Thursday 10 September 2015


So its Colours on Saturday. The return of a show that was previously two days long but has dropped the Sunday. I suspect that this is the way to go having experienced the grave yard atmosphere of Triples earlier in the year.

Not much done over the last week due to work and family commitments. We did get a game of PBI in at the club on Friday. No pictures, but Dave N and Dr Fear playing PzGrens took on myself and Jase H playing the U.S. Apart from myself no one had played it before but being veteran gamers all three players got into the spirit of the thing. Unfortunately for Jase and I, it was a disaster as the Germans strolled on table and steamrollered the US defending a small town somewhere in Northern France. We were all but wiped out with very few German losses. Really enjoyed it though despite being somewhat rusty with the rules.

Our club is a smorgasbord of genres, scales, periods and rules sets. Epic 40k is big at the moment. Battleground WW2 is popular. To Defy a King is being played by Dave S and the crew in one room to refight Edgehill in glorious 28mm. A home grown set of rules for Sengoku era Japan is being used in another room. We have Flames of War going on downstairs. Role playing going on in the room next to ours. Our room has played probably over a dozen sets of rules this year alone. Hence when I come to put on a Peter Pig game, I tend to be a bit rusty on the rules. Not sure what I'm putting on next, but whatever it is I'm sure I'll be scratching my head to remember how things work.

Its a funny old hobby in that way. Golf or chess are the same (pretty much) the world over. But wargaming has never reached a point where there is one set of rules to rule them all. I guess WRG came closest but that was really only for ancients with the various editions of culminating in the DB'x' series. With wargaming you can go from a game with virtually no written rules at all as in 'Kriegspiel' style games, to the ironically titled 'Newbury Fast Play Napoleonics' with pages of factors and modifiers for every aspect of the game. We have had a trend for 'back of a postcard' rule sets. Irregular Miniatures still produce their rules boxes on this theme. We have coffee table style books that look great but for some have questionable content ala Black Powder. We have sets of rules produced on a dining room table, photocopied and then stapled together. And of course my own favourite, the RFCM stable of rules which evolve and grow over the years. In between there are dozens of other styles and formats. There is even a website chock full of free wargames rules seen here

Long may it continue. I think its great that there is so much variety out there. One things for sure, theres something for everybody if you look hard enough.

Friday 28 August 2015

Here is a picture of Peter Pig's Polish lancers from the First World War.

It's rather nice.

Thursday 27 August 2015

Dice Trays and Dakotas

A quick trip to Hobbycraft last week saw me pick up two plastic trays that I used my years of modelling and hobby experience to turn into two handy dice trays. A very useful little item to prevent your best figures being bombed by dice. Warning though, don't try to copy these unless you're an experienced modeller.

We are just back from a few days camping with friends, one of whom is an ex British Airways pilot who back in the day worked for Air Atlantique. They had in their small fleet Dakota DC3's in which he would transport rare items around Europe or do a bit of environmental work spraying oil slicks at a height of 20'.

Our campsite was close to RAF Cosford Museum and so on the way home we paid a visit. It was fascinating listening to him talk about flying and aircraft in general. He was extremely pleased to see this Dakota on display. Nostalgia hit home and he regaled me with many stories of his time flying one.

Cosford is well worth a visit if you're in the area, details here.

I have had a day at home alone today and so I have knuckled down and painted a load of ECW. Counting cavalry as two pieces, I have painted 102 figures to be exact whilst listening to the excellent Dan Carlin's 'Blueprint for Armageddon' series which can be found on his Hardcore History podcast. If you're interested take a look here. It is a series of 6 podcasts covering the entire First World War and clocks in at what must be over 18 hours of listening. I finished it off todasy and it is well worth a listen.

Off to play tennis now, but more soon...

Sunday 16 August 2015

Men of Company B and Regiment of Foote

Barry E came over for a game of Men of Company B (MOCB) last week. I reckon we first played a Vietnam game together 20 years ago using the old Peter Pig rules 'Search and Destroy'. Barry has recently purchased the Men of Coy B rules and has been busy working out forces for himself.

