Wednesday, 28 December 2016

A Tale of Two Armies - Building a 2mm Force

Our recent Talavera game was a huge success, but a correspondingly huge amount of work.  Our focus has been almost exclusively on gaming and rules-writing, so I thought I'd relax last night by building some 2mm Austrians from Irregular Miniatures, for a planed game of the Battle of Lobositz, 1756.

This is actually quite a complicated process.  To recreate accurately the ratios involved, I have calculated that:
  • 1 infantry base = 1 battalion = (about) 8 - 900 men
  • 1 cavalry base = 4-5 squadrons = 8 - 900 men
  • 1 artillery base = 15 - 20 guns
I then had to find an army list and translate them into numbers of figures.  This also involved approximating the many different types of unit into a couple of available figure types at 2mm.  For instance, grenadiers and line infantry can be easily represented by the same generic infantry block (with some judicious painting to set them apart), but different cavalry types have to be incorporated.  Almost no two cavalry units were the same, which was frustrating.

I notice that most of my posts are just nice shots of the finished miniatures.  I thought I'd show you round my War Room so you can see 'under the hood' as it were.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Battle of Talavera - Day Two

Today, we continue our large-scale Napoleonic battle report for the Battle of Talavera.  If you missed the first day, click here to read it.  We played this game in 2mm, using Irregular Miniatures and my own 2mm rules system.

So, let's remind ourselves how things stood at the end of the first day.  The British had taken a pounding, but their clever deployment along the line of the hills thwarted the French attempt to make a bold flanking manoeuvre.  The butcher's bill favoured the French, but they had been unable to make significant headway and had a touch prospect on the second day when they assaulted the town itself.

And so, let the battle resume...

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Battle of Talavera - Day One

A very special post today, as I bring you the results of the first day of the Battle of Talavera.  This is one of our Superbattles, played with realistic rules, fog-of-war, and in near real-time.  (Update - the second day is available here)
  •    French
    • Ed
    • Ollie
  • British
    • Dan
    • Mike
  • Umpire
    • Kieran
The battle was fought using our own 2mm rules, which focus on morale and cohesion over casualties.  The units are moved around on a secret map until they actually encounter one another, and are placed on the game board one by one.  In this way, the battle escalates into a full-scale engagement in a realistic way.  Mike painted all the Irregular Miniatures himself, to his usual very high standard.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Palladian Grav Troopers - Fallschirmjäger in 40K

As recently promised, here are some pictures on a project my brother and I have been working on recently.  The idea is a Fallschirmjäger-themed Imperial Guard force, focusing on ground combat as elite light infantry rather than the parachute element.  Full disclosure - this was mainly a vehicle to do something with the old Steel Legion models, which we both agreed were lovely.  The Steel Legion range includes some of my favourite models from the GW range - especial their heavy weapons.

Commanding officer, heavy weapons and a grav-trooper squad.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

British Civil Wars: 6mm Scots and New Model Army

I can share some photos of a rare phenomenon on Palladian Guard - a finished project!  I recently showed off a few shots of the 6mm New Model Army regiment, and mentioned that I'd ordered some Scots to oppose them from Baccus.  Well, I've finished the painting, and managed to get round to basing them, and they don't look half bad.  Like Two Splendid Lines, I've written a tactical-level game for the British Civil Wars to try and capture the mechanics of Pike and Shot era warfare.  More on that shortly.

Before we share the photos, a word on my progress.  I've recently developed a new technique which allows a quite staggering rate of painting.  I've shared some photos of my War Room, where there's a paint station, but I've started taking my models to work.  I'm in the Army, and in the week I live in a terrible condemned asbestos-filled block in Lincolnshire.  My 'room' is almost empty and I get very bored, so I've started taking bulk painting stuff like this back with me to paint at my desk.  This is what has allowed me to finish about 860 models in the space of a few weeks.

In fact, I've also had two sideline projects on the go, of which more later, but just to tease you - a Fallshirmjager-inspired 40K army, and some 10mm Saxons!  Anyway, back to BCW...

(I could get into a lot of trouble for putting models on the worktop, but I don't have a table up here to put them on)

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Battlefleet 1900 Cruiser Clash

I see almost a month has slipped by without a post, so I made an effort to get some photos from a game Mike and I had last night.  It was just a simple Battlefleet 1900 game - I've played it before, but not for a long while.  My interest in pre-Dreadnought naval warfare is strong as ever, and Mike hadn't played this ever, so I thought it'd be a good chance to have a try.

