Sunday, 23 June 2013

Mystery Curassier...

A while back I aquired a Job lot of assorted 30mm figures- Stadden AWI mostly but a couple of odd WIILIES and this chap.

I've no idea what make he is. Thats he's of a certain age is pretty certain. The Sword is a pin and the scabbard a ppiece of tin sheet.  He is a three part model Horse Saddle cloth and rider- with the Carbine and picket pole making a 4 th small part..
 The Horse remainds me of Gammage or Rose but I didn't think Gammage at least did any 30mm or Rose any SYW. The base is too thicj for a Stadden. He arrived painted but I did re-touch and re-base him. Maybe he's the start of a retro SYW project....

Friday, 21 June 2013


I often wonder as I sit idly contemplating the universe how our hobby has changed in the 40 or so years I've been doing it.
The OFW lobby will tell you that it was far far better in 1972 when - other than airfix- soldiers were rare and expensive things. I could buy a BOX of airfix for the price of 1 metal casting back in those days  but that doesn't tell you how much blood and skin I lost making thiose Afghans out of Arabs or those Indian Lancers out of US cavalry  or countless others I've forgotten.. Oh yes we had FUN - but we had wounds too I still bear a couple of scars from Stanley knives. The point here of course is that there was no other way open to me or the chaps I knew at the time. We had pretty severe limitations upon what we knew and what was possible- even if our imaginations were not so limited . 1970s pocket money didn't stretch to Staddens. My metal troops- until 1977 or so  consisted of a few Hincliffe some Garrison and a couple of units of Les Higgins- all Napoleonic  Oh and 3 Stadden 30mm riflemen my Dad bought me - simply because he liked them.
 Now it may have been far better in the 70s if you were well heeled- part of the Elite one of those who could AFFORD your Willies or Staddens or  even those 'orrible plastic Spencer Smiths which chaps seem to rave about but I never got the lust for (saw some in the 80s for the first time and immediately preferred Airfix.- even though by that time most of my plastics had gone the journey).
 You do- or at least I do- wonder how much of the OFW stuff is actually merely elitism rearing its ugly  and often supecilious head .

3 pictures of soldiers I couldn't afford for most of the last century. All are Les Higgins "Jason" 30mm and were 24p when Hincliffe  were 7 1/2pand Airfix were 15p for a box of 40 or so ... Ah yes it was better then... Sure...

 Fie upon it.
 It shouldn't be like that now...  but of course it is- there are merely different elites with different sets of supecilious gits. each thinking they are better than somebody else. Needless to say its all Twaddle - I'd go further and say its b""""""s.
 However  many things are much better now than they were then and the only obvious limitation is the thickness of your wad of bunce . Or so it would seem, yet despite the foregoing I'd assert that perhaps one thing was better in "Ye Olden Tymes" and that would be the imagination of the average wargamer.
 If you think about it why this should be so is pretty obvious we had less stuff to play with back then so we had to make it ourselves- and pretty crappy it was sometimes. When I think of some of the truly shyte model I made in the past my artists soul whithers ... but I digress. There has  possibly been a price to pay  for the  current Cornucopia and as ever its an unintended consequence- Joe Wargamer has, at least in part become a lazy git.
 Hold on there chaps... ..  put down the torches and pitchforks and think about it- I didn't say it was all bad. For a start but the mass of stuff we have to enlighten our hobby  hours have made some of us intellectually lazy  all of the time or perhaps all of us intellectually lazy some of the time. Think of the HUGE number of different rulesets out there- no need to do your own thinking anymore merely follow the  instruction book- likewise with idiot books... sorry army lists no brain cells required. Painting schemes- follow the 3 colur method  no need to actually know anything - just painting by numbers (  I  had an aunt who always bought me a painting by numbers set when I was a kid... never finished "Monarch of the Glen " yet bored me witless - used the paints for figures instead)
 Now I'm not suggesting for a minute that we go back to entirely homegrown rules I'm merely pondering as it were the consequences of our embarrassment of riches  "Did we get tired or did we just get lazy " to paraphrase the Eagles. Lazy thinks I no contest.
 It seems to me that many "games"  ( perhaps a better title than rule sets for some of the  supposedly self contain corporate wallet catchers out there) are simply convenienve first. Though whose is a matter for conjecture...
 DBA was the first of these "convenince games" to hit my conciousness a 2 foot square playing area and tiny armies no braincells required. Ther are now others Saga seems to be flavour of the month- a massivly overpriced Dark Age skirmish game where- so I'm told - each  tiny force has its own dice set and measuring sticks which -more fool you-  you are suposed to buy... apparently chaps do  agsain on a tiny table space. Now there is a place for such convenience games just as there is a place for convenience food but you wouldn't want to live off it.. From what little I've seen its much the same with "Muskets and Tomahawks- which purports to be French and Indian war. Now to me both of these give a misleading idea of how combats in their chosen eras were conducted- the "Battle for Convenience " rather than for Canada. Yet they appear to be popular judging by the amount of FIW stuff I shift- and once again merely because they are not to my taste has nothing to do with it- I merely observe and sometime take the p***.
 Nevertheless it does seem that these games and others are helping toimpose limitations on the minds of their
  exponents so which came first.. the lazy git or the lazy gits game....

