Thursday 31 October 2019

Nugget 321

I posted the latest issue of THE NUGGET out to members of Wargame Developments earlier this afternoon, and it should be with them within the next few days.

I have already uploaded the PDF version of this issue to the Wargame Developments website, and it can be opened using the password that was sent out to all members when they re-subscribed.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the third issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2019-2020 subscription year. If you have not yet re-subscribed, a reminder was sent to you some time ago. 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.

Tuesday 29 October 2019

Eye problem delays progress

I was doing some figure renovating yesterday, but I was finding it difficult to focus on what I was painting. As I am due to have an annual eye test in the near future (I am in the early stages of developing cataracts), I immediately stopped painting, and won't try to do any more for a couple of days.

This will delay my current figure renovation project, but I'd rather not strain my eyes, just in case. No doubt I will find something useful to do instead ... and my office could certainly do with a bit of a tidy up!

Monday 28 October 2019

The Chaco Air War 1932-35

Anyone who knows me or who has read my blog for some time will already know that I have had an abiding interest in the war between Bolivia and Paraguay for some considerable time. It will therefore be no surprise to read that I bought a copy of THE CHACO AIR WAR 1932-35: THE FIRST MODERN AIR WAR IN LATIN AMERICA when I saw it on sale at SELWG2019.

Besides a Foreword and Introduction, the book contains seven chapter, two appendices, and notes about sources as well as acknowledgements.
  1. Theatre of war
  2. The conflict background
  3. Paraguayan Military Aviation
  4. Paraguayan Navy and Naval Aviation
  5. Bolivian Military Aviation
  6. Chaco air war chronology
  7. Conclusion
  • Recce flights carried out by the Paraguayan Air Arm during the Chaco War
  • Chaco War Air Fleets
The contains numerous contemporary photographs, seven full-colour pages of side views of some of the aircraft used by the Paraguayans and Bolivians, and six full-colour maps.

This is a worthy addition to the small range of books that have been written and published about the Chaco War, and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in that conflict.

THE CHACO AIR WAR 1932-35: THE FIRST MODERN AIR WAR IN LATIN AMERICA was written by Antonio Sapienza and published in 2018 by Helion & Company Limited as No.5 in their LATIN AMERICA@WAR series (ISBN 978 1 911512 96 7).

Sunday 27 October 2019

To Ur is Human

Before I begin, several caveats.

Firstly, the author of TO UR IS HUMAN – Graham Evans AKA Trebian – is an old friend of mine, a fellow blogger, and long-time member of Wargame Developments.

Secondly, I have no great knowledge of Ancient wargaming in general, and warfare in Sumerian Mesopotamia in particular.

Thirdly, I would not have bought this book if I hadn't known the author and followed the development of these rules over the past few years.

The book is US Book-size (i.e. 21.6cm x 27.9cm), is thirty-six pages long, and contains twelve sections or chapters:
  1. Introduction
  2. The Basics (including Playing Area, Ground and Figure Scale, Figures and Units, Troop Types, Generals, and Units 'In Support'
  3. Game Set Up and Unit Deployment
  4. Turn Sequence
  5. Movement
  6. Charges
  7. Ranged Combat
  8. Hand to Hand Combat
  9. Fear Tests
  10. Winning & Losing and Unit Values
  11. Appendix – Sample Deployment Cards
  12. And Finally
In summary:
  • The rules are very straightforward, and I found them easy to understand.
  • The ground and figure scales used are abstract (something that I tend to use in my own rules), and except for Battle Carts, units comprise four bases.
  • The playing surface is gridded (Ah! There's nothing like a gridded playing surface to grab my interest!), and D6 dice are used throughout.
  • Simple diagrams are used to explain examples of how the mechanisms work.
Looking at the rules, there is one aspect that I really, really liked, so much so that I am giving serious thought to using something very like it in my own rules ... the Fear Test!

Simply put, the Fear Tests take the place of morale tests, and occur when two opposing unit are either in combat or about to be in combat with one another. It reflects the level of fear a unit has of their opposing unit, and can result in somewhat unpredictable outcomes. For example, a unit may win a hand to hand combat with an enemy unit but then fail its Fear Test because it perceives that the losing enemy unit remains steadfast and shows no sign of breaking and running.

TO UR IS HUMAN: TABLETOP WARGAME RULES FOR CONFLICT IN SUMERIAN MESOPOTAMIA was written by Graham Evans and published in 2019 by Wargaming for Grown Ups Publications (ISBN 978 1 699 82492 4). It is currently on sale for £5.00 from Amazon.

