Tuesday 30 June 2015

Ilyushin Il-14 'Crate'. Or is it?

I started work on this IL-14 to support my Little Cold Wars forces last week.  It's quite a basic kit and so went together quickly.  Clearly if I was a 'proper' modeller I would be appalled by it's many inadequacies and rectifying them would take ages.  But you know my standards are much lower...

And for the benefits of the cynics among you who have been thinking "hey, that's just an old Dakota kit"...
...I confess.  But the Il-14 (produced from 1954-1960) does look pretty similar.  and hopefully mine will look better than this one:

Monday 29 June 2015

I've been away...

Guess where!
More posts coming soon.

UPDATE 30/06/15.  The correct location is of course Paris.  There were some inspired guesses but I'm disappointed by those of you who suggested it was Blackpool.  In the photo the sun is clearly shining...

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Finally facing my Waterloo

You'll recall I mentioned the plan for a game using 54mm toys in this earlier post.  I can now confirm that the details are as follows:

The date for the Waterloo game is confirmed as:

12th September 2015

Location - Central London - Green Park tube 

Timings - 1000hrs - 1815hrs

Lunch + tea  - to be provided at cost  (approx £15 including wine)

More news as it breaks will be reported both here and on the Funny Little Wars Yahoo Group!

And now for something not entirely unrelated....

Tuesday 23 June 2015

More international arms dealing

It is always encouraging to be reminded that people actually read my ramblings.  One such reader is Col of the very splendid Col's tanks blog.  Noticing what some others have suggested is my 'addiction' to Solido die-casts, Col mentioned that he had a surplus M-41 SP gun.  "Would I like it for my Little Cold Wars project?" He asked.  An arrangement was soon made and the thing arrived from Australia a few days ago.
Here it is - a lovely model with the bonus of a firing gun!  British readers may be
 more familiar with the bigger and only slightly less pleasing Dinky version of the M-41.
Another view.  A light coating of dust seems to have been fitted as standard to Solido models!
And here is a real one.  It's not as nice, is it?

So thanks again to Col!

Monday 22 June 2015

Neue Stan Halle, 1979 - part 6

A pair of US attack helicopters soon arrived to stiffen the defence.  TOW missiles were launched...(photo by Bob)
...and the lead Forbodian tanks turned on their smoke generators and reversed. (photo by Ian)
This seemed to cause a degree of traffic confusion. (photo by Ian)
More TOWs found targets though.  But as the Warpact advance continued the US infantry looked set to be swamped. (photo by Russell)
Eventually, having seen off the US tanks, some Forbodian infantry assaulted and overran the position.  (photo by Russell)

Saturday 20 June 2015

Conference Of Wargamers 2015 programme & timetable

The COW programme has been sent for printing and attendees should receive their copies by post during the next couple of weeks.  
For those who can't wait, it is available as a download from this blog.  The timetable appears below.

Friday 19 June 2015

Neue Stan Halle, 1979 - part 5

 The 'Red God of War' was much in evidence.  This is the towed artillery battalion firing in support of the DDR motor rifle regiment.  The guns may look a lot like old Crescent 5.5s but they are really 122mm M1937s...
Here is the target - a dug-in US infantry company accompanied by a tank company.  The enormous APC is a Tri-ang LARC-5 standing in for an M-113.
The defenders rush to man the trenches!  Which in this photo look a lot like grass clippings.  The rather nice 1/32 figures are of an unknown make which crop up regularly on eBay.  (above three photos by Bob)
Bloody hell - there are a lot of the buggers out there!  (photo by Russell)
The US tanks soon came under fire and popped smoke.  This being an outdoor game it blew about a bit!
The enemy - most of the Forbodia MRR on the march.  (photo by Bob)
A rare glimpse of the headless combat photographer.  (photo by Jack, legs by Ian)
An impressive sight?  The entire Forbodian MRR.  (photo by Bob)
Forbodian MR battalion mortar battery and AT platoon.  The mortar fire was embarrassingly poor!  (photo by Bob)

Thursday 18 June 2015

The march to Waterloo...