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Further thoughts on Al- Kahol

Well I could do with a pint for a start.... So here are a few more picture of the game - placed at random.

Obviously I need a pint - this pic is sideways... Hmmmmm.

As I metioned previously we use Combined Arms for our modern games with the appropriate amendments and weapons stats from CPQ magazine. - though I've heard good reports about a set called Cold War Commader - never had my hands on a copy though and never seen a copy at shows- mind you I havn't really looked.

The Jungly bits are by the "Tree Fellas". I've mentioned them before and  can't  reccommend their stuff  too highly. Its the business and won't cost you and arm or leg

The final pic is an aerila shot near the end of the action . There will be more modern games perhaps I may even paint up some stuff for 1980s Inner German Border....

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Al - Kahol not taken

So , Gentle Reader, Saturday 8th June dawned fine and sunny- just the the day for lazing about in an open air pub.... so what do I do , go and play soldiers in Durham city- indoors. Ah well I f you can't take a joke...
 We TWATS had decided upon a Modern game for this years Durham demo but various personal  and work commitments cut us down to just 3  Andrew the tekkie Scribbling Steve and your pooe Author made up the Triumvirate of assembled TWATS. Jiom the Painter provided transport to anf from the venue in between working ..
For the game we were back in "Harraq" with the 69Commando Royal Marines Battle group. whose order of battle for the day is here.

Battle of Al-Kahol
June  8th 2003

69 Commando Royal Marines Battle group.

OC Col. Myles Overlap DSO.
 Prevent the destruction of the  oil facility by  the enemy  if at all possible.
Secure the town of Al- Kahol.
 Drive enemy Irregular forces from the banks of the Schatt –an Harab  waterway.
Enemy forces.
 The garrison of Al-Kahol is of low morale and is not expected to pose much more than a Token threat. These forces strength Approx. 1 understrength Infantry battalion with minimal heavy weapons. They are however dug in . There also appears to be a separate town Garrison force with Anti- Aircraft capability. USAF F-17  pilots report AAMGs and missile fire  from buildings within the town.
Local Irregular forces from the “72 Virgins Martyrs Brigade”  of the Fedayeen al Rufa  however pose a more serious  immediate threat s they are highly motivated if poorly trained.  They have mortars and some RPG and may have heavier weapons. They appear to be based in the Old fortress of Hal- Farhta on the banks of the waterway near the Ghall’ Agar Oasis.
 However Republican Guard Armoured forces are in the area to the North of the town in strength with  T-72 tanks and APC’s . They have not so far moved from their overnight poitions.
Start line for the advance at 0600 Zulu  is the Shahwadhi wadi

Own Troops.
Elite Morale 10
HQ 69 Cdo Royal Marines Battle Group
1Command stand
 1 FV432 TOC.
Support  coy with
1Command Infantry stand
1 HMG stand
1 Recon sniper stand
2 81mm Mortar stands
1 Milan Stand.
1Quad Bike and Trailer
1 Pinzgauer truck
1 landrover
2 companies each with
 1 command Infantry stand
2 infantry stands.
Any stand from the Support company
may be attached to either of the infantry companies
Manovre Support group.
1 command WMIK

Armoured group
HQ no1 Sqn  Prince Regents Own Heavy Hussars 
1 Command Sultan
1 Sabre Squadron with
1 Command Challenger1
2 Challenger 1
 Attached armoured Infantry – 3rd Bn Queens Malabars
1Command Warrior IFV
 2 Warrior IFV
1 command Infantry Stand
1 infantry stand
1Weapons stand

Air Support
 In addition you may call upon
 “Ugly Six Nine  “ callsign
1 x AHU64D Apache gunship –Army Air Corps

The opposing Harraqi forces  arrayed themselves thus,

Battle for Al-Kahol

June 8th 2003.

