Friday, 31 August 2012

Tigranocerta 69BC - part 1

Having spent a bit of time sorting out my 25mm ancients it seemed a good plan to set up a solo game and get more use out of them.  I settled on the battle of Tigranocerta which resulted from King Tigranes the Great (above) trying to raise the Roman siege of his capital.  Historically Lucullus, the Roman commander surprised Tigranes and captured his baggage train.  What would happen this time?
Above - the initial setup - Romans nearest.  I missed out a Roman light cavalry unit which should be on their baseline on the left.
The Armenian baggage wagons were lent to King Tigranes by my WW2 Romanians.  Which says a lot about the Romanians.
The core of the Armenian army was formed by four units of heavy armoured cavalry.  These chaps were part of my scoop at Triples in May.
The Armenian infantry were in fact Assyrians.  Close enough.
The cataphracts were impressive, but there seemed to be a lot of Romans...
Most of the Roman infantry were old Garrison figures I picked up on ebay earlier this year.
Coming next - the game report.

Partizan raid

This coming Sunday (September 2) is the date for The Other Partizan show at Kelham Hall near Newark.  I will be there along with John and Martin in our Wargame Developments capacity running our Rollbahn Ost game.
 In this game three players each lead an Army Group into Russia in 1941.  It lasts no more than 20 minutes and there are Iron Crosses to be won!
If you are attending the show do come and chat to us.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

1 Division Cuirassée de Réserve

Another of my 20mm WW2 French divisions now.  Four of these DCRs were fielded in 1940.  A rather tank-heavy formation, the DCR was a bit light on support elements and had no recce capability.  Above is the Div HQ and staff.  The Char B1 is the good old Matchbox kit, while the Citroen car is a diecast from the same company.  Figures are metal castings by FAA.
Two of the four tank battalions are tooled up with Char B1s, while both the 'light' battalions have Renault R-35s.
Only one infantry battalion is present - in another RAFM Chenilette Lorraine.  The artillery regiment is represented by a Hinchliffe 155mm towed by a halftrack (Somua?) originally built by JR using Airfix M3 and Sdkfz7 parts.
The logistic train features another of my fake Renaults  - and some product placement by Elf!
The complete division - compact but quite dangerous in the right circumstances.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Gumbinnen 1914 revisited. Again.

Having arranged for Steve and Len to come round for a bank holiday Monday game, we then needed to decide what to play.  Steve had requested a WW1 game, so I dug out Richard Brooks's Op14 rules and set up the Gumbinnen scenario.  I've run this particular scenario a couple of times before (see report here) and I knew it was about the right level to occupy a couple of hours.
The game was set up on my Hexon tiles and used my 6mm Irregular Miniatures figures.  Len arrived first an opted to lead the Russians (he kept having flashbacks to reading Solzhenitsyn's August 1914).  This left Steve in the spiked helmet while I oversaw the game mechanisms and provided advice where it was (most unwisely) sought.
The Russian XX Corps (left) advances on the German I Corps defending the area around Gumbinnen (top right).
The initial Russian advance went well and soon the sole German corps (the Russians had three) was feeling the pressure.
In the distance (to the south) the Russians were poised to seize the smaller town of Goldap.
After many furious 'phone calls from 8 Armee HQ to the local airfield, a German aeroplane finally appeared, buzzed around pointlessly all and flew off again.  They'll never catch on.  Something else failing to catch on in this very fluid battle was the practice of digging holes and hiding in them which at the time (August 1914) was becoming fashionable in Belgium and France.
By now the Russian XX Corps had ground to a halt and would advance no further that day.  The lone German division which appeared near Goldap had been seen off.  A second German Corps (bottom right) would clearly have put XX Corps to flight and secured Gumbinnen.  A third German corps was about to appear from south of Gumbinnen so we agreed that the battle had been a German tactical victory.  And a steep learning curve for both generals.  A bit like the real thing then...