Saturday 26 October 2019

Another batch of renovated 20mm-scale German figures

I finished renovating the latest batch of 20mm-scale German figures yesterday. They were originally painted to represent some of the Luftwaffe's ground troops who served in Luftwaffe Field Divisions.

Although it is not clear in the photographs, the figures are now depicted as wearing a lighter shade of blue-grey uniforms than they previously wore.

Friday 25 October 2019

Nugget 321

The editor of THE NUGGET sent me the latest issue last night, and I plan to take it to the printer either later today or tomorrow. If everything goes according to plan, it should be ready for me to collect by the middle of next week to post out to members.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the third issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2019-2020 subscription year. If you have not yet re-subscribed, a reminder was sent to you some time ago. 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.

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Fortress of War: A DVD review

In one of the comments to my recent review of the BATTLE OF LENINGRAD, Mad Padre mentioned how good FORTRESS OF WAR was ... so I bought a copy.

FORTRESS OF WAR (Russian: Брестская крепость) relates the story of the defence of the Brest Fortress during the early days on Operation Barbarossa. It does it from the point of view of one of the few survivors, 15-year-old Sasha Akimov, who is a musician with the 333rd Regiment's band. It begins on the day before the German invasion, and introduces the main characters and their families. (The fortress was a garrisoned post, and the officers and some soldiers were accompanied by their families.)

The main defenders whose stories are told are:
  • Major Pyotr Gavrilov (44th Rifle Regiment)
  • Regimental Commissar Yefim Fomin (84th Rifle Regiment)
  • Lieutenant Andrey Mitrofanovich Kizhevatov (9th Frontier Outpost)
Almost as soon as the invasion begin, the unprepared fortress and its garrison comes under air and artillery attack, followed at first light by an infantry assault. The film then relates how the defenders try to stem the German advance in the hope that reinforcements will arrive to relieve them. Gradually they are worn down, and when news that there will be no relief arrives in the form of a downed fighter pilot, the defenders decided to try to break out of the fortress and reach the safety of the Russian front line. The breakout fails, and eventually the defenders are killed or captured.

Needless to say, the Russians are shown to be heroic and the Germans are depicted as brutal and underhand ... but in actual fact, this is not done in the crude propaganda way one might expect. The film has tried to keep as close as possible to the facts, and I understand that the Brest Fortress Museum supervised and approved the plot.

Once the fighting begins, the film portrays it with a relentlessness that is both impressive and brutal. It is a film that conveys what it must have been like to fight well-equipped attackers when you are defending an unmodernised, eighteenth-century fortress that has no heavy weaponry and limited ammunition and water. I am glad that I have seen it, and no doubt I will watch it again in the future.

FORTRESS OF WAR was written by Igor Ugolnikov and Konstantin Vorobyov, directed by Alexander Kott, made by Belarusfilm Central Partnership, and released on 22nd June 2010. The DVD is in Russian and German with English subtitles.

Tuesday 22 October 2019

SELWG2019: A report

Having collected the crate of Eric Knowles's figures from Ray Rousell, I joined the queue to get into SELWG2019. It was quite short ...

... and by just after 10.00am, I was inside the building.

The entrance led straight into the Concourse and the Small Hall. The former was lined on either side with traders stands ...

... whilst the latter was filled by a mixture of traders stands, games, and the 'Bring & Buy'.

The Concourse also gave an excellent view of the Main Hall.


The Society of Ancients: Hydaspes, 326 BC

Real Time Wargames: North West Frontier

GLC Games Club: The Lamenting Pikeman

Gravesend Wargamers Guild

Essex Warriors: What A Tanker!

Cheshunt Wargames Club: Mosquito Strike, Norway!

Tunbridge Wells Wargames Society: The Battle Of Lissa

(This battle was being fought using a variant of my GRIDDED NAVAL WARGAME rules, and it was a pleasure to talk to the participants. I understand that they will be publishing the rules they used on the club website, and this will be done with my wholehearted support.)

SEEMS (South East Essex Military Society)

Milton Hundred Wargames Club: The Constellation Of Kronos

Emotionally14/Fire When Ready!: Star Wars

The Main Hall was accessed from the Small Hall by two set of stairs.


Collections Calculator: The Battle Of The Little Big Horn

Robert Dunlop: Battle of Gnila-Lipa, 1914

British Model Soldier Society: 54mm-Scale Colonial Battle

Maidstone Wargames Club: The One Hundred Hours War

Friday Night Fight: Dino Hunt

South London Warlords: Dark Side Of The Moon

Simon Miller: To The Strongest!

