Friday, 4 September 2015

The Agony and the Pointlessness

 Recieved my copy of WSS 80 yesterday- Punic wars being the featured topic. Not a bad issue at all. I used to  do the Punic Wars back in the 80s. I had largish 25mm armies for both Rome and Carthage. A right mixture of figures- QT. Britannia, Lamming, Garrison, Minifigs- all the Usual suspects of those far off times. I moved them on sometime in the 90s. I actually can't remember where or when  but overall there was the best part of 800 figures. We(by we I mean myself and Dave Hulland and sometimes Dave Reay and Ron Emery) refought Trebbia and Ticino and doubtless some others so I was intrested to see  the modern take on something I have not touched for 20 odd years
 So what did we get- A DBA game of the battle of Bagradas - hmmmm  can't speak to the rules but the article was a good one despite its lapse into  Jargon for the actual armies. Try as I might I really don't get the appeal of DBA as a system and appartently no -one can explain thei- If I can expaliain why I don't like it- armies too small that don't look right on the table.  No unit structure that follows the period. Gobblegook jargon, to name but 3 reasons(there are more)  why can no-one explain why they do like it. One thing I've discovered  many wargamers really have massive  trouble with why ... the answers are almost always flippant or childish
 However moving swiftly on There was a nice review of the "To the Strongest" - a rule set I've heard eulogised by a couple of chaps previously . Now this is a card driven system- which is a nice idea but I'm not keen on gridded movement- which it also is but I suppose it wouln't be difficult to junk thatand use rulers instead. I'm quite attracted by the cards idea as I'm really comeing to HATE dice.
 So given the above its no surprise I found Richard Clarkes piece on D6 a bit wearing. What is this obcession wargamers have with bloody dice!- I have it myself devil a doubt, hate the bloody things- yet despite that his basic logic was impeccable- which made the article even more wearing .... still have to use the dammend dice then ...
The Painting article was really  nice- I've used similar- non metalic metalics for years off and on - directional light was the sort of stuff I learned in Art classes- but it was nice refresher- and there are materials now that I didn't have back then  I'll have a bash at this- again - especially on flats..
  I groaned mightily at "The Irregular" this issue- and not just the bit about Mulletts and Ra-Ra skirts what  caused the groaning was the  burbling on about "innovative Games mechanisms" and "push your luck engines"(don't think he drives a morris Marina !!!) that tedious bloody gamespeak rears its head again  oh ****!! more dammable gamesey jargon . Mind you I do  think the point about reducing artifical .barriers was well made.
 A nice Ancient Naval article- not my thing but very well done and well written - Nice to see a bit of Naval stuff. 
 Next we are told to play some kind of Ancient game with 48 figure armies(and itsa not DBA!!)- Pass
 Waterloo - the assault on La Haye Saint on a four foot table-  pass 
A nice article onthe Punic war in Sicily - most of which I'd forgotten or never knew.
 Three other aticles - all more or less about skirmish games- in different period but skirmish games all the same.
 so overall niot a bad mag at all - things to read in it which was nice .... 
Finally ther was Rick Priestly's column- more agonsing about the Future of the Hobby - but not quite- I even agreed with most of it- certainly the principles and only differed in the details- I doubt you'll ever convince me that "Games Workshop" is " proper" wargaming or that actual games actually matter but there is no doubt that on the whole GW has been beneficial at laying the groundwork for many historical gamers over the last 30 or so years and that equally assuming kids can only deal with simple games is bloody patronising inddeed see my earlier post
My "In the Light of preceeding Blog posts t posts" article  ealier in this blog   says some of  the same and like Rick come to no conclusions because there aren't any and who cares anyway . Why agonise again and again .Nobody will give a toss when you are dead 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Off to the wars this weekend.

 Well  off we go again . Two shows in on weekend. Its dammned hectic.
First Border Reiver in Gateshead- my local show which I sponsor. Those of you who take Miniature Wargames should have seen the advert by now. Apparently  the organsing group - The Border Reivers Wargames club have been "hitting the Forums" - not sure what that means exactly  in my personal experience its some of the memebrs of said "forums"  that want hitting  sometimes repeatedly until they shut up - but that was long ago and far away and not to the point today !
 Unusually the T.W.A.T.S. are running a game- not that I'm involved directly  as I'll be working the Trade Stand- they are doing a Russo-Japanese 1/600th Naval game . Floating Jeff and Theatrical Steve are actually doing the deed using Battlefleet 1900 rules I believe. Models are of course from the Old Glory range- which we will have with us
OJN Mikasa- built at Barrow in Furness which still has a Mikasa street!
 We've found that the larger ships just look the business on the table- though we use 1/1200 for WW1 and  WW2 but none of us really fancy those 1/twenty million or whatever they are- those that look like a speck of fly poo  on a counter
IJN Shikishima
The Capital ships on both sides are around 5 - 6 inches long so you can see what is going on . Should be a laugh!

