Tuesday, 19 September 2023

Warhammer 40K Revisited

A sumptuously produced hardback containing a copy of the 10th edition rules for 40K, a history of the Tyrannical War, a very nice showcase of models etc, scenarios and the Crusade narrative driven rules - which you can rest assured will inevitably used for something GW may never have thought of!

A short while ago I posted about having acquired a copy of the GW Leviathan boxed set containing some 72 models - 25 Space Marines (including a rather large Dreadnought) and 47 Tyranids. I have since added to that by acquiring the ‘Ultimate Starter Set’ which includes a further 12 Marines and 32 Tyranids. I then took to eBay to obtain a further five man squad of Marines to round out the set up. The Ultimate Starter Set includes some rather nice terrain pieces along with a copy of the core rules, a bag of D6, a sheet of transfers for the Marines, a 40K Handbook and a couple of plastic measuring sticks aka rulers to the uninitiated! Just to complete the line up I also invested in a copy of the book you see above in order to flesh out the back story of the table top action.

The handbook and core rule book from the Ultimate starter set. 

Am I insane? No, but I am not averse to making use of stuff in a variety of ways above and beyond that which the designers intended! Seriously though, I will happily play 40K or Space Hulk or Combat Patrol but I have plenty of other rules available for the genre - man versus insect-like alien.

On the face of it the expense for this may seem daunting but when you sit and think about what you have got for what you laid out money wise there is an awful lot of material that compares favourably with more mainstream historical topics. Figure wise I probably have rather more than I will need but no matter - the excess can be readily disposed of. For now though I have to shoehorn this into the project list and therein lies my problem. Time - or lack of it!

I am looking at a kind of ‘Starship Troopers meets the Zulu War’ kind of thing with this lot, featuring elements of the book and the film with that of the ‘historicity’ of the Zulu War. 

In the words of the song “Its my party and I’ll try if I want to”

Many a gaming project has embarked on far shakier foundations….


Tuesday, 12 September 2023

Back from a Break and Going Commando

A Potters signature cappuccino - very nice with a shot of brandy as a boost! 

This will be a post of two parts - but not two posts! 

Laurel and I just got back from a three day all-inclusive break at the Potters Resort, Horton near Great Yarmouth. Essentially it could be best be described as a pimped long weekend. We had a lovely relaxing time - the weather was remarkable - and the main takeaway was that Laurel had overcome her reservations about staying away and longish car journeys. Due to her spinal surgery she has real problems with her left leg if it stays in the same position for any length of time as well as standing on it for more than around five minutes or so. The drive to the resort was around 105 miles which we split in two easily enough so she was relatively comfortable. 

The resort has a huge number of activities one can take part in - archery, bowls (indoor and out), wall climbing, crazy golf, pitch and putt, craft sessions, laser clay shooting, 10 pin bowling, darts, snooker, pool, swimming, segways, the gym, bingo, quizzes and a nightly entertainment program - mainly cut down West End shows but executed to a very high standard. The staff were helpful and friendly, the food OK (standard all-inclusive level) and the drink selection was expansive and included many premium brands which was a pleasant surprise and duly taken advantage of by yours truly….

A couple of the things we really appreciated was that you were assigned a table for the duration of your stay - ours was handily located for the entrance - and also that as well as the buffet option for meals there was also a selection available via waiter service, again very handy for us as Laurel is mindful of the space her wheelchair requires. She is quite manoeuvrable but prefers plenty of space around her. As an aside she became quite adept at freewheeeling down the entrance ramp that led into our accomodation!

It was a most welcome break and the first time we had been away (aside from a one night stay away last year about 10 miles away) since Laurel’s surgery. It was lovely and yes, we will go again at some point and will try out rather more of the activities (at least I will, Laurel has already said that the pool and the craft sessions work well enough for her!).

Going Commando

Brigadier Peter Young will need no introduction from any of the readers of this blog! Acquired courtesy of eBay for the total sun of £9 and with a very definite idea in mind….

