Friday 22 September 2017

Century of the Soldier

Tomorrow I'll be heading off across the border to Shrewsbury to attend the Century of the Soldier conference. Really looking forward to the series of papers being presented, and an enjoyable day out.

Image result for helion ecw conference

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Servants of Ra

Something of a departure from my usual stuff, a starter company: The Servants of Ra for the Steam Punk skirmish game In Her Majesty's Name available from NorthStar Miniatures

As usual I'm more than a little late to the party in taking up this game or anything on 'trend'. I've had the miniatures in the lead pile since they were released, and lovely as they are I had no immediate drive to paint them up. Something of a shiny brain purchase! My recent motivation to paint them stems from the establishment of a small local gaming group which will hopefully grow now that we have found a "free" location, yes "free", from small acorns and such.....we will see!

The figures really are a nice little set, lovely castings that paint up a treat. The starter company consists of Professor Abdul Abulbul Abir, described as a fanatical Turkish Egyptologist. It was this character that drew me to this faction as it appealed to my degree in Archaeology and History. Also included is the reincarnated spirit of Akhenaton; the Professors beautiful daughter Sairah, a Mummified Priest and the all important cultists of Akhenaton. I particularly like the cultists which are suitably menacing minions that would grace any pulp genre game.

And so, Akhenaton's plans for world domination begin.....

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Saturday 16 September 2017

Crimean War Russian Cossack Artilery

First set of artillery for the Crimean War Russians. These are 28mm Cossack artillery from Wargames Foundry.

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Tuesday 12 September 2017

Crimean War Russian Infantry

I've finished the Crimean War Russian foot, 8 regiments of 24 figures. These are all 28mm Ebor Miniatures with Venners flags. I think this was quite possibly the quickest set of figures I've painted, managing to do them in 48 figure batches. The painting style has been kept simple, though I'm pondering whether I should have gone for a shiny gloss varnish instead of matt. Still varnishing decision aside I'm pleased with the outcome as I think they look pretty impressive on mass. 

The history behind this project is firmly rooted in the acquisition of some Crimean War British that were going cheap, this eventually led me to looking for some Russians and I settled on Ebor Miniatures because of the value for money, especially as this was an accidental project.....sort of. I did however get into a lengthy discussion with PayPal who kindly froze my account over a payment for the Crimean War British that I ordered. Despite explaining at great length that the reference was in connection with a mid 19th century conflict and concerned toy soldiers, I was informed that the transaction was in breach of the trade embargo. Eventually a photo of the embargoed goods cleared the situation up. So from this international arms dealer come sanction buster.....who ever said this hobby wasn't interesting....until next time...

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Thursday 7 September 2017

Sherman FURY - WWII US forces begin

I've been slightly sidetracked into painting some WWII American forces for Bolt Action after my youngest showed a keen interest in a Sherman tank model that I'd just finished (pictures below). The model is 1/56 scale from Die Waffenkammer. I've painted up some of the support options and have started assembling Warlord Games plastic infantry. The only thing that's bugging me at the moment is the whereabouts of a box of metal figures that I've misplaced; I suspect they'll turn up when all the infantry have been painted!

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Monday 4 September 2017

Bonnie Blue Flag Rules - First play and Review

The other day I set up a small game of Bonnie Blue Flag to test the rules out. There were quite a few surprises during the play, and I found the rules fun and enjoyable to play. In this initial game skirmishers and cavalry were not deployed, though I don't feel their absence adversely affected the gaming experience.

A brief explanation of the rules: firing is automatic with the receiving unit testing for effect on a D100 role after applying various modifiers to a base value determined by troop quality.  If under 10% is rolled on the percentile dice then a jeopardy rule comes into play and the unit is broken and removed from play. Testing units that fail then test on a results table to determine the outcome. Each unit possess a level of attrition points based on troop quality, though this can be adjusted to reflect historical situations where units although experienced or veteran may be battle worn. Generals have a number of attrition points that can be spent to bolster units that have received depletion of their own attrition. One aspect that I particularly like about the rules is the role for initiative each turn, this is a D6 role plus the commanders attrition, so it becomes important for the general to decide whether to spend those precious attrition points and possibly concede the initiative next turn.

The objective was as per the scenario in the rules; seize and control the crossroads. Initial dispositions saw the union forces deploying on turns 1 to 3 as follows:

Turn 1 - Veteran Infantry centre to advance on the crossroads.
Turn 2 - Experienced Infantry to union left flank, with Veteran artillery deploying Union left between the two infantry regiments.
Turn 3 - Raw infantry deploying to the Union right flank, and Experienced infantry to the Union left between the Raw infantry and Veteran infantry.

