Monday, 30 June 2014

Drive on Scheissenburg - part 2

We return now to 'somewhere in West Germany' (in 1979) just in time to see the French launching HOT (above)...
...and Entac AT missiles.
Meanwhile the Forbodian tanks clank ever westwards - until....
...where the hell did they come from Comrades?
As things turn out the new-fangled HOT is a dud while the trusty old Entac helps to keep PT-76 numbers in check.

Coming next - how will the Forbodians react?

Sunday, 29 June 2014

The haul from Paul - part 3

Concluding my initial look at the contents of the box recently received from Paul at Plasticwarriors we come to these helicopters - all die-cast and plastic affairs.  On the left the are four OH-6 types which may well appear in a future President Fred game.  On the right are a pair of AH-1 Cobras in something around 1/80 scale - close enough to 1/72 not to matter.  These will be added to my US forces for Little Cold Wars.  The pair of UH-1 are rather larger than 1/72 scale but again that's close enough for me.  I'm not yet sure which nationality will benefit from these as yet, but I'll think of something.
My thanks again to Paul and indeed Uncle Brian of A Fistful of Plastic who I understand originally provided the helis.

Oh, and speaking of helis, after a decent painting session over the weekend I have finished the old Revell Cobra I started a couple of weeks back - more on this soon.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Drive on Scheissenburg - part 1

This was another playtest of Little Cold Wars and was played on the floor at Sheffield club on 18 June.  A Forbodian force was tasked with conducting an armed reconnaissance of the approaches to Scheissenburg, prior to an assault on the town by a Motor Rifle Battalion.  The enemy was a French force in approximately battalion strength, led by Martin and Tim C.
Above can be seen the vast array of force available to the Forbodians - played by John and Jerry. Clockwise from bottom right - a tank company with T-55, a recce co with PT-76, the follow-on motor rifle battalion with BTR-70, and the force HQ with traffic police UAZ-469, AT plt with BRDM-1s and the CO in BRDM-2.
The field of battle.  The Forbodians were arriving from the east.  1km in the game is 36 inches.
Forbodian tanks arrive at the canal bridge....
...causing the French engineers - who had been hoping for time to wire it for demolition - to flee in their rather stylish SUMB truck.
John - in suitable headgear - demonstrates the correct method for conducting AT fire, by dropping a dart on a target.
Another view of the Forbodian armoured host.

Coming next:  AT missiles - do they work?

Thursday, 26 June 2014

The haul from Paul - part 2

Continuing from my previous post, we now delve deeper into the box sent by Paul and find a number of 1/72 helicopter kits - 2 UH-1 and an AH-64. The Hueys are particularly welcome as I have plans for a US Airmobile battalion for Little Cold Wars.  Actually Paul tells me that these helis mostly came to him from Brian at so thanks to him too!  The photo also includes a pair of KV-85 turrets in resin.  Not having looked at my 20mm WW2 Sovs for a while I'm not sure if I have any incomplete KVs but I'm sure I can find work for them eventually.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The haul from Paul - part 1

A very pleasant surprise last week was the arrival of a box of many random things sent to me by Paul at Plastic Warriors:
I will reveal the contents gradually over a few days but we'll start with these chaps - Esci 'modern' US  troops in 1/32 scale found by Paul in his attic (which sounds like it's worth a visit!) and painted by him to a much higher standard than I could manage.
These will see use as part of my Little Cold Wars project where the nine figures will give me two four-man infantry platoon stands to be known as 'Foster's Rangers'.  More on these chaps when they're based and varnished.
Cheers Paul!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

It's Competition Time!

For the plenary game* at the forthcoming Conference Of Wargamers I need a 'fleet ' of warships,  I already had two big plastic toy aircraft carriers and pair of smaller carriers.  Bob Cordery has also offers to bring two of the larger toys.  All well and good, but I wanted other vessels as well as flat-tops so last weekend it was off to the garage with some of my stock of off cuts of insulation foam and     a sharpened knife.
Though the COW game is set in 1944 I had already decided to go for a slightly more 'modern' look so that the ships might have a future role supporting amphibious landings in Little Cold Wars games.
Emerging some time later with four lumps of foam vaguely shaped like ship hulls and a few bits of potential superstructure I used PVA to stick the bits together.
For armament I cobbled together some missile tubes and after laboriously carving a pair of turrets had the idea of rummaging in the spares box.  This yielded seven suitable(?) turrets and some missiles which were secured with more PVA prior to the fleet being daubed with grey emulsion paint.  The newly built models are shown with an iPhone (which I didn't build) for scale.

