Monday, 16 September 2019

Clotted Lard 2019 - Devon Wargames Group

This weekend I spent indulging in all things Lard with a visit by Richard Clarke and Nick Skinner along with other Lardy enthusiasts from other parts of the UK to join the Devon Wargames Group and our club event 'Clotted Lard.

As you can see we had some fantastic games arranged for the forty-six people who attended the meeting enjoying a full day of gaming on the Saturday, accompanied in the afternoon with the world famous, Heaven on a plate, delight, that is a real Devon Cream Tea, with proper made Devon Clotted Cream and Jam on a light crumbly scone washed down with a hot brew.

If that wasn't enough fun, all the gamers were invited to a pre show meet up on Friday night for drinks in one of the historic pubs of Exeter followed on Saturday night with a similar gathering and a well earned curry, seeing thirty-six of us taking over the Indian restaurant across the road from the pub.

If you would like to see more of the games I have captioned here, together with the other six games run on the day, you can follow the link below to the club blog reporting the show.

Devon Wargames Group - Clotted Lard 2019

More anon

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Roman Legionary Cohort

The three week break taken this summer to tour Spain and the Peninsular War battle sites, currently featuring in a series of posts, meant taking a break from the painting process, which is not a bad thing, but I was curious to see that the enforced leave of absence from the paint brush only left me feeling keen to feel a brush between the fingertips again, on arriving back in 'blighty'.

Cohort One
Cohort Two
Cohort Three

As followers of this blog will know I, like many others, like to plan out a painting schedule and then set too, working the plan. That process seems to give me a great deal of satisfaction and that sense of progress and achievement each time I take the pen and put a line through a completed unit on the planning list that is pinned to my painting desk.

Legionary cohort number four. Victrix loveliness of course and a break from the painting break

That said, variety is the spice of life, and although a regular diet of similar or the same type of unit seems to speed up the production process, as familiarity has enabled me to practically paint a Victrix legionary in my sleep, I prefer to come at each project with a sense of excitement that I get when painting a set of figures for the first time; and the sheer fun of finding the detail that a sculptor/designer has built into the figure that perhaps escaped the first examination, only to be revealed later, just screaming out for a paint job to bring it to the fore.

So on return from Spain I was keen to complete Roman Legionary Cohort number four to have the enjoyment of painting again after a long break, but the recent start of my AWI collection indicates the other aspect of recapturing the excitement of the new, and a Perry sculpt is a good way of getting that buzz going.

However as the Romans would tell you, nothing can be achieved without discipline and that includes writing a plan and seeing the plan through to completion, so the AWI excursion will be a relatively temporary excursion, before returning to the Romano Dacians to complete the outstanding third of the collection.

So my fourth cohort is using the charging legionary from Victrix complimented with LBM shield decals and I really love the dynamism in these figures which add greatly to the look of a game when seen pressed up to an equally expressive warband of Dacians.

Talking of Dacians, Victrix seem to be pressing on with their development of their new range and my short excursion also adds further method to my madness in that the slight delay might enable me to acquire some of the new Victrix range to mix in with my Warlord collection in time for when I come back to the project, adding yet more to the variety and look of the collection.

It may surprise some of my readers but I actually have friends, Mr Steve you know who you are, who sometimes express doubt that this collection is really growing with scurrilous suggestions that I am taking pictures of the same group of figures and needlessly filling the ether with 'fake news'.

I suppose this is representative of the times we are living in, so to refer back to a famous quote from the Falklands War, "I counted them all out and I counted them all back", to allay any fears of so called fake news, I present the first four cohorts of my Trajanic Legion destined to bring Pax Romana to Decebalus and his Dacian bandits.

The plan will see another three such cohorts added to these with the option to convert one into a double-strength first cohort and attached aquilla and primus pilus with all the added combat bonuses that would imply; thus my collection will represent a fighting legion of just under 3,500 soldiers, probably closer to average fighting strength.

Once the Romano Dacians are done I will produce a similar number of cohorts with red shields that will facilitate some civil war actions I have in mind as well as larger Roman versus the others encounters, with Germans and Sarmatians added to the Dacian collection to counter a larger Roman force.