I have US Marines and VC that I painted up years ago. I also have 3 Hueys, a few M113's and a couple of M48 tanks. I really should get some regular NVA at some point. You only really need a handful of figures for MOCB but I have so many projects on the go as per usual, they are way down on the list of priorities.

The game went really well. It was set in my ficitional Vung Bac province, in early '67. We kept things simple with no off table supprot for the US. Barry had 3 platoons of foot slogging grunts out on a search and destroy mission. The village of Vung Bac was the target with word of VC sympathisers been located in the area. Typical fare I know but it added to the game!

Despite an early set back where a platoon was ambushed by a HMG followed by an interrogation of a group of peasants that went wrong, the mission was a great success. The US suffered no casualties and recovered a large amount of stores and caches. The small VC platoon was destroyed and effectiveness in the area has been greatly reduced for some time.

 Vung Bac province from a reconnaissance photo (hence the poor quality...) 

The unfortunate incident with the group of peasants.

The US cautiously approach the village.

Job done and time to call in the slicks.

MOCB is a game I really enjoy as its quick and bloody. The sneaky use of the VC also appeals although I didn't play them particularly well this time.

I spent Thursday and Friday in Weymouth with Martin at PP HQ playtesting the new Regiment of Foote. 5 games in all, including 3 siege games. Had a great time and managed ot pick up a few figures too. I also had a go at casting a few figures which was nice!

More soon...

Thursday 6 August 2015

Painting and a game!

Ade D came over for a days gaming yesterday. The plan was for some Warmachine in the morning followed by Piggie action in the afternoon. He arrived just after 10am and dice were rolling before 11. We played 35pts, Ade using his new Mortenabra Cryx army against a list I've wanted to try for a while using Captain Kara Sloan with all the guns. Things worked out well for me with two quick games ending in round 2 with Sloan shooting Mortenabra between the eyes on both occasions.

We then had lunch with an impromptu jam session, Ade on my Ukulele and me on guitar. The original plan was PBI to be followed by Hammerin Iron. Ade fancied HI first and so we set to with Ade playing the Union Admiral He neded up defending. This left me as the Reb admiral, attacking which can tend to be a tough gig. In the new Hammerin Iron (2011) players must buy a navy consisting of 6 ships AND a fort. If you attack you don't get use of the fort. If you defend you lose one ship from your fleet. I had three ships on at game start to Ades one, but from the start things went poorly as I couldn't catch his lone ship (the USS Signal) and by the time I was down river, Ade had a couple more ships on table, one of which was the Monitor. Without going into the gory detail, at the end of the game I had one ship left, the wooden clad General Sumter. I had barely scratched the Union fleet. Final points tally was 67 to Ade and 0 (ZERO!) to me.

 I have played many Peter Pig games over the years. I've lost more than I won. But I have never failed to score a single point! But it was a great game. Once refreshed on the rules the game went along at a fair old pace. It even got me looking at which ships are missing from my collection! 

The first picture shows the first turn with the USS Signal making a run for it from the oncoming Reb fleet.

 Early game action, with I think the General Bragg stuck on a sandbank and under fire from the Union fort.

Late game action. By this time the Tuscalloosa had been blown sky high with a boiler room exploded. My shore battery had been destroyed and most of my ships were battered.

I have used Army Painter dip for years. It has always given me the result I want and I must have painted thousands of Peter Pig figures with it. There are downsides. It costs around £18 per tin, it wrecks your brushes and it leaves your figures with a gloss finish meaning they need matt varnishing for the table. I still have several pots and will no doubt continue to use it. However I have been experimenting with Games Workshop washes, namely: Agrax Earhshade, Reikland Fleshade, Seraphim Sepia and Nuln oil. These are respectively a dark brown, reddish brown, light borwn and black wash. What is interesting is that they tend to sink into the recesses of the figure but don't overly stain the top surfaces similar to other acrylic based hobby inks/washes. I have been really pleased with the results and for the moment favour them over the Army Painter dip. They are water based for a start. Plus they dry in no time to a matt finish. The cost pro rata is probably similar to Army Painter but it doesn't feel so bad paying a couple of quid or so for a pot that will last some time.

