Monday, 10 June 2019

The Weekly Sitrep....Number 32

One lover Ray and Dave from the legendary Postie's Rejects with their quite superb Battle of Killiecrankie 1689 game in 15mm. Ray produced the figures (by Essex) for both sides and they looked quite superb.

Rather a large Sitrep this week for a couple of reasons. To begin with there is a lot to tell and also because I am going to away for a couple of weeks as SWMBO and I are heading to Cuba.

Yesterday, the 9th of June, saw yours truly in attendance at Broadside in Sittingbourne in Kent. Regular readers of the blog will no doubt recall my usual modus operandi at the shows I attend - I tend to arrive early to help Dave Lanchester set up his secondhand book stall (he usually takes money off me as well - and yesterday was no exception!) and am usually heading for home early afternoon. Yesterday was a little different in that I had a lot of 'business' to attend to so my visit ended around 11:30. For business read 'selling and passing on bits and pieces and collecting a couple of pre-orders'.

This was speedily concluded and so I was able to chat to a few people - gamers, traders and bloggers - and also to conduct a brisk tour of the trade stands.

Courtesy of the Foundry stand - one of two sets of rules I purchsed from them for £5 a volume with the other being....

....specifically devoted to the Greek Myths.

I have been after this edition of Paddy Griffith's book for an age and that very nice Mr Lanchester duly obliged with a copy.

A 1:1200th scale Russian Village produced by Brigade Models and the redoubtable Tony Francis (who also prints my flags for me!).

The two rules sets were acquired for some ideas I have had kicking around and I suspect that of the two it is the only the Greek version that will be used at intended. For £5 each though it hardly caused the wallet to wince! The Griffith title has come at a very opportune time in respect of my ACW project so is a very welcome addition indeed. The Russian village has been earmarked for something Rommel/Memoir 44/Portable Wargame related.

As far as the games on show were concerned I can only apologise for not taking more pictures that the one of Killiecrankie - that was before the show opened - but I simply did not have the time. The show got very crowded quite early on which would have made it tricky (at least for me with a phone). I was disappointed not to get any shots of Messrs. Fox and Harbron of SEEMS running a Zulu Wars 'The Men Who Would Be Kings' game with everything being provided by the aforementioned Mr. Fox. The game was being set up when I embarked on my travels and when I returned the first Zulu Impi had taken a devastating volley judging by the number of empty spaces on the unit base!

As is usually the way at wargames shows I was lucky enough to be able to meet with and speak to a number of the 'Blogeratti' with a special mention to both Bob Cordery And Ray Rousell for the lengthy chats we had and also to Big Lee and Tamsin. Lee was telling me all about his plans for his 6mm armies and so i shall be following these with great interest.

It was a flying visit to be sure but I am very pleased I went. the show seemed to have a lot more visitors than previously although I have not been for the last three or four years due to usually being on holiday. It is hoped that the success of the day will encourage the organisers to repeat the show in future years.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

We are where we are....

Command and Colours in space

One of the things that was very much on my 'to do' list during the lull in the great disposal was for me to reacquaint myself with my project pile. In many ways it was a case of saying hello to some old friends and goodbye to some others but it was a job worth doing. It has been some 6 months or so since I was able to do anything meaningful for myself - not that I have minded - and the time away has certainly given me plenty of opportunity to think about things.

The 'main event' for this year will be the 30mm Spencer Smith ACW project, loosely based on Kurz and Allison. The land element of this is actually well in hand for reasons that will appear in a post in due course so I shall be looking to the naval side upon my return from holiday. The figures for this project will mirror the contents of the Avalon Hill/Hasbro Command and Colours ACW game of Battle Cry so each side will have 40 infantry, 9 cavalry, 3 mounted commanders and 3 guns each with two gun crew. These will be based individually and are all painted in flat, gloss colours with plain painted bases. In short, 'old school shiny'.

For the most part the rules I will be using with these will be hex or square based (Command and Colours, the Portable Wargame or even MoB) although I will have the option to use A Gentlemen's War or even Rebels and Patriots on the tabletop. I plan to add to the collection in due course, albeit in a modest way.