...starts here!
On this, the 200th anniversary of the battle, I am pleased to confirm that I am planning to take part in the Waterloo game being planned in London for late summer.  You may already have seen the announcement on the Funny Little Wars Yahoo group here.

So why am I telling you?  Simple - I work best with a deadline so now I'll feel committed to painting more toys!
 Aside from some light repairs I didn't paint these chaps, but they're a good start!

So let's follow the piper to Waterloo!

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Neue Stan Halle, 1979 - part 4

 As hostilities opened, a Porsche-driving foxy chick appeared in the town square.  She soon attracted the attention of some West German policemen....
 ...and the nearby US HQ.
Suddenly she produced an RPG-7 from her car while the cops - actually Spesnatz - whipped out (oo-err missus) AK rifles and the ensemble set about attacking the US command team.  (all three above photos by Bob)
Despite Mata-Harski's training and the fanatical bravery of the Spesnatz team the whole lot was mown down as they assaulted the US headquarters. (photo by Russell)
This made for an entertaining episode early in the game and turned out to be the high point of Spesnatz activity!  I can only hope that the dolly and her Porsche have been returned to the small child from whom they had been stolen for the game.

Monday 15 June 2015

Neue Stan Halle, 1979 - part 3

Early in the game the NATO forces launched quite a few recce flights, including this US Army helicopter...(photo by Bob)
...and this RAF Jaguar.  (photo by Russell)  Why all this effort on recce?
Because we were using hidden movement - with WARPACT battalions and NATO battlegroups being represented by flags.  Some of course were decoys...  (photo by Bob)
The NATO plan - no wonder they were confused!  (photo by Jack)
 Hostilities opened with a salvo of FROG rockets.  The simulator for this is a toy called a Junior Stomp Rocket which used air to project an eight inch foam rocket to ranges of over 30 feet!  The first fell embarrassingly short - nearly hitting the Party HQ! (photo by Russell)
The next was a bit better, at least landing within sight of Neue Stan Halle.  It still didn't hit anything though.  (photo by Russell)

Saturday 13 June 2015

COW 2015 timetable

It's that time of the year where I put together the Conference of Wargamers programme and timetable.  The latter is never an easy task and normally runs to several editions before going to print. Even then it isn't safe.  "No COW timetable" it has been said "survives first contact with attendees."  By 1800 on the Friday of COW it has often changed beyond recognition, but by that time I am past caring!

For those of you who are attending and other interested parties, the current version* can be found in the 'Downloads' section of this blog.  Read it quickly - it'll probably change in the next few hours...

*The current version is Mk.4 as at 1215 on 18/06/2015

Friday 12 June 2015

Neue Stan Halle, 1979 - part 2

I now have all the photos taken at the game (in addition to my three....), so thanks to Bob, Ian, Jack and Russell I will over the next few posts, reveal the whole shocking truth.
But for now, more scene-setting.
The (eastbound) Autobahn junction for Neue Stan Halle.  photo by Russell
WARPACT forces amounted to the front end of a Motor Rifle Division - two complete Motor Rifle Regiments.  The East German one had BMPs, the Forbodians BTR-60s.  There was also air support on a reasonably lavish scale and a Polish para battalion which could be landed by a mix of rotary and fixed wing aircraft.
NATO (mostly US) forces comprised a battalion each of tanks, mech infantry and airmobile infantry, with 3 attack aircraft, 4 attack helis and 2 artillery battalions available, together with various AA batteries and an RAF Regiment Squadron defending the airfield.
The bustling metropolis of Neue Stan Halle.  A subtle blend of Bertrand's buildings and my ruins.  photo by Bob
Just over the border was the East German Party HQ building.  First one to say it looks like a
toy car park wins 25 years hard labour.  Toy by Bertrand, photo by Bob
My hastily bodged NATO airfield went down well.
photo by Bob
 As well as the trusty Airfix tower, I had managed to source a Corgi Landrover still in it's original RAF paintwork.  The Dinky refueller was treated to a swift repaint the previous weekend.
Photo by Jack
 Parked in front of the hangar (the lid from an A4 printer paper box) was an RAF Jaguar. This one.
Photo by Jack
 The airfield's defences included two Bloodhound launchers....  Photo by Jack
...and a dug-in troop of Scorpions.  photo by Jack
Situated well to the rear - the NATO Patriot AAGM battery.  The launcher box stolen from a big (1/32ish)
plastic lorry found in a charity shop by John Armatys and bodged onto a pair of broken Solido lorries.
photo by Russell

