Sunday, 30 June 2013

Indian Canberra

Next off the production line for the Operation Vijay game at COW is this IAF Canberra.  This is another Heroics & Ros casting, and a pretty crisp model it is.  There was some pitting on the wings but a bit of filler soon dealt with that.
I applied the same basic paintwork as with the Vampire, but took the trouble to paint on the tail flashes.  The was plenty of room for this!
The  Canberra is such an elegant shape that even I can't muck it up too badly and I look forward to it taking to the 'skies' next Saturday.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Indian Vampire

I need a few Indian aircraft for a game Bob Cordery and I are presenting at COW next weekend.  I already had a couple of suitable models in stock and more were soon forthcoming from Andy at Heroics & Ros.  First up is this Dh Vampire.
Given the need for speed (over and above my usual laziness and incompetence) I went for a basic paint scheme of some green camo over the overall grey primer.  Markings are by Dom's Decals from a sheet of roundels I bought a couple of years ago.  A coat of matt varnish finished it off.  Actually it looks better in real life - as usual the camera flash has highlighted the many flaws in my paintwork!
Can you guess what's next?

Friday, 28 June 2013

Another town, another train

Well another scale.  Regular readers will have noticed the O gauge train in my most recent Funny Little Wars report.  The more cynical among you - and those who know me well - will have suspected that there was more still to come.  There is.  While O Gauge is actually 1:43.5 scale, so rather smaller than the 1:32 scale toys, I thnk they work really well together.
The full 'fleet' (is that the correct expression for trains?) will be revealed in time, but I'll start with this disreputable looking specimen - by far the scruffiest of my locomotives.  Why?  Because its in such a sorry state that I'll be (lightly) converting it into an armoured train.
More news of this nonsense soon....

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Massive Mavis

What can I say?  It's a big bu**er!  This 1/144 scale Kawanishi H6K is another of those Japanese pre-coloured 'Gashapon' kits.  This one required more assembly than most. 
It is truly vast and not conventionally pretty, but I can't help rather liking it.
That's a 12in/30cm ruler!
Little Claude isn't impressed.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Conference of Wargamers 2013

The Programme and for COW 2013 is now with the printer and will be with attendees later this week.  For those of you who either can't wait or won't be there, here are the sessions which I have been offered:

Mike Young
Homo Sapiens vs. Neanderthal. The 2013 plenary game will be a “cardboard simulator” representing the first great victorious war of mankind – that in which Homo Sapiens Sapiens eradicated the Neanderthals. The game will involve much running around the Knuston site and grunting, as the Neanderthals defend their hearth, women, children and crops from the encroachment of Homo Sapiens. You will all need to come dressed as a caveman. So bring along any fur coats or sheepskin rugs you may have to dress up in. Please also bring along an inflatable plastic club if you have one. You will also each need to bring an extra small sock for a mysterious use.  What could possibly go wrong?
ADVANCE WARNING. Which team you are on will be determined by your weight at the start of the conference. The heaviest two thirds of you will play Neanderthals and the lightest one third Homo Sapiens. So if you want to be on the favourite team now is the perfect excuse to start that diet you have always been meaning to do

WD Display Team North
Plucky Brits trying to bag a few Huns before going home by Christmas.  A fast-paced WW1 participation game.

Tim Gow, John Armatys & Martin Rapier (so basically WDDTN again)
The Fletcher Pratt Naval war game with 1/1200 scale toy ships – on the lawn!

John Armatys
The game of political advancement in the Roman Republic which involves much rolling of dice and instructing stone masons to carve suitable inscriptions on tombs. An entertainment for up to six players.

Sue Laflin Barker
It's still the morning after the smugglers have landed their goods. They are still trying to deliver the contraband to those who have ordered it and the Revenue are still trying to intercept it. I have made some adjustments to the rules which I hope will make the game run more smoothly. As before there is room for up to 4 tavern keepers and up to 3 revenue.

Jim Wallman
A committee game set in World War II about designing and constructing a scheme of fortifications.

Jim Wallman
A Game for Boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys' games and books.  Basically cocking about on the
lawn with big toy soldiers and matchstick firing guns.

