Wednesday, 31 December 2008

HLBS - Rapid Service

There are rumours that Honourable Lead Boiler Suit Company are going to discontinue their 28mm ranges as the 40mm is doing better. Consequently I decided to pop an order in on Monday for some of their Great White North figures for my Northern Russian Expedition project.

I was somewhat surprised to have a package arrive on my doorstep this morning with the figures enclosed. Well done HLBS, noice figures, nicely packaged and amazingly fast service!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Wargames Weekend Planning

With another weekend of wargaming fast approaching I am starting to put together the scenarios, figures and terrain for the three games I'll be putting on. Assuming everything goes to plan it will be three Nuts! based games with an Irish War of Independence game, a scenario from Atacar es Vencer! (Spanish Civil War) and one from Peiper at the Gates (WW2).

Those three will allow me to get my Musketeer Miniatures IWI and Anglian SCW figures (both by Paul Hicks) to the table for the first time and my Artizan/BAM WW2 winter figures once again. I am currently in the process of basing the former, writing the IWI scenario (based on a real life encounter - I can't give too much away as it will spoil the surprise for Lenin) and converting another Crossley tender along with doing the necessary conversion to the SCW scenario so that it fits with Nuts!

The trouble with only three game slots is that I have loads of ideas which I can't fit in!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

1938: A Very British Civil War - The Source Book

Having spotted various posts on the Gentleman's Wargames Parlour on a British Civil War in an alternative 1930's and having an interest in the inter-war period this booklet was a must.

Solway Crafts and Miniatures have published the source book by Dr Rob Jones, Steven Mortimore and Simon Douglas and are making it available through their eBay shop. The 48 page booklet is glossy with colour photographs and illustations throughout (although the resolution of some of the images could have been better - a little blurry for my liking).

The source book, which is not rules specific, provides a background for an alternative history where Edward VIII did not abdicate and caused a constitutional crisis leading to a civil war. The run up to the conflict is nicely laid out and then short sections are included on each of the various factions covering their organisation, arms & equipment, uniforms and rule possibilities. These are then followed by 10 scenarios, a couple of pages of just photos, suggestions for figures and a quick "Over to You" section.

This is a fascinating period of history and the booklet provides a background and sufficient information for a few games; however, it clear the intent is to provide a jumping off point for gamers to develop their own specific ideas focussed on their own particular areas of interest.

I did find the sections on each faction are a little repetitive in places but the inclusion of illustations for the various flags and banners was a lovely touch and the photos, which are mainly of painted 28mm figures certainly demonstrate the possibilities.

I really enjoyed the ideas included in the source book and it has certainly got me thinking about gaming in the 1938 world. I found the book provided just enough information for me to make it useable (give me the kick start I would need to actually get a game to the table) but no so much as to constrain any creative ideas of your own.

If you are looking for an alternative to the historical conflicts of the period and would like something closer to home then this may be the book for you. It retails for £10.99 plus £1.50 P&P.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Projects for the New Year

As Christmas approaches I start pondering new projects for the coming New Year. Notwithstanding that I have quite a bit of work to complete my 2008 projects (basing and painting mostly) I like to give some thought to more unpainted lead (which will ensure my survival if the wargaming myths are true!).

I'm hoping to finish off my outstanding 2008 projects between Christmas and New Year to clear the decks for something new. Of course it may be a little while before these have all seen a decent amount of table time but that's certainly true of most of my collection. Currently on the workbench are:

28mm Winter War
The Finns are now completed and have seen the table. I have finished one of the two BAM houses I bought and so the other needs painting. I just have the Russians to base and a FoA Gaz truck to paint. Of course I'll need a few more vehicles if I want to represent a decent Motti.

28mm SCW
All the figures are now painted and just need basing (I've still to settle on a basing style I'm happy with - and I need to consider one of my proposed 2009 projects there). I have sufficient Grand Manner buildings for a decent sized village (although I really would like their church) and I have a couple of armoured cars to paint to go with a softskins I picked up from eBay.

28mm WW1
The early war French and Germans have already seen the table and I only have to base up a few more figures to finish enough to cover all the scenarios in my SkirmishCampaigns booklet. Most of the late war are done withe the exception of the French (which only need basing) but I have a few additional figures and support weapons to base and the artillery to assemble and paint.

28mm Irish War of Independence
All the original Musketeer figures I bought are now painted and based. I have almost finished the first Crossley tender conversion (from a die cast) and now I think I have the hang of it I'll give the second a go. The I just have the Sloppy Jalopy armoured car to assemble and paint (although, having looked at it, I think the FoA vehicles were an awful lot easier to put together)

28mm Tudor Irish
These have been languishing in a box for a little while now. The figures are all painted with only pikes to be added and basing to be finished but I am still awaiting the inspiration for the rules!