Following turn 3 the Union forces on the table had the Veteran infantry making a bold advance on the crossroads in the face of the oncoming Confederates' supported by the advancing Veteran artillery (who deployed) and the experienced infantry on their left flank. Turn 3, had seen the arrival of Union reinforcements on the right. 

                    Raw Inf        Experienced Inf    
                                                                                                     Veteran Art       Experienced Inf

                                                                           Veteran Inf      

The Confederate forces deployed as follows:

Turn 1 - Raw Infantry centre to advance on the crossroads.
Turn 2 - Experienced infantry to the Confederate left flank, with Experienced artillery deploying to left between the two infantry regiments. 
Turn 3 - Veteran infantry deploying to the Confederate right flank, and Veteran infantry to the Confederate right next to the Raw Infantry.

The early rounds had seen preliminary exchanges of fire between the forces as they advanced on the crossroads and sought to impose their presence on the battlefield, with both sides choosing to advance in the face of the enemy. The early exchanges went slightly in the favour of the Confederates as their Raw infantry in the centre exhibiting enthusiasm stood resolute and unyielding in the face of the Veteran Union infantry.

Turn 3 saw the Confederate forces seizing the initiative and continue to unleash a withering fire on the advancing experienced Union forces on the right, which ended the turn close to breaking. It was at this point that with the Confederate forces seemingly in the ascendancy that the dreaded 10% rule came into effect; when receiving fire from the Experienced Union infantry that had been so mercilessly itself subjected to intense fire. 

The 10% rule - results in the immediate breaking of the testing unit; and heralded the ignominious breaking and flight from the field of the Veteran Confederate unit. Until this point I had the feeling that a comfortable Confederate victory was looming.

Turn 4, saw the initiative remaining with the Confederate forces, with the Union Veteran infantry in the centre coming under intense fire from both the Confederate artillery and Raw infantry. Despite taking heavy casualties the Veteran infantry managed to hold their ground in the face of this onslaught and return fire on the Confederate Raw infantry to the front. It was once again the misfortune of the Confederate forces to suffer the 10% rule as the previously defiant Raw infantry could take no more punishment, breaking and fleeing from the field. 

The game continued until turn 8, where the pictures below show the final dispositions. The Confederate forces managed to give a sound account of themselves over the 4 turns, but the advantages in numbers for the Union only resulted in the a gradual depletion of Confederate attrition points, finally until their position became untenable and they were forced to leave the field. Given their performance following the misfortune of two 10% results, I would like to think the retreat was in good order.

The figures used it the battle were a mix of 28mm Sash and Sabre and Perry Miniatures on the Confederate side, and vintage 28mm Connoisseur Miniatures on the Union. 

In summary Bonnie Blue Flag rules are fun, fast and certainly maintain a degree of uncertainty and potential for surprises during play with the roles for initiative and the 10% rule, adding to the overall enjoyment. The factor modifications for firing are easy to pick up after a few turns and I found myself hardly using the chart as the turns went on, only referring to the outcome resolution for units that failed their test under fire. I was particularly interested in the use of percentage dice for testing, and I think that this works exceptionally well, and can be extremely frustrating when rolling a 64% when 65% or over is needed; which in my mind adds to the fun. I also feel that these rules would be eminently capable of handling very large games. 

Verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, I will certainly be playing Bonnie Blue Flag.

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Sunday 3 September 2017

NEWS: Infamous JT

With all the sadness surrounding the closures of a couple of well known Wargames companies recently, I thought it would be nice to introduce a new venture, Infamous JT and wish them all the best in these oft choppy waters that are our hobby. I also think it's worth mentioning that the majority of manufacturers are small concerns often forgotten given the exceptionally high quality of product on offer. Each and everyone of them a testimony of the love and dedication, blood sweat and tears that go into feeding our gaming demands and desires. So, I feel they are all worthy of our support. So, without further ado I'll introduce the Infamous JT, an exciting new venture by Jamie Tranter.

The first releases will focus on the Polish Freedom fighters of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, with the exciting release of 1/56 (28mm) scale Kublus. I believe there will be a Kickstarter and previews of the range will be announced on the Infamous JT Facebook page. 

I have to mention that I have no personal connection with Infamous JT, only having pleasant conversations Jamie on a Facebook group we are both members, and thought his creativity, skill and enthusiasm for our hobby was worthy of a post, it is the least I can do.

If this initial release interests pop on over to Facebook and follow Infamous JT