If you are interested in reviewing the collection as a whole, that I have completed so far, together with other associated posts, you can check them out by following the tab, JJ's Dacian Wars on the top bar of collected links or in the link below.

JJ's Dacian Wars

So onwards and upwards with, next up, a look at my AWI Light Infantry, the Peninsular War history of Badajoz and the parts of the city we looked at this summer and I am in the process of basing some Iroquois Indians to add to the AWI collection, so will aim to put a post together on them as soon as I get my photography room back.

Oh and I have not forgotten the request I have had to put together a painting tutorial on how I do my horses, so I will do something about that once all the building works are finished here at Chez JJ with a PDF and YouTube look at the process.

More Anon

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Colours 2019 - Newbury & Reading Wargames Society

Yesterday Steve M kindly drove Vince and myself up to Newbury Racecourse for our annual 'boys beano' to Colours held each year by the Newbury and Reading Wargames Society, where during the day we also met up with other friends from the DWG, David, John and Mr Steve.

The show seemed quieter than last year, and this picture of the traders hall, taken mid afternoon, seems to emphasise that. That said, the traders I spoke to were doing brisk business and I know we enjoyed not being so cramped with the added space to wonder around and see stuff.

I really look forward to Colours as marking the first show after the holiday season, when the traffic on the roads is starting to ease and with a venue that is one of the nicer ones to visit; with easy access via the motorway, good parking and a nice open, airy grandstand conference centre, allowing the show to be set up on three floors of the grandstand.

The venue gives the traders plenty of room on the lower floor, whilst the demo and competition gamers get the pleasure of plenty of light streaming in through the windows of the grandstand viewing areas overlooking the course.

Colours 2013
Colours 2015
Colours 2016
Colours 2017
Colours 2018

As you can see I have reported on five previous shows here on JJ's with a gap when the organisers changed and the club took a break from putting the show on.

I went along yesterday, very much in a serendipitous mode, with no pre-orders and only a vague idea of products I might be interested in picking up, mainly around some terrain items and a few other sundry items.

However the plan changed when on arriving I discovered that Dave Thomas had managed to secure a stand at the show following a late cancellation and I was immediately thinking about the extra Perry AWI sculpts I was looking to add to my latest collection, recently featured here on the blog.

The new barn I picked up from Charlie Foxtrot Models for my AWI collection of terrain

So £70 lighter, my bag filled with Hessian Jagers, Iroquois Indians and British hat companies, I unleashed my inner wargamer on the show picking up some cows, pigs and chickens from Pendraken Miniatures and after a pleasant chat with Colin at Charlie Foxtrot Models, another barn and some tiling sheets to up-detail that and the other models I have purchased in recent months.

Following a quick lunch, sat outside overlooking the course, it was off to check out the games that grabbed my attention to share with you here on the blog.

So as always in no particular order and simply here because I decided they should be, my pick of the games from yesterday's show.

Friends of Rapid Fire - 20mm Normandy

World War II North West Europe is perhaps one of my top periods of military history that I take an interest in and I have spent several summer holidays in and around the Cherbourg Peninsular staying in a favourite little Norman farm just outside of St Mere Eglise.

Thus I was immediately drawn to a nice looking table and collection with a very good rendition of that famous church recreating the German counterattacks against the town as the daylight of the 6th June revealed the 82nd Airborne amid their positions close to Utah beach.

Terrain mats are all the rage these days and it just shows what can be achieved with a good amount of scatter terrain and well presented buildings to capture the look of this kind of battlefield.

Penarth & District Wargames Society - 40mm AWI Skirmish

The American War of Independence is front and centre in my own list of projects at the moment and so I was immediately drawn to the game put on by the chaps from Penarth with a nice looking 40mm set-to in the former colonies.

Again the terrain mat and scatter together with nicely turned out buildings makes an excellent backdrop to the figure collection and is achievable for most wagamers to put together for a club game as well as making a nice spectacle for a show.

South London Warlords - Dark Side of the Moon

I can't say science fiction is a theme that keeps me awake at night but I know a nicely turned out game when I see one, with plenty of passion for the subject, and the South London Warlords captured that in this, one of three games, that they put on at yesterday's show.