So when we've done all that we come home- to get up next day at  half an hour before God to drive down to Newark and  Partizan. . Apparently the last show at Kelham Hall- which is good to know as the venue owners were becoming a real pain- seemingly making life deliberately difficult for  Lawrence and Tricks and the rest of the Irregulars.- Not making my life any easier either as it happens but there you go. The show is apparently moving to a better venue  Excellent news !
 Any Road up as my Grandad would say  thats for the future - looking forward to a good weekend
 See you at Gatershead
 orif not
 See you at Kelham.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

OOH Look at the pretty pictures ...some shiny some not ....

Despite the pressure of work and especially government papercrap I'm still managing to get a little painting and writing done. Not bad when we've shipped out over 70 parcels this past  week to assorted customers as far apart as Australia and Finland.
Now as it happens I still have a taste for painting figures and vehicles - far more than for the actual playing of games- though an intresting game can still engage my attention. as witness the recent French Revolution action in the previous post.
 However back to the plot. I've managed to finish the first Scorpion CVRT  for the slowly progressing modern  "green British" (that is as disctinct from my "desert British" ) This project isn't going as fast as I'd like simply because I'm getting sidetracked by other stuff- not least "Shinyloo" and a couple of articles I'm writing.
Curassiers and Carabiniers. These are the ones that needed a lot of TLCand a new coat of shinyness !

15mm Scorpion- part of the Command Decision CDMOD range. This model will join the small but growing band of 1980 British for BAOR.
 As for "Shinyloo"  there has bee a small upsurge helped not a little by a bundle of  rather knackerd Hinchliffe/Foremost  cavalry recently picked up on ebay. They had at one time been beutifully painted but had seen hard service and needed a good bit of TLC. Rebasing and weapon replacement as well as a general wash and brush up . They fit in well with the Staddens I've already finished but then they should as Gilder allegedly used Stadden and Willie figures as dollies- as well as Les Higgins Jason for the Hincliffe ECW range.
Stadden Royal  Horse Artillery with an old Hincliffe gun
 The Hincliffe /Foremost range fit into my self-imposed rules for "Shinyloo"- just having been in production since the mid-seventies. I've a dozen Hincliffe French dragoons from the same era - part of the same lot- who need a bit less TLC before they are added to the Emperor Shinypartes army !
On a separate note I've been pondering upon "games" and "Wargaming" and about how - potentially - they are now very  different- not in essence but in detail and of course the devil is in the detail.
 There are several "games" Saga, Lion Rampant , Frostgrave, Muskets and Tomahwks Dead Mans Hand  etc. etc . which all seem very similar to me , purporting to be part of "wargaming" . Doubtless there are plenty more especially in the Sci-fant arena.They appear limited in scope with  less than 50 figures a side masquerading in that most ridiculous of terms a "skirmish army" (yes gentle reader I've had that said to me more than a few times    
 "I want a skirmish army ")
 Hmm define skirmish and army ... thinks I  but these days  trying to teach any games player anything  is usually a bad idea. Like GW drones they get locked into the "gamin' innit" mindset and the reality and even the English Language goes out of the window. Now don't misunderstand I don't CARE but it does amuse me that- in our hobby as in life an idiots opinion however uniformed is  now apparently as valuble as that of a chap who knows whereof he speaks. Indeed  one might opine that the place is stiff with politicians.
 This kind of stuff panders to the instant gratification gang of course. Usually the gratifcation of the "game designer Dudes"  who peddle this limited type of stuff. The bit I really don't get- honestly I'm not taking the piss here is what the purchasers and players get out of this in the longer term. I can see that you might want a quick and simple kids game once in a while. But why would you play- say Frostgrave more than a few times. Saga is  a bit more open ended but the limits of 20 or 30 figure- if that- forces are sure to be reached pretty quickly. In a sense its just the same as DBA The limits of a 12 element force- no matter how many different ones there are will be reached pretty quickly. So where is the point after that ?. Slaving yourself to any given "games system" for the "gaming experience"  is such a narrow view of our open -ended and in theory virtually limitless hobby that I really wonder why you would bother.
 As an example  for me DBA palled after about half a dozen dice rolling contests- sorry games-  on the silly 2 feet by 2 feet "board" (notice board not table)  so just how are this new rush of  clone-a-skirmish games any different?
 Now I don't have a down on skirmish wargaming per-se- a skirmish or small action is part of any military operation  so some of the time you are going to want to transfer them to the table but such actions are not the whole gamut 
 There will be people out there who tell you "its all I can afford" or "Its all I have time for" - well if DBA was the only choice I'd get another hobby - watching paint dry would be of more interest.
 As for affording it well I've been skint so I have a little sympathy but I simply  decided what I wanted to do then worked out how money or not- back in the day it was Airfix  or nowt lad ! 
 I suppose it all comes down to the fact that I'm not PRIMARILY a games player- can't see the point of most of 'em- perhaps someone can enlighten me .... 

