Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Gradually getting there

I'm still struggling with my ennui, but I'm gradually breaking out of it ... I hope!

One thing I have done is to take a long look at some stuff that David Crook gave to me the last time we met, and which has been languishing in a bag since he did. It contains a number of items, including quite a few figures from the collection of the late Eric Knowles.

Assorted vehicles

A useful collection of vehicles from the DAYS GONE range, including two vans, two petrol tankers, a pantechnicon, and a bus. Just the sort of vehicles an under-equipped army might requisition and use to give their troops some mobility.
Tribesmen in turbans

These twenty-four Minifig Colonial figures look as if they are Pathan tribesmen from the North West Frontier of India.. There are enough of them to form a number of PORTABLE WARGAME units, and they may well end up seeing service in a variety of areas of the wargaming world where the locals wear turbans and long, flowing robes.
Different tribesmen in turbans

Unlike the previous Minifig Colonial figures, these twenty-eight figures look like they might be Mahdists. There are enough of them to form several PORTABLE WARGAME units, and they are also likely to end up as generic tribesmen in turbans and long robes. The inclusion of four figures with swords (obviously leaders of some sort) makes this group of figures even more useful.
Japanese or Chinese armed peasants(?)

At first glance I thought that these early Minifig figures were armed Japanese peasants, but having looked closely at the way Eric has painted them, they may well have been intended to form part of a Boxer or Taiping army. The inclusion of what looks like a number of gun crew (possibly four) would imply that any PORTABLE WARGAME army they formed part of would be very artillery heavy.
Converted US Cavalry, wearing fezes(?)

These Minifig cavalry look as if they started life as US Cavalry wearing tall shakos ... but Eric seems to have removed the peaks to turn them into fezes. He may have intended them to form part of a late nineteenth century Ottoman army ... but whatever his intent, they could be used to form several PORTABLE ARMY units.
I can see so much potential in the above ... but at present I seem to have so many projects that I want to work on (or at least finish), I'm not sure when I will get around to using them.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Other people's Portable Wargame battle reports: English Civil War

Kaptain Kobold has fought another of his English Civil War battles using his variant of my PORTABLE WARGAME rules. This game was set up to play-test a version of my card activation system ... and judging by the results, it works very well indeed.

It's thanks to people like Kaptain Kobold my rules and writing about them on their blogs that has helped to make them so popular. As a gesture of my thanks to him, I am hoping that sometime soon I'll be able to publish his rules.

Please note that the photographs featured above are © Kaptain Kobold.

Miniature Wargames 435

During a visit to a nearby branch of WHSmith, I was somewhat surprised to see that the latest issue of this magazine was already on sale, even though my subscription copy had not yet been delivered by the Royal Mail. I decided that rather than wait for the ‘missing’ magazine to make its tortuous way through the postal system, I’d buy a copy … so I did.

The articles included in this issue are:
  • Welcome (i.e. the editorial) by John Treadaway
  • Forward observer
  • Send three and fourpence: I contain multitudes: Co-operative & Solo Historical Wargames by Conrad Kinch
  • D-Day Special Features Commemorating 75 Years
    • Raus! Raus!: Load your torpedoes and gun your ship’s engines in an exclusive ‘what if’ scenario for Cruel Seas with text and photographs supplied by Warlord Games
    • Spreading the Ham and Jam right to the edges: A D-Day scenario by Colin Phillips, with photographs by John Treadaway
  • Dorylaeum: Crusading in Anatolia, July 1, 1097 by Jon Sutherland, with photographs by Diane Sutherland
  • Darker Horizons
    • Prepare for war!: Move over Warhammer: Conquest is bringing grimdark to the world of fantasy an interview with Leo Mavrokefalos conducted by James Winspear, with photographs by Para Bellum
    • Fantasy Facts
  • Show Report: Being Partizan: The Editor goes to the first of the Partizan 2019 shows with text and photographs by John Treadaway
  • The Great Expedition: Drake’s Raids in the New World 1585 to 1586 by Chris Swan, with photographs by John Treadaway
  • Slightly unbalanced: An ad hoc WWII scenario mechanism for the Western Desert by Dave Tuck, with photographs by Malc Johnston
  • Recce
  • Compare & Contrast: Trying out Games Workshop’s Citadel Contrast by James Winspear
  • How To … build a fantasy house: Part One: Architecture in miniature! with text and photographs by James Winspear
  • Moult Free: The continuing tales of a wargames widow with text and photographs by Diane Sutherland
  • Club Directory
So, what did I think of this issue?

The magazine had yet another freebie attached to it by sticky tape, but unlike the last issue, I was able to remove my two 1:300th-scale MTB models without tearing or damaging the cover.

