Monday, 30 January 2012

This week I have mostly been ...

making a model aeroplane.  My Dad worked his entire working career for the Ministry of Defence and one of the things he worked on was the BAC TSR-2, specifically using the prototypes of the cancelled aircraft for weapons testing (one thing they did was place an HE charge on the very tip of the 'plane's nose and see what damage it did when detonated!).

Anyway, it was his 70th birthday in early December last year, and as I wanted to get him something different, I talked to him about it and we decided I'd make him a model of the TSR-2. Suffice to say, it wasn't made in time for his birthday ...

Or Christmas ...

But this week I finally finished it and delivered it to him yesterday - Sunday. Here is a pic of the finished model:
The model on my Dad's windowsill
As you can see from the pic, either I mislaid the canopy, or it wasn't in the model - which I bought on ebay - unfortunately I can't remember ...

Now that's out of the way, more wargaming stuff to follow, hopefully with part 5 of the Burma series next

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

15mm WW2 Burma; Part 4 Batrep

I finally managed to play a game last Friday evening, at my local club - Farnborough Wargames Society. I had originally intended to play with Two Hour Wargames' War Against Japan supplement for their Nuts! WW2 rules, but for some reason - that I still don't understand! - I just could not bring myself to re-read them in preparation for this game. Having heard nothing but good things about them, I decided to get Too Fat Lardies' I Ain't Been Shot Mum (IABSM) rules as a substitute and, I feel compelled to say, I'm really glad that I did! But more on the rules in Part 5 of this series.

So, the game itself.  As it was our first time using the rules, we went for a simple scenario; I declared, with the full agreement of my opponent, Tim Cull (the ever-reliable newsletter editor for our club) that our game would represent an early 1943 encounter between a force of Japanese attempting to put a road-block behind a Commonwealth force that was on a road off table, and a British force sent to prevent them. Both forces would consist of infantry only, with one platoon entering the table at game start and the other appearing as a 'blind' once the enemy had been spotted.

So, in the photo of the table below; the first Japanese platoon came on table on the top edge between the road and the right hand edge, while the British entered on the bottom edge from the road leftwards: 
Unfortunately, this picture was taken quite a way through the game - the ones I took earlier had the exposure settings that I use at home, which under the strip lights in the community centre, resulted in some god-awful, over exposed useless piccies ... oh well, I'll know better for next time!

Anyway, unknown to me until I arranged the game, Tim has a large force of WW2 Japanese based for Flames of War, but hadn't used them as apparently there is no FoW supplement detailing the Japanese, so he was eager to use them in this game. Here's a close-up of some of them:

The game itself went well for the Japanese and badly for the British ... :(  I could blame IABSM's card based activation and dicing for movement and then claim bad luck on the movement dice, but basically I wasn't aggressive enough. The picture following shows how I didn't seize the centre ground around the village fast enough, allowing Tim's Japanese to get there and establish a firing line and send a section on sweep around my right flank (seen in the patch of jungle at the bottom edge of the table). Consequently, I had my lead section ravaged by fire. It fell back to the edge of the jungle, joining another section there.

Then the Japanese 'blind' platoon was deployed and immediately charged my section that had been on my left flank, completely destroying it. My 'blind' platoon deployed and gave some rough handling to the newly arrived Japanese in revenge, but it had clearly become a holding action for the British, and not a very successful one at that ...

 There are some more pictures though.  This shows a  view from the southern edge of the village and clearly shows the bases I was using to group my singly-based Brits

Another view here; this time my 'blind' platoon just after deployment with the 2nd Japanese platoon firmly in their sights ...

A fun game and thanks to Tim Cull for making it so!


Well I seemed to have rectified my blogger issues by installing IE8, but then made the mistake of clicking the 'try the new interface' link on the blogger dashboard - it said 'your browser is not supported' and that was it!

So I've installed Google Chrome and am using that for blogging now.  I've also set the comments to appear in a pop-up as per the mighty Shelldrake's suggestion - hope it works!

Just about to start writing my batrep from last Friday, so, with a bit of luck, that should appear soon!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Good News ... Bad News ... Good News

Good News: Went to the club last Friday evening, played a game and enjoyed it! Unless you've either suffered from depression, or have a close friend/relative who is a sufferer, I don't think that you can really understand just how much this apparently small thing means. Suffice to say it is a big thing to me, and I am inordinatley proud of it!

Bad News: Forgot my camera today, so no post about the game until tomorrow at the earliest! sorry fellow bloggers

Good News: We used 'Too Fat Lardies' WW2 ruleset "I Ain't Been Shot Mum" which was a great success and we will definitely be playing it again!

