of gone either way. Miles will tell you he won 39 points to 35, but the book say it was a stalemate and I'm sticking with that! Again played in a spirit, just how it should be.

We had a lovely dinner too, fish and chips for me. I think with less chatting and more urgency we could have fitted three games in but, in hindsight, two was enough and allowed me to get on the road early enough to get home around 8pm. So well done to Ralph for winning and Stewart for organising and the Goddard family for putting me up. Certainly as long as these events are run I will support them.

Sunday 4 April 2010

Easter Sunday

Having considered the comments about my Towton game from Alumwell, I may just run participation games in the future. I feel the demands of a demo game maybe beyond the time and efforts I am able to put into them. I stand by the game I put on, and feel it looked good as a club style game (ie a game you might expect to see on any given club night). It was a solo effort with all figures and terrain by me. I admire clubs that can put on demos with 1000+ 28mm figures on beautifully sculpted terrain. But such efforts are beyond most and for newcomers at their first show these games must seem baffling much like the Blenheim game at Warfare back in November.

Next Saturday sees me in Weymouth for the AK47 day run by Stuart Meecham. As I am travelling down on the Friday I am also booked in for a game at the Levellers club in Weymouth. I am busily preparing a few bits and pieces to take with me.

This site has been around for a while but Warflag really is very good. I have used it for my burgeoning AWI armies, and intend to make it my first stop from now on.

So many plans at the moment with little time. We have sold our house but the house we were buying has fell through so we may be facing a short time with Lisa's parents. With impending fatherhood too, I can see my work/life balance changing somewhat! Still, upwards and onwards.

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Out in October and set during the American War of Independance. Cornwell has clearly jumped onto the bandwagon with the forthcoming release of of Peter Pigs Washingtons Army rules and the anticipated upsurge in interest in the period!

Sunday 21 March 2010

After Show report (WMMMS)

Had a great day down at the West Midlands Militairy Modelling Show in Wolverhampton today. I took my 'Towton' game down which uses the Bloody Barons scenario. Drew some nice comments from Martin and Stewart at Peter Pig and some kind members of the public. However my first effort at engaging someone who appeared to be interested fell flat. When asked if he played Bloody Barons, his reply of 'Hate them' caught me off guard. He was clearly unimpressed with my 600 odd 15mm figures on a 5x3 table. At next years show he is putting on Towton with 1400 28mm figures on a 12x6 table, using Poleaxed by the Lance and Longbow society. Clearly a superior form of wargaming!

John B, Tom B, Ben and Jon fought out my version of the battle and a good time with many laughs was had by all. Some very poor dice rolling led to John swapping to the brand new green Peter Pig dice which saw a change in fortunes for the Yorkists as they did very well with Edward and Norfolks command against the Lancastrians, but less well with Fauconberg. Tom B did well with the Lancastrians in the centre under Somerset and pushed onto the hill held by York (helped by Ben charging off the hill into him!). Young Jon showed excellent dice rolling skills in making numerous saves agaisnt the odds using Nevilles command.

Running a demo game does help stop the spending, as I had little time to trawl the stands. The Osprey on Philadelphia 1777 was a good buy at £5. A few of the new American Light infantry from Peter Pig to add to my preorder plus the new green dice meant I spent less than £30. Not too bad I think!

In the rush to get to the show I forgot the camera but will trawl the web as I know several picutres were taken and I will be playing the game out at home at some point so will put some pictures up then.

More soon....

Tuesday 16 March 2010

American War of Independance range

The Peter Pig AWI range continues to grow.

Pictures up of the American Light Infantry, dismounted Dragoons and the Hunting shirt firing. All lovely figures. AND Militia command and advancing! Maybe I wont need too much from Freikorps afterall! Hopefully Tricorne British wont be far away, for those early northern battles. Having said that, I have enough to paint as it is!

West Midlands Militairy Modelling Show

WMMMS is this weekend. I am putting on Towton using Bloody Barons. My reading on the battle has opened my eyes somewhat. Why is it no one knows about Towton?

The following was written a few years ago by Martin Kettle of the Guardian.

For some years, until it grew too yellow and curled, I had a New Yorker cartoon taped to my fridge door. In the cartoon, a middle-aged man and a middle-aged woman are conversing at a cocktail party. The woman is asking: "One question. If this is the information age, how come nobody knows anything?"