Which brings me to the question.  Can you identify all of the turrets I rescued from the spares box?  I'll need the original kit manufacturer(s) and kit names.  Feel free to ID the missiles - I've no idea what they are!

The first correct answer will entitle the winner to name two ship models of his (or her) choice from the four in the photo.  The second and third placed entries will each get to name one of the remaining ships.  Comment moderation is now on until Tuesday.

Ok, so it's a crap prize but come on- what did you expect?  Blame Paul at Plastic Warriors for giving me the idea.

*more about this game after the event...

Friday, 20 June 2014

Play it, SAM.

The scratchbodged SA-7 Strela included in my Forbodian Peoples' Army battalion attracted several favourable comments, so here are some pics of the thing before painting which might help if you feel the need to build one.  The cutting mat is calibrated in cm.
I of course built three of them!
The 'gunner' is a chap from the Airfix German Mountain Troops set who was previously employed wavimg a bit of rope about.  That's no job for a grown man.  Helpfully he was already looking up at the sky - where hostile aircraft are most likely to be found!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Forbodian Peoples' Army infantry (c1979) - part 3

The Forbodian battalion is now complete.  As things turned out it didn't see action in last night's game - but it was there - poised for action!  Above an below is the AT Platoon with 9K11 Malyutka AT missiles. Or, if you prefer, 'Sagger'.  The missile is a cut-down 1/72 scale Sparrow AAGM and the figures are from the Airfix Mountain Troops set.  The 'gunner' in his experimental issue camo smock began life as the loader for an MG42.  Note the control box complete with joystick so he can track the missile to it's target.

The rifle platoon stands - armed with RPG-7 and Yugoslav built M48 rifles and M56 SMGs.

The mortar battery.  The 120mm mortar came off one of the Steve Weston WW1 'Tadpole' tanks, with a baseplate from a Tamiya US 107.  The crew are again from the Mountain Troops set.
The battalion HQ.  A frenzy of quietly efficient staff work.  The radio op is a Tamiya figure but this being Forbodia the radio probably won't work - hence the semaphore flags.  The chap in the foreground has a SA-7 Strela AA missile - he is anxiously scanning the skies for enemy aircraft.  The CO - in cut down stahlhelm to make a Yugoslav-style helmet - is another Tamiya figure.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The dice were against me. As usual.

This was a game run by John A using his 15mm toys and a slight variation of the basic rules from the Neil Thomas book. I led the Russians and Martin the French.
My 'Grand Battery'.  
The beastly Frenchies skulking behind a hill.  The rotters.
I managed to create some early excitement by having my two Cossack units gallop about a bit.
The real excitement came on the left - where I sent my cuirassiers and hussars Frenchwards... crash into the enemy cavalry!
I had the better of the first exchange - assisted by unusually good dice.
Then the bloody French infantry had the nerve to shoot at me....
...precipitating a rearwards advance of the cavalry.
By now I was frantically trying to shift my slow moving army to meet the threat to my flank.
This could have been a nice killing zone... indeed it was - but sadly my chaps were the victims.  Bugger.

Still, a very close run game and a pleasant use of the 90 or so minutes it took to play.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Straight Jag-kit

According to the label on the bag I paid £2.00 for this kit back in 2011 at the IPMS Modelworld show.  At the time I had no clear idea of what it would be used for but the current arms race related to the Little Cold Wars project is about to benefit from my £2 investment.  As my French feature prominently in the arms race, with several people also busy accumulating Brits, a Jaguar suddenly seems like a damn useful kit to have around.
Though this kit came unboxed (the top photo was blagged from the 'net) it appears to be complete. Unusually, two front ends are provided, giving the choice of the two-seat trainer or the single seat ground attack aircraft.  I'm sure that even without a peek at the photo you can guess which one I'm building!
The missiles are as far as I can establish, the Matra AS-37 Martel, a device intended to make life unpleasant for enemy warships and SAM operators.  The kit comes with four of 'em which I suspect is at least twice the normal quantity for a Jag.  While the glue dries on Phase One of the build I'll have a think about which of the two sets of markings will be applied - RAF or Armee de l'Air.

