Thursday, 1 March 2018

Long Time No See

Oh hello, fancy seeing you here. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything (almost a year in fact and well over a year since I’ve posted any new models or painted figures. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, as I’ve hinted before, a lot of my spare time is taken up with dancing (Latin and ballroom to be precise). I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to compete at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on several occasions which most, if not all, dancers aspire to. I managed to pick up these modest baubles (below) at my last comp (yes, they both could be used as a substitute for the mace in Parliament if a rogue MP ever decides to cause a by-election by swinging at someone with the current one).

Over the last few months I’m now concentrating on becoming a teacher rather than competing, but this also has it consequences. I’m generally not intimidated by people or situations but facing a dozen or so mature ladies, on my own, expecting you to teach them the basics of dancing genuinely gave me the willies.

The second reason is that I started a new job. After a change in circumstances at work I realised I had to get out of my comfort zone. This job involved an awful lot of driving. On the rare occasions when I travelled with a colleague I would often fascinate them with 'interesting' historical facts along the way.

Some notable (and all genuine) conversations included:

Driving past Portchester castle “That’s were Henry V sailed from to fight at the battle of Agincourt.”

 “Oh look, that’s Southsea castle from where Henry VIII watched the Mary Rose sink.”

"Over there is Meadow Lane stadium, home of Notts County, the oldest association football team in the world."
“That’s Windsor castle, you know, where the Queen lives.” 

Admittedly the level of interest and knowledge of British history amongst my colleagues tended to vary. Well, not vary as such, more often non-existent.

Occasionally I visited places that, as a member of the general public I'd never be able to access. This included the roof of St. Thomas in central London, which as you can see is right next to The Shard. 

The amount of time I had to play with miniatures has been greatly reduced but I have made some progress with figures, especially for a new set of rules (Rebels and Patriots) from Dan Mersey and Michael Leck. Hopefully it won’t be another year until I post again.

Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed that I refer to this 'new' job in the past tense; this is because I was laid off recently. Ironically it was very likely that I would have quit within a few months anyway as the job I was asked to do wasn't the one I applied for. I'm hoping the will be a blessing in disguise as now I might be able to get my social live back. I'll certainly have more time to paint some of the massive backlist of figures I have.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Wargames Illustrated - WI354 April 2017

Anyone who dislikes ‘personal trumpet blowing’ and /or shameless self-promotion may wish to skip this post.
Wargames Illustrated - WI354 April 2017
I was reading an article, in the latest copy of Wargames Illustrated, about The Pikeman’s Lament rules and noticed in the photographs the Covenanter musketeers and an artillery piece looking pretty familiar. On closer inspection, I realised that some were pieces I painted for Warlord several years ago. It’s nice to know that they are in John (owner of Warlord Games) Stallard’s personal collection and that they are still being played with.

Dodgy photographs of the same figures can be found here [Scots Covenanters].

I remember receiving a reply from Warlord implying that the uniforms weren't the correct shade of Hodden grey and the colour for the Scots Saker cannon carriage was too bright and not authentic. This last part made me chuckle because I got the information about it from someone who I later discovered was an expert on civil war artillery and a founder of the English Civil War Society. I don’t think I have a particularly distinctive painting style so it probably the colour of the carriage that helped me to recognise them.

If you want to purchase a copy of the magazine for yourself, you can do so from here [Wargames Illustrated] And no I’m not on commission, in case you were wondering.

I buy my copy from a local gaming store [Asgard GamesUK].

Speaking of which, I seem to be quite fortunate in that there is also a WHSmith store near to where I live where all three of the usual wargaming magazines are normally on sale. Although there is an obvious push towards electronic versions at least having a physical copy in front of you enables you to be able to flick through the mag to see if that issue is worth buying. I think publishers realise this as more and more of them seem to offer online glimpses into the online/PDF versions.

As an aside, another one thing I did notice was that via a combination of blogs, forums, newsletters, Facebook and podcasts I already know or recognised most of the content. Unfortunately, I believe, this doesn’t bode well for the hard (paper) copy versions of magazines given that online versions seem to offer more content. I still prefer to have the ‘real’ thing at hand to read but this may be a generational thing as I also rarely see anyone young (i.e. in their 20’s) reading a newspaper, for instance.

Friday, 17 March 2017

WMMS 2017

As per usual I’m probably one of the last people to post images from the West Midland Military Show (WMMS), aka the Alumwell show (if you’re local and/or remember the original venue). 

I’ve always enjoyed attending this show. There are a variety of different people in attendance, gamers, re-enactment groups, scale modellers etc. and a there’s usually a very good standard of demo games being played.