Thursday 11 June 2015

COW sessions latest!

UPDATED 18/06/2015 at 1215
The current session list is as follows.  I will be putting together the programme and timetable over the weekend.

Tim Gow & WD Display Team North
DON’T LOOK NOW!    The 2015 Plenary Game:
Players represent the first line of defence against the WarPact hordes.  The appearance of this game may not be entirely unrelated to the Conference Organiser having recently acquired most of a 1980s-vintage Miltra British Army Recognition Kit Mk III.

WD Display Team North
Ensure Britain's survival by keeping its vital sea lanes open in a short participation game for up to six players about something which is long winded and where not much happens on most sorties…
WD Display Team (North)’s game for the 2015 season is sponsored by Tumbling Dice who kindly provided the 1:600 scale aircraft.

Tim Gow et al
An outdoor toy soldier game – much developed since COW2014.  Featuring toys in 54mm and at least two other scales, matchstick firing cannon and daft hats.

John Bassett
A crisis management game set in Singapore and looking at a forgotten episode of Imperial history.  Will you end up enjoying gin slings with the Governor's daughter or be remembered with scorn and contempt across the East?

Bob Cordery
Professor Phil Sabin’s ‘Campaign in Two Hours’ kriegsspiel of the opening moves of the 1914 campaign on the Western Front has been played at Windsor Castle and King’s College, London. Now you will have the opportunity to try out this deceptively simple-looking wargame. The session will take 1.5 to 2 hours, and will need three teams: An Allied Team of two/three players, a German Team of two/three players, and an Umpire Team of three (two liaison Umpires and the Master Map Umpire).

John Curry
Paddy Griffith, his Rise and Fall
A frank 1 hour lecture on one of the most important wargamers of his generation.

Colin Maby
Gangsters, or it's only business really
A card driven game set in probation era America which sees the players each taking the role of an up an coming gangster who’s aim is to end up having more money than anyone else, which also usually means controlling most of the crime in the notional city. Along the way this is likely to lead to brushes with other gangs and the law and possibly some difficult choices of who they annoy. The game uses areas with representative buildings for different parts of the city and 28mm miniatures to represent characters but is not a traditional skirmish game.

Ian Drury
A map-based multi-player strategic game of the 1777 campaign in North America, arguably the last chance the British had to regain control of the American colonies. Roles include louche aristocrat Lord Howe, ‘Gentleman Johnny’ Burgoyne, the notorious Benedict Arnold and, of course, George Washington.

John Curry
The Return of the Bear
A game based on a large map and giant counters. The system is the type of game that some countries might play to explore a hypothetical Russia threat to some Eastern European Country.  Feedback will be actively sought on the game model.

John Armatys and Martin Rapier
A derivative of a WW2 naval derivative (found on the AWM Yahoo Group) of Neil Thomas’s One Hour Wargame. A simple and fun game for up to four players with dramatically scaled down fleets…

Jim Roche
The now traditional Saturday night singalong session!