In Britain, people of that generation make remarks of that kind quite a lot in August. While the school system belches forth the latest A-Level and GCSE results, the usual suspects queue up to say the usual things from their respective viewpoints. The pupils say they are thrilled, the teachers that they are vindicated, education ministers that the system works, and the Daily Telegraph that civilisation is at an end. Amid this annual ritual you can be sure that someone will also say that, while kids today are schooled to pass exams, they lack the broad education and general knowledge that we, their parents, once enjoyed.

My instinct is that a bit of caution is in order before we regurgitate too readily the idea that we of the older generation know so much and our children know so little. I say this partly because I'm often struck by the amount my children know that I don't - and partly because, with the obvious exception of Nicole Kidman, we're none of us perfect anyway.

A group of us, all intelligent, well-educated and middle-aged, were sitting around the table just the other day when I mentioned a fact I am always surprised is so little-known. And guess what? None of the rest of the group knew anything about it either. This week I asked a few colleagues at random what this thing meant to them. Once again, I drew a blank.

So here is my question. What does the word Towton mean to you? If you have the answer, as lots of you will, I'm glad, because you should. Yet if you don't, you are in very good company. It nevertheless says something about us as a nation that you are far more likely not to know anything about Towton than to know instantly what it is.

And here is the answer. Towton is a village about 10 miles south-west of York. It owes what fame it has to the fact that it was once the scene of a battle. But this was not just any battle. At the battle of Towton, more English people were killed than on any other day ever. And by ever I mean - ever.

It is often said that the bloodiest day in our history was July 1 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, when 19,200 soldiers went over the top and were mown down by German guns. As a result, the Somme has become synonymous with the frightful, mindless slaughter of a whole generation of young British men. It traumatised the survivors so much that they barely spoke of it. But it hangs over our country still, nearly a century later. Merely to think of it can make one weep.

Yet Towton was bloodier than the Somme. When night fell on March 29 1461 - it was Palm Sunday, and much of the battle took place in a snowstorm - the Yorkist and Lancastrian dead numbered more than 20,000. It should be said that the figures are much disputed and rise to as many as 28,000 in some accounts, and there were countless wounded besides.

Now remember two other things while you absorb that. First, that while the population of Britain in 1916 was more than 40 million, that of England in 1461 was considerably less than 4 million, so the proportionate impact on the country must have been seismic. One in every hundred Englishmen died at Towton. Its impact must have been a bit like an English Hiroshima.

And, second, that, this being 1461, not a shot was fired. This was not industrial killing from a distance. Every Englishman who died at Towton was pierced by arrows, stabbed, bludgeoned or crushed by another Englishman. As a scene of hand-to-hand human brutality on a mass scale, Towton has absolutely no equal in our history. It was our very own day of wrath.

Towton is not a secret. It is in the books and on the maps. If you visit, there is a memorial. The same river which was so packed with corpses that men fled across them from one bank to the other still runs through it. If you study the Wars of the Roses, you learn it was a decisive Yorkist victory. If you go online you can discover some of the detective work done by the University of Bradford on mutilated skeletons exhumed from some of Towton's mass graves. And if you go to a performance of Henry VI Part 3, you will see that the national poet himself set potent scenes at Towton, where, in the thick of battle, a father finds he has killed his son and a son that he has killed his father, and where the watching and hapless Lancastrian king wishes himself among the dead - "For what is in this world but grief and woe?"

Yet, though not a secret, Towton is largely now forgotten. It carries none of the civic weight that Gettysburg does in America. Of course, Towton was all much longer ago, though more distant Hastings is still recalled well enough. Perhaps the dynastic cause in which Towton was fought is simply too obscure, though plenty of people today can recall roughly what the much later internecine battle at nearby Marston Moor was about.

Towton undoubtedly meant something to Shakespeare and his audiences. He uses it to warn against the great fear of all Tudors, the catastrophe of civil strife. We have no fear of civil war today. Such things belong to the past, where they did things differently. And yet ... Might something other than the fact that it all happened a long time ago partly explain our sustained expunging of Towton from the national memory?