I played the Russians (as in our recent Russo Japanese War campaign), using the cruiser Pallada and destroyer Zorki.  Mike opposed me with the Chitose and the Sai Yen.  In this case, my ships were bigger, faster, with a large number of small calibre guns and very poor armour.  Mike's ships were smaller, slower, with a single huge gun and much better armour.  We both had roughly equal tonnages, so the game was evenly-matched.

(Note to sticklers out there - the Sai Yen and Zorki were stand ins, as I don't yet have the models!)

My Russian ships at the bottom.  I had one tiny ship, and one (relatively) large ship, facing off against two moderately-sized foes.  Their guns would have been big on battleships, let alone these cruisers, which were designed as simple gun platforms.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Russian Battleship Tsesarevich

All modelling in the War Room is in character.
Things have been a bit quiet on the modelling front of late.  I got married, which meant I had to have a honeymoon with almost no modelling.  While in Access Models the following week (Newark-on-Trent), I was overcome with another mad impulse to buy an expensive and complicated kit with a view to creating a diorama.

I've had a strange relationship with model kits.  It's how I got into wargaming originally, and I had an extensive collection of 1:35 tanks at one stage.  However, I lack the patience to do the really fine detail kits.  A few years back I bought a U-boat kit, and turned it into a pretty simple diorama of which I'm very proud, but that's about it.

This kit comes off the back of a long-standing interest with the Imperial Russian Navy, fed by my regular games on World of Warships and our recent Russo-Japanese War Supercampaign with Paul.  I'm only really interested in the pre-Dreadnought era, so the 1899 battleship Tsesarevich (Crown Prince) was a great find in 1:350 - usually quite an obscure ship.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

6mm BCW New Model Army Regiment

Time for a quick update today.  I posted a photo of my half-finished British Civil Wars regiment, Col. Overton's Regiment of Foote.  I was lucky enough to go to a reenactment of the Battle of Dunbar earlier this month, which has spurred me on to finish these off and start thinking about some Baccus 6mm Scots to oppose them.

I had a (rare) bad experience with ordering these from Baccus - they took about a month to arrive due to various reasons on their end, house moves, out of stock, etc.  Not something I would normally post about, but I mention it because it was very annoying not to get any updates and to have to chase the order repeatedly.  That said, I'm prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt and continue ordering from them, mainly because of the excellent quality of the miniatures and having had no other issues with Baccus before.

As mentioned in the last update, this represents a 1:1 scale Civil War-era battalia.  It's one of the rare battalias which are composed of troops from the same regiment - usually two small regiments would be combined to make a single fighting unit.

The battalia drawn up in line of battle.  Colours and drums at the front of the central pike block, with two wings of shot either side.  The lieutenant-colonel at the front (bottom), and sergeant major to the rear.

Monday, 12 September 2016

The Battle of The Wilderness

The colonel contemplating his next move...


We're now on battle 7 of 8 in our quest to re-fight every engagement of the Fourth Texas Infantry - the Wilderness!  This fierce Eastern engagement took place in May 1864, and our regiment is fighting on Day Two (May 6th) as Longstreet desperately tries to stop Winfield Scott's attack down the Orange Plank Road.

The rules are now pretty much set in stone - hugely simplified from their start point, we now have a good system in place and all the models and terrain we need.  (I've sent out some notes of the rules to a few of you who've requested it - stand by, as I'm currently writing a full version which should be a little clearer).

Anyway, to business!  The battle is a fairly straightforward frontal assault, complicated by the tangled woods of the Wilderness.  The entire battlefield is thick woods (we just placed a few trees down to give a flavour and moved them as we needed to).  The effects of this are that shooting is less effective, and marching in line is all but impossible.  Perhaps we can use the cover to approach the strong Federal line and overwhelm them?  We shall see...

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

6mm ECW - Colonel Overton's Regiment of Foot

Today, we have a teaser for a forthcoming project!  After the success of Two Splendid Lines, the 6mm regimental-level American Civil War game, I'm currently researching and planning a similar game (as yet nameless) which will be an English Civil War equivalent.