Friday, 20 January 2012

IE problems ...

Something seems to have changed with blogger ... I use IE7 and can't seem to scroll on blogs anymore ... ???  I can open a blog from my dashboard, but then it locks and I can't scroll down the post !!

Very odd ... anyway, as you might have guessed, no game last weekend, so no report.  It is scheduled for tonight though, as a head-to-head game using either Flames of War or I ain't Been Shot Mum - I just couldn't seem to get myself to read Nuts! and War Against Japan - no enthusiasm at all :(

So hopefully, a more substantial post some time afte the weekend as I have my daughter for the weekend, which is a GOOD thing!

By the way,Shelldrake sent me the Peter Pig Japanese he had - what a gentleman! - with some genuine aussie bush for me to use too! Photos when I've made something of them

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Best Laid Plans and all That ... AGAIN!

Oops!! Muppetry has struck. In this post I told you all how I was unable to stay at the club for a game last Friday evening and had therefore arranged to play this coming Friday instead. Well ... I forgot that this Friday night is my works 'Christmas' do (apparently it's about half the cost if you have it after Christmas instead of before), so I've had to reschedule the game to the 20th now!

Very annoyed with myself, I've decided to play a solo game this coming weekend to get used to the rules I'm going to use - Two-Hour Wargames' War Against Japan supplement to their Nuts! WW2 rules.

I've set up the layout I'm going to use and there follows some atrocious pictures of it - sorry about their quality, but I just couldn't seem to get an unblurry picture and the lighting is terrible. Hopefully at the weekend I'll have a chance to get some pics in natural light which will hopefully be better - at the moment I leave before the sun comes up and get home after its gone down!

Monday, 9 January 2012

15mm WW2 Burma; Part 3 Terrain

And onto part 3 of the Burma series, the terrain I'm going to use.  My intention is to use my hexon 'boards' as the base and onto that I'm going to put patches of different coloured material to represent different 'types of terrain. I bought the boards in their black unflocked incarnation as that was cheaper than buying them ready flocked, but if I were to do it again, I'd certainly get them ready flocked as painting them and flocking them myself has been a real pain.

Anyway, there are 2 additional things that I'm going to use - card grass shacks from and some jungle 'markers that I've created myself.

Starting with a group shot of the features I've just mentioned, here are all the grass shacks and the jungle markers I've made, shown on the tray that's their home. There are a dozen shacks and just over 50 jungle markers:
Shacks and markers on their storage tray
The grass shacks I got for my Vietnam miniatures which are 10mm figures, so that's the scale I purchased. However, I think they are close enough to use with my 15mm Burma mini's as you can see in the following piccies. Paperterrain are not a print and build supplier as are most card building retailers - in my experience that is.  Instead they print the models onto card and ship them to you. I was worried about them getting folded in transit, but nothing occurred with my delivery. I guess it might depend how well you know your postie though - mine's an old neighbour, so he seems to follow instructions like 'do not bend' (unlike some posties I've had in the past ...)

Anyway, the buildings sold by paperterrain have an exterior shell that can be lifted off to show a 'ruined' version underneath. This first photo shows the smallest grass shack; its lift-off exterior on the base (hiding the ruined version) on the left, the 'ruin' in the centre and the shell without the base on the right
10mm smallest grass shack with 15mm figures
The black edge around the top of the ruin was added by me with a felt tip, to show it had been partially burnt. I like it, but YMMV. In the pack I got there are 6 of the smallest size shacks, 3 mediums:
10mm medium shack with 15mm figures
 and 3 large shacks:
10mm largest shack with 15mm figures
As you can see the shacks had no colouring on the inside of the ruined version (since taking the photos I've painted the inside though) but, they have a bamboo pattern floor, as you can see in this higher angle photo:
Bamboo floor inside shack
I like these models. They were easy enough to assemble and the card they're printed on is not heavy duty, but certainly adequate. I used foamboard inside the bases of the shacks - I can't remember if that was on the instructions or not - as the bases were the right height for it! The only real issue is that where the base section had to be folded the printing wore off, but that was easily touched up with felt-tips and I've had the same problem with buildings I've printed myself - a hazard of the medium I guess.

Onto the jungle 'markers'. These are made from Products for Wargamers' "Jungle Plant 2" and "Jungle Plant 3", although they have been chopped about quite a bit. Here are 3 of them next to 3 of my Brits as a size indicator:
Jungle markers next to Brits
I had hoped that they would be quite effective to symbolise jungle areas on the board.  Here is a close up of 2 of them with one Brit:

However ...  I'm really not sure now ...