Perhaps Towton is simply too brutal, too senseless and thus too traumatic to acknowledge today. I wonder whether Towton denial is even something we inherit in our DNA, an experience we do not want to confront because its intensity and slaughter do not fit with our island story, our national self-esteem and our enduring need for meaning and optimism. Yet when I think about the mindless killings of our own times, whether at home in the streets of Liverpool or abroad in the bombing of distant cities and villages, it seems clear that something of the savage spirit of Towton still lives on within us, even today - and that we should know about it.

Which sums things up nicely!

All figures for the game are Peter Pig of course, on a nice snowy sheet. Hopefully get a few turns in on the day and still have time for a bit of shopping. Following Sunday its full steam ahead on American War of Independance. Playtesting on Washingtons Army is all but finished and I await the final product with anticipation .There are some great scenarios in the book too. I am supplementing Peter Pig figures with Friekorps pending the release of the PP's full range. They will likely be replaced in time.

More soon...

Saturday 27 February 2010

Hedgeley Moor

The Battle of Hedgeley Moor took place in April 1464 and was one of the smaller battles of the Wars of the Roses, with just over 6000 men slugging it out. It followed a long period of peace following the Towton campaign. Lord Montagu was sent north by Edward IV to make contact with Scottish supporters at Newcastle. At Hedgeley Moor he met a rebel force under the Duke of Somerset. Morale was low in the Lancastrian camp. It was an untried force that had only just come togethr from stragglers and those recentley pardoned by the King. As Montagu advanced, Lord Roos withdrew from the field with his men. The rest of the Lancastrians stood for a while but as contact was made, their cnetre also buckled and ran leaving Sir Ralph Percy standing. He was on home soil and saw a heroic last stand with Percy being cut down. The Yorkists continued on their way unopposed until a firther clash less than a month later at Hexham.

John B came over to Chez Sean for a game on Wednesday. It was our first game of Bloody Barons together. Having played other RFCM games, the mechanisms soon became familiar and we had a right Royal ding dong. John in the guise of Montague really played a blinder and true to history swept away the Lancastrian forces under Roos and Somerset. Although Percy survived by the end of the battle he was cut off from any line of retreat and in reality would in all probablitiy have been captured.

Montagu behind his command at the sentre of the Yorkist line.
The Yorkists prepare for slaughter on the moor.

Facing the rather nervous Lancastrians with Roos closest to the camera.

Percy's command facing Lord Scrope on the Yorkist right.

John chose the yellow dice this time after having bad memories of the orange dice during a game of CWB. Not sure how this happened after one particular roll of about 10 dice. Had to take a picture though. Its evil magic I tell you. We need to find a witch to burn!

A shaky picture of Montagus command looking pretty confident.

The end. Percy is to the right of the wood with Monatgu about to fall on his rear. It looks bad for old Percy. Bottom right shows the Yorkist command under the Bishop of Exeter who swept Roos and most of Somersets command from the field.

We had a good game and a good laugh with some nice digestives to accompany the tea.
Last night we replayed the battle with young Jon, young Ben and Matt from the club with John B swapping sides. John played a blinder again and reversed history attacking forcefully with Percy and holding the line with Roos (commanded by Ben). Roos' command did eventually succumb but the rest of the Yorkist forces took a real battering.
We did find one frustrating aspect of the rules. Matt had a unit of Household fighting one of Johns retinue. John had the better of it after a couple of drawn combats, eventually whittling the Household down to 1 base which happened to be the Captain, which always saves on a 2+. Johns unit had 7 bases left, but the lone captain fought on for 3 turns, which seemed a little unrealistic. In this battle the figure scale was roughly 1:15, with one base of figures representing 40-45 men. So in effect we had 40-45 men holding off around 300. The rules say nothing about such situations and indeed there are factors for 1-2 base units. Admittedly saving rolls were passed, but with luck (ie not failing the 2+ save) this could have gone on for some time. We felt that after a turn of fighting, weight of numbers would crush the few men left in this situation.
There are two remedies as I see. When it comes to morale tests for 2 bases, you could increase the morale factor to 3D6 instead of the 1D6 it is now. The justification is that things are really bas at this point! At one base, morale is immaterial as if they pass their save they cant lose the combat which is then classed as draw.
Secondly (which I think we shall implement), if a a unit is reduced to one base, it is removed, being classed as having being swept away. A captain base is allowed one turn of fighting, so may take an enemy base with him, but at the conclusion he is also cut down. Justification for this can be found elsewhere in the rules where gun crew are destroyed on being contacted. Also a single base unit is not allowed to start a fight. I think this makes alot of sense as it seemed a tad silly having a lone base holding up a massive horde on is own.
As a counter point a bit further over a levy unit despite losing a combat three turns in succesion and having to roll 7-8 dice each time, managed to survive its morale tests very much against the odds. I have no problem with this, as the unit was being whittled down, but was clearly made of stern stuff and was determined to see the thing through! Of course on getting down to 1 base, we advocate removing.
Lisa is now away skiing for a week, and though I am at work all week, I shall be making use of the free time to paint lots of AWI.
More soon!

