Friday 2 December 2016

The Somme in Weymouth.

Last weekend I made my now annual trip down to Weymouth for the Peter Pig Weekend put on by Stewart M. Over the cause of the weekend I played 3 games of the new version of Men of Company B, 1 game of AK47, 1 game of Civil War Battles, 1 game of PBI, 2 games of Pieces of Eight and then put on my 1st Day of the Somme game.

Literally everything on the table had been bought and painted for this one game. A bit mad but I thoroughly enjoyed my time.

The trenches and some of the shellholes were all from the excellent Ironclad Miniatures. The cloth and other shellholes were from Magnetic Displays. I painted the cloth in various craft acrylics to resemble the battlefield on the first day. From relatively untouched at the British lines to greatly disturbed ground after the 7 days of bombardment around the German lines and the three villages. The trees were from Tablescape. The Hawthorne mine crater was an old GW crater with added bits of rubbish. The towns were a mix of some MDF ruins from an ebay seller. Other bits were from Ironclad. There is a ruined Peter Pig house just the other side of Thiepval wood.

Of course, all figures are from Peter Pig painted by myself. Most of the paint work was done in the last 4 weeks. Some of the Germans has been started over a year ago but never finished.

As I have said previously the game is heavily influenced by the scenario found at the excellent Storm of Steel blog . I extended it out to a 6' wide table and increased the sizes of the forces by roughly 50% of those used on the Storm of Steel blog. Mike H, Mike C and Mark took on the unenviable role of the British whilst Rob and Paul sat pretty in their trenches as the Germans. The forces were divided up amongst the players and before you knew it, it was 7.30am on that bright sunny morning on 1st July 1916.

The British were given the freedom to play the game out however they wanted. Their objectives were the 3 fortified villages of Serre, Beaumont Hamel and Thiepval as well as the Hawthorne mine crater. After an initial advance all along the line and suffering not inconsiderable losses from German guns and machine guns, the british line began to constrict on itself and probes continued on a narrower front. Beaumont Hamel and the Hawthorne crater became the focus of attention.

This shows the view from behind the British lines as an assault heads towards the Hawthorne crater.

Here is a view down the German frontline trenches from Serre. As can be seen, the German wire was intact. The first British troops have reached the wire but are subjected to artillery barrages and suffer heavy casualties.

A photograph from Serre across to the British lines. The devastation on the village is evident.

An aerial view of a British bombardment off the Hawthorne ridge. Although it looks impressive, few casualties were caused once the smoke had cleared. The Germans were clearly safe in their bunkers 40' underground!

A view back down the line from in front of Thiepval.

Another view from Thiepval towards the main area of fighting.

Several assaults had been beaten back by the Germans, but here we can see one of the few times the German trenches were overrun.

Although not really clear, the British attack has reached Beaumont Hamel. This was the high tide of the British advance. Bapaume was some way off.

Beaumont Hamel is at the centre of the picture and British units can be seen in front of it. Unfortunately the British just couldn't consolidate their gains and had the game continued they would have been froced back towards their starting positions.

The players.

It was a great game and well worth the effort. Les made the comment that the table demonstrated that you could make a good looking game that used squares for movement. I never doubted it to be honest. I do think its a bit of smoke and mirrors. Using the same paint to paint the trenches and the cloth helped to blend the trench pieces in. The same paint was used to base the figures. I did agonise for a day or so over whether to add flock to the figures bases and gave in in the end. The green certainly brightens up the base.

The game play itself was pretty smooth and I have to thank Rob Roriston for keeping things moving down his end of the table. Rob had a stinking cold but soldiered on regardless. Thanks Rob! All the players entered into the spirit of the game and there was no moaning at poor dice or bad luck. The British were always in for a tough game. Abwehrslacht, who runs the Storm of Steel blog, had a similar experience. And lets face it, it wouldn't have been much of a recreation if the British just steamrollered across the German lines.

I'll no doubt trot the game out down at the Stoke club in due course and maybe take it to a show. Here is a quick little video of some the gameplay towards the end of the game.

More soon...

Saturday 20 August 2016


So a testing time recently with a bout of viral meningitis for me a few weeks ago and now Ava has a displaced fracture of her ulna and radius following a gymnastics accident at Lilleshall.

In between the two above events, I have been away to France, Belgium and Germany taking in Ypres and Thiepval which was great. Its a few years since I've been to either place and it was inspiring.

Ava's injury threatens my attendance at Partizan, so any planned purchases will have to be mail order. Other than the Piggie weekender at the end of November that looks like it for wargames events for me for this year. Colours falls on the day of Ava's birthday party, SELWG falls when Lisa is working and Derby is too close to a work related exam. Warfare maybe a possibility but seeing as Peter Pig no longer attend I may not bother.

Rebasing of my Vietnam continues ready for the new version of Men of Company B. I have painted a load of AWI up and am at the stage of needing to place the next order. Spanish Civil War looks like getting some attention towards the end of the year as Martin is looking at revamping the rules around then.

And finally, my Somme project will need some more attention soon as the weekender creeps up on me. I'm having a bit of a crisis of confidence on the British as I have gone for a light khaki colour for their uniforms which is probably too light compared to the darker colour tending towards a light brown in real life. Not sure what I'm going to do about this...

