Wednesday, 29 November 2017

By way of an update

So, it’s been very quiet around here recently hasn’t it?

There are a few reasons for that, both personal and work. Lots of to-ing and fro-ing from Edinburgh and Elgin, Dunfermline and Lossiemouth at weekend for my better half and I has made sitting down of an evening to paint or write a bit more difficult. Work has picked up after the downturn in O&G and has been somewhat hectic with a few changes and challenges to deal with. However such is life!

Looking briefly ahead the last weeks of the year are approaching and so is a holiday to New York to celebrate our anniversary. Then there is Christmas itself. But we’ll end the year and see in the new one at Lossie where I have installed a painting lamp!!!

At the local club we have been playing through an AWI campaign based on that of Howe and Washington around New York in 1776 using Jim Purkey of Minden/Fife and Drum Miniatures AWI rules for the tabletop encounters and Worthington Games “New York 1776” for the movement and maps. 

Jim’s rules are excellent. Easy to follow and easy to adopt and adapt. You’ll find a copy on the F&D website. Check them out - linky

Worthington’s boxed game is one of those which uses blocks rather than card counters and has a simple set of mechanisms which work well. Transferring the battles to the table does give a different set of results than the “battleboard” from the box, but we have been able to play the campaign out and it is due to be completed next week with a large battle at Westchester.

Here’s a few pics of one of the earlier battles and if you look closely you’ll see the blocks from the game being used on the tabletop as markers for their “parent” unit. Here the Hessians and a British unit take on some rebels.

We plan on continuing these games using the Trenton game and possibly the Saratoga set from the same company next year. And have purchased a bit some more American looking terrain, rail and log fences. I've got my eye on some O-scale vegetables - pumpkin and corn to make a nice patch for a cabin.

For the Sugar Islands project I have been doing some more research. I had hoped to get this out before xmas, but the last thing I want to do at the moment is spend time at a computer having done so all day. I am trying to reconcile information I have regarding the Swiss unit and its detachments and the late arriving reinforcements which the French received, including Swiss, just after the surrender had been agreed.  Madame D’s troops are slowly being painted, along with herself and a few supporting military men to use as officers. After these I have some landing boats to paint and my notes to type up, so a release early next year is now on the cards.

I have made a start on Swedes for the GNW and now have 1 figure painted! (Told you I’d not done much!!). I plumped for the excellent Ebor range and bought a 24 fig unit for £25 – (eight pike, 16 shot) and a command pack. This gives me the bulk of my infantry for the skirmish sized games planned. Some horse and extra stuff are planned and I have some Pegasus Russian houses for scenery. I have twisted the arm of a friend and club member to join me in this project and he is working on some Danes.

Finally I have been pottering away on some Marlburian Bavarians. A long time ago I had this lovely blue army in 15mm and enjoyed Volley and Bayonet games of increasing size with them and Prussian, Russian and French armies. This time I have gone for the 28mm Wargames Factory plastics, a number of which I fell heir to following the passing of a friend a few years ago. Warlord own them now and appear to have tidied up the sprue a little it appears. The army boxed set is available at a discounted rate of £68 from a reseller, TripleHelix, so I had no excuse to not get them. They are not the easiest of figures to paint and require some detail to be “worked up” with the paint brush, but they’re not horrible and when painted and based up en masse the marching poses look pretty decent. I am doing these as my side of the bargain for my mate getting involved in the GNW stuff. He’s continuing with his Danish theme for his stuff.

More will be revealed in the new year.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017


Rather a lot going on elsewhere at the moment so only time for club games for a few weeks.

However behind the scenes I did managed to get the layout checked for the Sugar Islands campaign book.

I sent off my PDF to Book Printing UK who gave me a decent quote for an A5 paperback with colour glossy page printing, and a decent thickness colour cover. They also review the layout etc of your file to see if there would be any issues before accepting it. So I sent in what is effectively a half finished mock up - titles, pages, pictures etc in place, but some text missing from the areas I have to work on.

The good news as that apart from the margins and lower dpi count for some illustrations everything is fine.

I'm pleased with that, it's like getting your worked checked halfway through and getting the nod to continue. I shouldn't have any issues getting it printed - I just need to finish it!

Work on that starts over the next few weeks as my wife starts her course and I will have quite a few evenings free, so I might as well use them constructively!