Gravesend Wargames Club: Get Me To The Church On Time

Newbury and Reading Wargames Club: Romans vs. Persians

Tonbridge Wargames Club: Boxer Rebellion

Deal Wargames Association: The Real Guns Of Navarone

Crawley Wargames Club: Aztecs

Shepway Wargames Club: You Will Be Home Before The Leaves Fall

I'd like to repeat my usual plea to clubs putting on games at shows ... please, PLEASE, PLEASE could you ALL have some information about who you are and what your game is about.

As will be obvious from the information about the games I saw and photographed at SELWG2019, some clubs still fail to have anything on view for the casual passerby to look at. Others are very good at not only making sure that their club name is very prominent, but also ensuring that information about the scenario and rules being used is also available. I was spoken to by quite a few of the people running games ... but some of the others seemed to ignore anyone who showed an interest in what was going on.

Sunday 20 October 2019


I've just returned from SELWG2019, and later this week I'll be writing a longer report about the show.

My overall impression was that it was much less crowded than the last time I went, but that there was no shortage of traders or games. My main reason for going was to meet up with Ray Rousell, who had a crate of stuff from the late Eric Knowles's collection. Ray had kindly offered to pass the crate on to me, having been given it at SKIRMISH by David Crook, on behalf of Eric's son.

The crate contains a mixture of painted and unpainted 20mm-scale World War II figures. Most of them are Germans and Russians (including numerous cavalry!), but there are also enough US troops to form the basis of small American army.

The second reason why I went was to meet and talk to other wargamers. Besides Ray Rousell and Postie of Postie's Rejects, I managed to have quick chats with Tamsin Piper, Professor Phil Sabin, Alan Abbey (a leading light of the Milton Hundred Wargames Club), and Neil Fox (who I first met in the basement of Eric Knowles's shop more years ago than either of us would care to acknowledge).

Although I had no plans to buy anything, I spotted a book on Helion's stand that I just had to buy (THE CHACO AIR WAR 1932-35) ... and I'll be writing a review once I've had a chance to read it.

My overall impression was that SELWG continues to be an excellent show, and the cost of entry (£7.00 on the door or £6.00 for an e-ticket) remains good value. Furthermore, parking was free, and it took me less than forty minutes to get there (and back) by car. My only regret was that I didn't have more time to spend there due to a prior commitment that meant that I had to get home by 1.30pm.

Saturday 19 October 2019

Changes to the Wargame Developments Discussion Group

As Yahoo Groups is going to discontinue many of the services it currently provides, it has been decided that the Wargame Developments Discussion Group (WDDG) that Yahoo Groups currently host will move to a new home,

Thanks to some sterling work by John Armatys, the files currently available on Yahoo Groups WDDG have been transferred to Existing members of Yahoo Groups WDDG will need to register an account with Groupsio, search for the new group (, and request to join. One of the administrators will then approve the membership request.

Friday 18 October 2019

What I listen to whilst modelling or painting

When I'm modelling or painting, I like to listen to abridged audiobooks on CDs. Whilst renovating my latest batch of figures, I've listened to:
  • THE GIRL WITH A DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson, read by Martin Venner
  • THE BECKONING LADY by Margery Allingham, read by Philip Franks
  • MYSTERY MILE by Margery Allingham, read by Philip Franks
I like to work in approximately sixty-minute-long stretches, followed by a break. I've found that by doing this I don't lose concentration, and make fewer mistakes. Luckily, most audiobooks on CDs last between forty and sixty minutes, so listening to one helps me to keep to my optimum work pattern.

Interestingly, when I am writing, I like to do it in absolute silence. I suspect that is because I often read out loud what I have written in order to make sure that it makes sense. It's a trick I learnt from another author, and it helps to prevent me from ending up with sentences or statements that do not make sense. That's the theory, anyway ...

Thursday 17 October 2019

My latest batch of renovated 20mm-scale German figures

Over the past week or so, I've gradually been renovating another batch of 20mm-scale German figures from my World War II collection.

Quite a few of them needed a lot of work to bring them up to the standard of the renovated figures I have already completed. This was due to some sort of problem with the original water-based matt varnish they were treated with, which had begun to whiten over the years they had been in storage.

Gently washing the figures in warm, soapy water did little to help, and in the end the worst effected areas had to be repainted. I could have junked them and painted some new figures in the time that it took me to renovate this latest batch, but these were old friends who had served me well in the past, and I felt that I owed it to them to do a proper restoration job on them. I'm glad that I did, as they don't look too bad now that they are finished.