Saturday, 23 July 2016

Yet another terrible event

Like many other people, last night Sue and I watched the events in Munich unfold on TV as the evening progressed. Coming as it did so soon after the recent axe attack on the train in Wurzburg, the first conclusion was that it was probably another IS-inspired act of terrorism. Then the fact that it was the fifth anniversary of the attacks make by Anders Brevik in Norway raised the possibility that it had been perpetrated by a right-wing extremist or extremists, and this gained some currency from the video of a long-range exchange between an alleged gunman and someone on the balcony of an apartment near to the scene of the shootings.

When we awoke this morning the situation seemed to have become clearer, and it now appears that a young man with dual German/Iranian nationality acted alone. No reason for the attack has yet emerged, and at first he seemed to have chosen his victims at random. We now hear that many 'young people and adolescents are among the dead, and children are among those injured'. Does this mean that this shooter had more in common with Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who perpetrated the Columbine High School massacre, than the radicalised people who have committed attacks in France and Belgium over the past few years? Only time – and a proper investigation – will tell.

In the meantime the families of the dead and injured have to come to terms with their grief and loss, and regardless of the motivation of the killer, their lives have been changed forever by his actions. Today our sympathies must go out to the people of Germany, but most particularly to the families of the innocent victims of this attack, and yet again I deeply and sincerely hope that this will be the last time I will have to comment on such a tragedy.

Spanish Civil War: Day-by-Day: 23rd July 1936

The Committee of National Defence (the Nationalist Government) met for the first time in Burgos.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Where are they now? Sitting on my work table waiting to have their paintwork touched up before they are varnished and then based!

Having accepted the fact that I wasn't going to find the 'missing' Minifigs 'S' Range Prussian Napoleonic figures that I had been looking for, I forgot about them ... and then almost immediately found them when I went looking for my collection of 1:300th-scale Spanish Civil War figures and vehicles!

The Napoleonic figures have now been temporarily fixed to individual bases that I can hold whilst I repair any paintwork that has been damaged during their nearly fifty years in storage. Once that has been done they will be given a fresh coat of polyurethane gloss varnish before each figure's base is painted with Humbrol matt Grass Green enamel paint. They will then be based on MDF bases, which will also be painted matt Grass Green.

With luck (and a bit of cooler weather) the whole process should be completed within a week, at which point I hope to give them the opportunity to take part in their first ever wargame.

Spanish Civil War: Day-by-Day: 22nd July 1936

The Nationalists captured Alto de Leon to the Northwest of Madrid.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Where are they now?

Two years ago I was sorting out the contents of the old garden shed that used to occupy a place at the end of the garden. Over the years it had become a dumping ground for all sorts of wargaming odds and ends, some of which I had almost completely forgotten about.

Amongst the latter were some old Minifigs 'S' Range Prussian Napoleonic figures that I bought and painted in my late teens (i.e. the late 1960s).

Now that my Napoleonic project is well under way, I decided that it might be a good idea to add them to my collection. By filling out the ranks with the four officer figures that I painted, these early figures could be the basis of a Prussian Infantry Division. There are enough Infantry figures to form four Infantry Regiments, enough artillerymen to form an Artillery regiment, and a Mounted Officer who could be the Division's Commander. There is only one problem ... I can't find them!

I have put them somewhere in the storage system in my toy/wargames room, but not where I thought that I had! Once the current mini heat wave that is affecting England subsides somewhat, I hope to spend some time in my toy/wargames room looking for these 'missing' figures. If and when I do find them, they will be the first additional figures to be touched up, varnished, based, and added to my existing collection.

Spanish Civil War: Day-by-Day: 21st July 1936

El Ferrol, the main naval base in the Northwest of Spain, surrendered to the Nationalists. As a result the Nationalists acquired a battleship, Espana, two cruisers, Republica and Almirante Cervera (with another two, Baleares and Canarias, under construction), and a destroyer, Velasco.

The Spanish Battleship Espana.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Spanish Civil War: Day-by-Day: 20th July – 27th September 1936


When it became apparent that the Rising in Madrid had failed, the Nationalist supporters in Toledo, which is 40 miles to the Southwest of the capital, occupied the Military Academy in the Alcazar fortress. The garrison was mainly drawn from the local Guardia Civil and Falange, and was commanded by the Commandant of the Academy, Colonel Jose Moscardo.