Anyway, this afternoon, taking advantage of an empty house I cracked on and managed to paint 3 Regiments of Foote, 1 Regiment of Horse and some dragoons for my ongoing ECW project. I now have 15 Regiments of Foote, 8 Regiments of Horse plus guns and dragoons painted, but not based.

First picture is the dragoons. All of these figures were seen back in February having been sprayed in various base colours. These 6 dragoons were sprayed blue, had details painted on and then washed with Reikland Fleshade.

The afternoons work. I varied which wash to use based on the base colour. I think all of these were done using either Reikland Fleshade or Seraphim Sepia.

A closer look at a foote unit. These were actually sprayed white and then given various colours of coat, breeches and equipment to represent a hastily formed regiment. These were also washed with Reikland Fleshade.

I'm really pleased with the result. Its easy to go back with another wash or to touch up a colour that has darkened too much. I might even try a short tutorial with pictures to explain better how I go about things.

I also painted three STUG IIIG's which came with the Flames of War starter set that I picked up a while ago. Not sure why I bought it now, but I am making use of the vehicles. I followed the tutorial on YouTube and they look ok. No pictures I'm afraid.

I might get some time tomorrow afternoon for a bit mor painting. I'll try and get some more pictures up.

More soon...

Saturday 1 August 2015


A short update to cover the last 4 months or so.

Salute was a great day with several members of the Stoke club in attendance. I helped out a bit on the Peter Pig PBI  game along with Rob R and Tim C. I had a great time talking to Tim about various subjects and we both were of the opinion that you should always go for a kill rather than a pin in PBI!

I did speak briefly with a chap who claimed to be a fan of the blog (!!??), Steve I think. If you read this Steve, I'm so sorry I didn't get chance to talk to you about Regiment of Foote and yes, I should post more. Please email me at and we can swap notes on RoF.

Gaming wise I have managed a few games of PBI and 1 game of Longships. I have a game of Hammerin Iron lined up for Wednesday which I hope to report on. For the last 5 months of the year I aim to play at least 1 PP game per month. I hope to visit PP HQ later this month which should see a few games played. The Stoke club is in the middle of a Warmachine Journeyman League link that I am taking part in meaning it will have to be mid week games for a while.

I am just back from a trip to Germany via France and Belgium. We have friends who live in Morzheim in the Rhineland Palatinate and it was great to see them and other friends too. I love our trips to Germany but always find myself wondering what the places we visit were like 70 years ago. For one meal, Nicole, one of our hosts, had invited her grandparents to join us. Her grandfather was born in 1931 and I would love to speak with him about his early life and experiences, but his English and my German make it difficult! I am planning on taking some German courses over the next year, so maybe on our next trip there.

On our return on Wednesday, I had the urge to paint figures for the first time in an age and so have made progress on my ECW, I have painted all of the artillery crews, the dead markers plus a regiment of foote and one of horse. I am going to really try to push on to get these finished in the near future. This is alongside the ACW, AWI and Wars of the Roses. I have no shortage of figures to keep me busy.

As if I didn't have enough, I am going to take advantage of discount offer from PP for frequent customers. I always said that when the late war French WW1 range was released I would buy an army, so I have made a list and they will shortly join the leadpile.

No shows to report on. I plan to visit a show later in the year, Colours, Warfare or SELWG. I'm not sure which one yet. There has been a drastic reduction in the amount of shows I attend. I think I've managed 3 this year with Alumwell, Salute and Triples. Triples I can do with out. This year I went on the Sunday and it was dead with no atmosphere and very little trade going on from what I could see. I seem to recall there is talk of a change of venue for next year. I do wonder whether the days of 2 day shows is over. I'm not sure there is the appetite for them anymore. I maybe wrong but that's my feeling.

OK, enough for now. Lets see if I can post a few more times before the end of the year!

More soon....

Saturday 14 March 2015

Alumwell and more.