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Terrain company

Interesting that I consider myself well up on all things wargames product related, mainly thanks to the Miniatures Page. Came across this today which I have never seen before and I am particularly impressed by the flexible roads. If budgeting allows an order maybe forthcoming. Check them out at:

Peter Pigs new American War of Independance

Linky to the Peter Pig AWI range:-

This range is coming along nicely with new British Line firing, Generals and Artillery crew along with Dragoons.

An order will be placed for collection at Alumwell. I would order now but I am putting the final touches to the Towton game and I have the Indians and some British Line in hats picked up at York ready to be painted. This is signs of a more reserved purchasing structure for me. No point adding to the upainted pile until I am at least some way down those already bought.

The rules are coming along nicely, titles 'Washingtons Army'. They are very good!

Militairy Prints

With an interest in American Militiary history, Don Troiani has always held an appeal with myself. His pictures full of vitality, action and colour putting you at the heart of the action. His uniform depictions are also spot on and a great source of inspiration.

Here is 'Barksdales Charge, always one of my favourites.

'Bunker Hill'. A spirit of defiance in the eyes of the Patriots. One wonders what they are looking at?

Dale Gallons work is also up there but not quite as good as Troiani in my eyes.

Mark Churms' Bosworth

Samurai by Brian Palmer.

Often these prints offer painting inspiration and I would encourage those in a painting rut to use Google Images to stir them out of the doldrums and get a brush in their hand.

Friday 12 February 2010


Well the York show has come and gone. I shouldn't have gone really as I was still suffering from 'man flu' and felt thoroughly miserable all day and ended up leaving just before 2pm. If it wasn't for my preorder with Peter Pig I think I may have stayed in bed.

I also picked up a few bits from Irregular Miniatures, including a peasant on a mule! From the Lance and Longbow Society I got the Towton booklet which is a nice little red and from S&A scenics I got a white felt cloth for my Towton game.

I have now painted up all but the last few stands for Towton and plan on some trial runs for the guys who may be playing on the day. I have ummed and aaahed over how to represent snow on the bases of the figures. I didn't want a permanent snow effect as only Towton was fought during a raging snow storm. Salt is the answer as it gives a nice light covering of the base but comes off with a gentle shake.

The S&A cloth will have some areas of exposed earth/meadow sprayed on and the roads will be painted on. The opposing ridges will be represented by polystyrene beneath the cloth. The woods will be the plastic armatures from Woodlands scenics to represent leafless trees. Should all look very chilly. Pictures of a test run will be forthcoming.

More soon...

Saturday 6 February 2010

York Show

Tomorrow sees my annual trip across country to York. This is one of the best shows in the year. It certainly has come a long way since its days in the Merchant Guild Hall in the city centre which was always a bit dark and cramped.

A small preorder is in with my favourite 'porcine' figure manufacturer for the last few bits for Bloody Barons (for now!) and also a few more bits to keep the AWI collection ticking over. The Washingtons Ware rules are really getting me going. As you can see to the right handside of this page, I am reading 'Patriot Battles' at the moment which was recommended last weekend. It was written in 2007 by Michael Stephenson, an American hisotrian so I am expecting some bias, but so far it is a great read.

I didn't know for instance that Washington thought so little of his militia troops, whom history and the media have 'romanticised' as seen in 'The Patriot.' Also the reluctance of the population to take up arms and the spiralling bounties that various states were willing to pay to encourage the men away from their farms ($10 in 1776, upto $800 in 1778 in one example).