The supporting case of 'side hustles' is a mixed bag but all of which have the advantage of being virtually fully resourced. These include the following:

ACW naval
WW1 naval - Avalon Hill Jutland or 1:2400th models
WW2 naval - Avalon Hill Bismarck or 1:4800th models
Red Alert - Command and Colours in space
The Great War/Rommel/Memoir 44/Portable Wargame WW2
WW1 Aerial - Avalon Hill Richthofen's War

The last three of the above can be readily satisfied in the short term simply by playing them straight out of the box although I am keen to 'model' them at some point. At a push I could also game the WW1 and 2 naval straight from the box using Jutland and the assorted variants I have and Bismarck.

There are some other bits and pieces but these have been consigned to the back burner as the above is really the most likely to be tackled in some fashion. I have deliberately kept the list quite tight and with as much boardgame overlap as possible so at least in the absence of models I can still enjoy a game or two.

Monday, 3 June 2019

The Weekly Sitrep....Number 31

Indeed it does....

A productive week for sure. The grand sort out of the man cave is underway and the crates of Eric's figures have been condensed down into 8 from the original 18. This has been a massive piece of work and though I say so myself I am quite pleased with the results to date. Full half of what is left is Minifigs with the remainder being a mix of Essex, Dixon, Hinchliffe and others. Eric's WW2 and other collections will be up next but that will not be until the middle of July.

Not what you would usually find on this blog but never say never....(and at £1 for the hardback version to good to turn down!)

Yesterday SWMBO and I, accompanied by my daughter, headed out to our local boot sale where I acquired a pristine hardback copy of the above. If I am honest the pickings at out local boot sale have been slim recently as more and more traders seem to be appearing there. This is a common phenomena as when a boot sale becomes more and more popular so more and more traders move in which in turn squeezes out the private sellers. Eventually what was a great boot sale turns into a rather poor quality market.

I have little interest in the above which seems like a kind of cross between Warhammer and Battletech but I know that the local Wayland games supports it and there is also at least one gamer I know of from the club. As is usual with these things I tend to offer it up for sale at the club for what I paid for it and if there are no takers then eBay it is.

The Spencer Smith 30mm ACW Kurz and Allison project has had a major shot in the arm which will feature in a later post. Suffice it to say I have had a lot of time saved for me which means I can move on to the naval part of the proceedings. You may recall I am planning on making around a dozen or so ships which will be larger than the previous models. I am also making some of these dual purpose so they can be readily used by either side by the simple expedient of changing the flag.

I am going to invest in a hexed battle mat rather than Hexon although with the hexes a similar size (4" across the flat sides). I plan to get three in total - one for sea games, one for desert and one for a generic farmland set up. Expensive but easier to set up and set down.

The only other thing that happened this week was of course preparing for Broadside in Sittingbourne, Kent next weekend. I shall be making my usual flying visit with books and figures in tow and am looking forward to catching up with friends old and new.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

The Weekly Sitrep....Number 30

I have often started the Sitrep with the phrase 'It has been a busy week/weekend (delete as applicable)' but the last seven days have been exceptionally so! To begin with I have finally packed and posted the last of the Front Rank/Foundry 25mm late 17th and 18th century figures from Eric's collection as well as some of the Minifigs Seven Years War and ECW figures. A large number of Essex, Dixon and Hinchliffe Turkish and Polish figures are also heading out the door - some 18 Kg of unpainted metal! I reckon I have accounted for just under half the figures which is pretty good going and, as mentioned previously, I am now looking forward to having a tidy up in the man cave and to be able to catch up on some of my own bits and pieces.

On Sunday SWMBO and I undertook our annual boot sale which was reasonably successful although it seemed like a lot of hard work this year as we were both feeling it the next day, as well as getting a light dusting of sunburn!

Broadside, the wargames show organised by the Milton Hundred Wargames Club and held at Sittingbourne in Kent, is in a couple of weeks (09/06 to be exact) and I am looking forward to going this. I enjoy this show but have missed it in recent years as it has coincided with my holiday. This year we are going after the show - two days to be exact - so it is a win, win as far as I can see! I do not have a shopping list for the show but I will have a modest war chest to use. I suspect that Dave Lanchester and his marvellous book stall will see some of it as he usually does!

Without a doubt the biggest news of my week was taking delivery of some painted Spencer Smith ACW figures from Bob the Old Painter and so making plans involving these wonderful figures has assumed a far more prominent place in the project list. I even went so far as to buy a pack of large sized craft sticks to jig some figures up with - painting figures? Me? Whatever next....?