Players will take command of a battalia of pike and shot, and have to use them in concert to defeat an enemy battalia.  Unlike most P&S era games, where the two are lumped together and just treated as one all-arms unit, in this game each wing must be ordered separately to work together.

I'm a member of Colonel Overton's Regiment of Foot (as my Facebook friends will know from my semi-regular pictures), so when I ordered the 6mm Baccus figures, I decided to recreate our distinctive New Model Army red coats.  Their opponents will probably be either Irish or Scots - to be decided.


Thursday, 18 August 2016

Battle Report: Fall of Port Arthur

No matter how much you rub your chin, we won't win this...
Sad news from the front!  The Siege of Port Arthur, Supercampaign V, is finally at an end!  Last night, Ollie, Kieran, Mike and I got together to enact Paul's final campaign order.  1st Division was ordered to storm the defences of the Russians and force an end to the siege.  An explainatory note - Hill 203 fell in September 1904, and since then pressure has steadily been applied.  The Russians were on the brink of starvation, but still inexplicably refused to surrender, forcing Paul's hand to a final assault.

We fought a 2mm game to determine how long the Russians could hold on for - not long, as it turned out.  After three turns the defences collapsed and most of the defenders fell back towards the town.  However, with a cunning but risky flank march, the Japanese managed to sieze the town with a bloodless coup de main.  We then fought a quick 28mm Trench Raiders game to decide what happened to the dramatis personae when the Russian HQ was overrun!

Sunday, 31 July 2016

28mm Imperial Russian Officers

Senior officers of the 3rd Guards Brigade - (l. - r.) Col. Hartmann, Maj. Gen. Maximov, and Col. Voronov.

Things are going very ACW-heavy at the moment, despite the fact we actually have a very enjoyable Supercampaign in progress.  This pits Ollie and KB against the valiant Paul, as the Russian and Japanese commanders respectively.  Full updates will follow, but to spice things up I thought I'd share some pictures of a few 28mm models I've been working on.  These are mainly one offs, to use as momentos for the players, but I suspect that there will also be a game of Trench Raiders in the offing, so they can also be used for that.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The Battle of Chickamauga

After last week's look at the Two Splendid Lines rules, we re-fought another of the 4th Texas' battles last night.  We attacked the infamous Viniard Farm, held by the Federals under Brig. Gen. Carlin.  This battle was the first after the reeorganisation, with Ollie promoted to colonel and taking command, Mike as lieutenant-colonel, and myself as the Texas Brigade's commander.

This was the first game after TSL had a fairly extensive re-write to make it simpler and easier to play - although I don't think it affected the game too much, since it played very much like our previous engagements.


Friday, 15 July 2016

Two Splendid Lines - 6mm ACW rules

Eons ago, I wrote a post about a wargameI was writing called Two Splendid Lines.  It was an ACW game whose aims were:
  • To recreate regimental level combat at roughly 1:1 scale, in 6mm or 2mm
  • To be highly realistic, capturing the realities and challenges of line warfare
  • To be playable and simple
Not too ambitious then!  After six months rigorous playtesting (as part of Supercampaign IV: Hood's Stalwarts), it's almost finished.  I thought I'd share a preview of it and see if anyone was interested in a copy once they're done.

Conducting some field research on charges.  We do get into character a little bit - and these rules allow us to do that by using period methods of commanding troops.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Battle Report: Attack on 203-Metre Hill

Today, I thought I'd share another epic battle report from our Russo-Japanese War campaign, which is being fought between Kieran and Ollie on the Russian side, and Paul on the Japanese side.  I'm a (almost) completely unbiased umpire doubling as the Russian strategic commander.  Mike stood in as the Japanese commander on the ground, and Paul gave his orders by email.

So far, the campaign has consisted of patient sapping activity, punctuated by short bursts of intense combat, against a backdrop of attritional artillery fire.  The Japanese have been preparing an assault on 203-Metre Hill with great patience, and after seven weeks, the battle can begin!


Saturday, 18 June 2016

The War Drobe: Full Immersive Gaming

The jackets, including ACW, RJW, WWII, ECW...
My recent posts have included a few shots of what I like to call our War Drobe.  In my games room, there's a small cupboard which houses all our various costumes we use for realistic supercampaign gaming.  They've attracted some comments (not to mention a few stares from the unenlightened) so I thought I'd allay the rumours and newspaper speculation with some pictures.