I really enjoyed Conrad Kinch’s Send three and fourpence: I contain multitudes: Co-operative & Solo Historical Wargames article … and not just because my PORTABLE WARGAME rules and blog as well as Wargame Developments and THE NUGGET get a mention! He very clearly sets out to refute a couple of assertions made in a recent MEEPLES & MINIATURES podcast (Episode No.264) by Joseph McCullough – the designer of FROSTGRAVE, RANGERS OF SHADOW DEEP, and GHOST ARCHIPELAGO – that ‘Fantasy and Science Fiction wargamers are ‘ more interested in story while Historical wargamers are more interested in simulation’ and ‘historical solo/co-operative games were ‘… virtually non-existent’’ … and do so very well indeed. In my opinion – and bearing in mind that I like to think quite a bit about the whys and wherefores of wargaming – the magazine was worth buying just for this article.

It was also good to see a couple of D-Day-related articles, but on the downside, why were there two terrain modelling articles in the same issue?

All-in-all, I felt that this was a better issue than last month’s … even though I’m still waiting for my subscription copy to arrive!

With an enviable degree of synchronicity, the Royal Mail delivered the subscription copy of this magazine just as I was about to press the 'Publish' button!

You could not make thing like this up and be believed!

Monday, 17 June 2019

A Wnter-ish War revisited

After writing yesterday's blog entry, I realised that not all of my regular readers will remember this mini-campaign and I was rather vague about when I wrote about it. I've therefore decided to add links to the various battle reports.

A map of the southern border area between Opeland and SPUR. Click on the map to enlarge it.
Light bombers of the SPUR Air Force (escorted by two fighters) about to attack the Opelandic capital, Viputa.
The SPUR battleship Krasny Viputa (Red Viputa) protects units of the SPUR Naval infantry as they approach the coast of Opeland.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Being in a state on ennui

For some inexplicable reason, over the past couple of weeks I have been smitten with that dreaded state of ennui* that sometimes afflicts wargamers. There are plenty of things that I COULD be doing – and some that I SHOULD be doing – but for the life of me I just cannot seem to be able to generate the necessary motivation to do any of them.

Luckily, I have my blog to look back at, and that has provided me with a little bit of inspiration to do something. Flicking though the 2016 printed volumes of my blog, I came across the solo mini-campaign that I ran in the early part of the year … A WINTER-ISH WAR. Reading the text and looking at the photographs made me realise that what I need to do is to fight a wargame or two. I could wait until COW – which will be taking place in less than four weeks’ time – but I need to do something about my state of ennui NOW!

I have a couple of ideas whirring around in my head, but as part of my ‘get motivated’ plan, I’ve extracted all the separate blog entries about A WINTER-ISH WAR and collated them into a book. I sent the file off to today, and within a week or so it should have been printed and sent to me. If I am happy with the result, I may even make it available to the general public, probably as a PDF as it would be a bit pricey if produced as a printed hardback because I have opted to have the photographs reproduced in colour.

*Ennui is defined as being 'a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement'.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Now I know where I got the design from!

Yesterday, whilst re-watching the film KHARTOUM (it was essential research for my forthcoming game at COW2019!), I noticed that at one point, members of the relief force can be seen boarding a Nile steamer ...

... and I suddenly realised where I must have got the outline of the design of my model Nile steamer from!

Admittedly the steamer in the film has two decks and the model only has one ... but the general layout is very similar.

It might not be obvious from the photograph, but I have repainted the deck of my model with a lighter shade of paint. The original colour was rather too dark, but the new colour seems to look more the colour of a scrubbed wooden deck ... which is the look that I wanted to achieve.

Friday, 14 June 2019

The Great Game: Waterloo Replayed

From 9.00am this morning until 6.00pm this evening, what is hoped to be the largest ever figure wargame will be being set up in the Kelvin Gallery of the University of Glasgow.

WATERLOO REPLAYED has been organised by Professor Tony Pollard and is being run in aid of WATERLOO UNCOVERED, a charity that is using an archaeological survey and dig on the Waterloo battle site as a support program for military veterans and members of the the military community. The charity was set up by Mark Evans and Charlie Foinette, who studied archaeology together at University College London before enlisting the Coldstream Guards.

The wargame will be fought over two days (Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June) and everything will be packed away on Monday 17th, just a day before the 204th anniversary of the actual battle!

It was great to see that several of the more well-known wargame companies have been involved in this project, and I think that all wargamers will hope that this event generates a sizeable amount of money for this very worthwhile charity.

Please note that the image featured above is © Waterloo Replayed and the copyright of the logos featured thereon belongs to the various named organisations.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

A recent addition to my book collection

During a recent visit to Falconwood Transport & Military Bookshop I managed to buy a copy of BRITISH DESTROYERS: A HISTORY OF DEVELOPMENT 1892-1953 for £30.00 … which is about a third of the price I have seen it on sale from several online bookshops.

The book was written by Edgar J March, and published in 1966 by Seeley, Service & Co, and it is a companion book to the better-known BRITISH BATTLESHIPS by Dr Oscar Parkes.

The author of BRITISH DESTROYERS: A HISTORY OF DEVELOPMENT 1892-1953 drew heavily on the Official Records & Returns, Ships' Covers and Building Plans held by the Admiralty, and it includes 175 photographs and 100 detailed plans, some of which fold-out.


