Saturday, 19 November 2016

Warfare 2016

I haven't been to a wargaming show in over a decade and that was Warfare. When my wife found out about this, she was mortified. The topic had come up as I was flicking through a magazine advertising Warfare, the show in Reading. So, this morning she suggested we hop in the motor and drive an hour to Reading for the show. 

I paid £5 to get in, and the lovely chap on the door let Lady K in for free on account of her non-wargamer status. We made a little donation to the Sue Ryder hospice and bought some raffle tickets with the money saved. 

I had thought about what I wanted from the show, I knew this wasn't going to be a no-holds-barred spend-a-thon, so I had only brought £50 with me. This had to pay for everything, including entrance and toys. At this point I had £40 left, and by the end of our visit, I was still £10 up! So I had limited myself severely. 

That said, I walked away with a fair haul. My only real aim was to pick up some resin haystacks from Warbases, one of my favourite companies. I also wanted to have a look at some of their animals to live alongside my Warlord Games farmyard critters. 

I ended up with 5 small haystacks, 5 large haystacks, and a heap of bases. One can never have enough of those. I also picked up a bag of their 25.6mm off-cut bases. These are the holes that they cut into their movement trays for 25mm round bases. I got these because they would work neatly for civilians or the odd animal. I also got some geese, chickens, and floating ducks. 

I had also wandered around having a look at some of those things that the internet just doesn't do justice to. One of those was Baccus 6mm. I have seen 6mm a million times on my computer screen, but never in person. Today myself and Lady K stood marvelling at the tiny little blighters. I have been keen to use the scale, or 10mm, for things like the Franco-Prussian war, but 6mm is tiny and I can't imagine painting them. Still, at least I have them in my mind as actual size now. 

So Pendraken and Baccus were must visits for me, to get a sense of size. I also wanted to check out Redoubt who have the unfortunate knack of not putting decent photos of their wares on their website. I particularly wanted to see their Trojans. They are amazing, as are their Boxer Rebellion miniatures. So rather than a shopping trip my Warfare ended up being a feast for the eyes. I did pick up some more animals from Redoubt, pigs, sheep and waddling ducks. My farmyard grows! 

Redoubt Boxer Rebellion miniatures.

Redoubt Trojans.
Redoubt canoes, I really liked these.
One really great find was Parkfield Miniatures. I have never heard of these guys before, but they do an interesting range. I was particularly drawn to their South American Wars of Independence, great for Sharp Practice I can imagine. 

We had a good look around the demo hall, where I came across this Napoleon in Egypt table that was simply smashing. Such an odd thing to game, but so well done. Look at those boats! Of course, there were loads of really amazing things, such as the winter table of Foy, but I am sure that better men than I will share that with the community. It was beautiful. Here are some shots of that Napoleon in Egypt table.

Mine and Lady K's favourite demo game was the Balkan War table run by Graham of Tring Wargames Club. Lady K is a Greek, so for her this was personal, and she loved the evzones and kleftes running across the table at the Turks. It really made her day and we stood there for around half-an-hour chatting to Graham and company. I was particularly interested in how he had modified Chain of Command from TooFatLardies to suit the conflict.

Graham was a really great chap and spent much time explaining how he had got to his final product. He has promised to email me his lists for Chain of Command.  

The miniatures used by the Tring game are all Tiger Miniatures. Now, I have looked at these in the past, Lady K insists that I wargame Greek conflicts. Poor me. The website really doesn't do these figures justice. They are brimming with character and with a good paint job look most excellent on the table. 

One of the really good things about this conflict on the table is that the limitation to bolt action rifles, medium machine guns, and field guns. Graham explained that this simplicity in the "moving parts" of the conflict make it a joy to game. And I tend to agree. One to watch.

Overall, I really enjoyed Warfare, and I certainly think that wargaming shows are worth visiting, I just don't do it often enough. Time to go and paint now. 

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Mustering Forces: A Lick of Paint

The next phase of the muster has commenced. Yesterday they got their bases sanded, and today they got their under coat. I decided that I am going to pop the MG34 team on a lozenge base like the prone figures, but I didn't have any to hand. I have ordered some from Warlord Games which should be here soon. Progress!