Which, now I think about it, may be a tall order to get done by the end of the month but I'll give it a go. So on to 2009, here's what I've been thinking about:

28mm Early WW2(ish)
I've always had an interest in the early part of the Second World War and have been toying with this as a 28mm project to complement the 15mm range I've already been working on. I think I'll probably start with some Crusader Germans to go with the Foundry figures I already have. Along with these I'll probably get some of their British too. This will give me some flexibility as I would like to explore some alternative history options with them as well as the more mainstream games. Operation Sealion and the possible (as opposed to probably) aftermath are of particular interest. But I have also been attracted to the various discussions of a Civil War in Britain before the war which would allow me to reuse some of my IWI and SCW troops too.

28mm Wild West
Having come a little late to the attractions of Deadwood I have rekindled by interest in the Wild West. I originally got into the period through the Dixon range but have always hankered after some character figures. I have now settled on the Brigade Games range and have picked a few of their's up (no prizes for guessing why I picked them). I suspect I'll use Six Gun Sound from Two Hour Wargames as the rules (the original set rather than Blaze of Glory).

28mm Polar Bear Expedition
I've been thinking about this one for a while and the demise of the HLBS 28mm line is likely to prompt me to get the figures. It will be another period for my snow terrain mat anyway. I'm hoping that Santa might be kind a give me some reference reading for this one which will spur me on.

28mm Greek Myth
Lenin already has the Foundry and Eureka figures I plan to use for this and we have tried the Typhon rules once before and they showed some promise. I am currently reading David Gemmell's last book (the thrid in the series on Troy) which is putting me in the mood for some ancients!

Of course there are a number of ongoing projects which really need moving toward completion (or at least table time) including 15mm colonial, 28mm gothic horror, 28mm Pulp and 25mm SF to name but a few...

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Figure Review: Brigade and Bolt Action Finns

As you may have noticed from the last Wargaming Weekend post I have already had an opportunity to get 28mm Winter War Finns to the table. Lenin has, again, made a super job of the figures and I thought it would be an idea to do a quick post on them. I have also posted some comparison shots below with the unpainted figures.

The figures are pretty compatible from a scale perspective (as you can see from the comparison shot of the officers); however, the Brigade Games figures are in full winter gear and the Bolt Action Miniatures ones are in the M36 tunics.

I was slightly worried that the Brigade winter gear would come out a little bland but they have sufficient definition for dry brushing to bring out enough of the detail to make them work.

Both sets of figures work well with my Baker Company Finns which I picked up from eBay which are also in winter gear; however, I do prefer the Brigade figures to the Bake Co ones as the poses and detail are better in my opinion.

The BAM Bofors anti-tank gun comes with its own resin base.

Finn Infantry Command/winter gear

(Unfortunately there was 1 figure missing from this pack originally but Lon from Brigade popped it in the post as soon as I told him)

Finn Infantry /winter gear I

and here's a comparison of the Brigade officer against the one from the Bolt Action command pack:

More photos can be found in my Picasa web album by clicking on the link below:

The Wargame Shed - Figure Review No. 7

All in all I am very pleased with both ranges as they provide a nice variety for my Winter War and Continuation War skirmish games.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Peiper At The Gates

Two Hour Wargames have just released Peiper at the Gates a scenario book and mini campaign for their Nuts! WW2 rules. The booklet was written by Darby Eckles, who was responsible for FNG Vietnam rules, and covers the Ardennes offensive by the Germans in December 1944, often known as the Battle of the Bulge.

The booklet is 42 pages in black and white with a colour front and back cover and contains a brief introduction, additional rules, tips for playing solo and 11 scenarios. Judging from the maps the ground scale of the scenarios does vary somewhat with some being nicely compact and some rather larger in scope. Each scenario has a brief background, the scenario description, objectives, setup (which is based on rolling on various tables for forces), which special rules are in operation, map notes and the impact of results on subsequent scenarios.

The booklet is clearly intended to provide a player with a small campaign for a US squad which can move from scenario to scenario.

Since I am planning to play this using my 28mm Artizan/BAM figures on a 6 x 4 table I was a little concerned that some of the scenarios did look a little larger in scope than I could cram on my table without it looking absurdly cramped; however, the notes in the booklet do indicate the maps are intended to be indicative rather than prescriptive. Of slight;y more concern is the likelihood of a significant number and variety of vehicles finding their way into the various games. At 20mm, or even 15mm, this would be less of an issue by at 28mm the availability and cost of vehicles is something that is a serious constraint. The Americans can have jeep, half track, M8, M4 (75 or 76) and/or M10 depending on the relevant rolls. The Germans could have SdKfz 234, 251 (with or without IG), Pz IVH, Panther or Tiger II. So I may have to limit the possibilities to the vehicles I actually have available (or this could become somewhat expensive!).

Overall, the booklet is an interesting read and looks like it should produce some challenging games (the solo options using Nuts! also make it more likely to see an outing) and the additional rules look to add some nice period flavour.