The Somme boards are in a 'wait' phase at the moment as I do other bits but they will get done. I'm also looking at expanding my trenches from Ironclad Miniatures to cover a 6' table for the large games of Squarebashing. I'll also get enough for communication and support trenches and maybe a frontline trench for the opposition just so that they dont appear out of no where.

No pictures I'm afraid but just a quick update.

More soon....

Thursday 28 July 2016

Bit of a monster post to start...apologies!

Yesterday I thought I need to crack on with my Somme project and so finished painting the Germans. They are all done apart from basing and varnish. I could do with 2 more packs of dead and I need to do a HQ piece, but the rest are done.

Here is a unit using 16/149 - German Friekorps. Lovely figures!

The British were based and primed a few days ago. I've gone for a light brown/khaki colour (actually the Italian armour spray from Battelfront) which may not be quite right historically but I feel you always need to go a couple of shades brighter with 15mm or else you lose any detail.

Current Projects

Men of Company B Also on the go is the rebasing of my Vietnam for the new Men of Company B. They are all now on 2p's and need basing. The k9 unit, extra leader base for the US are painted and await a new can of varnish from Partizan.

Washingtons Army

 I have 2 units of Continentals for Washingtons Army done and awaiting basing and varnish. That project is now probably 75% done. The British are the sticking point. A good friend actually has a couple of units to paint up for me but I need to place an order when I return from my holidays mid August.

Civil War Battles 

The ACW is done but for the cavalry. Just some tidying up to do with flags, basing and varnishing. Can you see a theme emerging!

Bloody Barons 

My rebooted Wars of the Roses project now has 3 units of Retinue foot done. Most of the figures are purchased.

Battles in the Age of War

 My rebooted Samurai project has 1 unit of Levy Ashigaru painted and the figures for one army purchased.


My WW2 armies have had no love for some time. I have late war US infantry and late war German. They are both based around the old black boxes Martin used to produce. I REALLY need to give the US a 3rd platoon of infantry, or otherwise increase them from having just 4 units.


 My Vikings are done but need their flags adding. Ideally I need to add some skirmish bases and would like to do 3 units of cavalry for the Carolingian army option.

Hammerin Iron 

Other than completing my collection by adding the few missing ships this is done!

 Another reboot. Figures await attention. Once the Somme is done, I foresee me doing a ''paint an army in a weekend' type of project. This will be a really fast build!

Regiment of Foote 

Done! apart form a Scottish army...and some of the new Irish troops....

These are the priest and dog figures. The dog was painted by my daughter Ava, aged 5 and a half.
Bayonets and Ideology 

Ready for the new version due to start playtesting at the end of the year I have 1 unit of Nationalists painted and the figures for two forces awaiting attention.
Conquerors and Kings 

Figures for Romans and Germans sit unloved beneath my table screaming for some attention. Not on the radar at the moment though!

Pieces of Eight 

Again, I have a few ships still in their packet awaiting some love. Not yet though.

So. A lot on the go. Variety is the spice of life as they say. Its only when you write these things down you realise just how much stuff I have. Accumulated over the last 10-15 years it soon builds up.

Anyway, I'll aim for a monthly update as a minimum but will add bits in between as time and effort allows.

Tuesday 5 July 2016

I like to trawl the internet for images of Peter Pig figures in action. I hope to do this a bit more and add the images here. I'm a bit lazy and don't make notes of who the figures belong to but I figure that if the images are freely available then I'll imply permission to use here. I am only looking to admire their work and share it to a wider audience after all. Apologies if any one takes offence. I will remove any images that offend.

Tempus Fugit

Countless blog authors start a new post with an explanation of why they haven't blogged recently. I'm not one of them.

My enthusiasm continues to wax and wane and I have stopped wondering why, It is what it is and my life is different now to when I started this blog. One thing that hasn't changed is my enjoyment of Peter Pig games so it was with pleasure that I discovered  a forum had been created to discuss all things Pig which can be found here: Rules for the Common Man forum

This is intended to replace the old yahoo group that provided sterling service over the years but has fallen by the wayside somewhat over the last couple of years. At its peak it would receive hundreds of messages a month but its now down to just a handful. The forum has started very strongly and I hope it continues to grow and create debate.

Project wise I have began to model terrain boards for a Somme Square bashing game. This is using old TSS tiles left over from the Stoke club. I have dug down into them to create the trenches and I am now in the process of adding the details to the trench. Then just the figures to paint. Hopefully all in time for the Peter Pig weekend at the end of November.

Jeff D has kindle offered his services to paint some AWI for me. He is an excellent painter and I'm really looking forward to seeing what he has done with my figures. My ACW and AWI collections are both now close to completion (as if you ever complete a collection!). Once they are done, my attention will turn to my Samurai and Wars of the Roses stuff which will be rebuilt in due course. The figures have been mostly purchased. I'm not in any particular rush but would like them all done by this time next year.

Peter Pig are currently redoing their Vietnam rules, Men of Company B. They are being re imagined along the lines of the 'Wrath of Vikings' rules so square based. I'm hoping to get my first look at them on a trip down to Weymouth this weekend. It's Miles M's annual PBI shindig in Bournemouth but I'm travelling to Weymouth as per usual on Friday and staying with Martin G. Looking forward to it!

No promises on my next post. Hopefully not another 9 months :-)

More soon....