David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occassional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Action at Oxley Sidings

We’ve had rather a lot of snow here in the Midlands over the weekend, in Wolverhampton our first for four years I think. Phil and I had planned a VBCW game for Monday of this week, but by late Sunday after 7” of snow that looked very doubtful. But, we are not that easily subdued here in GHQ and Phil gamely battled the rush hour hordes to drop Diane off at work (up the hill from GHQ!) and duly presented himself at the door before I was washed and dressed! We had a leisurely breakfast and then repaired to GHQ to prepare our game. Just when we were having a coffee before starting, disaster struck! A pipe leak under the kitchen sink! An hour spent clearing and drying, then the plumber arrived! We were fixed and off we went into GHQ for Turn 1.
In all we managed seven Turns and a break for lunch, so the game will restart next Monday, when hopefully it will be less cold and dramatic. As ever in our VBCW games we were using Bolt Action 2 for the rules, a set we are comfortable with now and which keeps the interest of both players at a high level of involvement with the random dice activation. 
The action referred to in the title sees the Government forces attempting to capture, or destroy, an armoured train which the railwaymen of Oxley Sidings have been working on since the summer. Phil commanded the Government forces :- two large Brigades of Infantry, one Regular, the South Staffords, and one Volunteer, mostly from that nest of reaction that is Tettenhall, supported by cavalry, a Vickers Mk VIC tank, a Blacker Bombard, a Medium mortar, MMGs and an anti tank rifle. I commanded the Socialists, two brigades of Volunteer Militia, supported by three mortars, two armoured cars and an 18lb gun. 
I don’t want to give two much away before Part 2 is played out, but here are a couple of action shots to wet your appetite ~
The Armoured Train and its defenders.

The forces of Repression advancing in numbers.

The gallant railwaymen of Oxley Sidings.

All being well we shall play the game to a conclusion next Monday, so pop back next week for some pre-Christmas cheer, hopefully.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Bah, Humbug!

Going by all the snow outside,”It must be Christmas!”

Let’s hope for us all it’s a good one!

And that that we all get some new, shiny toys!

MERRY CHRISTMAS and A HAPPY NEW YEAR from all the GHQ Irregulars!

Friday, 8 December 2017

The Battle of Brocton

You may have noticed a dearth of games here in GHQ in the last few months. Illness and household chores have all played their part in the sorry saga which has been my hobby related activity since mid October. But, we seem to have turned the health corner here and the household is all straight again, at least for now. So, this week saw a game here in GHQ with Jon and I locking horns in the English Civil War using Pike & Shotte rules for a change of scene.
As is usual Jon commanded the Royalists in his persona as Lord Walton and I commanded the Parliamentarians as Obadiah Bykleigh, gent. The action supposes that the two armies have met on the edge of Cannock Chase, somewhere around Brocton it seems.The battle takes place astride the main Stafford to Cannock road. The Royalists enjoy superior quality Horse, the Parliamentarians better artillery.I was too engrossed in the action to take photos as we went along, but I hope these few after action shots and informative captions have the flavour of the unfolding drama ~

Lord Walton confers with his Sergeant Major General whilethe artillery
soften up the enemy.

"Have a care!" The Royalists pound the enemy enthusiastically, if

The Oxford Foote have the honour of holding the Royalist army's right flank.

The main infantry fighting took place astride the Stafford to Cannock road.
The Parliamentarians fought doggedly and could not be driven off!

To their right, Obadiah Bykleigh's Foote we sorely pressed and had formed
 Hedgehog as a defence against the Royalist Horse, only to be attacked
by a Battalia of Royalist Foote! Despite fighting stubbornly, they were
eventually driven of in rout!

Royalist baggage train, safe from the marauding Parliamentary Horse!
Very safe as it turned out!

Fairfax and Essex's Foote attack across broken ground on the Parliamentary
army's left flank. Well, they would have if mydice rolls had been better!

Pressure mounts in the centre of the Parliamentary battle line, but the Foote
 hold despite overwhelming odds. Twice the pike charge and twice they fall
back. Meanwhile the right hand sleeve of Shotte falls back Shaken!

Obadiah Bykleigh's Foote assailed by a whole enemy Battalia cannot be

The Lifeguard trot forward in a vain attempt to hold up the Royalist
Horse in its victory charge!

The disaster on Parliament's right flank! Loosing the Hand to hand combats
resulted in four Routs! Dice, what did I ever do to upset you?

Surveying the wreckage of his army, Obadiah Bykleigh consoles himself with
 a cup of wine! At least the baggage is safe, for now...