While you're pondering that dilemma, have a look at this RAF film from the late 1970s.

Forbodian Peoples' Army reservists (c1979) - part 2

Here are the comrades during painting.  As well as some RPGs, they carry small arms of Yugoslav manufacture - M48 rifles and M56 SMGs.  And you thought they were WW2 Germans.....
There's a bit of a rush on to finish these chaps as I need them for a game on Wednesday!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

COW 2014 timetable

Behold the Conference Of Wargamers timetable.  The full programme can be found in the 'Downloads' section of this blog.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Forbodian Peoples' Army infantry - part 1

One of the biggest challenges with the Little Cold Wars project so far has been sourcing suitable 1/32 figures - especially for the Warsaw Pact forces.  And yes, I know that Airfix did a set of 'Modern' Russians and Esci a set of mixed WARPACT soldiers but both are now as rare as rocking horse s**t.  If you find some in your attic I'll gladly take them off your hands...
So, that said, it's back to bodging.  A bit of light research revealed that a number of WARPACT armies used - well into the 1970s - webbing patterned after the German WW2 version.  And a few wore 'ski cap' type headgear not a million miles removed from the Wehrmacht equivalent.  I have also seen photos of Yugoslav soldiers (and yes, I know they weren't WARPACT members but if you were obsessed by accuracy you wouldn't be reading this rubbish) in the 1970s armed with locally-produced copies of Mauser K98 rifles.  All of this points us towards the Airfix Afrika Korps figures which are readily available once more.
Aside from paintwork, however, I wanted to add a few bits of kit which would mark them as 'modern'.  So it was off to the spares box for a rummage.  Adding a bit of plastic tube to the front end of a 1/144 scale aircraft bomb gave what in a bad light may be viewed as a reasonable stand-in for an RPG-7.  A few of the comrades were thus equipped and can be seen above.
More news from Forbodia when the superglue dries.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Conference of Wargamers 2014 - session update updated

The current session list is as follows:

Tim Gow et al
A Mighty Wind  -  The Plenary Game
1944.  The Home Islands are threatened by a huge enemy battle fleet and invasion force.  It is our sacred duty to die for the Emperor…..

WD Display Team North
Another fast-paced solo game.  Take to the skies over Kent to prevent those new unsporting V-1 flying bombs reaching London.  This only take 10 minutes to play so will run several times.  Who will be the top scorer in No. 607 ‘Knuston’ Wing? 

Will Whyler, Mike Elliott & Phil Steele
Gladiolus (the old SOA Gladiator game)
Three or four boards probably in different scales.

Jim Wallman
Cabinet Office Briefing Room A
A committee game for up to 12. Crisis managment of an unprecedented and dangerous crisis. And explaining it on the Today Programme.

Jim Wallman
Saving Private Mouat
A 100% Totally Not Footfall mission to rescue one of HMGs most vital assets.

Jim Wallman
Warriors for the Working Day
Just another wargame involving toy tanks in WW2. But very suitable for those who can't tell their HVSS from their APDS.

Jim Wallman
Little Wars: The War of Firefly's Nose
If there's any enthusiasm for lounging around on the grass and projecting matchsticks at each other randomly.

John Bassett
404BC: Sparta has defeated Athens.  The birthplace of democracy groans beneath the Thirty Tyrants.  But a small group of rebels seek to change all that... A political/military role-play featuring Spartan warlords, philosophers, priests, democrats and oligarchs.
John Bassett
John Bassett on his favourite Roman poet: man about town, wit, master of seduction, intriguer at the imperial court and exile.  Will feature a re-enactment of the sad, sad story of Orpheus, with audience participation.

John Armatys
A simple set of wargames rules for company level actions in the early Twenty First Century using 15mm figures and die cast aeroplanes – an entertainment for up to four players.

Wayne Thomas & David Brock
Nimy Bridge in 15mm
A refight of the attack against the Mons salient by the German 18th Division of the IX Corps. The latest adaptation of "Far Away Wars" for 1914.

Ian Drury, Peter Grizzell & Nigel Drury
Muskets & Tomahawks ADG
French & Indian Wars using 25mm figures and the French skirmish rules Muskets & Tomahawks.