Friday, 4 November 2016

Mustering Forces: A Hobby Update

I got back from Greece on Sunday night and immediately set about mustering the forces for my Dukla Pass scenario. I have all the assets for both sides, I just needed to get it assembled and painted. So yesterday I broke out my box of 28mm World War II stuff from the Oorlogskuur (The War Shed) and got out the Gebirgsjäger I needed, plus all the potential Polish forces that might appear in the scenario. Glue and the Xacto knife were wielded and in no time I had this box full of miniatures ready for basing.

Apologies for the poor picture. A quick list of what inside.

Germans: A kfz. 13 Adler armoured car, eight riflemen, an MG34 team, an Obergefreiter.

Polish: Ursus armoured car, ten greatcoated Polish infantry, light and medium mortar teams, MMG team, anti-tank gun, sniper team and anti-tank rifle team. 

A fair bit indeed. The next step is to base the lot, and then undercoat.

I figured, while I was at it, I might as well get some of my 15mm stuff assembled too. This time Finnish and Soviet vehicles for a Chain of Command scenario idea I have. 

Again, not a great photo, but I wanted to show that I had done something. Some Soviet armoured cars and armour, which was used by both sides. There is also a Finnish Vickers 6-ton. I am going to do most of this in Finnish livery, but the twin turret T-26 and one BA-6 and one BA-20 for Soviets. These chaps will get their undercoat at the same time as the 28mm stuff. Hopefully I will be able to get my scenario played soon enough. 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Poland 1939: Action near Dukla Pass Briefing

I was eager to try out the Operation Squad rules that I had purchased some time ago for small 28mm squad based action. I decided that the best run out the game could get would be a scenario based on the opening hours of the German invasion of Poland.

Dukla Pass, Polish-Slovakian Border, 1st of September 1939.

The Situation:

The German "liberation" of Silesia and Posen has begun. While the bulk of German forces sweep away the Poles in the west, the First Gebirgsjäger Division has left its staging points in the Carpathian Mountains of Slovakia and descended upon Galicia. The initial goal is to clear the villages on the Polish-Slovakian border and thereby secure the right flank of the German advance eastwards. 

German forces are pushing north into Poland through the Dukla Pass, to capture the village of Barwinek, before pushing further on to take Tylawa. A company of Gebrigsjäger has just stepped off and is shadowing the road north, clearing the forests on either side. The area is heavily wooded before turning into farmland. 

Although Polish forces haven't fully mobilised, local resistance is expected. Polish reservists are arming and are en route to their depots to resist the invasion. German forces cannot allow the Poles to withdraw in good order and  consolidate, and so Army Group South is pursuing with all haste to keep the enemy on the run.

A German platoon has come across a small outlying farmstead to the south-west of Barwinek and Leutenant Krantz has charged Obergefreiter Reiter of 2nd section to recce and clear this small collection of buildings of any Polish opposition.

The area south of Barwinek, Poland ©

Scenario Details:

This scenario was created by combining Scenario K (Reconnaissance) from Platoon Forward, and Scenario 8: Recon from Operation Squad Evolution. This action was played solo.

As an objective I rolled :"Is that village or key building occupied?" The building is a Polish farmhouse, which forms the focal point of the 4' x 4' playing area. I generated the terrain using Platoon Forward and produced this vector graphic map as a guide on how to set up my terrain.

A simple plan on how the terrain should be set up,
with the German axis of advance shown.

Dramatis Personae:

Obergefreiter Martin Reiter
Martin is a veteran of the Great War, and at 40 years-old one of the senior men in the platoon. He is originally from Posen, but when the border shifted at the end of the last war he decided to move west into the new Germany. For him the Polish campaign is personal. Martin's primary qualification for his rank is his earlier service, which is unfortunate as he is a pretty inept section commander. He has a drinking problem, but the upside (if there is one) is that it serves to level his temperament somewhat in the face of the enemy.

Plutonowy Andriy Kohut
Andriy is a 25 year-old ethnic Ukrainian, native to Galicia. From farming stock, he believes that in the new Poland, hard work and determination does pay off and it is clear that money is a priority. He is a cheery, optimistic fellow, with a level head and does a solid job of commanding his section. 

Force Assets:

Obergefreiter Martin Reiter
MG34 Team (3 pax)
One Rifle Team (8 pax)

Plutonowy Andriy Kohut
Polish strength is undetermined, but infantry can be expected. Vehicles and heavier assets are highly unlikely. (Essentially, I will generate these forces as the scenario unfolds using the Platoon Forward rules. Not all blinds will necessarily materialise.)