By virtue of the fact that I am sitting on rather a lot of Britannia 20mm beret wearing British Commandoes  I have been indulging in one of my perennial flights of fancy and have opened a bit of a Pandora’s box of ideas. Naturally this led to a swift check of eBay for some, ahem, research material - the results of which you see above. You may recall that on the back of Eric’s Rapid Fire based WW2 collection I picked up a copy of the rules as well as checking out the Rapid Fire website which, even if Rapid Fire are not your thing, is well worth taking a look at if you are into WW2. I also joined the Rapid Fire Facebook group where I made the acquaintance of Don McHugh.

Don is a very knowledgable and helpful chap (as indeed are many within our gaming ‘band of brothers’) and in answer to my question about British Commandoes - my WW2 ‘special forces fix’ has tended to be paratroop related - he pointed me at the scenario you see below. This is available as a free download from the Rapid Fire site and is really good.

Lord Lovat, Peter Young, green and red berets - what’s not to like?

The action is largely infantry based and pits the British 1st Special Service Brigade (the S.S. Designation was soon dropped for obvious reasons) against a German infantry Division. No Tanks involved although a couple of SPAT vehicles made an appearance. 

It is a tempting undertaking although I have also been looking at the Special Service Brigades in action in the Adriatic and Italy. Special forces in WW2 are certainly something I have an interest in and with the figures I have my disposal would certainly make this a viable undertaking, due in part to the modest number of figures required.

Besides, exploring the wartime career of one my favourite wargame authors is never a bad thing!

Tuesday, 5 September 2023

Time is (still) my greatest adversary….

“Fights on!”

I have not been able to get a huge amount of anything constructive done over recent months, mainly due to work and Laurel’s ongoing medical saga  - disposing of boardgames and Eric’s collection has taken up a lot of what free time I have - and indeed, all I seem to have been doing is stockpiling material and building up a project list of things to do when I am able. In a way this is good news as I have accrued plenty of variety - always important for my wargaming butterfly - so will certainly have no excuse for being bored. Just to depress myself I decided to sit down and draft a list so, in no particular order….

Developing the Portable Ironclads Wargame

Building some more ships and stuff for the above

Triremes - models, rules and painting some 60 odd ships

Another Glorious Day in the Corps - painting and playing

Shogun - doing something with the models at some point

Xenos Rampant - that is what the 40K stuff is for

Aeronautica Imperialis - 40K in the skies

Mustangs - 1944 over the Reich

ACW/Pony Wars/Old West  - Wofun to the rescue

1914 Naval - Madasahatta style

Something for Steamer Wars

Operation Market Garden - using Eric’s stuff, assuming it has not been sold!

Flying Colours - age of sail stuff

Combat infantry - 1944 NW Europe and 41 to 43 on the Eastern Front

Like I said, plenty of choice but as the title of this post says - “Time is my greatest adversary!”

One day….

Monday, 4 September 2023

Triremes Ahoy!

The component parts. Thanks to the suggestion of Kaptain Kobold the angle of the oars was reduced from 45 degrees to 60. I also took the opportunity to reduce the over length. The two sizes of cardboard strip are designed to go on the outriggers as either leather screens or more permanent wicker sides.

A slightly angled overhead view

The view from directly above showing the outriggers to good effect.

At long last and after several self inflicted mistakes I received the final version of my plan for a simple MDF trireme that would be no longer than 4 cm. Martin at Warbases must have the patience of a saint as this simple model has so far taken some four attempts to get right - mainly down to my skill (or lack of) as a draughtsman. Anyways, the final version you can see above so it now means that my planned Salamis project using a slightly ‘pimped’ version of the rules found in Richard Nelson’s book on the battle can enter next phase.

I am really pleased with this simple model and so the order will be going in for the sixty models I need for the battle. I will also need to think about some terrain and the all important hexed cloth (2” across the flat sides if you are interested).

There are plans afoot in respect of organising a battle pack to made available from Warbases but this is very much in the early stages so watch this space.

Sunday, 3 September 2023

Rapid Fire Operation Market Garden

I came, I saw, I bought a copy….A cracking piece of work it is as well!

Well that has solved a variety of problems! I picked up a copy of the above to see how it would translate into a kind of mini campaign and I am happy to say that it certainly did not disappoint! This is a very neat piece of work that ticks all the boxes for me. 

There are 6 scenarios starting from the breakout by 30 Corps up to the ferocious fighting in Arnhem itself. There are also some 16 forces organised for Rapid Fire to go with the scenarios. The thing that struck me was that all maps are gridded in squares equalling 12” which, in my ‘bath tubbed’ world, would translate very nicely into in the Portable Wargame. Even the formations can be tailored into strength points so what’s not to like?

