Tuesday 22 March 2011

On that note...

Havoing played on this set up, this is my idea of how a good fun club night can look!


I think I worry too much about how my games look. On the one hand I want simple functional terrain. On the other I want a master piece that looks like those in the magazines and at the top shows. I think I will always end up tinkering and seeking the ideal, yet always falling short of what I am aiming for.

Currently I use a Games Workshop grass mat with Terra Firma Studios roads, felt templates for towns woods and fields and trees from various sources. The grass mat is nice but is to my eye just too 'green', if you know what I mean. The uniformity of the green isn't very realistic, but short of a custom made set up, you have to put up with it.

Differnent people have different needs from scenary. With the resurgence in 'Old School' wargaming this set up from Phil Olley reflects a bygone era with boards painted green and not much more effort.
And then there is the other extreme, with this custom built set up for a 'Tet Offensive' Vietnam game. Beautiful but beyond most people for a club night game and not much use for fighting Napoleonics on.
So I have set out to tart up my scenary whilst keeping it functional. Now Peter Pig rules use a template system to represent dense terrain that causes problems for troops entering. Woods, buildings, marsh and the like are represented by either felt or wooden shapes around 8"x5" onto which trees and houses are placed which can be moved aside when troops enter them. Felt and the like are ok but thrown onto the table as they are they can be a tad plain. My templates are a combination of felt and pieces of the GW grass mat left over from cutting it down to 6'x3' which is the table size for most RFCM games. This afternoon I tried out a test piece by adding dabs of brown and green paint, sand and various flocks and foliage. This example is a bit over done as I was experimenting with various techniques but I think it looks rather good. The reds and yellows are from a pack I bought from Timecast scenary and are intended to represent wild flowers. I hope to use it to brighten up my Samurai army bases. This could be a wood template or an area of rough ground.

Encouraged I moved onto the mat itself. Although not the best angle, I have added areas of darker static grass, brown paint and flock and sand in places to break up the uniform look to the mat. I am really pleased with how it has turned out and intend to do some hills in a similar style, along with a load more templates.

I also have a GW mat cut down to 4'x4' for PBI which will be tarted up in due course. At some point I intend to build a custom board for a Marston Moor game, but for now for club night games these fit the bill nicely!

More soon....

Monday 21 March 2011

Cleaning Up

Just going through old posts and adding labels and improving the spelling here and there. I can spell, honest, its just my typing isn't great!

Feeling somewhat rejuvenated on the blog front, I shall look to improve the post and photo count. But then again I've said that before!

I now have nearly enough figures for a proper game of Washingtons Army so watch out for a report soon.

Sunday 20 March 2011

Wilson Miniatures

Just to highlight the new link to Wilson Miniatures. I have seen there stuff before but at the Alumwell show I ordered some shanty buildings for my AK47 collection.

They are really great buildings for a very reasonable price. They also provide a painting service which I may get around to using sometime. Anyway check out their stuff in the link section, you wont be disappointed!

A bit of Kipling.....

George Hughes, an ex member of Stoke Wargames Club used to liven up the evening with a bit of Kipling. He was a great raconteur and could have the group in stitches. On numerous trips to Ypres he would set the scene standing in a wet field bringing history alive with his descriptions.

I doubt we'll see him down the club again, that era seems to have passed now and a new generations of gamers are leading the club forward. For me he was a member from the halcyon days, fighting the great battles of the Civil War. I've spoken about this before, but occasionally nostalgia strikes me and I yearn for those days with Jeff, George, Geoff, Mark, Tim, Tom, Barry, Colin, John and of course Martyn who died last year.

Life back then seemed less complicated. I was a student and had little money but managed to buy my first few figures and start painting. I bought and read every book on the ACW I could get my hands on. Wargames magazines were read cover to cover within hours of purchase. This was of course pre-internet days when you only found out about new releases once a month in the mags and at shows you got to.

Anyway, a bit of Kipling in honour of George...

'Fuzzy Wuzzy'

We've fought with many men acrost the seas,
An' some of 'em was brave an' some was not:
The Paythan an' the Zulu an' Burmese;
But the Fuzzy was the finest o' the lot.
We never got a ha'porth's change of 'im:
'E squatted in the scrub an' 'ocked our 'orses,
'E cut our sentries up at Sua~kim~,
An' 'e played the cat an' banjo with our forces.
So 'ere's ~to~ you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your 'ome in the Soudan;
You're a pore benighted 'eathen but a first-class fightin' man;
We gives you your certificate, an' if you want it signed
We'll come an' 'ave a romp with you whenever you're inclined.