In the interests of getting a gaming played I have been looking long and hard at my Memoir 44 collection to achieve this. I would not use the Memoir 44 rules for this although I would certainly make use of the scenarios. I suspect that the Portable Wargame will feature and the plan is to tackle something at the weekend. I rather fancy taking a look at the 1941 Crete campaign file I have downloaded. Then of course there is also the Vercours Campaign of 1944 as another option.

I noticed that Dan Mersey of the hugely popular 'Rampant' series of rules is working on a Sci-Fi set which is great news and will give me a chance to dust off some suitable bits and pieces I have lurking around - more of which in a future post.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

The Largesse of Wargamers

The Union Infantry and their mounted commander. Apologies for the poor quality of the pictures as the light was not as strong as I thought!

The Zouaves. Repainting the baggy trousers with a blue and white stripe will be sufficient to pass muster for the Tigers methinks although the headgear is a little awry.

The Confederate Infantry, Mounted Commander and the Cavalry.

The painted plastic contingent.

The unpainted plastic contingent

In my experience most wargamers are a generous lot. I am quite sure that any reader of this blog has at one time or another either given or received something of interest - usually as the result of a particular project lying forgotten and unloved in the dark recesses of a cupboard somewhere. We have all been there at some point.

So it was that a chance remark set in chain the motion of events that led to yours truly taking delivery of the the material you see in the pictures above.

The figures are all Spencer Smith 30mm ACW figures and the collection consists of the following:

Metal figures

1 x Union infantry regiment of 20 figures (painted and based)
1 x Confederate infantry regiment of 20 figures (painted  and based)
1 x Zouave infantry regiment of 20 figures (painted)
1 x Confederate cavalry regiment of 6 figures (painted)
1 x Union General
1 x Confederate General
2 x Cannon (semi painted)
3 x Confederate gunners (painted)
3 x Union gunners (semi painted)

Plastic figures (yes, that is correct - PLASTIC Spencer Smith figures!)

20 x Confederate infantry (plastic, painted)
43 x Infantry in kepi (plastic, unpainted)

On many levels this is an incredible piece of good fortune. The painted portion of the collection (and I am not including the plastics in this) could easily be used for something Portable Wargame related with a little tweak here and there. The first thing would be to rebase the figures and also to repaint the the bases themselves. I will also need to finish the paint jobs on the on the two guns and the Union gun crew. I will also tweak a couple of paint jobs so 3 of the cavalry may well become Union troopers and half of the Zouave unit will become Confederate - the Louisiana Tigers probably. It would not take too much work to get the figures to Kurz and Allison standard which is another area I will need to take a closer look at.

Working on the 4 figure infantry, 3 figure cavalry and 2 gunners and a gun Command and Colours type standard unit sizes means that I could, with a little work have a force for each side of 7 x 4 figure infantry (5 infantry and 2 Zouave), 1 x 3 figure cavalry unit, a mounted General and a gun with two crew. Now an army of 9 units and a general is a little on the small size, even by my standards, so adding to the collection to bring it up to the strength I planned would not be too problematic as I have the figures already and the painting style is EXACTLY the look I am aiming for.

One thing that has really struck me whilst experimenting with various permutations of organisation and basing etc is the fact that using armies of the scale and size I am planning is absolutely fine. I realise that seems like rather a strange comment given my fondness for the Command and Colours and the Portable Wargame ‘one figure equals one strength point’ standard but seeing it as part of one’s own collection gives the concept a degree of ‘realness’. In my case it means the system I have invested so much in (not specifically in monetary terms) looks absolutely perfect for my needs and so I can embark on my planned small scale armies with a clear conscience. They look the part in every respect.

The gentleman responsible for this much appreciated piece of generosity is none other than Bob the Old Painter to whom I must extend my most grateful thanks. Bob and I have never met personally (although should that ever happen the beers will certainly be on me!) and our contact has been via our respective blogs, emails and more latterly the odd phone call. Bob is proper ‘Old School’ in his wargaming and if you take a look at his blog you will see what he has been up to recently - including painting some very nice Seven Years War Minifigs British Infantry. I wonder where he got those from?

In many ways the receipt of these figures has, for me, served to close a theoretical door and opened a practical one - and the possibilities are enormous.

So once again many thanks to Bob the Old Painter for this quite wonderful and hugely inspiring gift!

Friday, 24 May 2019

U Turn? Moi? A Marlburian Reverse

Spencer Smith Grenadiers painted by the redoubtable Iain Burt (whom I have not seen for many a year but I am sure he will not mind me showing these quite exquisite figures!)