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Big Phil sorts it out

The first of two games I managed to fit in over the Bank Holiday weekend was this Command & Colours scenario using my 25mm toys on Hexon terrain.  The battle of Crocus Field was the culmination of Phillip of Macedon's invasion of Thessaly in 253BC.   Phillip II led the Macedonians, complete with their innovative new pike armed phalanx, while the opposition consisted of a Phocian force under Onomarchus. 
I played the game solo - a task made easier by the card-driven system which CCA uses.  My approach was to represent each side in turn as honestly as I could, although I confess to a slight bias against the Macedonians.  What could go wrong?
Above we see Phil urging his phalanx forward.  These are old Minifigs in all their bendy-piked glory.
The brave lads defending Greek civilization from the northern 'barbarians' included these rather splendid Hoplites.  I think they are Garrison castings re-equipped with very sharp wire spears.  I picked them up on ebay a few months ago.
The initial setup - Macedonians on the left and Phocians on the right.
The Phocian Army had the coastline behind it.  No pressure then.
As well as the heavier infantry and skirmishers both sides had several units of peltast-type troops.  These are Thracians in Macedonian service - part of my retail excess at Triples in May.
The hoplites stood firm as the bendy pikes advanced.
After some inconclusive skirmishing, most of the action took place in the centre where hoplites and phalangites traded blows.  Phillip had a worrying moment when half of his phalanx perished.  The Macedonian hoplite unit - antique Garrison castings in sinister dark armour - soon sloped off.
After a hard fought battle Phillip himself led the remains of his phalanx to victory.
A pretty historical result then, and possibly a vindication of this pike-wielding lark.

Monday, 27 August 2012

If only everything in life was as reliable as a V/W

The 'V' and 'W' Class destroyers were produced in some profusion during the latter half of the Great War, and many continued in service with the Royal Navy during WW2.  The class set the template for inter-war destroyer designs.  Which is why I felt the need to own six of them.   They are MY castings with the usual florist wire masts and drybrush over black paintwork.
The title of the post?  Try this for size.

Where have all the flowers gone?

I can't answer Mr Seegar's question, but I can account for four of them.  Flower Class corvettes that is. 
These are MY 1/1200 metal castings which, after a quick cleanup were treated to masts made (rather appropriately) from florists wire.  The usual drybrush over black paintwork was finished off with a squirt of spray varnish.
These are nice little models - and very reasonable at £2.00 each.  The cutting mat 'sea' is calibrated in inches.
Three Flowers escorting a tanker (another MY model).

Friday, 24 August 2012

Frantically fighting the French

Last week's game was organised by Martin and used his 20mm WW1 toys and Peter Pig's Square Bashing rules.  I was typecast as the German commander, with my few troops thinly spread in the face of John and his vast numbers of French.  That's 1918 for you. 
My chaps quake in their trenches as the initial French artillery stonk lands.
The French assault included all sorts of new-fangled infernal machines.
The German first line falls back towards 'Gun Hill.'
Due to their vastly superior numbers, the French were soon through the German front line.
The photo John didn't want me to take! 
Another photo the French tried to suppress.  By now most of the first group of attackers had been driven off.
Gun Hill was by now home to a lot of firepower - but precious little infantry!
The German infantry were ever more hard pressed as numbers dwindled.
The game ended with a few Frenchies still on the German side of the lines.
On adding up the scores, it was concluded that the game was a German tactical victory, as the French advanced would have been untenable.  I have to say that Square Bashing is not one of my favourites (too much factor counting and dice rolling) and so it is much to Martin's credit that he managed to provide John and I with an entertaining evening.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Faraway Fictional Fleet Frolics

Following recent email exchanges on the subject of 'modern' naval warfare with David Crook and Paul, I was inspired to dig out and begin painting some more 1/6000 scale ships. These join some 1/1200 WW1 & WW2 vessels on the modelling table. Evidently August is 'Ship Month.'  I will post photos of the completed ships as they 'commission.'  Perhaps a 'duffers guide' to ship painting might be in order.
Both David and Paul asked me about rules and I suggested the set by Peter Child-Dennis which I found some years ago on David Manley's website.  These have been revised since I last looked so I shall need to try them again soon. 
The last outing of my 1/6000 ships was documented here but I remembered that I had some pics of an earlier game.  So here they are.  The game featured two of my fictional South American countries - their harbours filled by opportunist First and Second World arms salesmen.  The detail of the scenario escapes me but broadly a Castillian task force was fending off an attack by the Soviet-armed Basque fleet.   1/6000 ships and 1/1200 aircraft models by Hallmark.
Castillian A7 Corsairs attack Basque Kashin class DDGs
The Castillian fleet under way.
Even Wg Cdr Luddite misidentified this as a Shackleton (a proud moment for me!).  10 points for the first correct identification.
The initial missile attack scored hits on the Castillian flagship. 
Admiral Rapier is helicoptered from his stricken flagship....
....just as the Basque airstrike came in.  To save your eyes, they're a Tu16 Badger and Tu95 Bear.
Added 29/08/12:   'Fatman' on TMP has correctly identified the mystery bomber as a Junkers Ju290.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Twenty Answers

My turn at answering the 'Twenty Questions' which are currently doing the rounds.