Jim Roche
Osprey Trench Poker
To mark the continuing anniversary of the Great War, may I introduce Trench Poker, an unoriginal game based on the colour plates from old Osprey books. "I have a full house of three German officers and a pair of Highland pipers...I think he's bluffing; a Straight Flush of five different French ranks indeed!"
For up to four players at five minutes per hand (coins only for bets)

Tom Mouat
Daughter of the Skies
The date is 1947 – Jean Batten, famous female aviator and holder of the record for the London to Auckland solo flight is trying to beat her own record. She has, however, gone missing in a storm over the Pacific! Her wealthy fiancée is desperate to find her! This is a single-session role playing game with up to 8 players using modified “Footfall” rules featuring a Consolidated PBY Catalina, a rich heir, his bodyguard, a society photographer, the aviator’s closest friends and a rather dodgy Flying Company…

Tom Mouat
Kazhdyy Gorod
Welcome to the city of Kazhdyy Gorod in early July 2015, with a population of about 250,000, in the former Soviet Republic of Belaria. In Kazhdyy Gorod there are protests in the street in some of the poorer parts of the city and journalists have been giving them much publicity. The Mayor has been debating whether to get the Police to crack down hard to prevent things getting out of control and the Militia Commander has been quietly reviewing security at the base in the light of rumours that there are armed rebel troops in the forest to the East of town… This is a Matrix Game for up to 6 players representing the key players in this troubled city…

Tom Mouat
The Battle for the Slim River
The Imperial Japanese forces have invaded Malaya! They have advanced relentlessly driving all before them until this moment where they are facing stiff British resistance at the Slim River. You are part of the Japanese attacking force consisting of about 17 Type 97 medium tanks and 3 Type 95 Ha-Go Light Tanks, under the command of Major Toyosaku Shimada preparing for a daring assault down a single road! Banzai! This game actually features toy soldiers and the longest terrain map in the history of wargaming. Roles for up to 10 players.

Ian Lowell
Trump It!
A workshop session on using unusual playing cards for wargaming.  Following some of thoughts on the German Peasants’ War 1524—26 sessions at COW 2014.  An introduction to the earliest packs of cards and gaming with them, especially the following :
Karnöffel, The Visconti-Sforza Tarot and the Mantegna ‘Tarot’.

Ian Lowell
Rein-Bow Warriors Redux
A talk on the latest research into Late Bronze Age warfare, especially focusing on chariots.
  Followed by a chance to experiment with and try out the latest Rein-Bow Warrior rules.

Phil Steele
The Battle of Bouvines 1214
A delayed 800th anniversary wargame . Historical introduction plus toy soldier wargame in 15mm using adapted Basic Impetus.  A decisive battle on the Magna Carta timeline ...

Phil Steele
Sink The BismarCk
Simple wargame using the 1:1200 Airfix models and the combat/damage system from last year's 'pop-up' game.

Phil Steele
Yarmuk 636
The decisive battle of the Arab Conquests ... Historical introduction plus a toy soldier wargame using classic 30mm flats and state of the art DBA V3.  A Society of Ancients 50th anniversary wargame.

Mike Elliott
Naval wargames have always annoyed me.  Detailed rules for ship to ship actions but far too complex for actual fleet actions.  In the 210th anniversary year, I present a wargame of the Battle of Trafalgar, with EVERY ship individually represented and ruthlessly simple rules to (hopefully!) allow play to a conclusion in about 90 mins to 2 hours.

Mike Elliott
Waking Shark or Cyber Warfare - The Six Stage Kill Chain
A lecture and discussion about cyber warfare and how we might simulate it in the context of a wargame.

Mike Elliott
Late Arrivals at the Duchess of Richmond's Ball
A Dinner Table Game.
It is 15th June 1815. Time travelling military(?) figures from all periods of history arrive for the Duchess of Richmond's Ball on the eve of Waterloo ... Inevitably, with time travel being what it is they arrive  late ...
An across-the-dinner-table entertainment on Saturday evening in the style of the Late Arrivals game from "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue". Laughter and mirth will ensue (I hope!!)
The best submissions may even find their way into the Nugget (Shock! Horror!).

Sue Laflin-Barker
It’s the latest version of the usual game, smugglers trying to deliver their goods and the revenue trying to intercept them.