Jhimhi Hussein Al- Rufa Al Kahol. President-for-Life and “Great Leader“ of the Republic of Harraq.

(Allah Help Us !!!)


Deny the Town of Al-Kahol  and its Oil facilities to the invading  British Forces.


 Infantry Battalion 19th Reserve Infantry Division

 Trained Morale 6.

Bttn HQ with

1 infantry Command Stand

Weapons Company with

1 81mm Mortar stand.

1 weapons stand.

2 infantry Companies each with

2 infantry stands.

These troops may occupy any of the trenches and bunkers on the table outside the town of Al-Kahol.

Al- Kahol Garrison

Trained Morale 7

 1 command Stand

 1 Radio Car.

Garrison Infantry company with

2 Infantry stands

Garrison Weapons company with

1 weapons stand

1 HMG  stand

Anti Aircraft Company with

 1BDRM  SA-9

1 Shilka SPAA

These troops may deploy anywhere with the town boundaries.

 Elements 3rd Saladin Armoured division.

Experienced Morale 8

Tank Battalion with

Battalion HQ company

1 Command T-72

1 T-72


2 Tank Companies each with

1 Command T-72

2 T-72

1 Tank Company with

3 T-72

Mechanised Infantry Battalion.

 Battalion HQ with

I Command Stand

1BMP toc

ATGW company with


 2 infantry Companies each with

1 Command Infantry Stand

1 Weapons Stand

1 Infantry stand

3 BMP2

 These troops deploy anywhere along the North  edge of the table  once activated
  the various "peaceful farmers"   in the undegrowth were organised as follows.

Mullah Mustapha Narsul

High Commander “72 Virgins Martyrs Brigade”

Fortress of Hal –Farta.

The Infidel Cruasders are upon the Holy soil of Harraq. They must be destroyed , slaughtered ,Martydom is upon us Brothers.

 Allah a Akbar !!

Available forces

Trained Morale 9

1 Command Stand.

1 14.5mm AAMG

 1 Recon Jeep with HMG

4 Recon Motorcycle stands

1 Jeep with sneb Rocket pod.

Mortar Company with

4 81 mm Mortar Stands (ROF1).

2 Infantry Companies each with

2 Infantry Stands

1Weapons stand

You must protect your base if it falls to the infidels and they discover your stash of Heroin – which you wish to sell to finance the Holy War....  you may be a tad embarrassed...

 I now had you over to  John Adie of IBC embedded with 69 cdo   for a report on the action

 As the British battle group crosses the startline of the Shahwadhi wadi we come under  desoultory mortar and RPG fire from a trenchline to our front . The Manovre support group replies with 50 cal and GMG rounds  and the Queens Malabars Warriors join in with 30mm Raden guns and the mortars and RPGs fall silent.Nothing more is heard from that trench line.
 Over on the British left 69  dismounted troops advance against the town of Al-Kahol  coming under intese HMG and RPG fire. They go to ground and reply with  Jimpies and 50 cals quicly followed by the Mortar platoon bringing their tubes into action. Thought lashed by fire and taking casualties the Harraqis continue to resist (good morale though here from Steve).
Early in the action . The Wmiks of the Manovre support group have taken hits. The Queens Malabars have occupied the Trench line . Challenger Tanks move up in support.

 The Challenger Tanks of the Prince Regents Own Heavy Hussars rumble up in support to the right of the Marines as word comes over the radio net that Harrqi T-72s have been spotted to the North. A slightly panicked British Commander puts in a call for Air support as the T-72s  dash forward inan attempt to re-take the lost Trenchline in front of the Oil Depot. 
 Hell fire missiles streak out from Ugly 69and several T-72s are reduced to scrap along with a BDRM  SA-9 launcher However in its death troes the BDRM launched 2 missiles and Ugly69 was seen leaving the battle area with smoke and flames  pouring from its injured body.. The aircraft crashed behind British lines and both the crew survived.Nevertheless this gave the Harrqi morale an enormous boost.