15mm WW2 Burma; Part 2 The Japanese

Well here we go with part 2, the Japanese. These are also from Peter Pig, but whereas I bought the British as packs of figures, I got the Japanese as one of their platoon packs. They do 2 different platoon packs, one in cap and one in helmet and I opted for the cap version.

Getting this pack did mean that a) I got the correct number of figures for a platoon, b) it was slightly discounted (I think, I've not actually costed it out), but there is little variation in the figures. That is, if I'd bought the individual packs of figures I could've mixed them up with helmetted figures.

Anyway, on to the pcitures. Again, first up is a group shot of all the Japanese, including the casualties that were unpainted at the time, but I've since painted
Group shot of all the Japanese

The first group includes the support weapons; the ligh machine gun team and the so-called 'knee mortar'. From what i've read though it seems to be more of a 'grenade-thrower' than a mortar. The LMG team has a very interesting quirk, I thought; the LMG has a bayonet attached, which is, IMO, a very telling point about Japanese tactics in WW2. 
Platoon support weapons

Next is a photo of the 3 infantry poses that exist in the platoon pack. As I said above, by getting the 'cap' platoon it restricted the poses to these three. Consequently, there are 8 of each of these poses!
Riflemen poses
Next is the command group. Another telling feature of Japanese tactics and approach to WW2 - again IMO - is that this command group has a flag bearer and a bugler, but no radioman ...
Command group

Finally, the 3 poses in the Japanese caualties pack. I intend to get another couple (at least) packs of these, so that when the wave attacks come in, the British players will get a feeling of the pressure that they have been under, rather than just removing casualties and having an empty battlefield
Casualty poses

I've just been looking at Bayonet Strength's pages on Japanese organisation and I think that the platoon is under-strength ... so may need some more minis. I'll keep you all upto date on developments.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Best laid plans and all that ...

Well they say that no plan survives contact with the enemy ... in my case it's work.  I didn't leave work until 7pm yesterday and then still had another couple of hours work to do once I got home  :(  ... so consequently no game last night

I did go to the club though and paid my memebership fee so at least there's that - I made it to the club so that's a start I guess.  I arranged a game for next Friday evening with the Burma stuff so it's just postponed a week.

I also wanted to say thanks for all the positive comments on my last few posts.

In particular, Shelldrake, thank you for the very generous offer of the Japanese figures and I'd be honoured to accept, on the condition I pay you back the poastage!  I might even have something you might like that I send to you in return ... 

Drop me an email to [email removed to discourage spammers] and will arrange it!

Meanwhile, I've got the Japanese post pictures up, so in the process of putting together some text and will be posting it either this evening or tomorrow

And there will be a batrep - that is part 4 of the 'series' concept as I laid it out here.

Friday, 6 January 2012


I was intending to put the Japanese post up today, but have been too busy - I'll try and get it posted later.  Meanwhile, a side-effect of this series idea has happened. I hoped it would, but didn't write anything about it, in case it didn't. The series has motivated me to actually do some painting and last night I painted the sten-gunners who appeared unpainted in part 1

I'm playing the game tonight at my local club. It'll be solo using Two-Hour Wargames 'War Against Japan' supplement for their 'Nuts!' rules

Thursday, 5 January 2012

15mm WW2 Burma; Part 1 The British

So ... here is the first post in the series on my Burma game.  All the infantry miniatures that I'll be using are made by Peter Pig, while the tanks are from Skytrex. I've painted most of the figures I have, the excpetions being the figures I picked up from Warfare at Reading in November.

The first pic is a group shot of all the British that I have, including the unpainted and some pennies that represent the gaps in the 2 platoons that I'm planning to represent. I've based my units on the very, very, useful organisation details that can be found at the Bayonet Strength website (link on the right of this page), specifically the British Infantry Battalion 1943 to 45. That said, I have made the platoons understrength as they probably would have been in the field, having 8 instead of 10 men in each of the sections and only 2 instead of 3 in the light mortar team. Here they are:
To fill in the gaps, I'll probably get another pack of '14th Army Rifles Advancing', the contents of which feature in the next photo.  For those unfamiliar with Peter Pig, they sell their figures in packs of 8, which each contain (normally) 3 different poses - the pack having 3 of 2 poses and 2 of the third. I really like Peter Pig mini's - the sculpts are full of life and character IMO.

In the following pic's I've grouped the miniatures by the packs that you get them in and included front and back or side and side shots of each pose, and each photo is captioned with the pack name - which can then be found on this Peter Pig page in the 14th Army table.
14th Army Rifles Advancing
One thing I like about these 14th Army figures is the mix of steel hats and soft hats on the figures; it gives a good feel of variation. I'll probably get another pack of the advancing rifles to fill the gaps in my sections as I currently have 2 packs of firing figures and one of advancing.