The show seemed busier than ever this year, a hopeful sign that the local scene continues to be active and in a good form.

I didn’t take these photos so apologies for any incorrect captions.

Another nice thing about this show is that I often bump into people I recognise. This year it was Ade (WargamingForFun) who I haven’t seen for a while. Another bonus was meeting the Pensnett model group. Always nice to see them as I don’t get a chance to attend their club night that often. 

I made a few purchases, including the paper Armada game from Peter Dennis, which I’ll post here as and when I get round to making and painting them.
Rubicon (new?) Sherman variants 

Rubicon (new?) Sherman variants

Loot - Paper fleets from Peter Dennis

Malc's trucks - Pensnett Model Makers Society

Malc's trucks - Pensnett Model Makers Society

Malc's trucks - Pensnett Model Makers Society

Detail - Shrewsbury Wargames Society

Detail - Shrewsbury Wargames Society

Exactly what it says on the tin - Shrewsbury Wargames Society
Detail - Shrewsbury Wargames Society
1/72 Scale model WWII Japanese aircraft

1/72 Scale model WWII Japanese aircraft

1/72 Scale model WWII Japanese aircraft

15thC Buckingham retinue display
A top quality 15th century re-enactment group, representing Lord Buckingham’s Retinue.

Northampton Battlefields Society display

Battle of Northampton game rules
Battle of Northampton game

Battle of Northampton game - Brave Yorkist (brother and myself)
advance on the cowardly Lancastrians hiding behind a wall

Very nice renaissance figures from Steel Fist Miniatures. I didn’t buy any from this range but I did purchase some other figures from them. I will hopefully post about this in the near’ish future

The Kingdom is Ours - Bicorne demo game
Last but not least a hint at a future project.
Tiger Miniatures

Friday, 20 January 2017

'The Pikeman's Lament' arrives

In today’s post I received a familiar shaped cardboard package. It was, as I hoped, the latest release from Osprey Publishing, ‘The Pikeman's Lament’. This is the most recent addition to the Lion Rampant family of rules, following on from ‘Dragon Rampant’ and ‘The Men Who Would Be Kings’. This particular book was co-written by Dan Mersey and Michael Leck.
Obligatory poor quality photo courtesy of me.
Regular readers of the blog may know I was involved in a small degree playtesting of the rules and as a sign of gratitude I received a free copy of the rules from the authors and the publishers.

The quality of the publishing is what we have come to expect from this Osprey ‘Blue Book’ series. Lots of top quality painted figures and illustrations from Osprey’s impressive back catalogue. 

I’ll leave to others to review the rules as I’m obviously biased. However I will say that they are probably my favourite set of skirmish rules. Anyone familiar with the Lion Rampant rules will already know the basics. I also suspect some may use them (with a few alterations) to play late medieval (Wars of the Roses etc.). This new book contains a clever officer generation and a simple campaign system which could also be used with the Lion Rampant rules.

I will be sitting down over the weekend to read through the book to see if anything has changed or rules I’ve been playing incorrectly over the past year or so.

The rules are officially released on the 26th January 2017 (from Osprey Publishing) although I know some people have already received copies (even before the authors apparently)

Monday, 9 January 2017

The Pikeman's Lament - Playtesting January 2016

I looking around my blog when I noticed these pictures from a couple of games played a year ago which, from some reason, I never got round to posting at the time. With the immenient release of the new 17th century skirmish game The Pikeman's Lament (from Osprey) I thought it might be an appropriate time to post now.

As far as I remember the games, played at Asgard Games in Walsall, involved having to rescue/guard a VIP (a captured general?) but represented here by a D10 as I didn’t have any spare single figures on my at the time.
In the first game my opponent Mark (Parliament orange movement) was the attacking force where I was defending (Royalist red movement). General D10 was held in central building defended by a limited number of units. Other units could be bought on with a successful activation.
Mark split his forces in a pincer movement sending a cavalry towards my right flank. There was a major clash on my left flank with Mark’s cavalry and a unit of musketeers. Mark’s cavalry took heavy casualties but advanced to intercept my units that were desperately trying to reach the building to defend hold onto General D10.
There was a clash of horseflesh with both mounted units being knocked out of play. Meanwhile my supporting(?) unit of musket units carried on in an attempt to reach the building in time.

Meanwhile Mark’s musket and pike units easily pushed back my defenders and snatched General D10.
Mark's force then quickly retraced their steps, with General D10 in tow, seeing off any attempts by myself. A group of Mark's musketeers advanced into an ambush position just to make sure I'd get any closer, all of which rounded off a resounding victory for Mark.