T-72s advance- a grainy - satlite image- I wobbled the camera !!!
 Now the Harrqis  threw caution to the winds and charged. The place was alive with tanks. Even the "peaceful Farmers" took a hand using indirect HMG  fire too keep don the heads of the Queens Malabars in the captured trench line. Further a couple of technicals sped out of the undergrowth to launch rockets and fire machine guns at the  Heavy Hussars - a Rocket actually dented the Spartan HQ vehicle. Fire from the manovre support group soon caused this pinprick attack to cease. 
 The climactic tank battle in the centre of the table- photo taken by Andrew Oyston
  The T-72 s needed to close the range to do damage to the Challengers- this was to say the least fraught with risk so whilst single hits were caused on 2 Challengers most of the T-72S  recieve miltiple hits reduceing them to burning heps of molten slag. At least 2 were destroyed by AT-4 rounds from the Queens Malabars in the captured trench.. The surviving T-72 wisely fled.
Over on the British left things were not exactly  tickety boo... A column of BMPs and Sagger Armed BDRM  were putting the Marines under intense pressure. The Challegers coud do nothing as they were engaging the T-72s. It was left to the Warrior IFVs of the Queens Malabars to support the Marines aided by Ugly 70 a late arriving Apache-v understandably a tad nervous considering the fate of his predecessor.
 This time however the SA9s went astray leaving the Apache to chew up the surviving BMP and BDRM.
 The battle was now all but over  but the British had not  been entirely successful. There were still Harrqi  fighters in Al - Kahol 
Harraqi Militiamen  of the Fedayin Al- Rufa and the Dreaded N.A.I..L.S (Nation Agency for IntelligenceLocation and Security) the hated secret police.

Rooting out these die -hards would require a major re-alignment of forces....

So that will be another game on another day.

As for the rest of the show - it was its usual friendly self- always worth a visit. We've already been informally asked back for next year. Now what game shall we do.... 

Thursday, 6 June 2013

What a bunch of Tankers..

The Varnish still being a touch tacky on one of the companies doesn't stop me taking a photo of the finished "Harraqi" Tank battalion of 3rd Saladin Division of the Republican Guard. These are organsed roughtly for Combimned Arms which are my preferred set for post WW2 battles

 The Tanks are of course the Soviet T-72  made under licence in Iraq. Add to this lot a "Motor Rifles" - to use Russian Terminology- Battalion with BMP  and BDRM -AT and the British battle group may have a bit to cope with . Or are these pretty tanks just Apache fodder.....
We'll find out on Saturday  perhaps.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

More Modern Forces for the game at Durham

 This year- at the Durham Open Day  on Saturday 8th. The Gentlemen of the Tantobie Warfare and Tactical Society are demonstating a modern game set "Not at all in the Iraq War of 2003". This game will chronicle the further adventures of 69 Commando Royal Marines Battle Group in their efforts to subdue the forces of the "Great Leader" .
 For those readers who miised the first instalment see "Battle of Algebra"  last december on this blog..
Despite the spanking recieved by the Harraqui forces in the last engagement  they have called up significant re-enforcements for this second action .
 Not only that but they have the dubious assistance of the "72 Virgins Martys Brigade"  whose only wish it seems is to die fighting the Infidel.
 Acorporal of 69 Cdo on hearing this was heard to opine-"Happy to oblige , No problem"
This pic shows the soon to be released British Quad Bike and trailer.

The game will of course be in 15mm and most of the Vehicles and all of the troops are either Old Glory
 orFireforce15 products - all aviaable from me.


  the second pic shows more new stuff- these from an up and coming pack of Command and HMGs  for Middle Eastern Forces. 

 Rules will be "Combined Arms" with a few local ammendments to reflect the scenario and as usual the game will be Umpire Controlled- that would be me..

the 3rd pic shows a 14.5mm AAMG of the 72 Virgins Martyrs Brigade- will this be enough to put off the Apaches??

A good time should be had by all . Hope to see some of you at the Vane Tempest  in Durhamm City on Saturday . Oh and the Queens Head is a cracking boozer too.