John Curry
British Army Counter Insurgency Model
This is a map based game about current British led multinational operations somewhere in a fantasy continent called Fafrica. Huge map, giant counters and at the simulation end of the game spectrum. The session will start with a 15 minute talk to set the scene, then play the game. The players will represent the planning staff and will attempt to run the operation in a country that is disintegrating around them. Strictly no photographs of the session.

John Curry
Donald Featherstone: His rise, his fall and his rise again.
Would the real Donald Featherstone stand up?  The first attempt to analyse the character of Donald Featherstone will include some controversial areas.

Mike Elliott
Rematch at Quebec
After the glorious victory and capture of Quebec in 1759, the British endured a Canadian winter. The French, determined to recapture the city and planned a new attack in April 1760…
A toy soldier  interpretation of the Battle of Ste Foy.
Mike Elliott
Enigma Variation
Being a puzzle game based on the vital deciphering work undertaken by a forerunner of the famous Enigma code-breakers of WW2
Note: this is a non timetabled activity. All COW attendees will be given a copy of an encrypted message at Dinner on the Friday evening and invited to decipher it. Clues will be published around Knuston at intervals during the weekend. There might even be a small prize for the first person to crack the code!

Graham Evans
To Ur is Human
Sumerian warfare with 20mm plastic armies, using a square table and quick and simple mechanisms. The rules feature a central "fear" mechanism modelling the fight/fright/flight condition of the various units as they encounter each other, rather than a traditional morale system. This was arrived at to try to model the effects of the Sumerian Battlecarts on their social inferiors.

Michael Young
Hapsburg Lip
(see Nugget 270) The now infamous game of politics, marriage and inbreeding in renaissance Europe. Now in it's next incarnation with some amendments to ensure that there is always someone in the marriage stakes.

Michael Young
The Byzantine General's problem
(see Nugget 268). Byzantine Generals have to organise and fight a battle. Some may be traitors. Can you defeat the enemy whilst at the same time work out who the traitors are in your midst? A few 15mm soldiers, lots of accusation and mistrust, no dice.

Ian Russell Lowell
The Incident at the the Zuliya River Crossing
A game-cum-rules session: Mountains crawling with warlike tribes, a Hittite Prince, a broken bridge, a goddess, fast-flowing water, someone behaving like a wild pig!  All under the mismanagement of Ian Russell Lowell.

Ian Russell Lowell
A Forgotten Conflict?  The German Peasants War 1524-1526
Collecting snail shells, Landsknechts, shoes on poles, and a painter named Jörg Ratgeb — plus religion, politics, social change in the Holy Roman Empire.  A gently-paced introduction with an aim to work out a way to wargame this conflict by Ian Russell Lowell.  (And no chariots at all, but maybe a fortified cart or two!)
Jim Wallman
Megagames have been going for a while.  Just recently I've have a load of people approaching me about how to set up and run megagames.  At the same time I'm finishing off a book on megagame design.  This session is open ended, exactly what we discuss will depend on the interests of those who turn up - bust essentially talking about megagames - how they get used how they are designed, and discussing whether there are some broader principles around megagame design that is cross-applicable to other games.

John Bassett and Jim Wallman
A discussion led by Jim and John on how we use anecdotes and statistics from our sources when we design our wargames. The idea for the session came from a conversation on sources for the 1941/42 Malayan campaign, but this discussion will range across military history. All welcome

Phil Steele
The Battle of Montaperti 1260
Guelph/Ghibelline wars using a scenario modified Basic Impetus ... Toy Soldier historical game suitable for all comers (will serve as an intro to Impetus as well as medieval battle) ... 2 to 6 players.
This was awarded best overall game at the 2014 Society of Ancients Battle Day.

Phil Steele
The Battle of Northampton 1460
A new game developed in association with the Northampton Battlefields Society to aid understanding of the battle.... Toy Soldier historical game suitable for all comers ... 2 to 6 players.