The following pictures are of the next game where the roles were reversed. In my excitement of actually doing well I forgot to take enough photographs and the ones I did take were blurred.

The game ended with my brave troops making a mad dash off the table (very) closely followed by Mark's cavarly. A narrow victory for me this time.

The Pikeman's Lament is officially due out 26th January.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Wargamer Show (Halesowen) 2016

This first post (and at the current rate possibly the last) of the year about the last show of last year, Wargamer is one the smallest but also one of the friendliest that I’ve attended recently. 

The minimal programme had a list of traders and clubs but didn’t have a map to help identify who was who. The venue isn’t that big but some of the games were difficult to identify, so apologies if the following photos have no labels. The leaflet does list several model/hobby ‘brick & mortar’ shops which is useful. Even the days of the seemingly all powerful Google there are still several shops that have little or no online presence. 

Another thing about the programme was that didn’t list the participation games, which is a personal bugbear. My brother and myself try to make a point of playing as many participation games as is possible. We’ve noticed that playing participation gamesis the only thing we tend to remember about a wargame show as all the traders/shows tend to merge into one after a while. 

There seems to be two obvious types of people who put of display/participation games, the social and the anti-social. Although, of course, this is a sweeping generalisation it’s one that rings true to me. I appreciate the appeal of being able to play large games with massed ranks of figures with a number of your friends at a show. However these are also the type of games I will probably never play as I don’t have the time, finance or space to commit to to them. I can understand people becoming engrossed in a game but at least have one ‘ambassador’ to speak to the public or any one that shows an interest. I must admit, thankfully, anti-social gamers seem to be decreasing in number. This is especially true at this show where practically everyone either encouraged us to have a go at a game or at least described what was going on and were very keen to share their enjoyment of the hobby. 

There a few things I would have done differently with a number of the participation games if I was hosting, but seeing as I’ve never ‘done’ a proper demo at a show I’m not really in a position to criticize. I have provided demos of the Lion Rampant series at local stores and clubs but that isn’t really the same thing. The chaps providing participation games put themselves out to try and engage with perfect strangers and deserve all the credit they get.

This was some form of Victorian steampunk beach invasion.

Monty Python and the Hole Grail game

Monty Python and the Hole Grail game - board detail

Monty Python and the Hole Grail game - board detail
A board game based on the film ‘Monty Python and the Hole Grail’. After picking a character you then had to gather equipment from various stops along the board. The hardest part of the game was trying to remember the film references as neither of us had watched the film in years. Coconut shells were provided to create the appropriate sound effects.

BoredGame.Net running Dark Future demo

Dark Future

Dark Future

Dark Future

Original models for Dark Future

Customs models - Dark Future
Dark Future – an old game from Games Workshop, obviously based on Mad Max films. My brother played this one and managed to outrun the pursuing car, making it spin and roll out of control on the second corner.
Airfix Fort Sahara
Eat Hitler - dinosaur game
Eat Hitler - dinosaur game

Eat Hitler - dinosaur game

Eat Hitler - dinosaur game
Eat Hitler - dinosaur game
Eat Hitler – another game from the same chaps that put on the Custer’s Last Stand game we enjoyed playing last year. The idea was that Nazi scientists have created a time machine and have transported themselves back into the age of the dinosaurs. participators played the dinosaurs and the aim of the game was to try and eat as many of Hitler’s henchmen as possible. There may be a return match next year in the streets of war worn Berlin.
Rorke's Drift
Rorke's Drift

Rorke's Drift
Rorke's Drift

Rorke's Drift

Rorke's Drift
Ubique  "They do not like it up 'em" Matt
As is customary for any gaming blog there is a list of the rather minimum purchases from the show:
  • Two packs of Bolt Action infantry. This is for a project that I will detail in a later post (although I may).
  • Colonel Bill’s 17th century civilians. These will hopefully show up in a ‘Pikeman’s Lament’ clubman militia soon’ish.
  • Perry Scottish commander bought from the Bring & Buy after a tip off from eagle-eyed Derek (cheers Derek).
  • Sprue of plastic ECW cavalry. Bought to replace the ones I used making the dragoons when I realised I needed them to finish of another unit.
I’m not sure if this year’s show was a financial success, there seems to be less traders than last year, for instance Wargames Foundry were not present after making an appearance at the previous show. Hopefully the show will still be on next year’s calendar.

And if you've made it this far, thanks, I'd like to wish followers and readers a belated happy new year.