Saturday, 27 February 2021

Some new books

It was my birthday earlier this month, and my old friend Tony Hawkins sent me a book as a present. The book is entitled HARRIER 809: BRITAIN'S LEGENDARY JUMP JET AND THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE FALKLANDS WAR, and I have been reading it over the past week.

As the tile implies, it tells the story of the Harrier's part in the fighting and ultimate victory in the Falklands Conflict, particulalrly from the point of view of 809 Naval Air Squadron, which was specially reformed, trained, and sent south with the Task Force to supplement the existing two Harrier Naval Air Squadons, 800 NAS and 801 NAS. The new squardon was formed by Lieutenant Commander Tim Gedge, and was transported south on the ill-fated Atlantic Conveyor. Luckily they were offloaded before the Atlantic Conveyor was hit and seriously damaged 25th May 1982 by two Argentine air-launched AM39 Exocet missiles, and the aircraft and crews were split between HMS Invicible and HMS Hermes.

My other new book is OPERATION BARBAROSSA AND THE EASTERN FRONT 1941. The publishers (Pen & Sword Books) had it on special offer, and as I thought that it might be of help when I revive my Eastern Front/Great patriotic War project, I bought a copy.

It is an illustrated history of the first few months of the campaign, and contains many photographs that I have never seen before. I might now have bought the book if it had not been on sale, but I am very glad that I did as I think that it will be a very useful source of ideas and inspiration.

HARRIER 809: BRITAIN'S LEGENDARY JUMP JET AND THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE FALKLANDS WAR was written by Rowland White and published in 2020 by Bantam Press (ISBN 978 1 787 63158 8).

OPERATION BARBAROSSA AND THE EASTERN FRONT 1941 was written and compiled by Michael Olive and Robert Edwards and published in 2012 by Pen & Sword Books (ISBN 978 1 848 84867 2).

Friday, 26 February 2021

Trying to get Funny Little Wars back into print

Since my blog post of yesterday, several people have showed an interest to getting hold of printed copies of Paul Wright's FUNNY LITTLE WARS: A GENTLEMAN'S PREOCCUPATION and LITTLE CAMPAIGNS: RULES FOR THE CONDUCT OF WAR GAME CAMPAIGNS IN MINIATURE, but as I stated then, they appears to be out of print.

Patrick Wilson of The Virtual Armchair General has since been in touch with me about these two books. TVAG published them back in 2013, but once the print run was exhausted, Patrick passed all the files back over the the author. TVAG does still sell PDF copies of the rules, and can be contacted here. They do not, however, have any printed copies left.

Patrick suggested that we might be able to encourage the author to republish the books in printed format, and to the end I have sent an email to Paul Wright offering whatever assistance I can. It seems to me that one of the 'print on demand' services that are now available (e.g. and Amazon's KDP) would be ideal, as they require little or no direct upfront outlay, and it would mean that the books would remain in print for the foreseeable future. I have not as yet had a reply to my email, but if I have any positive news, I will certainly write a blog post about it.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Funny Little Wars armies

Back in 2013, Paul Wright published FUNNY LITTLE WARS: A GENTLEMAN'S PREOCCUPATION ...


... to commemorate the publication of H G Wells's LITTLE WARS in 1913.

Having had the opportunity to take part in some of Paul Wright's lawn battles using these rules, these two volumes occupy a special place on my bookshelves ... and it was whilst idly glancing through them again recently that I realised that they may provide an answer to my ongoing imagi-nations project.

In order to give the armies used by players a national flavour, each is based around the sort of army fielded by the major nations during the early part of the twentieth century ... BUT each is named by colour rather than nationality. So, for example, the British Army listed in the first book is called Army Red, and comprises:

  • Divisional Staff Group
  • An Infantry Brigade comprising:
    • Brigade Headquarters
    • A Guard Infantry Battalion
    • Two Infantry Battalions
    • A Light Infantry Battalion
  • A Cavalry Brigade comprising:
    • Brigade Headquarters
    • A Heavy/Guard Cavalry Regiment
    • A Light Cavalry Regiment
    • Horse Artillery
  • Engineers
  • Field Artillery OR Garrison Artillery
  • Army Service Corps

It would be very simple to reproduce such an 'army' to use with my PORTABLE WARGAME rules.