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Revolting peasantry and English Gentlemen

So  Saturday morning dawns- well noons actually  and a small number of TWATS gather at our usual pub. Dave the Sheep  is in the chair and has brought his French revolutionary stuff- a tasty collection . We are in Brittany for the Chouan revolt and a rather lonely British battalions tasked with making off with some portable loot before the various rabble get hold of it.
 So myself as the British colonel - with a command of as many as 44 figures in 2 units has to face off against unknown hoards of french republican rabble.  So  Froggys sir Fahsands of 'em was the order of the day .....
 Now I did have a little help Mechanical Shaun had command of the Chouan hordes and there did seem to be an awful lot of them too . The  republican were commanded by Floating Jeff and Theatrical Steve (no I'm not implying that Steve is some kind of OTT prima Donna - he WORKS in the Theatre!).
 The First republican Demi- Brigade was given a proper smacking by the intitial Chouan ambush- a blast of "improvised canister" at les than 50 yards can ruin your whole morning- especially when followed up by a screaming charge of scythe and pitchfork weilding loonies (not unlike Saturday night in some pubs in Hexham when the sheeps****s come down from the hills- eh Dave ! ) So the first French Brigade  retired pell- mell in severe disorder hotly pursued by said loonies
 a mere2 of the 9 french battalion that the single british battalion had to face.

Meanwhile in another part of the field  for the British
 The day started poorly and quickly got worse . The second French Brigade advanced swiftly  totally undeterred by the British light troops- (25 dice 1 hit. the French with similar dice scoring 7 hits Floating Jeff permanent and uncanny dice rolling strikes yet again).
 The waggon starts to move gets onto the road and the wheel falls off - so several moves we don't have are spent nailing it back on ... Once we have done that the bloody road is filled with froggy peasants coming to join the punch-up so we can't use the bloody road ... laugh I thought I'd never start ...  I HATE dice rolling.
another French Battalion- I think there were 9 all told.

 However the Chouans finally get their gun loaded again and put another load of canister up the Republicans couple this with a well timed volley from the Brits and the republicans stagger a bit - their Demi- brigade refuses to charge my line- Now is my time.. Oh Bugger! that means dice rolling and the inevitable failure... it is so depressing to be right... However the Light troops form line and charge the French Flank while the line battalion looks on .  This is just enough- the French are routed and the other battalions are too far away to effect events so thankfully I can break contact, this especially as a belated squadron of light Dragoons runs up to cover the withdrawal. Phew! got away with it ...
Stalwart English Gentlemen.

Approaching the crunch!

. Technical notes.  

Regulars  were mostly Old Glory 28mm  with some generals from Trent Miniatures. Chouans were a right mixture some OG  AWI militia. Some Reiver Casting Monmouth rebels and some I didn't recognise. Rules used were "General De Brigade"- which with the odd amendment handle this kind of stuff rather well. the table wasn't too large- about 7 feet by five- max possibly a little smaller. The buildings were scratchbuilt by your gentle author about a quarter of a century ago.
 Recently I've been having bother with boredom and parts of this hobby and its  receptive and samey gamey crap. This game went some way to restoring my faith- even getting the right Hump with Floating Jeff and his Amazing Dancing Dice(any number you want to order !! or so it seemed )  stopped the boredom  so was good in the end.
 As always our thanks to Jean and Eric as "mine hosts" and Jean's amazing Beef Butties !!