We took our chanst among the Khyber 'ills,
The Boers knocked us silly at a mile,
The Burman give us Irriwaddy chills,
An' a Zulu ~impi~ dished us up in style:
But all we ever got from such as they
Was pop to what the Fuzzy made us swaller;
We 'eld our bloomin' own, the papers say,
But man for man the Fuzzy knocked us 'oller.
Then 'ere's ~to~ you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, an' the missis and the kid;
Our orders was to break you, an' of course we went an' did.
We sloshed you with Martinis, an' it wasn't 'ardly fair;
But for all the odds agin' you, Fuzzy-Wuz, you broke the square.

'E 'asn't got no papers of 'is own,
'E 'asn't got no medals nor rewards,
So we must certify the skill 'e's shown
In usin' of 'is long two-'anded swords:
When 'e's 'oppin' in an' out among the bush
With 'is coffin-'eaded shield an' shovel-spear,
An 'appy day with Fuzzy on the rush
Will last an 'ealthy Tommy for a year.
So 'ere's ~to~ you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, an' your friends which are no more,
If we 'adn't lost some messmates we would 'elp you to deplore;
But give an' take's the gospel, an' we'll call the bargain fair,
For if you 'ave lost more than us, you crumpled up the square!

'E rushes at the smoke when we let drive,
An', before we know, 'e's 'ackin' at our 'ead;
'E's all 'ot sand an' ginger when alive,
An' 'e's generally shammin' when 'e's dead.
'E's a daisy, 'e's a ducky, 'e's a lamb!
'E's a injia-rubber idiot on the spree,
'E's the on'y thing that doesn't give a damn
For a Regiment o' British Infantree!
So 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your 'ome in the Soudan;
You're a pore benighted 'eathen but a first-class fightin' man;
An' 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, with your 'ayrick 'ead of 'air --
You big black boundin' beggar -- for you broke a British square!

Saturday 19 March 2011

Spring Skirmish Report

I drove down to sunny Yeovil today as Lisa had taken Ava out with her mum leaving me at a lose end. 3 1/2 hours later I arrived and found the hall buzzing with activity.

Although there were only 4 traders (including Peter Pig), their was a couple of decent demo games plus a Flames of War competition.


This is Gustaphus Adolfus (sp?) himself. Very nicely painted. He was part of a large Thirty Years War game using Fields of Glory Renaissance.
This was the table. I'm sorry to say I didn't get the chaps name who spoke to me so enthusiastically about it, but hopefully I will catch up with him at Fisticuffs. I did recognise Paul from the Weymouth club. The battle was a ficitonal encounter with lots of action on the flanks between the cavalry.
Nice scenary too.

Here is a 'Very British Civil War' game. The premise if you dont know is base on Edward not abdicating in the 30's and a rise in support for the fascist movement throughout the country who are the opposed by various socialist factions.
Again lovely figures, vehicles and nice terrain, including a senotaph with poppy wreaths and a messenger on roller skates.

Washingtons Army being played out with me and Stewart taking on Martin and Nigel. We played three games over the day. This was the last one and Nigel aand Martin had no luck at all in forcing away the American defenders.
This gamette is a great introduction to the rules. With experienced players this small action can be played out in less than half an hour with frantic action and spur of the moment decisions.

This was an earlier game where Martin teamed up with Ralph Ashdown, ome of the organisers of the day. I think Stewart and myself won this one too!

So a nice day. I picked up a couple of ships for Hammerin Iron plus some more green dice from Peter Pig as I am told there aren't many left and as soon as they are gone Julie will get some red ones in! Lee from STaB was there too with his trade stand so I picked up an Army Painter spray in Greenskin Green, hopefully to be used for a revitalised AK47 Reloaded army using the spray, detail, dip method.
I headed off at around 2.30pm having had a look at the competition tables. Flames of War clearly has its fans but wall to wall tanks on a 6'x4' just isn't my thing. Still some nice models on display and everyone seemed to be enjoying the cut and thrust of battle.
Got home at around 6.15pm after a quick stop at Bristol. Thoroughly enjoyed myself, but possibly a bit too far to travel in one day when driving myself there and back. With a passenger or two it wouldn't be so bad, or else arranging a stop over for the night.
Roll on Salute!

Friday 18 March 2011

Spring Skirmish

All being well I will head down to Yeovil for the day to Spring Skirmish held in Yeovil, details at


A handful of traders, but to be honest I will go just to socialise with some of the guys down there. Better than working I suppose. I will probably purchase a couple of bits. Possibly a 3rd platoon for my late war US PBI army as recommended by Kevan Gunn some time ago.