5 A blinds (squads are either BAR teams, rifle section, or armed civilians)
2 B blinds (AT Rifle, MMG, or Mortar teams)
1 C blind (Tank, Truck, or Armoured Car)

The small scale of this action means that both sides can be very flexible with their ORBAT and create fire teams or break off individuals as required.

Battle report to follow...

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Review: Lost Patrol - Part 1

My initial thoughts on this rather splendid looking game. More to come once I have taken it for a spin a few times. 

Where has the summer gone?

My last post was in July. The reason for this quiet spell is simple, I went to California to get married to the lovely Lady K, and as a result have done nothing wargaming related in the interim. So what follows is a short of "What I did on my holidays" post, and then some thoughts on wargaming plans going forward, I hope this isn't dreadfully dull.

Once school was over in July, I flew over to Bakersfield, California and began preparing for the wedding. Family members and friends started arriving a little before the big day. The first arrival was my favourite cousin who lives in Australia, she treated me to my first ever NFL game. It was a preseason match between the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys. She is a Cowboys fans, hence our t-shirts. I am more of a rugby man, but being at the first game the Rams played after moving back to Los Angeles was something special. Additionally, the game finished in spectacular fashion with the Rams clinching it in the dying seconds. I would definitely go again.

We were only four rows back!

The Memorial Coliseum is worth visiting any time. 
We then headed up North to San Francisco, to meet my then future brother-in-law, who is a massive San Francisco Giants fan. He arranged for us to go and see the Giants play the Pirates at AT&T Park. After the intense excitement of an NFL game I worried that a sedate baseball match might prove a little dull in comparison. However, I was happily proven wrong and I thoroughly enjoyed my first encounter with "the national pastime." Between hot dogs, "Take me out to the ball game", and "rally caps", it was a fantastic evening out. As a lover of cricket, baseball isn't too far from my chosen sport, but different enough to be interesting in its own right. 

My dear friend Lydia has flown into San Francisco and came to AT&T Park directly from the airport to meet us. After the game we set off for Stockton where we crashed for the night before moving to Yosemite National Park. Now anyone who has ever used a Mac will be familiar with the vistas of Yosemite, they are often used by Apple as desktop backgrounds, but nothing can prepare you for the true scale of it all. 

"There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods." - Theodore Roosevelt
After this bachelor party getaway, we headed back south to Bakersfield for the wedding. Still more foreigners with thick South African accents descended upon the city and met with the raucous hordes of Greeks and Arabs of the local Orthodox Christian community as it was all hands on deck to make the arrangements for the big day. 

In our jam-packed little church I got married to the lovely Lady K, whose father married us. As with most of these sorts of things it is a blur, and the very next day we headed off to Los Angeles to fly to Vancouver for our honeymoon. Vancouver airport is absolutely amazing, and the city didn't disappoint either. We spent the next week going on Zodiac rides, going to various waterfalls and I even managed to haul myself up Grouse Mountain one morning early.

After an early morning Grouse climb, I enjoyed a coffee in the early morning chill before all the cable cars brought the hordes of tourists up. 

Awesome views from the top, and the cable car ride down was stunning.
 I would definitively visit Canada again, I think that Vancouver is a perfect destination for outdoorsy type people and I thoroughly enjoyed walking and running in the various city and national parks. Sadly we didn't have long for our honeymoon and head to head back to Britain because I started my new teaching job in London. However, before we did leave, I managed to get a picture of the world's largest tin soldier in New Westminster.

Lady K is smiling because, thankfully, none of my "toy soldiers" are this big.
That is all for now gentle reader, I am afraid I am very much still in the "adjusting to the horrific London commute" phase of the new job, and haven't even looked at my miniatures since arriving back from North America. 

Friday, 8 July 2016

Some French Line Infantry Completed

I finished these fourteen line troops recently. They had been sat just awaiting basing, which has now been done.

As you can see, three bases of four, which are nominally "companies," plus a couple of skirmishing Voltigeur. I'll need another box of those fine Perry French plastics to round out my 24 man battalion. With another box I should get this battalion up to full strength of six companies/bases and then complete another battalion too.

Gains. Small, but nevertheless there.