The numbers of troops Washington had available fluctuated wildly from campaign to campaign, falling s low as 6-7,000 and rising to no more than 35,000 at any one time. Stephenson claims numbers have in the past being greatly inflated, 95,000 in some sources, but his research seems plausible.

He also says that the British army was not the battle hardened force sometimes claimed, with most veterans of the French Indian War out of service by the time hositlities got under way in 1775.

Some interesting and challenging points of view. I am awaiting 'Almost a Miracle' which was recommended by Kevin Fischer last weekend too. The order is with Amazon as we speak.

I am suffering with a stinking head cold at the time of writing, but I am finding some solace in painting a few buildings picked up last year. Old English and Japanese mainly plus some walls and other bits. Nothing too taxing as concentration is lacking. Missed club last night more to save others from my germs than anything else.

Hopefully fell better comethe morning.

Saturday 30 January 2010

Washngtons Army

Washingtons Army is the new American War of Independance rules from Peter Pig, currently in the latter stages of playtest. I have just returned from a great day down in Yeovil where we played a couple of games, chatted about the games and period and had a good time generally.

It helps that everyone was fairly familiar with the RFCM (Rules for the Common Man) ethos of gaming, putting the emphasis on the game and not the war. Once again I forgot my camera but with permission of those concerned I shall scavenge a couple of pictures where I can.

On the drive home I had plenty of time to contemplate the RFCM style of wargaming compared to others that I have experienced and seen. Now, wargaming is a broad church and in my eyes there is no right or wrong. What I enjoy from a game may not be the same as the next man. Even within those who enjoy RFCM games, we all get something different out of the experience.

I now that 'Trebbian' wrote an article some time ago in the wargames press describing the different sort of gamer you might meet down at your local club, from the rules lawyer to the historian to the uber geek. The type of gamer is directly related to the style of gaming you see. My club for instance, which is in reality a collection of rooms in which no two games are similar is a perfect example.

There is a strong Games Workshop element of players (amongst which I have and do participate). The style of game in their room is invariably 2000-2250pts of Warhammer 7th edition, or 1500pts or so of Warhammer 40K . Blood Bowl is the current flavour with a thriving league running. Nice tables and scenary contemplate some very nicely painted armies. On the whole everyone has a good laugh and playes in the right spirit, but there has been the odd outburst or tantrum thrown due to bad luck/bad dice/powerful army lists that conquer all. Thats no criticism, its just how the playing style has evolved with a competitive edge adopted from the odd tournament the players have entered over the years. Occasionally there has the truly spectacular large game put on (thanks to the efforts of Keith and Ade) which are a real break from the norm.

A big game of Warhammer a couple of years ago.

But move down the corridor and you will find Charles, Pete and the gang playing various games but with a strong leaning towards 'Wargods of Aegyptus', another fantasy game with an ancient Eygptian flavour. Now Charles in one of the most enthusiastic gamers at the club and puts on a good game, but he will be the first to admit the aesthetic appeal is occasionally lacking. But this is more than made up for in the amount of fun they all seem to have and they are always willing to shoot the breeze about what they are upto.

Charles Wargods game at a show a while back

In Johns room, you will at the moment find them playing mostly boardgames, but when he gets time, John will put on a massive Napoleonic thrash. 12x6 table, lovely terrain, professionally painted figures of which there are usually several thousand, played out using computer moderated rules. Great games and great spectacle but they do take some commitment from the players to attend week in week out as the games can last 3 or so months.
Dave and Jason in the next room over play a variety of periods in a variety of scales ranging from ancients through to ACW. Good standard club games, as are Phil, Alan et al in the last room, playing in their favourite periods.
It is unusal for any members to move rooms apart from the occasional game here and there and I guess that is due to the members enjoying what they do with similar minded members. Each to their own.
If you spend any time on forums or at wargames shows, it is a similar story. For some it is the beauty of the game with nothing but 28mm figures painted with several layers of highlight and shading. Others enjoy the WRG/FOG style competitions with felt on painted tabletops
FOG in action, I think at Britcon.
The Perry Miniatures Sudan game from 4 or 5 years ago.
For some wargaming is a more intellectual hobby, with the Wargames Development types dedicating themselves to rules writing and innovative mechanics or styles of game somewhat out of left field. Occasionally using figures too!
Some people call themselves wargamers but are in fact miliairy modellers who paint figures to an incredible level of detail.
Some people spend their hobby time of wargaming forums, either in discussion over apsects of the hobby, or else lurking to see what everyone else is talking about!.
My thoughts are there is room for us all. Forums do annoy me sometimes when people post things like " 'xxx' rules for 'yyy' period are rubbish because I think they do this wrong" or whatever. They rarley qualify this with "In my opinion", but state it as fact. Mmmm.
OK if you dont agree a particular mechanic, or approach, fine. Dont play them, or else write some ammendment to make them how you think they should be. Or, write your own. But to dismiss a rules set out of hand is bad manners. In my opinion.
But I guess its a free world and we have freedom of expression so who am I to dictate?
Whatever your flavour of this great hobby, enjoy!

