Tuesday 29 October 2019

(Hotch)kiss and tell - part 2

Following the only slightly fiddly build, painting  - when I finally got round to it - progressed quickly. The overall khaki uniforms will allow the use of this lot as not only French but also as anything from Spanish to Romanian. So long as no one looks too closely.

 The team leader (left) is clearly expecting chilly weather - hence his sheepskin waistcoat.

Monday 28 October 2019

Ligny 1815 Museum

First stop on our recent trip to Europe was the rather nice 1815 museum at Ligny.  Outside I spotted this dodgy fellow trying to hitch up a cannon to the back of his motorhome...
...but once he'd been moved on I managed to get a decent photo of the gun.  Note also the ambulance wagon in the background.
Inside, as well as info putting the battle in it's historical setting there were some good maps and uniforms.  And this rather fine diorama using 54mm figures.  Possibly Historex?
There were certainly a lot of them.

And of course, all the best battlefields have a windmill.  This one was the centrepiece of another 54mm diorama.

There were also a few of these delightful vignettes made using 30mm-ish flat figures and painted backdrops.  Lovely!

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Back from Europe

During the second half of September the Command Bus was again deployed to Europe.  
Our route is approximated on the maps below and took in Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany - so in the spirit of daft acronyms my posts concerning this trip will be labelled 'BELUGE19'
Photos of our various stops will follow in future posts but I know you'll want to be reassured about my shopping...
...just the four crates of Belgium's finest - along with more modest quantities of the inevitable cheese and chocolate.  Not a sniff of a toy soldier though.
How could I afford such luxuries?  Not least because the van burned less diesel then I expected.  This average covers 700 miles in a 3-ton, 3 metre high van with a 2.3 litre engine and an automated gearbox.  Not so long ago 27.6mpg would have been a respectable number for a medium sized car.  Oh, and I topped it up in Luxembourg where diesel costs about £1 a litre - considerably less than here in the UK.

Thursday 10 October 2019

Birmingham Toy Soldier Show 2019

 On Sunday I again visited the Birmingham show and had an enjoyable day out, this time accompanied by Graham E.  As well as picking up some random toys at attractive prices I met up with several friends - so hello again to Mike, Anthony, Graham A, John and Mike C. As a bonus, we had a very smooth journey in both directions.
Well done again to the show organisers, traders and punters.
Above - the green figures are Black Cat Napoleonic Russians - very rare and beautiful figures. Do I need more Russians?  Er.....  I also found three Barzso 18thC Highlanders.
Approximately three feet of stakes makes me think it might be time to revisit Agincourt. The (1/32) figure is there for scale.
I’d chucked the rest in a box before remembering to take photos. Three Timpo wagons - all a bit tatty, a pair of broken Timpo guns and a quartet of ancient/medieval twangy things. And a still bagged Timpo Gatling. Oh, and a tent.  It may be tat but at least it’s cheap tat!

Friday 4 October 2019

More WW2 playtesting - part 2

I thought I had more photos of last weekend's playtest games - turns out they were on a different camera - and here they are.  I have included some of the game's rather questionable mechanisms!
Above - the PAK-40 awaiting targets.  Speaking of AT gunnery, "how" I hear you ask "is it done?"
I used a Nerf gun which fires foam 'shells'.
The AT target is a 'brick' of Oasis - the stuff used for flower arranging.  The target is orientated as per the actual target - head on, side on etc, and a shell fired from 6 feet plus the actual range away.  If the shell hits full on it's viewed as a critical hit, if it bounced off it's a 'glancing blow'.  The target above has sustained one critical (from the side) and two glancing blows.
A word of warning though - after a few hits the Oasis makes a bit of a mess!
Small arms fire uses dice, while tank and 'big gun' fire at infantry uses the Nerf gun and an infantry target - 4 Deetail figures.
If the infantry are in cover, so is the target!
One of the three 3-man German infantry groups skulking in a farmhouse...
...while their chums occupy a field.
Activation is by cards - HQs get an additional card...
...so this Marder with attached HQ could choose to activate on either.
The Brits assembled (and assumed to be still off table!)
British armour having a bad time
The chap with the Panzerfaust accounted for one of them
The surviving Sherman running amok.  The Marder was immobilised by a fluke mortar round.
Earlier in the game - British infantry deploy from their lorries...
...but soon come under MG fire.

Tuesday 1 October 2019

More WW2 playtesting. At last!

I tried out a WW2 game a few years ago ( see here) and though it had promise I was far from satisfied with the playtest game. Despite revisiting it a few times I didn’t seem able to progress it. Until now. Well maybe.
Having made a few notes while on holiday I realised that much of my dissatisfaction was due to my wanting the game to do too much. Once I realised this I focused on the tabletop game for use at home and on club nights and immediately began to feel I was making progress.
Armed with several pages of scribbled notes I set up my six by three and a half foot table and added a few toys. The usual mix of 1/32 figures and 1/50ish scale vehicles bravely endured the assortment of terrain items and battle commenced.
A word on representation is appropriate at this point. A group of half a dozen figures represents an infantry section (or possibly platoon, depending on the scenario) and a AFV model a single such vehicle (or platoon of 3-4).
I ran the game twice, firstly with a British force of an HQ, 3 Shermans, 3 motorised infantry sections, a mortar section and an armoured car. Second time round I removed the armoured car and added two more Shermans and an off-table artillery piece. The Germans had an HQ, 3 3-man half sections, a towed AT gun and an SP AT gun.
The Germans await the arrival of the Brits. The German figures were all hard plastic - Tamiya and the like. 

In game two the Brits sent three tanks on the right flank and two on the left. AT gun fire soon killed one (left) and immobilised another (right).
The Brits soon had only one tank still on the move and half on their infantry were down.  A third of the German infantry were gone and the Marder was immobilised by a lucky mortar hit. This felt like a reasonable outcome.
As well as having a decent ‘feel’, I think it also looks OK. What do you think?
More news on this when I’ve run more games. And remembered to take enough photos....

Jolly Green Giant - part 2

Paintwork is underway. This scruffy green is the first base coat - the nasty white plastic was a sod to cover!