Getting quite fired up by thoughts of future projects and continuation of some old ones. I am really looking forward to getting Square Bashing going in readiness for the new rules. The early war French were redone a short time ago and look lovely...

Full squarebashing range can be found here: http://www.peterpig.co.uk/range16.htm

I will endeavour to remember my camera tomorrow and will try to post a proper show report. Being a small one it will be a good place to start! Salute is next and I will hopsefully be helping out on the Peter Pig game so some good pictures coming from that.

Currently I am involved in a North Africa 1942 game at the club, somewhere near Gazzala. I am playing the Hun with some light armour. There are 7 or 8 players involved and has lasted for two weeks. All 15mm stuff played using the Battlefront rules which are based on the old Fire and Fury system. Enjoying it alot but due to shifts will be missing tonight. This is a good example of why I prefer RFCM games which are over in an evening, leaving plenty of time for hobby chat.

If its still on next week I shall resume my command but who knows what situation my stuff will be in for me to extricate them from!

Finally another picture of the AK47 Reloaded participation game at Salute a couple of years ago. Nice stuff!

More soon.....

Tuesday 15 March 2011

WMMMS 2011

Had a great day down at Alumwell. Lots of Stoke Wargames Group there to chat with and share the day. Of course Peter Pig were there with Martin, Nigel and Stewart in attendance. I took part in two Washingtons Army games winning both. Possibly a record!

At last years show I put on Towton but was somewhat put down by a couple of guys telling me how great their version of Towton would be this year. Well there are several pictures around the web and as you can see it is impressive indeed. Very nice scenary, lots of 28mm figures and a good depiction of snow (although my picture is before the snow was added!).
Now this indeed was a lovely display to look at and drew a large crowd all day. But, similar to the Blenhiem game at Warfare a couple of years ago, it wasn't a wargame. Troops were only moved occasionaly throughout the day to show the course of the battle. No dice were rolled and everyone looked very serious. Compared to my version the visual impact of the 28mm game left my efforts in the shade. But at least people watching last year saw dice being rolled figures being moved and the players enjoying themselves. Far more representative of my idea of what can be achieved at a club level.
It was suggested I say to the members of the club presenting their display that it needed more snow and would look even better in 15mm but I resisted the temptation!
My purchases were Hessians for AWI, cowboys for Hey You in the Jail plus a couple of books - The Road to Marston Moor, Birdsong and the 13th Valley, a Vietnam novel.
In other news, I am gutted to be missing John B's stag do in Ypres in April due to being unable to get the leave. I will console myself with a visit to Salute. After that is Fisticuffs followed by the annual PBI bash in Bournemouth on 21st May and a possible Battle Day in June down in Weymouth. So a busy few months.
More soon....

Wednesday 9 March 2011


Well I am painting. Halfway through some AWI Indians, militia and also a limber for my CWB Rebs.
I am at Alumwell on Sunday and have an order for Hessians and cowboys placed and have vowed I must paint some figures by the end of the week to at least make a dent in the pile beofre I collect my new order.
Excited that there is an AK47 Reloaded event planned for September as well as STaB's annual PBI and CWB days listed for May and September respectfully. Hope to get to at least two of these.
I've added the picture of Martin demoing Washingtons Army just for the sake of adding a picture as I cant seem to get into gear to take pictures of my own stuff.
I am seriousley thinking of doing some ebaying in the next few weeks, mainly my Games Workshop stuff for which any sort of passion has drained away altogether. It will add some serious funds for hobby purchases, but not sure what I want to spend it on. The next two releases from Peter Pig are Hammerin Iron and Squarebashing. They are two classic games from the RFCM stable, both of which I have figures for. There maybe the odd purchase here and there to fill gaps, but nothing too onerous on the finances. Cowboys is a small expenditure project as will be pirates when I eventually get around to them.
So what period will be on the cards for next year? I suspect Peter Pig will have a complete new range on the cards for 2012, but I have no idea what. If I was asked to speculate how about the following half dozen periods:
1. US Mexican War
2. Further Colonial (maybe big battle Sudan)
3. Ancients (doubtful)
4. Crimean (also doubtful)
5. Maximillian Adventure
6. Sci Fi (possibility as Martin said he wanted to have another go at this following the sale of the old range)
7. Revisit of Hey you in the Jail?
Ok thats seven. I'll check back in 12 months time on this post to see if my powers of foresight are anywhere near the mark!
more soon...