The Alcazar at the height of the siege.
For two months the defenders held out against the Republican Militia units besieging them; they were finally relieved when troops from the Army of Africa, led by Colonel Jose Varela, stormed Toledo. The raising of the siege of the Alcazar did much to enhance General Franco's reputation, but the diversion of Varela's troops from the advance on Madrid gave the capital's defenders further time to prepare their defences.

Little Cold War rules are now available!

Over the past couple of years Tim Gow and Bertrand Plastique have been developing what Tim describes as 'Possibly the sort of wargame H G Wells might have developed if he had been a child in the 1970s.' The rules have been thoroughly play-tested (I was lucky enough to have been able to take part in some of the play-test battles) and have just been published by John Curry as part of the 'History of Wargaming' Project (ISBN 978 1 326 72369 9).

The book not only contains the rules, but also army lists/ORBATs, suggestions for figures and vehicles that can be used, and five scenarios. (I drew the maps for the latter, and took part in the play-test of one of them.)

The book is 124 pages long, and is illustrated with lots of photographs, including some showing 1/76th-scale vehicles. (Although the rules were originally designed to be used with larger scale figures and models, it is perfectly possible to use them with smaller scale models.) It is currently on sale via the 'History of Wargaming' Project, but will also be available soon in printed and electronic  format (i.e. for the Kindle) from Amazon and other online retailers.

Spanish Civil War: Day-by-Day: 20th July 1936

Prime Minister Giral appealed to the French Socialist Government (whose Prime Minister was Leon Blum) for arms supplies.

General Francisco Franco sent emissaries to Hitler and Mussolini to ask for military aid and technical assistance.

The nominal leader of the Rising, General Jose Sanjurjo, was killed when the aircraft bringing him from Portugal to Burgos crashed on take-off.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Miniature Wargames with Battlegames Issue 400

It is not every day that a specialist publication reaches a major milestone, but the August issue of MINIATURE WARGAMES WITH BATTLEGAMES magazine is the 400th to be published, and such an achievement is something well worth acknowledging.

The first issue was edited by Duncan Macfarlane, and was published in1983. Since then it has continued to change and evolve, and under Henry Hyde’s editorship it has become the – in my opinion – the premier glossy wargame publication.

My copy was delivered yesterday afternoon, and thanks to the current bout of hot weather I have been able to sit in the shade with a cold drink alternately reading and dozing.

The articles included in this issue are:
  • Briefing (i.e. the editorial) by Henry Hyde
  • World Wide Wargaming by Henry Hyde
  • Forward observer by Henry Hyde
  • My chinny chin chin: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
  • Fantasy Facts by John Treadaway
  • A nasty encounter: Fighting the Great Patriotic War one battle as a time: Part Four by Andrew Rolph
  • Wargamer’s Rut: Coping with a misunderstood hobby by James Underwood
  • Lights, camera – action!: Miniature Wargaming: the movie by Henry Hyde
  • Marche ou Crève: Wargaming the French Foreign Legion by Phil Dutré
  • Wargaming my way by Paul Robinson
  • The Battlegames Combat Stress Appeal report by Henry Hyde
  • Grenouisse at bay part 2: The Wars of the Faltenian Succession continue by Henry Hyde
  • Send three and fourpence by Conrad Kinch
  • Hex encounter by Brad Harmer-Barnes
  • Broadside 2016 by Mick Sayce
  • Bovington 2016 by John Treadaway
  • Recce
Having met Andrew Rolph at COW2016, I was particularly interested to read his latest article about re-fighting actions from the Great Patriotic War. As usual I enjoyed reading Conrad Kinch's regular column, and James Underwood’s Wargamer’s Rut covered that all-too-familiar problem, the lead/plastic mountain and the average wargamer’s seeming inability to tackle it. I also enjoyed Phil Dutré’s Marche ou Crève, and love the wooden ‘flats’ used in the photographs and the stepped 2D mountains that are very like the ones that were featured on the Major General Tremorden Rederring’s Colonial-era Wargames Page.

Wargaming my way is an interesting addition to the usual columns in the magazine, and I understand that this will feature a different wargamer each month. This month it features Paul Robinson of the Grimsby Wargaming Society, whose main interest seems to be the the wars of the eighteenth century.

I had heard that a documentary was being made about wargaming, and Lights, camera – action! is the transcript of an interview Henry Hyde had with the film’s maker, Joseph Piddington. It would appear that this Kickstarter project is well underway and will feature a number of well-known wargame figure sculptors and manufacturers, terrain makers, and tabletop wargame designers. A trailer has already been made and it can be viewed on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. There is also more information at .