I reckon that I have been attending the Alumwell show for 25 years this year. Of course back in the day it was in Walsall at what I think was the Alumwell school. Several years ago it moved venues to the Aldersey sports centre in Wolverhampton but is still referred to as Alumwell as it is the same club running the show. 

Following the move I did fear for the shows suvival but it has gone from strength to strength each year. It remains a firm favourite for Stoke club members to attend and its always great to catch up with familiar faces like Jeff, Mark, Barry and Jon. I had my usual preorder in with Peter Pig, bits to round out the ECW stuff plus the beginnings of the rebuilding of my Wars of the Roses collection. I also stocked up on basetex, got a good little military biography of Cromwell and bought some more dead for my US and German PBI armies.

After chatting with Jon we arranged a long over due game at my house and so on Tuesday he came round for a run through of PBI. We played 2 platoons onto 1 with just infantry to get the mechanisms sorted and finished with a recreation of the film 'Fury' with 3 Sherman M4/75's up against a Tiger 1. The Tiger managed to destroy one of the Shermans before receiving an immobilisation result from a rear shot before the Sherman on the road in the above picture made a daring run upto the Tiger and achieving a second immobilisation hitting the Tiger in the side from close range. 2 immobilisations in PBI means a destroyed tank. So a slightly better result than in the film!

I am making a few scenery bits for both PBI and Longships at the moment. I love the S&A scenics hills and templates that Simon makes especially for Longships, link here but I have always tried to make my own scenery. I am attempting to copy the style of hills S&A produce. They retail at £8 for 2 which is pretty good value but I have all the supplies needed for my own so I can save myself a few pounds making them myself. Here is one of the hills waiting for texturing. They cover an area of roughly 12"x 6". They will be covered in sand, painted brown and drybrushed before static grass is added. The rules require a designation between a gentle and a rough hill which I will use a more gravelly texture to denote the rough hills.

Back to Alumwell. Here we see Martin taking a couple of new recruits through PBI. The new demo board is lovely, built on the same basis as a paste table so that it hinges in the middle to fold up for carrying.

This is I think the Battle of the Marne using Kallistra figures and their Hexon terrain. At various times I love the Hexon terrain and then cant get past the obtrusive hexes. The figures are lovely though and their WW1 rules, Raging Empires use a hex based movement and shooting system not dissimilar to Square Bashing.

With my current ECW kick this large 28mm ECW game grabbed my attention. Lovely figures, lovely teddy bear fur terrain. I took lots of pictures of the units to use as reference for painting my Piggie figures.

 1214 Battle of Bouvine by the Society of Ancients events team, which seems to consist of Phil Steele. Lovely looking game but I have no idea what, where or who this battle was about.  Want to know? Look here.

Obligatory shot of the hall. I had a great day, playing on the PBI demo game, perusing the traders and bring and buy and chatting with Martin, Stewart and Nigel for long periods.

Next up will be Salute, helping out on the PBI demo game. Paiting continues with the ECW, ACW and AWI all getting a look in. The main push is ECW though. More soon...

Thursday 26 February 2015

I am the resurrection and I am the light.

Odd that although I am probably more Parliamentarian than Royalist in my real life leanings, I always tend to favour the under dogs in a wargaming setting. Hence my Royalist preference when gaming the English Civil War. None of this puritanical nonsense for me. give me feathers in hats and Christmas any day of the week.

Anyway, having sold off bits of several armies over the last couple of years due to lack of use, I have had a change of opinion and am now recollecting all that I sold. Whether they get used or not is now immaterial. I actually enjoy working out what I need, collecting and painting the figures. And if I get a game in with them once in a while all the better.

So a a return to the English Civil War. Peter Pig are working on a new edition of the Regiment of Foote rules, but based on the mechanics from Square Bashing. Sound odd? Well, having play tested it last week, it works really well. Foot regiments are 3 bases, of between 10 and 12 figures depending on your taste. Horse are 6 figures. This first picture is the first regiment of the new collection under way. It is based on a London Trained Band regiment as fought at 1st Newbury . My armies will be ficticious however with an Imagi-Nation feel to it. Sir Fleming Nadger, Hugo Meynell MP and Lord Marmaduke Smythe are three characters that will feature in a slow grow campaign. But enough of that for now...