Tim Gow
Possibly the sort of thing H.G Wells might have developed if he had been a child in the 1970s.  For those who were, LCW sees a return to playing in the garden with Dinky tanks and Airfix soldiers.  Still very much under development, and featuring many mechanisms players will recognise as having been ripped off from other COW games, LCW provides the essential COW experience of doing silly things with silly toys while wearing a silly hat.
Russell King
Apokalypse 1945
A recreation in 15mm of the final hours of the Fuerherbunker.  A full and final briefing will be given. You are one of several Soviet platoon commanders, fighting the ever more desperate last Nazis, with the NKVD examining your every move over your shoulder. Will you be first to the Berlin high command? Will you, as you get closer to the centre of Berlin, catch the fleeing war criminals? Will you turn out to be a Hero of the Soviet Union? Or will you be shot, or hung for failure to make progress to Stalin's timetable?

Russell King
The March 1971 Political Justice Sub-Committee
The allegations are completely unfounded. I have never distanced myself from the Provisionals' cause, and I have never ever been involved in any disappearance or death which might or might not have taken place. I can neither confirm nor deny that this session exists, and nor say whether it might or might not be set in a very private room of an unknown Belfast pub. But in very general terms, we can say that it was probably more than likely time that someone somewhere stood up and called the shots

Jim Roche
THE battle of Twitterloo
A development of my old board/card-game about writing accounts of Waterloo, ‘Diary of a Ball’. The title of the original was based on Wellington’s criticism of battle memoirs. The updated version asks, can you describe your adventures in less than 144 characters per turn? Twitter IDs provided or you can use pen and paper

Jim Roche
It’s a Long Way from Tipperary
A Saturday-night singalong to mark 2014, the anniversary year.

Tom Mouat
Close Quarter Battle!
 This is a simple and fast generic game system for fighting in close quarters, like buildings, spaceships and underground tunnels. Players command a Squad, select the mix of equipment for their Mission and attack! (or defend!).  It will feature hidden set-up and simple mechanisms.

Tom Mouat
Special Forces in WW2
This is a role-playing game set in WW2. A small band of determined men setting out to foil Hitler's evil plan! Featuring evil Nazis, wonder weapons, toy soldiers, derring-do and British pluck!
Tom Mouat
Challenges and Adventures!
This is a tribute to Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons and Dragons 40 years ago. It will be a fantasy role-play adventure with a slight twist in that rather than dig out a set of the original D&D rules (I have a copy of the original "White Box" edition), I decided to design my own rules from scratch (trying to stay true to the original ideas). The rules are a lot simpler and feature a novel system for magic.

Tom Mouat
Cyber Trumps!

This is an educational card game, based on an original set of cards using the "Top Trumps" basic idea, but revised, expanded and updated (and actually featuring some intellectual content!). Recently used on the International Cyber Awareness Course at a major university (the Nigerian and Chinese students had some interested input over certain elements of the game!).

Monday, 9 June 2014

All the nice girls love a sailor

While tidying up the blog a bit I noticed this unfinished report from COW last year.  Presented by Jim Roche, this session recounted his late father's experiences in the Royal Navy during WW2 and was illustrated with slides and songs.  Yes - another COW singalong!
Basic training at HMS Drake - one of the RN's 'stone frigates'.
Jim describes the 1937 Fleet Review - scene of the notorious 'Woodrooffe Incident' when broadcaster (and former RN officer) Thomas Woodrooffe's commentary was rather compromised by his booze intake.  "The fleet's all lit up" quoth he.  Something it had in common with him.  Have a listen to the recording here.
Not the finest tribute ever paid to County class cruisers....

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Land Rover rebuilds - part 3

 My final Land Rover (for the moment) is this '90', so called as that is it's wheelbase (the real one, that it) in inches.  This and the '110' took over from the Series III '88' and '109' in the mid-1980s, making this one a bit futuristic for LCW but I can live with that.
Distinguishable from the sIII by one-piece windscreens, flush front end and flared wheel arches, early versions of this new model were notoriously unreliable.  I remember speaking to a senior NCO who ran the motor pool in, well let's just say one of the Scottish infantry battalions, who claimed that of the first three '110s he'd received, two had to be part cannibalised to keep the third running!
Things soon improved though, and I subsequently heard from a fairly senior officer that during an exercise in Germany in the 1990s a US Colonel (admittedly the worse for drink) had offered to swop for his Humvees - at the rate of 2 Humvees to one Landie!
Final Landie anecdote.  The aforementioned Scottish battalion returned from a NATO exercise in the '80s with one less Landie than they'd taken.  Apparently a vehicle camouflaging exercise in a German forest was a little too successful....