Monday, 17 August 2015

More ECW units

 Despite a fiarly busy workload at the moment I'm still getting a little painting done. Though to be strictly accuate some of it is "re-conditioning" and tarting up some of the slightly the worse for wear stuff I've aquired over the last year..
Roundhead Cavalry. The lead troop are old Essex figures on Old Glory Horses
 The chaps in the blue sashes are for Fairfax's Northern Association forces. The tow other troops in the background will need to have their Sash Colours changed to eith white or yellow as they are meant for Wallers Southern Association
The Old Glory Horses are not those you get now.These went OOP about 10 years ago but I kept some !
 The Essex troopers fit rather well on the OG   horses- though these are  the older ones which I happened to have some left ,rather than the current production.
 The swaybacked funny legged Essex horses went in the melting pot. Being somewhat venerable all of thse chaps recieved a nice shiny coat. New basing all round,
 Now all I need is time to get these out on the table- I've enough cavalry to re-fight Winceby at about 1-5 I think  Hmmmmm.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Work.. Work... Work ...

 Phew ! Knackered is the word.
 Received a 9 crate shipment from the USA yesterday and am still unpacking though finally the end is in sight.
 There are over 60  packs of new stuff from Blue Moon. All 15mm  Mostly Napoleonic Transport. So Limbers, teams  Field Forges, Ambulances Caissons the works. Each of the 5 major Napoleonic Nations now has transport. The actual limbers waggons etc come without  horses so you can choose which  period you want so for example the French Ambulances  can be had with 1805 or 1809 or 1812 teams- you choose which set of horses and buy those separately
 In addition there is a range of generic waggons and carts that will do for most  periods from about 1500 onwards supply waggons water carts etc. These are really smart and useful. I can't offhand think of anyone else who does such an extensive range.
 There are also some new  additions to the Mexican American War range and the Early Prussian Napoleonic Generals are now in stock 
 Its going to take a while  to get all of this lot up on the site- or even to compose a listing as I didn't get one in advance. Some items are up for viewing but  alterations may need to be made so be patient. We'll get there .

Of course releasing over 60 packs of new stuff at once is quite unusual there days- some companies don't have 60 packs of miniatures in total.
 Ah well back to the unpacking .....

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Wrath and Bad Language North of Dunbar ....

 Oh Blast Oh dearie me Oh Flip !  Just a few of the words uttered by  your Gentle Author  as we struggled to get our nuts off somewhere in Darkest Scotland- North of Dunbar ......
 Now before you surmise that we are wngaged in some kind of  arcane and perverse magical  rite let me explain.  At around  5.45 in the am my crew and I set off for Claymore in Edinburgh- a show I always enjoy. 
 So there we were tooling along the A1 towards Berwick - past Berwick towards Dunbar- past Dunbar then Bang! Hiss!  flap flap flap - a Tyre goes.- something is running dowm my leg- thankfully it only sweat ! (I ezaggerate for dramatic effect ....) 
 So there we are with a tonne of lead in the back of the van and a tyre to change...... Oh Flip 
 Now these days wheel nuts tend to be  srewed really tight by mechanical means- so the pathetic nut wrench provided in the spare wheel kit is completely inadequate- You simply can't get your nuts off ! 
 So after fulminations and phone calls about an hour or more later up comes the AA with a dirty big 4 foot long one which he waves at our nuts and- amid a bit of straining finally wrenches them off.
 All well new tyre on we go- a mere 2 hours late.
 However better late than never.
 so at 10.04 we arrive at the venue and try to set up with Joe Wargamer in his many guises in the way.... Not easy but I've had worse and we recieved helpand co-operation from  the SESWC- splendid chaps all ! (I can think of shows where Health and Safety rules wouldn't LET you set up once the Public are in )
 The only thing we didn't do was set up the usual display case- no time as  customers were waving portraits of Robert the Bruce at me ...... well if I must I must ...
 So despite the traumatic journey alls well in the end and you know what they say
 Any Landing you can walk away from can't be all bad .....  

Oh and another thing- the new Drabant stuff I hoped would arrive for the show.... arrived at 10.00 on the Saturady morning !!! 
 Still if you can't take a joke you shouldn't have joined ....