14th Army Rifles Firing
The photo after this text is the Bren gun pack. Unlike some of the ranges they do - like the Japanese that will be in the next post - there is no specific LMG assistant figure in the Bren pack. This meant that I have 8 Bren gunners, but only need 6 - one per section. So I intend to have a go at hacking the guns of the 2 'spares' to look like rifles so they can fill 2 of the gaps seen in the first picture.
14th Army Brens
Next up is the command pack. This had 3 of the radio operator and the guy pointing wearing a steel hat and 2 of the guy in the soft hat; I'm using 'soft-hat' as Platoon officers (Lieutenants [Lef-tenants]) as they are carrying thompson SMGs, while the 'steelhats' will be platoon sergeants - well 2 of them; the third will command the mule section I think. 
14th Army Command
This being a Burma game I decided that it would be good to try and show the privations that the men of 14th Army endured to beat their Japanese enemy, so I got a pack of mules and men as the platoons' supply carriers. This pack has 3 mules and three men to lead them; the mules are posed identically - as are the men - but their loads are all different. I like them, they are very nice figures and I might even get some more at some point for supply train ambush scenarios
14th Army 3 Mules+3 men
 Next up are the 2" mortat teams pack. As a variation to the normal 3 poses in a pack, in this one you get 4 poses each with 2 figures. This gives you 2 moving teams and 2 firing teams, which is useful for rules where mortar teams have to set up - you are able to substitute the firing team for the moving one, which is how I will use them. Again, great figures
14th Army 2” Mortars
Next up is a pack of casualties. I've splurged them liberally with Tamiya Clear Red as blood, but I don't think it's come out very well in the photo. Again this is a 3 pose pack.
14th Army Dead
Finally for the infantry are the sten gunners that I'm going to use as corporals - i.e. section leaders. Unfortunately I haven't painted these as yet, but I've included them for completeness, and I intend to repalce the photo when I have painted them.
14th Sten SMGs
And finally for the Brits, I have 2 of Skytrex's Command Decision range's Grant tanks, which again are unpainted as yet. Unfortunately I seem to have misplaced the barrel of the hull gun for this one :(  Peter Pig don't make a Grant, so I looked around and found the Skytrex one and QRF make one as well. I decided to go with Skytrex as some other tanks I've had from QRF were very 'flashy' (i.e. mould lines, etc, not covered in bling!). Having them now in the metal so to sepak, I'm glad I did as they are really nice models
CD114 Grant Tank

So that's the British force and next time it'll be the Japanese, a much shorter post as I'll explain when it appears.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

And so it begins ...

Well a new year is here and with its arrival I've made a resolution. Unfotunately, as far as my daughter is concerned, it's not to stop smoking. No, I've resolved to get off my arse and return to my local wargames club, which meets every Friday evening. I think that I went there twice in 2011 - once to pay my membership fee, and the other time was for the annual convention.   More or less as a direct result of this, I only played 2 wargames in the whole of the year, both of which were solo ATZ games.  The batreps for them are on this blog and can be seen via this link.

Something else I've resolved is to post more on this blog (like that's actually going to happen!) and to tie these two resolutions together, I have a cunning plan ...

Each time I plan a game I'm going to do a series of 4 or 5 posts on it. Each series will have these posts:
  1. Photos & details (manufacturer, scale, etc) on the side I intend to play
  2. ditto for the OpFor (Opposing Force)
  3. ditto for the terrain
  4. A battle report and pictures of the game itself
  5. Comments on the rules used, changes made, etc - might not always do this; would value whether readers think this worthwhile
So this cunning scheme will begin tomorrow with the first post of the first series which will have photos of 'my side' and details of the figures shown.

I have decided to start with my WW2 15mm Burma game, for two reasons. Firstly because, in a comment on this post back in November, The Extraordinarii said he was looking forward to the WW2 Burma stuff and I promised it would appear next which it never actually did ... I hope you can forgive me Extraordinarii!

Secondly, I've not seen this particular theatre wargamed before so it'll make a change (& surprise) to the guys at the club.

So ... here's hoping I actually go through with it and look forward to the post tomorrow!  I'd like feedback on the 'series' idea from readers - do you think it's a good idea? should I have fewer posts? I've split the posts as detailed above in an effort to keep the post size down and the number of pictures to a reasonable level.

Edited:  Just checked the link to the batreps and seen that a) some of the pics aren't there and b) the first game was actually played in 2010!  I'll fix the pics tomorrow as they're on a different PC