Dr Oscar Parkes OBE was a Royal Navy surgeon, naval historian, marine artist, and editor of JANE'S FIGHTING SHIPS from 1918 to 1935. This book has long been regarded as the regarded as a definitive source, and was the result of thirty-two years of research. I already own a copy, and my acquisition of BRITISH DESTROYERS: A HISTORY OF DEVELOPMENT 1892-1953 completes the set.

The contact details for Falconwood Transport & Military Bookshop are:

Falconwood Transport & Military Bookshop
5 Falconwood Parade, The Green, Welling, Kent DA16 2PL
Tel: 020 8303 8291

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Other people's Portable Wargame battle reports: Nick Nascati's American Civil War battle

About a week ago Nick Nascati sent me a number of photographs of a recent American Civil War battle that he fought using the nineteenth century rules that are included in THE PORTABLE WARGAME book.

In an accompanying email he gave me the following information:
  • The grid uses 2-inch squares
  • The figure scale is 10mm
  • Infantry figures are based on 1.25-inch mini dominoes
  • Cavalry and artillery figures are based on a pair of 1.25-inch mini dominoes
  • Figures are manufactured by from GHQ
  • The buildings from range supplied by The Wargame Company

Please note that the photographs featured above are © Nick Nascati.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

How I painted my larger Portable Wargame board

Having learnt some very useful lesson when I painted my smaller PORTABLE WARGAME board, I adopted a somewhat different method when I painted my larger board.

Step 1
Using masking tape, the edge area of the grid on each of the four sections that make up the complete board was masked off. This was done so that the edge area could be painted first.

Step 2
The edge area of each board section was then painted. I used two coats of Humbrol Matt Black enamel paint.

Step 3
Once the painted edge area was dry (I left mine for twelve hours!), the masking tape was removed.

Step 4
More masking tape was then used to masked off the edge area of each board section.

Step 5
A small piece of sponge (I used a section cut from a new washing-up sponge) ...

... was carefully dipped into a small amount of paint (I used Humbrol Matt Sand enamel paint) that had been poured onto a suitable flat container that could serve as a palette. (The paint on the palette will need to be topped up during the painting process, but it is better not to put too much on at any time to avoid any accidents.)

The paint was then dabbed all over the surface of the unpainted part of each board section. This had the effect of putting a small, thin coat of paint onto each section.

When the paint dried, the surface had a slightly mottled appearance where different thicknesses of paint have been applied. This was the effect I wanted to achieve as it made the surface less uniform in appearance and still allowed players to see the grid lines.
WARNING: Some of the paint will inevitably seep into the sponge and onto your fingers. It may well be a good idea to wear a disposable plastic glove on the hand you use to hold the sponge to ensure that this does not happen. I didn't ... and nearly left painted fingerprints on everything I touched afterwards!
Stage 6
As soon as the paint had dried (it did not take long as the coat of paint was so thin), the masking tape was removed and any any part of the black surround that had lost some of its paint was touched up.

Once the paint used to touch up any damage had dried, the board was ready for use.

Some of my 15mm-scale Essex Miniatures in action on the newly-painted PORTABLE WARGAME board.

Monday, 10 June 2019

I have been to ... Broadside, Sittingbourne, Kent

Broadside is a small, local wargame show that has grown over recent years into one that I always try to visit. It is organised by the Milton Hundred Wargames Club, and the driving force behind its success is Alan Abbey ... someone I taught more years ago than either of us would care to admit to!

The show took place in the Swallows Leisure Centre, which is located in the centre of Sittingbourne. Parking can be difficult (although I had no problem finding somewhere to park this year) and the heat and humidity from the Centre's swimming pool can make conditions inside the building uncomfortable at times.

The flea market was located in a small room on the same floor as the entrance ...

... whilst the traders and games are in the sports hall, which is downstairs.

This can be accessed by a staircase or a lift, making the event accessible to anyone with mobility problems.

I seem to spend most of my time at wargame shows talking to people that I know, and this was no exception. Besides having a long chat with David Crook, I was able to talk to Tamsin Piper, Big Lee, Postie, and Ray Rousell. The latter three were running a game, which is featured below.

Lots of Kent-based clubs and groups were running games at Broadside, and wherever possible I took photographs of their offerings.

Rochester Games Models & Railway: Flames of War

Deal Wargames Association: The 'Real' Guns of Navarone (Operation Brassard, the invasion of Elba, 16th to 20th June 1944)

Skirmish Wargames: Mag Force 7

Shepway Wargamers: War in Middle Earth

Maidstone Wargames Society: Corsairs vs. Mustangs: The 100-hour War: The conflict between Honduras and El Salvador in July 1969

Posties Rejects: The Battle of Killicrankie 1689

SEEMS (South East Essex Military Society): 'The Colonel's Jammed and the Gatling's Dead': Zulu War Colonial battle

Interestingly, this show seemed somewhat more crowded than others that I have visited over the last year. I cannot put my finger on why, but a lot of it must be down to the effort put in by the members of the Milton Hundred Wargames Club to make it a show that attendees and traders want to go to.