1. Favourite Wargaming period and why?

WW2.  It's where I came in (with Airfix toys in the '70s) and I keep returning to it.

2. Next period, money no object?
1920s/30s 1/32 scale 'Little Wars' type game.  With some dodgy fictional countries.

3. Favourite 5 films?
Some like it hot,  Battle of Britain,  Richard III (1995),  Mon Oncle,  Goldfinger

4. Favourite 5 TV series?
The Sweeney,  Sopranos,  The Wire,  Yes Minister,  Dad's Army

5. Favourite book and author?  (let's make it a top 5)
To lose a battle by Alistair Horne;  Air War Games by Don Featherstone;  The Scottish Revolution by David Stevenson;  any of the James Bond series by Ian Fleming;  any Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser

6. Greatest General?  I managed to narrow it down to three.
Themistocles,  Montrose,  Zhukov

7. Favourite Wargames rules? (apart from my own!)
Command & Colours

8. Favourite Sport and team?
Don't really follow anything.
9. If you had a only use once time machine, when and where would you go?
Edinburgh, 1637

10. Last meal on Death Row?
I'm not convinced I'd be hungry.

11. Fantasy relationship and why?
I couldn't improve on reality.

12. If your life were a movie, who would play you?
A young Clint Eastwood (he copied my style anyway...)

13. Favourite Comic Superhero?

14. Favourite Military quote?
A tie for first place between two American generals:
"You can never do too much reconnaissance." - George S Patton
"I have no confidence in any scout." - Robert E Lee
15. Historical destination to visit?
16. Biggest Wargaming regret?
Not stocking up on Airfix kits when they were £0.24 each!
17. Favourite Fantasy job?
Tartiflette taster in a French restaurant.

18. Favourite Song Top 5?
Life with you - Proclaimers,  Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash,  Hey Cinderella - Suzy Bogguss,  From Hank to Hendrix - Neil Young,  And you and I - Yes.

19. Favourite Wargaming Moment?
When clever and talented people like my games.

20. The miserable Git question, what upsets you?

Monday, 20 August 2012

Lions and tigers and Temeraires*. Oh my!

Recent additions to my 1/1200 scale fleet are these two battleships of the Lion class.  Six of these were planned, and the first two (Lion and Temeraire) laid down as a planned follow-up to the King George V class.  Unlike the KGVs, the Lions were to be armed with 16 inch guns in three triple turrets.  As the hull was basically a (very) slightly stretched KGV (the difference in length amounts to a fraction of a centimetre in 1/1200 scale), I simply made up the Revell kit from the box, less the main turrets.  Suitable turrets were sourced from a chap on ebay who produces a range of such items  - mostly as replacements for the old Tremo models.  The turret mounts had to be carved out a bit to enable to new turrets to fit. 
An easy conversion then, to produce an only slightly fictional ship!  Or two.

Friday, 17 August 2012

North East Land Sea and Air Museum - 1

While on holiday on the Durham coast earlier this month we visited the North East Air Museum.  I discovered this gem on the internet and the fact that our hotel was only 20 munutes away made it something of a no-brainer as far as a visit was concerned.  The museum began life as the North East Air Museum and North East Land Museum which amalgamated and now share a site.  Located on the boundary of the old Sunderland Airport, the museum is next door to the Nissan car facrory which now occupies the rest of the airport site.
The aircraft collection consists mainly of postwar machines and their Meteor has the unusual distinction of having been the first jet fighter to travel through the Tyne Tunnel - albeit on the back of a lorry!
This post features photos of some of the aircraft - next will be some of the other exhibits.
Avro Anson - still missing a few bits.
Dassault Mystere - just like mine!
Close-up of the Mystere's cockpit - clearly it's not just badly built kits which suffer from 'clouding'.
F-84 Thunderstreak.  Only two previous owners - the US and Greek air forces.
A 'proper' aeroplane - good old EE Lightning.
The (arguably) scary end of the Lightning.
A rather nice Canberra.
Another view of the Canberra.
Vulcan XL319 - the first to have been released to an independent collection back in 1983.
For those of you wondering "that's all very well but where are the toys?"  Here they are - the museum has a collection of mostly 1/72 model aircraft.  My photos show only a small part of it.