It was a wonderful game, despite the eventual resounding defeat when three broken Battalia saw the Parliamentary army quit the field and fall back towards Rushall. Both Jon and I were new to Pike and Shotte but felt we coped reasonably well, with only one minor hiccup, and that the rules gave a good, fast flowing game with outcomes which could be clearly seen to be viable. Weather permitting, Phil will be here on Monday next week for a VBCW tussle in our other ongoing campaign, this time featuring an armoured train!

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Austrian 12lb gun and crew.

In keeping with my ‘year of no new projects’ I’ve just completed a third 12lb gun and crew for my Austrians in the Wars of the French Revolution project. The gun is from Front Rank and the crew from Trent Miniatures, found among the bag of figures Matt kindly gave me earlier in the year. Although the Black Powder rules as written designate one gun and crew as a battery I can’t warm to that myself and my French and Austrians now have three gun batteries, I just prefer that look on my table. The British are not yet up to that strength, but they will join the three gun battery ranks during 2018 I expect. It will mean an extra gun and crew from Trent and a powder wagon and horse team, most likely from Front Rank.
I always find it’s a bit hit and miss when I paint up figures and vehicles to join existing units or armies even though I’m careful to consult the existing pieces in an attempt to match up the new with the old. What I’ve discovered about my painting though is that I don’t always pay attention to how I got to the finished article and have to try and reverse engineer the process. It doesn’t always work though! I’ve also found that my style is changing with age, eyesight and arthritis all playing a part. Anyway, enough waffle, here’s the new piece, see what you think ~

I’ve also completed a generic artillery hoist from Warfare Miniatures staffed by a labourer from Trent Miniatures. It serves no purpose but it will provide baseline interest in games in GHQ.  The base needs texturing, colour washing and then grassing and tufting so no picture yet I’m afraid. I’ve also finished several Dixon Miniatures ACW Confederate dismounted cavalry figures, but the above also applies to them. Best news though - Jon and I have a game tonight!

Monday, 4 December 2017

“In a much bearded army he was the hairiest general I ever saw!”

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’ve added yet another Command stand to my ACW Union army. The two figures represent General John C Robinson, described by a contemporary as “...the hairiest General in the whole army!” I used a Redoubt Enterprises Figure, but Mounted him on a Dixon  Miniatures ACW officer’s horse and placed him with another officer from Dixon to represent his staff ~

I would have liked to have asked Matt to sculpt Phil’s head for me but the truth is he’s far too busy to bother and I’m rather short of cash anyway so close to Christmas. I took one liberty in choosing the figure to represent himself, but I hope Phil will forgive me! Either way he won’t be making his debut on the tabletop battlefield here in GHQ before next year, so he has time to get used to the idea...

Friday, 1 December 2017

AWI Vignette

A change of scene is as good as a rest I’ve found, so from the mid C20th to the late C18th, from the Colander Girls to All the King’s Men might put it better. As I mentioned last month my Lead Belt Fest included a blow out shopping trip to Wargames Foundry. Amongst the haul were figures for the AWI, both for the Crown and for the Rebels. When I’d sorted out the figures and temporarily fixed them to MDF bases I found I’d four left over, three officers and a grenadier drummer. I’ve combined them with another ‘bird on a post’ from Warbases to form a vignette which can be placed in the game to provide visual interest or deployed as an objective. See what you think anyway ~

I’ve also been working on an ACW Union Command stand which uses a Redoubt figure alongside a Dixon Miniatures figure, both Mounted on Dixon ACW horses to match the rest of my army. The Command stand will represent General Robinson, described by a contemporary as “...the hairiest general in the whole army.” I’ve taken one liberty with interpreting that for my choice of figure. When he’s finished you will need to judge for yourself.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

The Ladies of the WI.

A couple of weeks back now Phil made an order to Footsore Miniatures for some reinforcements for the Dark Ages game he has in development and was kind enough to add my small order to it. I acquired the two packs of WI figures and the female sniper team from the Interwar range for my VBCW collection. After labouring over the caisson set featured in the previous post I thought the ladies of the Tettenhall WI would be a different challenge and here they all are, under their own banner crafted by Pete Barfield of course ~

I named the leader Nora, a close examination of her stockings might reveal why, so I suppose the colour bearer must be Ivy ~
A little local colour in the form of a Beatties shopping bag and a ‘WI’ identification marking on a steel helmet, Eadie and Glenda ~
That just leaves us with Pearl and Marina. I hope you’ve managed to work the origin of the names out now ~
That leaves just the two women of the sniper team ~
I hope this little local flavour to my VBCW game meets with your approval. Now it’s on to the AWI and a five piece British command vignette I’ve made from surplus Wargames Foundry figures.