Graham Evans
A brief description of the session - 15mm rules for warfare in mid 19th Century China. The mechanisms are designed to cover combat between Imperial forces (their European style supports such as Chinese Gordon's Ever Victorious Army) and the various rebels (mainly the Taiping) and also the Barbarian Invaders. The core system uses the EDNA approach to simulate unit cohesion.

Phil Barker
A WW2 ‘Sharp End’ toy soldier game.

John Curry
The first mega-game, the worst commando raid in history, how Paddy Griffith prevented World War III, Why WD never ruled the (wargaming) world, Video interview by ??, the True story of Don Featherstone’s Skirmish Wargames, the demise of the Wargames Newsletter and future directions History of Wargaming Project

John Curry
This will be a recreation of the almost unknown skirmish game from the early days of modern wargaming. Hidden scenario, limited situational awareness each player will command small band of men. Whether these men are equally determined as the players will be seen.

Phil Steele
A talk and presentation about the Battle of Bosworth.  This will be followed by:

Phil Steele
The new 54mm DBA version of Bosworth. 

Jim Roche
Another singalong session following on from last year’s triumph.  This will have a nautical theme…

John Bassett
Liberated Naples, 1943: a small team from British Intelligence. hunts for leading Fascists in an ancient, starving city rife with racketeering, prostitution and vendettas. A rather dark role-play on post-conflict reconstruction with some adult themes.

Alan Paull
A simple game of carrier action in World War II
World War 2 aircraft carrier battles were immensely complicated affairs, with many types of aircraft, weapons, different types of carrier and multitudinous other ships. Or were they? 16 card Carrier Strike portrays the essence of carrier battles in a simple format requiring cards, dice, markers and a playing area to represent the ocean. Cries of Tora!, Tora!, Tora! are completely optional.

Alan Paull
A rather complicated WW2 tactical / operational miniatures game.  More on Alan’s website at:

Wayne Thomas & David Brock
A 15mm foray into the Balkans circa 1912 using a "Far Away Wars" variant. Greeks v Ottomans

Ian Drury
A second demonstration of GENERAL QUARTERS III: this time a night action off Guadalcanal in late 1942. All aboard for the Tokyo Express. . .

Bob Cordery & Tim Gow
A planning session followed by a map-based wargame (with toys!)  about Operation Vijay, - the Indian ‘liberation’ of Goa in 1961.

Mike Elliott
Being a game set in the 18th century somewhere in Kent. It may (or may not) have something to do with smuggling ...

Ian Drury
The first major battle between German and Russian forces in 1914, refought using Richard Brooks's rules with the same pinboard hidden movement system recently used in our refight of Mons-Le Cateau.

Russell King
A session which replays in a group format the infamous SPI political game  "Chicago-Chicago!" about the 1968 Democratic Party convention and presents some of the very odd and - for their time - innovative ideas behind it.

Mike Young
Leave the waging of wars to others! But you, happy Austria, marry; for the realms which Mars awards to others, Venus transfers to you

Mike Young
An attempt to see if we at COW can come up with a peace settlement that would work in Syria in 2013.  Players take the role of Assad, the Alawites, the Sunni, Iran and the USA. Using a combination of a COW committee game and a Decision Workshop we see if we can come up with some ideas of what might work in Syria.  We can then compare it with what happens over the next year, and see how well we do compared with history. One map, 1 page A4 briefings, Politics on a single screen…  Want more details? Bring a newspaper.

Jim Roche
I’m a Christian.  I’d like to suggest that you need to put on Catholic Specs to see Western military history more clearly.  For most of our recorded history, Britain was Catholic.  Yet even our military historians have a blind spot about this.

Phil Steele
An ECW toy soldier game with historical commands and restrictions.