Saturday 16 January 2010

Not much

happening wargames wise. Post Christmas lull, with a spot of house hunting. Which if it comes off will see me the proud owner of a dedicated wargames room.


Lost the last one with 12x6 table, patio doors and double radiator. Which was rather careless. But, I wouldn't take it back now for all the tea in China. I live now in a small cottage in the countryside with fields all around. Idyllic, but only two bedrooms, so the dining room table is my current warzone. If it happens, it happens. If not...meh. Nothing lost.

I have beeen tidying up my Samurai and Wars of the Roses stuff and prepping a few more bits and pieces here and there, including finishing the Maku screens which are nice. Just wondering what if anything I need from Vapnartak which has crept up rather swiftly. Probably a few scenic items from Hovels for the Samurai. Maybe the last two foot units for Wars of the Roses and maybe some horse.

There is alot of discussion going on over at the RFCM Yahoogroup and not all Char B chat. Some of it gets a bit too serious with the occasional post making me think 'what am I doing wasting my time here when I could be painting figures'. I may just go back to the occasional lurk now and then.

Went to the club last night and played some boardgames with John B, Stefan P and young Jon and Ben. A good time had by all. We played a Formula ? racing game, which i won, Risk, which I did terribly at and Lawless which I did pretty poorly in too. I am not much of a boardgamer to be honest, but it is a nice diversion now and then.

Sunday 3 January 2010

New Year

First post of 2010.

Hope you all had a great time over the holiday period. Personally it was very busy with work followed by catching up with family and friends, so not much time for wargaming or blogging. However my 2010 painting points are under way with a few Samurai Generals and a unit of AWI Yankees in Hunting shirts.

Wargaming plans for the new year are manifold. Possibly most looking forward to C.O.W. in July, but also the Towton game I will be putting on at the WMMMS show in Wolverhampton in March. AWI will feature heavily come April with Peter Pig releasing their Washingtons Arny rules and figure range. I have made a start with a couple of American units done and a British battalion on the stocks.

With 2155 painting points for the year, I have to say it has been the most productive year ever for me. That includes a lenghty hiatus over the summer during which I scratchbuilt an Imperial City for the clubs 40K players. I have doubts that I will hit that points total again, purely because I completed two large projects that had been sitting around for a while. Both the Wars of the Roses and the Samurai collections were figure intensive, and though I plan to add to them they are both at a point where I can play most of the scenarios in the Bloody Barons and Battles in the Age of War rule books.

ECW, AK47 and Sudan collections will be getting some attention with additions here and there.I didnt play as many games I would have liked but I hope to improve on that this year with more games at home and hopefully at the club too. I do hope to get at least one game in for each of the periods I play. Not too ambitious I think.

As well as the AWI, I will look to complete one other new project, either WW1 for which I have most of the figures (both early and late war) or else Wild West. Cowboys would only be a small project so I may be able to do both but wont punish myself if I dont!

Show wise I intend to get to the usual suspects. York in February, WMMMS in March, Triples in April, Partizan in May and September and Phalanx in June. COWS fills the gap in July. I most likely will miss Salute this year and may replace it with Fisticuffs in Weymouth. I also would like to get to a couple of Stuart Meechams RFCM days and Miles Miltons PBI. I need to be careful with my planning and hope some of these days fall on rest days otherwise I will be using a lot of annual leave up!

The big change for the blog will hopefully be more photographic content. I hope to photograph most of my collection over the year.

More soon!