Michael Young
Kestrel's Hover
This is a wargame developed for and played with 16th Air Assault Brigade. They wanted it to compare helicopter and parachute landings.
It uses a 200m hex grid and the units are platoons or sections, with 15 minute time steps.  The scenario is the capture of an airbase against light, but cunning opposition.
16th Air Assault liked the game so much they took a copy of it back to Colchester with them.
This will be a double session:  The first one will be a Helicopter Assault, the second one a Parachute Assault.  Feel free to attend either or both sessions.

Jaap Boender
Five minutes of political courage
This game takes players into the byzantine complexity of Belgian politics. After the elections, Flemish and Walloon politicians are negotiating the formation of a government - complicated by the situation of the Brussels electoral district, declared unconstitutional by the courts. The parties will have to overcome their linguistic, ideological, personal and electoral differences to negotiate a state reform, as well as a coalition accord. Failure is not an option!

Ian Drury
Brave Admiral Benbow
Fleet action in the first years of the 18th century, when the English Navy was a long way from establishing the dominance enjoyed a hundred years later by the RN. Even the steering wheel was regarded as a dubious innovation. . .Game features Tumbling Dice's range of 1/2400 toy ships on a hex cloth

Graham Evans
Taiping Era 2
At its first appearance a couple of years ago this 15mm figure game of warfare in 19th century China was criticised for not featuring any Taiping rebels and having a dodgy mathematical model.
The game is now back with hordes of long haired Taiping rebels and a revamped set of rules.  The core system still features the EDNA mechanism because I like it.

Graham Evans
Hurried Hydaspes
After the success of the Rapid Raphia card driven ancients game last year it is back slightly expanded and reworked to cover Alexander last battle. For those of you who missed it first time round the game uses a pack of cards per player to even the luck out and a simple system that keeps the players involved simultaneously throughout the game.

John Bassett and Jim Roche
Tacitus and the North
A three part look at the Roman historian Tacitus and how he's shaped our perceptions of Roman warfare. "Tacitus for Wargamers" is an introduction to Tacitus and his writing by John Bassett.  "The Romans in Scotland" is a presentation by Jim Roche on recent archaeological finds on Roman operations in the north.  "Reign of Terror" is a game by John Bassett on a key episode of Roman history.

Russell King
Canadian "Civil War"
A play of one of SPI's oddest offerings -  a recreation of 70s Canadian politics at the high tide of Quebec nationalism, which has some resonance with current day UK politics. 4-6 players/teams vie for the trappings of office, and control over key issues and interest groups. Each play is different, as players get to vote over interpretations of the rules. With a quick look at some other political games.

Alan Paull
Somewhere in Normandy, Summer 1944
This session will be an attempt at an interesting and stimulating miniatures game and associated discussion about simulating tactical / operational engagements in WW2, focused on Normandy after D-Day.  It will use Mission Command (the alpha version of SSG Wargames’ draft WW2 miniatures rules) and some toy soldiers.

Jim Wallman
Designing Wargames to Order
Some experiences and insights from some of my recent work in developing wargames in a military context.  A short presentation on some of the challenges, frustrations and joys of meeting a game design specification.  Followed by discussion.  Chatham House rules will apply.

Jim Wallman

A toy soldier game about fire-engines and burly firemen with big hoses attempting to save a small part of London during the 1940s firebomb attacks.  There might even be some role playing involved. Any number can play.

Tuesday 9 June 2015

SAM for sale

For those of you who, like me, lament the disappearance of the Airfix SAM-2 kit, salvation may be at hand.  I have found one for sale!  I should, however, point out that rather than the 1:76 scale favoured by Airfix, this one is in the universally popular 1:1 scale.  So you'll need a bigger boxfile to store it.
I spotted this SAM - complete with it's ZIL-131 tractor unit was for sale at Brightwells classic car auction via a mention on my motoring website of choice, Honest John.  Which by coincidence is the name of another missile system.
Sadly since HJ's post the SAM has been withdrawn from the sale.  According to Brightwells:
PLEASE NOTE:This lot has been WITHDRAWN; due to Section 5(e) of the 1968 Firearms act. We hope to offer this item at a later date.