Monday, 24 June 2013

The Battle of Grossenfartz - part 4

We return to the action just as the Vulgarian train rolls to a halt in Grossenfartz.  I had been quietly hoping that someone might switch the points or that Martin would forget that he needed to begin slowing down the previous turn, but as it turned out the train arrived safely....
...and a load of Vulgarian infantry leapt out - causing a degree of concern among the Commodore's staff group!
Having broken through the Anglophobian front line the enemy soon encountered the reserves.
The defenders were soon hard-pressed - not even the armoured train could hold off the waves of pointy-helmeted automatons.
There was some good news though - the staff had fought off the Vulgarian train troopers!  This proves conclusively that bendy plastic bayonets are no match for wire flagpoles....
 In the end, however, HMAT Thomas and the Motor Patrol's car carried the survivors off to safety while the Vulgarians did their best to reduce stocks of the brewery's product.
The final words I will leave to the ever self effacing Commodore M-C: 
But the vulgar Vulgarians were not to have everything their own way and as the train containing half a battalion of troops slowed to a halt in the brewery yard and disgorged them like the filling from a foul Vulgarian bierwurst the headquarters section led by the valiant Commordore Mountjoy-Carruthers cut them down like so much wheat.

Despite fighting with courage and elan, the weight of the Vulgarian advance forced the Commodore to think of the welfare of his men. Deciding that no more Anglophobian blood would be spilled to secure what was arguably second rate grog the stiut hearted Commodore ordered his men to retire in good order having given the Kaiser a bloody nose, that he would remember every time he placed a stein to his twisted moustachioed lip.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Another rummage box!

After sorting through the giant box of plastic figures given to me by Mark H, the (many) survivors were collected by Richard Crawley (better known as Counterpane).  Richard reciprocated by presenting me with another box of plastic figures - all 1/35 and 1/32.  As well as a number of Airfix German paras, some earlier periods are also represented.  No doubt there will be a few bits useful for Funny Little Wars games.  I am looking forward to carrying out a full stocktake!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The battle of Grossenfartz - part 3

As the battle continued, the Vulgarian train trundled relentlessly onwards, running over some of their own men in the process!  The train is an old Hornby 'O' Gauge toy which may be deserving of it's own post soon.
The brave chaps of the Motor Patrol leapt from their motor car to fight off the lancers.  The survivors soon fled!
Meanwhile back at the front, Vulgarian infantry and the naval gun crew were locked in a deadly struggle!
There were still rather a lot of Vulgarians!
Just as the rear areas had been cleared of the enemy....
The Vulgarian train chuffed into town!
Soon HMAT Thomas was heading for the front - it's gunners soon rose
 to the challenge and made a few holes on the enemy formations...
...but there were still - you've guessed it - loads of 'em left!
A daunting view of the battle from the Anglophobian lines.

After a bitter and bloody struggle the Vulgarians cleared the Anglophobian front line.
More Vulgarian cavalry in action - they rode down most of a naval battalion.
By this time things were starting to look a bit sticky for the Navy!

Once again I will leave the last words to Commodore Mountjoy-Carruthers, courtesy of Mark H:
Alas, the tide was about to turn as the detachment from Implausible to the left of the line, was urged by it's officer (Lt. Manley-Buttockes) to leave the protection of their field works and assault the enemy artillery positions to their front. This would have no doubt ended in a resounding victory had the Vulgarian commander not unleashed his mounted reserve, backed by a battalion of their odious infantry brethren. Caught in the open and without the hope of quarter, Lt. Manley-Buttockes and his men sold themselves dearly (if somewhat quickly) and slowed down the Vulgarian steam roller for a precious 12.5 seconds.
Meanwhile to the right of the line, despite inflicting horrendous casualties on the foe, the detachment from HMS Unfeasible were overrun in a deadly exchange of steal in pluck in the trenches.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Megablitz Game Announcement!

I am planning to run a Megablitz game at the Shrivenham Military Academy (near Swindon) on Saturday 17th August 2013. My thanks once again to Tom Mouat for facilitating this.

The scenario has yet to be finalised (or even started!) but with our most recent outing having been to the Eastern Front I think we may be due for a trip to either France or North Africa.

The game will use considerable numbers of 20mm toys and players will command divisions, corps or armies.  No prior knowledge of Megablitz is required - if you have some interest in WW2 and the desire to spend a jolly day pushing toys around you're clearly the right sort of chap.  Or chapess.
The cost of the day (including lunch) is likely to be in the region of £12

Given the timescale, I need to know who will be attending as a matter of some urgency!  At the present time I am seeking expressions of interest, with payment not being required until mid July.  If you are interested in attending the game please let me know via the Megablitz Yahoo Group.
Clearly if you already have my other contact details feel free to use them.