Last year I purchased early war Royalist and Parliamentarian armies intending to get them painted up for the old Regiment of Foote rules. The figures I have fit the new rules very nicely. I have enough for 12 foot, 8 horse, 2 dragoons and 3 guns for the Royalists and 9 foot, 8 horse, 2 dragoons and 3 guns for Parliament. I intend to get enough for 3 more regiments of foot plus some extra cavalry and a couple of more guns each from Alumwell.

I have started with a very disciplined approach to the new armies. They will be painted in my tried and tested base coat and dip method. I have sorted all the figures I have into units and decided on coat colours for the foot for both armies. I then sprayed them up using Army Painter spray paint. All of the horse have received a brown base coat as have the gun crews. The guns themselves have been sprayed black.
 The horse were given brown basecoats because a) it gives me a head start on painting the horses and b) the troopers will be wearing buffcoats in the main. One niggle for me is to paint them as sleeved or sleeveless coats. I'm certain I read years ago that the sleeveless buffcoat was a myth, but recent reading suggests sleeveless coats were worn. It will certainly make the horse regiments look more colourful. I'll most likely paint some with sleeves and others without.
 Below is the foot I have sprayed up this afternoon. Red and blue were predominant colours during the wars. Looking at the below I have realised I have forgotten to do a a purple unit, ala Lord Brookes.. Probably because I dont own any purple spray. I'll amend this with a purchase at Alumwell.
Painting at full tilt, I reckon I could get through 2 units in a session. But with other projects on the go, I dont suppose this project will hit the table before the summer. I'll see how I go. I am really tempted to get a Covenanter army too, but will resist until these are done.

The beauty of doing all the prep work this afternoon for this lot is that any time I want to paint a unit up, they are all ready to go with no messing about.

OK, I'm off to watch another episode of 'By the Sword Divided' on YouTube.

More soon...

Sunday 22 February 2015

Time for reflection and a tidy up.

Last year saw an unprecedented amount of visits to the Stoke club thanks to a work project that enabled me to work more sociable hours. Unfortunately that has finished now and I'm back to shifts that have already impacted on my hobby time, with one fleeting visit to the club this year.

My interests have waxed and waned with me flitting between Warmachine, a little bit of piggie activity and some side ways glances at 6mm projects for War of the Spanish Succession and ACW. I dont think I have picked a brush up since November, but that will be changing, possibly today.

I made an impromptu visit to Piggie HQ as we were down that way visiting Lisa's cousin. Playtesting is under way on the updated version of Regiment of Foote (RoF), the ECW rules. They are changing quite radically to a square based system using SquareBashing as the base. I played two games, against Ralph A and Rob R and enjoyed them immensley. They are fast, furious and feel pretty accurate with horse regiments clashing and likely to be more interested in baggage raiding than anything else.

My ECW armies went the way of the 'bay early last year but I have two new armies to replace them that will be built around RoF. Whats left of this month and March will be ECW month with a flurry of brush activity then playtesting which I can hopefully rope Ade D and Keith K into at some point. I am also going to look at coming up with scenarios similar to those found in Bloody Barons and Civil War Battles. I made a start on some a few years ago for the old rules, so I'll be digging the bits out I did for those at some point.

There is a definate swing back to Piggie activity for me. At long last the late war French are under way from Peter Pig. See them here. I am strongly tempted to get the Passchendale game sorted for Alumwell next year. I'll see how long my interest can be maintained for that little long promised project.

Speaking of Alumwell, that is only two weeks away and I'm really looking forward to it. I'll be mainly hovering around the Peter Pig stall probably helping out on the PBI demo game. I'd better refresh my memory of how that works.

Ok, enough for now. I need to do a bit of tidying up on the blog. some new links to be added and a couple deleted to reflect my current interests.

More soon...