So below is a rough mock up of the front will change,  let's call it a teaser!😄

I've also been painting up some of Madame Ducharmey's men. This spirited woman defender her plantation from the British by arming her slaves and estate workers and was seen amongst them in the thick of the fight. She was not amongst the captured or casualties when the plantation was finally taken, so must have made good her escape. 

At the moment I plan on using one of the female gunners from Warlord's AWI artillery, I may give her a head swap - that will test my sculpting skills! - as she needs a more genteel straw bonnet rather than a utilitarian linen cap.

It's good to be back in the swing of things!

Friday, 22 September 2017

Happy Birthday Bilbo!

Not quite the usual sort of post from me but this has to be acknowledged.

On the 21st of September 1937 "The Hobbit" was published.

This book is an undying favourite of mine and is probably the most important non fiction book I have ever read. Had I not, I don't think my love of fantasy and history would have combined or developed to what it is now and my wargaming hobby would be considerably poorer for it.

I first stumbled upon a copy in one of the bedrooms of the house of the grandparents of some friends. The house was itself a magical place in its own right - a large Victorian home at the end of our street, stuffed full of books, basement rooms and a garden to roam in. A place which itself have been the setting for all sort of kids fantasy novels by CS Lewis or such like. I asked if I could borrow it and never looked back. I fell in love with it and a few years later The Lord of the Rings and then the Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, getting the Silmarillion as a prize when I left primary school.

So thanks to JRRT for such a wonderful book and a whole lot more besides.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Sugar Islands Test Scenario 2 - The Advance on Port Royal

The arrival of my final batches of British for this project have meant that I can crack on and try out my ideas for scenarios. In this one the British have to March from one side of the table to another, representing their march from the beaches to what they hoped would be a position overlooking Port Royal.

I wanted to try a grid type system of the table with it divided up into 12in squares, each of which would contain a random terrain type and a possible event. Obviously an ambush by French forces, militia or slaves but potentially a water halt, damaged axle or similar just imposing a delay. 

Having made up the tables in my draft version of the book I was keen to give them a go and ran a couple of games this week at Oldmeldrum Wargames Group.  In the first game the British managed to sweep across the table with a mild diversion and a halt for water and it wasn't til they got to the last    square that they ran into trouble. A detachment of Swiss from Rgt Hallwyl managed to hold them up for three turns before they were forced aside and the advance continued.

In the second game things went badly wrong. The redcoats were hit early on by French marines and despite trying to drive them off a volley and bayonet charge the advance was compromised and the. British forced to halt and form if not quite a square, then something pretty close.

Matters worsened when the Grenadiers rou....I mean retired back to the ships and the poor 38th got pretty shot up. The French militia and more men from Hallwyl put a stop to any advance and the Brits got completely stuck. Only steady volley fire and a quick charge kept them safe until nightfall and the game ended.

Some Piccies!

The latter game, despite heavier casualties is a decent representation of the trouble Hopson's men faced. He thought casualties had been heavier than they really were and in the face of a water shortage, difficult terrain and a French foe who just wouldn't play ball, decided to call off the attack and march back to the ships and depart.

Overall I'm pleased with the result, the look of the terrain and figures. One more scenario to test and then on to Guadeloupe!!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Sugar Islands Test Scenario - The Plantation

Tonight at Oldmeldrum Wargames Group we gave The Minden AWI rules another bash and tried out a simple scenario based on action from the attacks on Martinique and Guadeloupe.

Three British battalions advanced to take a plantation which had been entrenched and was defended by milita and men from the Compagnie Franches de la Marine, together with a large cannon which had been hauled into place. 

The British Commander decided on the direct approach and swiftly marched the Grenadiers, 63rd and 64th in column up the table to engage the enemy. The French hoped that they could relay on the strength of their position and the damage caused by their gun. 

The heavy piece fired and swept a file of men of the 63rd away, but the columns were not stayed. The redcoats pulled their tricorns down tighter, helmets their muskets and moved on forward. Again the gun blazed as the columns came into canister range, this time the damage was telling and the 63rd were halted, but the Grenadiers and 64th came on.

In range of the militia now their fire began to pick men off, but both units attacked the breastworks around the plantation. The cannon crew swiftly fell to their bayonets and, breaking into the position they split left and right. The Grenadiers on the left taking on the militia whist the 64th set about the French colonial troops. 

The British fought hard and with superior skill drove the French from their positions, they broke and ran and the plantation fell to King George's men. The price had been high however. The 63rd were badly mauled and the Grenadiers lost a quarter of their number. With victories like these would there be enough men to be able to secure the islands?