Looking at the other armies listed in the book, we find:

  • Army Purple (the Belgians)
  • Army Horizon Blue (the French)
  • Army Black (the Germans)
  • Army White (the Austro-Hungarians)
  • Army Red/White/Blue (the Americans)
  • Army Cerise (the Japanese)
  • Army Dark Green (the Russians)
  • Army Light Green (a Balkan army)
  • Army Red/Gold (the Spanish)
  • Army Red/White (the Swiss)
  • Army Red/White/Green (the Italians)
  • Army Red/Yellow/Blue (the Scandinavians)
  • Ruritania (fictional, based on the writings of Anthony Hope)
  • Grand Duchy of Gerolstein (fictional, based on the setting of Jacques Offenbach's opĂ©ra bouffe)

Whilst the all follow the same basic Order of Battle as Army Red, each has particular differences that reflect the 'national' natures of the army they are based on. For example, Army Horizon Blue includes Chasseur a Pied and Zouaves and Army Red/White/Blue has two rather than one Infantry Brigade.

The companion volume expands the list of armies, and includes:

  • Army White/Red (the Danes): the army list is incomplete as Army White/Red features in the book's short 'Herring War' scenario
  • Army Blue/Red/Blue (the Norwegians): the army list is incomplete as Army Blue/Red/Blue features in the book's short 'Herring War' scenario
  • Army Khaki (the Turks)
  • Army Saffron (the British Indian Army)
  • Army Orange (the South African Republics)
  • A generic Naval Brigade
  • Army Primrose (the Chinese)
  • Army Primrose/Blue (the Chinese ... but after being 'Westernised')
  • Army Primrose/Black (a Chinese Warlord)

In addition to the campaign rules and additional army lists, LITTLE CAMPAIGNS: RULES FOR THE CONDUCT OF WAR GAME CAMPAIGNS IN MINIATURE includes two copies of a hexed campaign map and counters ...

... and a 'copy' of the ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS that tells the story of the 'Herring War'.

Re-reading these two books has given me lots of material and ideas to think about!

FUNNY LITTLE WARS: A GENTLEMAN'S PREOCCUPATION and LITTLE CAMPAIGNS: RULES FOR THE CONDUCT OF WAR GAME CAMPAIGNS IN MINIATURE were written by Paul Wright and published in 2013 by The (Virtual) Armchair General. Both books appear to be out of print at present.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Nugget 333

The editor sent me the latest issue of THE NUGGET last weekend, and I have just uploaded the PDF version to the Wargame Developments website. It can be downloaded and read online using the password that was sent to all members when they resubscribed.

This issue will only be available as a download until the current lockdown has been eased. At that point a printed copy will be produced and sent out to full members. In the interim, a copy of the PDF version will also be sent as an email attachment to all members later today.

In addition to the current issue of THE NUGGET, a COLOUR SUPPLEMENT has also been uploaded to the Wargame Developments website ...

... as well as a free game entitled DONALD TRUMP VS. DONALD TRUMP. This game was written by Russell King, and only requires a copy of the download and some D6 dice to play.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the sixth issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2020-2021 subscription year. If you have not yet re-subscribed, a reminder was sent to you. If you wish to re-subscribe using the PayPal option on the relevant page of the website, you can use the existing buttons as the subscription cost has not changed.

Monday, 22 February 2021

Nugget 333

The editor of THE NUGGET sent the latest issue to me yesterday, and I hope to send a PDF copy to all members of Wargame Developments as soon as I can.

This issue will be accompanied by a Colour Supplement and a separate game by Russell King that members will be able to download and play.

Once the current lockdown is over, paper copies of both this issue and the previous issue will be printed and sent to full members of Wargame Developments.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Other people's Portable Wargame battle reports

Recently, there have been a flurry of interesting PORTABLE WARGAME battle reports published on the Portable Wargame Facebook page.