This all started when I decided to get into reenacting - I started with the American Civil War (which I don't do any more), and now I do English Civil War.  I think reenacting and wargaming go together quite well; a lot of the rules I write factor in lessons I've learned from reenacting.  For example, I now know that wheeling is, in practice, an incredibly difficult manoeuvre to pull off.  This ties in with my reading on the subject - so now, in Two Splendid Lines, any unit attempting a wheel rolls two 'mishap' dice.

Of course, with hats and jackets to hand it was only a matter of time before they were worn for wargaming... and it grew from there.  Part of the fun is making a new uniform cheaply - very few of these are bought 'as is' from a reenacting supplier.  Most start out life as old-fashioned jackets and blazers from second-hand shops, with some buttons sewn on.  They're not very realistic up close, but they only cost about £10 - £15 and make gaming a lot more fun.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Supercampaign V - Battle of the Shu-Shihung Gap

Appropriately dressed for any occasion!
Very exciting news as I can today report our first game in Supercampaign V: Doomed but Defiant.  This is a participation Supercampaign following the Siege of Port Arthur in 1904, in what is now China.  We're all very honoured to have Paul of The Man Cave fame joining in as the Japanese commander, giving orders by email.

We're fighting this campaign out in near real time over a number of months.  Expect further updates as the siege progresses!  The story so far - the Japanese have surrounded the town and are pounding it with artillery fire.  The Russians are taking unsustainable losses, and so decide to exploit a small gap in the Japanese circumvellations to launch a raid.

On a technical note, this is the first 'distance wargame' I've played.  It's essentially a solo NPC game, I just stay in regular turn-by-turn contact with the players, who give me broad orders via Whatsapp.  I'd love to hear if anyone has ever tried anything like this before.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Historical Picture: Before the Battle

In a tribute to our recent (tactical Phyrric) victory at Little Round Top during the battle of Gettysburg, Jane Dunn has done it again with another fantastic picture.  She doesn't usually do military pictures but has helped us out on numerous occasions - this is now our group's fourth picture.

Expertly combining a rough photograph of Ollie and me with a real-world picture of Lee and Longstreet, she has captured the moment the colonel and lieutenant-colonel of the 4th Texas return to their regiment on the evening of July 1st, having just received their orders to assault the Federal position the next day.  I think the picture speaks for itself.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

The Battle of Gettysburg

We've been following the 4th Texas Infantry through every engagement of the American Civil War.  From a minor scrap with McClellan's Peninsular army a year ago, we're now in Pensylvannia fighting the infamous Battle of Gettysburg - the war's bloodiest engagement, and one which would later come to represent the 'High Water Mark of the Confederacy'.

For this battle, we were representing part of the Texas Brigade's assault up Little Round Top, through the boulder-strewn Devil's Den.  We are using 6mm Baccus figures, and my own home-brew rules called Two Splendid Lines.

Special mention is also due to Dan and Michael (both members of our SB5 gaming group).  They let us use their newly-converted attic for the inagural game!  Here's to many more...

Battle Report


Sunday, 8 May 2016

Valhallan Inquisimunda Team

A couple of weeks back I showed you some pictures of my converted heavy bolter team and officer.  They're the first 40K models I've done in a while (the first 28mm for that matter), and I'm pretty pleased with them.

They're for an Inquisimunda/Necromunda/Kill Team campaign we have coming up.  We just like to mash the rules up until we have something vaguely playable.  Anyway, without any more ados:



The whole team.  In game terms, it's a platoon command squad with a flamer and a separate HB team.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

PC Game Review: Battlefleet Gothic Armada

There are probably many wargamers out there who don't play PC games - so turn away now!  This is for those of you who haven't heard about Battlefleet Gothic Armada which was released a few days ago.  I'm highlighting it here because it's a very faithful copy of the original BFG game, and for those who used to (and still do) play, I'd recommend it highly.  SB5 are currently addicted to it...