To be honest it has made me think about the campaign in a different way in respect of how I would game it. I have all the figures I would need, albeit on a temporary basis, from Eric’s collection but I have a couple of ideas to play around with.

More to follow….

Wednesday, 30 August 2023

Thoughts on A Bridge Too Far

My copy of the book A Bridge Too Far by the late Cornelius Ryan. I also own his book The Longest Day but as yet not his final volume on the war.

A flyer contained in the book - probably no longer available judging by the cost of the postage and packing! Nice idea though.

Operation Market Garden has always been of great interest to me and fighting elements of the campaign over the years has given me a huge amount of enjoyment. I have used various sets of rules including Command Decision, WRG, Charles Grant’s Battle, Memoir 44 and a couple of hex and counter boardgames. The only figures I have used thus far have been 6mm Heroics and Ros and that a long time ago, way back in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Whilst sorting through Eric’s collection - I should qualify this by saying that I am sorting through a portion of it! - it suddenly dawned on me that perhaps fighting the campaign was something he planned to do or indeed, perhaps even did so using 20mm kit. He has the following troops ready to use - the 1st British Airborne, the Polish Parachute brigade, an American Airborne regiment, two SS Panzer Divisions, the British Guards Armoured Division and a British infantry Division. He has also collected and organised a German 1944 Fallschirmjager Division (currently unpainted). With the exception of the German paratroops all are painted and ready to use and merely require some minor reorganisation to be more or less table ready.

The entire collection is of course up for disposal but I am thinking that there could be no better way of showcasing it than to actually use it on the tabletop. It would have to be something that could be organised relatively quickly so a detailed hour-by-hour or day-by-day simulation would be out. I am thinking along the lines of something like a series of linked scenarios, Portable Wargame style. The terrain would present a degree of difficulty - mainly as I do not own anything specifically 20mm scale so a dive into my collection of ‘town in a bag’ buildings will be in order. I could probably knock up a bridge or two easily enough - “It is all a question of bridges” - and in many ways the amount of improvisation required to pull this off would be very ‘Eric’ so I would be in good company!

The Portable Market Garden Wargame eh? There could even be a book in that….

Monday, 28 August 2023

Commandoes - Eric Knowles Style

20mm Commandoes manufactured by lord alone knows who by! Any help would be appreciated as I have around 80 odd to dispose of! 

It has been as usual a very busy weekend but I was able at long last to get some ‘moving and shaking’ done in respect of Eric’s 20mm WW2 collection. The bulk of the 1940 collection is now at its new home meaning that I can at last begin to think about the huge amount of kit for 1944. 

I have found a new home for what Eric was using for his planned 14th Army set up - the Chindit column consisted of short wearing Australian infantry with trouser wearing NCOs. The latter was swiftly removed leaving nigh on a hundred agitated Aussies ready for service in the desert along with a similar amount of short wearing Indian infantry. Having sorted these out I then decided to tackle the unpainted 1944 NW Europe British stuff. Aside from a Kangaroo infantry battalion and a reserve formation, together with a four gun battery of 25pdrs with crews (metal) and four Priest SP guns with crews (resin and metal), there was a large box of assorted Commandoes. 

Around 80 figures of these are wearing the Airfix woollen hat whilst around 150 are in the Royal Marine beret and are representative of 40, 41 and 42 Commando. There are also a further 80 odd figures of the type you see represented in the picture above. I have no clue as to the manufacturer of these so if anyone has any idea please let me know.

Eric was very relaxed about mixing different figure manufacturers in his armies, even down to individual units. As I have gone through some of this collection I have even come across the odd plastic 20mm figure used to round out a unit and then of course there are his conversions. Eric was not averse to chopping figures around and I have come across a few examples of where he has changed heads and weaponry - some of these conversions are quite tricky to spot but for the most part can be picked out reasonably easily.

So including all the various Commando support units Eric has amassed around 350 or so figures - let that sink in a moment.

350 Commandoes - this is territory beyond the realm of a usual table top battle unless you have a/ plenty of space, b/ plenty of time and c/plenty of enthusiasm! 

Eric was never short of C above!