Ion Dowman's Sengoku-period Portable Pike & Shot Wargame

This featured some innovative use of figures etc., that Ion had to hand. These included:

  • The terrain board from MEMOIR '44, with additional terrain pieces (e.g. woods, walls and castle).
  • Figures from the SHOGUN board game.
  • Mounted Samurai figures manufactured by 'Zvezda' that had been given a black undercoat, white drybrush and red details.
  • Souvenir cannons from the Tower of London.

Martin Smith's modern African imagi-nation conflict between the Zuid Veldt Republik (ZVR) and the People’s Liberation Army of Nambola (PLAN)

The battle features the use of bases from PRODUCTS FOR WARGAMERS, which allows the players to remove SPs as they are lost.

Gary Sheffield's Corps-level Napoleonic Portable Wargame

This battle was fought out on a 24 x 14 squared grid, which Gary states 'allowed some manoeuvre, and to some extent did away with ’edge of the world’ syndrome'.

Please note that the photographs featured above are © Ion Dowman, Martin Smith, and Gary Sheffield.

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Some more figures for one of my existing Portable Wargame armies

I found some unbased pre-painted figures to add to the existing PORTABLE WARGAME army that I featured in my last blog post, and I have just finished gluing them to their bases.

Once the glue has set, I will paint the edge of the bases to seal them, and then I can begin adding natural-coloured cork flock to the bases.

The additional figures include five bases of Lancers (without their lances, which I am still looking for), two bases of red coated cavalry (which I think started life as mounted officers, but which will 'do' for heavy cavalry), three extra bases on infantry, and a supply column/pack horse base.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

An example of one of my existing Portable Wargame armies ... plus a warship!

Before my order of MDF bases arrives from Warbases, I wanted to review one of my existing PORTABLE WARGAME armies. I chose the British Colonial one that I have been using for some years.

These figures were purchased ready-painted many years ago from Miliart, and were originally based to be used with SCWaRes (Simple Colonial Wargames Rules) and then WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! Since then, they’ve been used to develop my PORTABLE WARGAME rules, and are featured in my PORTABLE COLONIAL WARGAME books.

The are enough figures for two small PORTABLE WARGAME armies (or even one large one) ... although the addition of some cavalry would make the collection slightly more rounded. Luckily, during my recent review of my collections, I found some unbased cavalry figures which will fill that gap very nicely.

In the background is one of the ship models I built to provide fire support for my nineteenth century armies. She has had several names and featured in numerous wargames, including one one in GRIDDED NAVAL WARGAMES that was also featured on the book's cover.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021


Having given the matter some thought, I have decided to base (or re-base) several of my small 15mm late nineteenth/early twentieth century armies so that I can use them with my PORTABLE WARGAME rules.

Over recent years, I have used 3mm-thick MDF bases for my figures, and have found Warbases to be a very reliable supplier of laser-cut bases. I have therefore ordered a selection of 40mm-wide bases from them, and fully expect that they will be delivered in the near future. Once they have arrived, I will begin my latest project.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

What next?

Thanks to the lighter-weight dressing that I’m now wearing, I can get up to my toy/wargame room and home office without too much trouble. As a result, I’ve been able to sort out the mess I left on my work table when I went into hospital in December and to have a look at the various collections that I have.

The latter took me some time, and at the end I was left wondering what project I ought to work on next. My Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project had stalled in the run up to my operation, and will require quite a lot of work to get to the next stage. I also realised that I still have quite a substantial number of 25/28mm pre-painted Del Prado Napoleonic figures to renovate, varnish, and base ... and that I have several small 15mm late nineteenth/early twentieth century armies that need to be based (or rebased) so that I can use them with my PORTABLE WARGAME rules.

As well as the above, I also rediscovered the warships and merchant ships I built when I was play-testing the pre-dreadnought rules for my GRIDDED NAVAL WARGAME book. Some of the models have suffered minor damage whilst in storage, but it would not take much effort to repair them.

So what should I do next? (This is a rhetorical question, by the way!) I’m very tempted to see if there is some way to combine my pre-dreadnought ship model and 15mm figure collections into a single imagi-nations project. This would be a relatively small-scale project that I could easily breakdown into bite sized ‘chunks’, and would fit in nicely with my gradual recovery from surgery.