It's a basic naval combat simulator.  A big 2D board, ships that move around and fire at each other.  Special abilities, experience, upgrades for your ships - that's pretty much it.  And that's what I like about it, it's so straightforward and unpretentious, it just allows you to drool at the lovely pictures.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Valhallan Heavy Bolter Team

Those of you who've had the misfortune to have been following my blog from the Early Days will remember that it started out as a 40K blog.  Indeed Palladian Guard is the name for my beloved 40K army.  But I soon decided that Warhammer wasn't really for me any more.  The game was getting silly (and expensive) - but I still cherished a lingering love for my first wargame.  After some successful patrol clash games, I sold most of my tanks and just kept a 1,000pt all-infantry force.  To be honest, there's been so much historical wargaming going on since then that I've not played a game of 40K in over a year.

We are, however, very irreverent when it comes to rules.  We pick and choose what we like - for instance we still play Third Edition rules because those are our favourite set.  We loved Inquisitor, and we also love Necromunda - so we've decided to start an Inquisimunda game.

What's Inquisimunda?  Well, you make a squad of about 5-10 models.  No rules, restrictions or anything like that - as long as it's sensible by consensus.  Then, you use a made-up hash of 40K and Necromunda rules to fight a nice little skirmish game.

The beauty of this is that you can get some models of whatever army you like!  In my case, Valhallans:


Friday, 25 March 2016

1:2400 Russo-Japanese War Ships

Things have been very ACW-heavy for the past few months, so to prove I have other things on the go I thought I'd share my progress on these Russo-Japanese War ships.  They're from the Tumbling Dice 1:2,400 Age of Battleships range, covering roughly the 1890s to 1910s.

I picked a few up at my last Partizan visit.  Suitably impressed, I've been slowly adding to the range with a view to playing out some RJW naval actions.  These are all based on circular MDF bases, with 'No More Nails' glue sculpted into water.


Thursday, 10 March 2016

The Battle of Sharpsburg

The Battle of Antietam, or Sharpsburg as it was known in the Confederacy, remains the bloodiest day in the history of the United States to this day; 25,000 casualties of whom 4,000 were killed.  So it was not without some trepidation that we embarked on our latest game of Two Splendid Lines, following the history of the Fourth Texas Infantry through the Civil War, battle by battle.

For those who've missed the preceeding posts, TSL is a 6mm game based on the Give Them The Cold Steel ruleset.  It focuses on the morale and tactical dynamics of regimental-level combat - all about the snapshot of a battle.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

The Flag of the Fourth Texas

It's been a little while since I've done a post, so a quick update to whet your appitites for the forthcoming campaigns.
  • The Two Splendid Lines campaign is on hold for a few weeks.  The next battle, Antietam, requires six regiments so I have a lot of painting to do! 
  • I'm writing a series of linked games for Battlefleet 1900, where a team of players takes command of a single ship and leads it to glory.
  •  There's a 40K campaign in the works, using 2mm models and rules based on our Cold Steel super set.
You want pictures you say?  Well, how about the regimental flag of the 4th Texas.  My very patient mother (who still helps her 26-year old son with sewing all his costumes together) made us a very nice homespun regimental flag.

The Battle of Second Manassas

Welcome to the latest episode in our Two Splendid Lines 6mm campaign.  This is a series of linked battles, following all the battles of the Fourth Texas through the Civil War.  We've already fought Eltham's Landing and Gaines' Mill, now it's time for Second Manassas, or Second Bull Run as it's known up North.  Roll call, for the officers of the Fourth Texas Infantry...

Monday, 11 January 2016

The Battle of Gaines' Mill

Welcome to the first proper game of Two Splendid Lines, our 6mm regimental-focused ACW game!  I think I'll let the pictures (properly captioned) do most of the talking.  This was a small snapshot of the 4th Texas attacking the Federal positions on top of Turkey Hill at Gaines' Mill, June 27th 1862.  As part of our campaign we are playing every battle in which the 4th Texas participated in, in order.  We had a minor skirmish at Eltham's Landing last week, but this is the regiment's first pitched battle...

The basic situation.  The Texans start in the gulley on the right, and have to advance up the hill and take the defences.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Franco Prussian War Supercampaign - The Bridge of Blood

General Corbeau
Welcome to the latest Supercampaign!  Set in the Franco Prussian War, this immersive map campaign pitted Ollie (Prussians) against Kieran (French).

For those who haven't yet seen our supercampaign series, we did an American Civil War and English Civil War campaign earlier this year and had great fun.  Check the supercampaign tag out for more information.  I also wrote a book describing the action as it unfolded, in the style of an Osprey book.