Further announcements will be made on this blog and the Yahoo group.

The cast list so far (12 August 2013):
Tim Gow, Tom Mouat, John Bassett, John Armatys, Jim Wallman, Fred Cartwright, Phil Steele, Jerry Elsmore, Adrian Hussey, Wayne Thomas, Peter Antill, Harry Kelly, Colin Maby, Trevor Ringrose, Guy Farrish, Bob Cordery, Chros Ager, James Cotgrave, Charles Singleton, Rob Cooper, Chris Kemp.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Battle of Grossenfartz - part 2

We return to Grossenfartz as the Vulgarian attack is taking shape.  Above we see Anglophobian gunners preparing to unleash a hail of matchsticks at the enemy.
The brewery - and a tanker full of it's product ready to roll.
There did seem to be rather a lot of Vulgarians.
Some Vulgarians were due to arrive by train - a whole infantry battalion...
...and (just visible at the foot of the photo), a gun battery.

Some nasty Vulgarian lancers emerged from behind the Anglophobian lines and soon dealt with the crew of the 4.7!
HMAT Thomas soon has the lancers in it's sights.
Anglophobian reserves were soon on the move.
The lead wagon of the Vulgarian train soon took a hit from a light gun but it's
unimaginative passengers continued their advance.
And (courtesy of Mark H), more from the memoirs of  Commodore Mountjoy-Carruthers:

As expected, the Vulgarians attacked from the south and were met with a withering fire and some ineffectual artillery rounds.
 HMAT Thomas and the Provisional Motor Patrol arrived in a timely manner and deployed to the rear of the brigade.
 Alas, a squadron of Vulgarian lances, no doubt on a scouting sortie had managed to outflank the brigade dispositions and, following the smoke and dust from the train and PMP appeared to the rear of the fieldworks, charging headlong into the unprotected heavy artillery position, the brave gunners of which were cut down in the cowardly manner so beloved of the vulgar Vulgarians.
 To add to the surging tide of stunted, and deformed Vulgarian conscripts, a train was spotted steaming full ahead for the Anglophobian lines and the brewery beyond. Well placed rounds from the light artillery destroyed a wagon and scattered the occupants from within, a number of whom were hit by the train as sped past to it's ultimate destination.
The Vulgarian field artillery caused light casualties to the left flank of the Anglophobian lines, and in return the stout Tars of the brigade sent the Kaiser a bill for funeral expense in the form of several deadly accurate rounds of rifle fire finding their mark.
 The initial luck of the marauding Vulgarian lancers was cut short, by the steadfast men of the PMP who held and then dispersed them in bloody hand to hand combat.
 Once again blistering and well place artillery fire from the guns of the Anglophobians deprived many Vulgarian mother from welcoming her son home to her sausage-fed bosom.

Monday, 17 June 2013

The Battle of Grossenfartz - part 1

This battle followed on from the Anglophobian landing in Vulgaria previously reported: Link.

Vulgarian briefing
Following the enemy's successful landing at a quiet spot on the Vulgarian coast, His have pushed inland to a distance of some 8km.  After the Anglophobians brought to bear overwhelming force, our local defence forces were eventually overcome and a small port secured.  The assembly of additional forces has resulted in the capture of Grossenfartz - the home of the famous Gashaltig Bierbrauerei AG - where the notoriously windy Vulgarian beer is produced.  Grossenfartz is also the current northern terminus of our glorious and highly advanced standard gauge railway network (further north there is of course, only the narrow gauge line). This gives us two strong reasons for wishing to recapture the town, and an attack in divisional strength is to be launched

You must capture the town at all costs, as the railway line must be denied to the enemy.
The railway and brewery must be captured intact!
The narrow gauge line must be cut, or its use otherwise denied to the enemy.

elements, 7th Division
4th Infantry Regiment (3 battalions)
5th Infantry Regiment (3 battalions)
1st Cavalry brigade (2 regiments)
3 Field or Heavy artillery batteries
Train operated by engineer detachment - may carry 1 inf btl and 1 art bty - enters on turn D6.
All others enter from the southern edge of the table, except that one cavalry regiment may attempt a flank march, entering on turn D6.