The moon base is immediately recognisable to those of us of a certain age as similar to the the one depicted in the British/Italian made TV series from the 1970's, 'Space 1999' and Mr Steve and I were trying hard to remember where we had seen the three space interceptors parked up close by with Steve reminding me later of the SHADO interceptors from Gerry Anderson's 'UFO', another UK TV series also from the same era - ah how the years slipped away!

Oh and guess what, another nice game with a suitably themed terrain mat.

Maidenhead Reapers - 28mm WWII Tanks

Another interestingly themed game from WWII North West Europe depicting the covert attack by Otto Skorzeney's Panzer Brigade 150, a German commando unit pulled together for the Ardennes Offensive using captured allied AFV's and disguised Panther tanks made to look similar to US M10 tank destroyers with the intent on slipping through US lines during the confusion created in the early days of the attack.

The unit was not particularly successful using its AFVs in the covert manner for which they were designed and soon reverted to fighting them in a more conventional manner as US forces became very much aware, quite quickly, as to what these rather odd looking allied vehicles were all about.

Grand Tactical Rules - Solferino

I have heard a certain group of podcasters in recent months waxing lyrically about the joys of wargaming in 6mm and other similar micro-scales, highlighting the resistance from a significant number of us in the hobby to engage with gaming at this small scale of figure.

As my wargaming friends can confirm, I played and collected in this scale for a number of years back in the eighties, particularly for moderns or 'Cold War' as we referred to it then, WWII and Napoleonics, thus I am very familiar with the reasons as to why this scale is well worth considering as an option.

Those considerations become more prominent with weaponry capable of firing over great distances and when looking to create that big battle game, however I have come to feel that as with most things in wargaming our games are usually a compromise and what we decide takes precedence in the games we want to produce; which is why I have moved my gaming up the scales rather than down with, for me, 15/18mm giving that compromise between ground scale that can represent a large battle and figures that are easily recognisable and with character.

Likewise in shorter weapon range, skirmish/small battle set ups I have a preference towards 28mm which takes the character of the figures to another level, particularly when creating that lower level narrative.

However I also understand that with the smaller scale, that really 'big-game' look takes on a whole different perspective and the best examples, like the following game, recognise that the terrain model becomes as equally, if not more, important than the figures upon it, and when you get a great rendition of both, the micro scale creates a wholly different kind, but no less remarkable, spectacle of a game to match the best in the more common larger scale games.

Well done to Bruce Weigle and his friends for putting on this excellent display and work to produce the rule set 1871 to moderate the play.


Loughton Strike Force & Dave Brown - Deutsch-Wagram 1809 in 15mm

This is not the first time I have lingered over a game produced by Dave Brown and the Loughton chaps as the period and scale ticks the boxes for me when it comes to Napoleonics and the games I have featured have a common theme of nicely turned out models and well presented terrain.

So much so I think I can let the pictures speak for themselves.

American Civil War, Battle of Anteitam - South London Warlords

Well I know the banner says Sharpsburg, but it all depends on whether you prefer the blue or the grey that will determine what you call this battle, and so for impartiality I will refer to both its names.

Not being in any corner on the name debate, as ACW is not a period that 'floats my boat', this rendition of the battle fought in Maryland in 1862 was very nicely turned out and reminded me that I am taking part in a game at the end of the month recreating the first day of Gettysburg using the new version of Fire & Fury in 15mm.

To the Strongest - Battle of Watling Street

Simon Miller always puts on a game that is guaranteed to make me stop and take time to enjoy and I pictured his Watling Street game earlier this year in my report on Salute in April.

At the time it was very difficult working the camera among the crowd around the table that was enjoying the spectacle as much as me, so it was nice to be able to have a bit more of a leisurely look this time around.

Simon's game and collection are a great inspiration and remind me that I have only about a third of the units to complete for my own Romano-Dacian collection which I hope will produce an equally impressive vista when they finally grace my table en masse.

Thanks to the Newbury & Reading Wargames Society for staging another fun day out at Colours and to Steve M, Vince, Mr Steve, John and David for their company and to the traders I got to chat to throughout the day.

I thoroughly enjoyed the show and now have a few more toys to get stuck into which I am really looking forward to showing you once they're done.