Anglophobian briefing
Following our successful landing at a quiet spot on the Vulgarian coast, His Majesty's forces have pushed inland to a distance of some five miles.  Local defence forces were quickly overcome and a small port secured.  The assembly of additional forces has resulted in the capture of Grossenfartz - the home of the famous Gashaltig Bierbrauerei AG ('Gassy Beer Brewery Ltd') - where the notoriously windy Vulgarian beer is produced.  Grossenfartz is also the current northern terminus of the rather backward standard gauge railway network (further north there is of course, only the narrow gauge line used with such success by H.M.A.T. Thomas). This gives the enemy two strong reasons for wishing to recapture the town, and an attack in divisional strength is expected. 
You must hold the town at all costs, as the railway line will be essential for the next stage of the campaign.
The narrow gauge line must remain in our hands, as engineers will soon begin converting it to standard gauge.
If you can capture an enemy locomotive this will greatly assist our cause!

HMS Dreadful Naval Brigade (OC is Commodore Cuthbert Mountjoy-Carruthers)
HMS Implausible Battalion (10)
HMS Unfeasible Battalion
HMS Unthinkable Battalion
Light artillery battery
Heavy artillery battery
All the above begin anywhere on table.  2 battalions and 1 battery may be dug in.
HMAT Thomas - enteres on NG line on turn D6/2
Provisional Naval Motor Patrol (5 men, 1 motor car) - enters from north on turn D6

Terrain notes:
It's Vulgaria, so quite flat and boring.  Buildings tend to be rather stout stone affairs.
The Gashaltig Bierbrauerei AG was relocated to this remote location from the capital a few years ago, following a series of explosions which caused great damage to property and loss of life.  Given the volatility of the beer indiscriminate artillery fire should be avoided!
For the game, Martin commanded his Vulgarians and Mark made his FLW debut at the helm, as it were, of my Anglophobian Naval Brigade.  Mark subsequently uncovered a rare copy of Mountjoy-Carruthers's memoirs and it is to this that we now turn for our narrative:

Following the successful capture of the Geshaltig Bierbrauerei, Anglophobian forces under the command of the recently promoted Commodore Cuthbert Mountjoy-Carruthers had dug in around the brewery itself and associated railhead, to await the expected counter attack from the south by Vulgarian forces intent on retaking one of the sources of their national pride and income.

Accordingly, the detachments from HMS Implausible and HMS Unfeasible were entrenched along the expected line of approach, supported by a light artillery piece ready to give Johnny Vulgar a good thrashing!

The detachment from HMS Unthinkable formed up to the North of the brewery to offer support  to their comrades and give protection to the heavy artillery, whilst close by Commodore Mountjoy-Carruthers and his staff directed proceeding and awaited the promised armoured train HMAT Thomas and the men of the Provisional Motor Patrol.

The field of battle - the total area was around 5x7.5 feet.  North is to the left.
Coming soon - the Vulgarians show up!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Plastic fantastic

I was recently presented with a large cardboard box (thanks Mark!) which I was assured might contain things of interest to me.  On opening it I was greeted by the sight above - hundreds (or even thousands) of 20mm plastic figures!
I have now had a chance to rummage thought the contents and liberated a few ancient/dark ages hairy barbarian types in the process, together with a couple of boxes worth of Revell TYW infantry.
Mostly the figures in the box are Napoleonics and therefore of no interest to me.  Would anyone like to take them off my hands?

Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Flying Clog

Known as Der Fliegende Holzschuh (the flying clog) - and one can readily see why!  This three engined horror is a Blohm & Voss BV-138 which, like the Claudes of a few days ago is a 1/144 scale Japanese 'Gashapon' pre-coloured kit.  So no painting required but a fair amount of assembly and some additional markings.
Not an aircraft I am particularly au fait with, the '138 is possibly unique in having two 3-bladed props and one 4-bladed, although given that it was designed by Dr Richard Vogt who also brought us the asymmetric BV-141 this was a far from forgone conclusion!
More on the BV-138 on this astonishing website.

Big it may be but the clog is dwarfed by my Kawanishi H6K 'Mavis'.  More on that soon.