Most readers of this blog will know me as a level headed, stable and focused chap - always tackling new projects with an eye for detail and seeing them through to completion....

Then I woke up....(and I can almost picture the multitude of raised eyebrows!).

Whilst I am having a minor break from sorting out the vast unpainted collection of Eric Knowles I have been able to sit back, pause, draw breath and think about the next phase of my own particular brand of wargaming madness.

You will recall that in return for my efforts with this undertaking Bill, Eric's son, had very kindly offered me some of the figures for my own use and after much chopping and changing of my mind I settled on the Minifigs portion - mainly because I thought this would be the part of the collection that would be hardest to dispose. Up to a point this is true but I have certainly made some inroads into the collection - especially for the Seven Years War and the English Civil War. I would say that half of the former and all of the latter have been accounted for and so the main bulk of what is left is for the Marlburian period with a smattering of Napoleonics.

My plan was to make use of the Marlburians (of which there is a prodigious quantity) for my planned Balkanesque set up for circa 1710 to 1720. I am now not so sure I want to do this, at least using Minifigs 25mm figures anyway. For sure there is plenty of choice of figures and any shortfall could be readily addressed by an order or two to Caliver Books who currently own and produce Minifigs. I have had this nagging feeling of 'doing it because I can rather because I should' or to be more accurate, 'doing it because all the raw material has been handed to me on a plate regardless of whether or not I actually wanted it!' I am certainly not being  ungrateful at Bill's incredible generosity but I keep asking myself do I like the period enough to invest the time and energy needed to realise it on the tabletop.

The answer is probably not and so I have taken the decision to add the Marlburians to the disposal pile. I feel better in myself having decided this as receiving this unexpected windfall in terms of huge quantities of figures at no cost sat a little uneasily on my conscience.

There is a postscript though. The one thing that rummaging through all this 18th century material has done is to remind me that it is a period I really need to do something with and indeed, I certainly have an ongoing interest in many facets of it - anything from 1740 to 1780 really. If I am to tackle a project in this period (actually that should be 'when' rather than 'if') then I have my own ideas on the matter and for a variety of reasons using Spencer Smith figures is very much at the heart of it.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

For God and Kaiser

A great 600 page plus doorstop of a tome and an excellent overview of the armies of Austria from the Thirty Years War until 1918.

I will freely admit that I am a huge fan of the BalkanWargamer blog. The reason is very simple as the blog is chock full of information about the military history of my favourite part of the world – The Balkans themselves and the surrounding area. I should also point out the BalkanDave – the author of the blog – is an all round top bloke aside from being a veritable goldmine of information about the region.

Recently he reviewed the above book on his blog (see the link in the previous paragraph) and so following on from this I decided that it would be a good investment for the library. BalkanDave has a far better knowledge of the area than I and so I was confident that it would be a worthwhile acquisition. I was certainly not disappointed! 

Austria, along with Russia, has maintained a frontier with the Ottoman Turkish Empire for pretty much all of the period the book covers so it was inevitable that I would need to look at 'the other side of the hill' to place my planned armies into the proper context. The Minifigs Marlburian component of Eric's collection has a reasonable number of Austrian figures therein and I plan to use these against the Turks in due course so having some reading material about the period, albeit very much from an overview perspective, was a necessity.

I have always considered the Austrians to have something of the underdog about them in the various wars they took part in - seemingly slow to start but getting better as events unfolded. Diverse, colourful and a list of opponents that featured just about everybody means that the Austrians will work rather nicely as a protagonist in my planned early 18th century Balkan set up.

Now that I own the hardback version I am sorely tempted to get the Kindle edition for the daily commute and my forthcoming holiday - it would certainly be easier to carry around!

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

The Weekly Sitrep....Number 29

The classic Command and Colours game of WW2 combat....

Once again the weekend was a busy one but I have managed to get rather a lot done. As expected most of the time was spent with the ongoing disposal of the collection of Eric’s collection but even in that I had a couple of satisfying successes. To begin with the last of the Seven Years War Front Rank figures are going to be heading for a new home and I have also found buyers for the Minifigs ECW component. Eric routinely used the ECW to bolster his late 17th century armies so floppy hatted pikemen were the order of the day. I also have a potential buyer for the Essex, Dixon and Hinchliffe Ottoman Turks and Poles. This will enable me to free up a couple of crates so I will be able to head of my holiday in three weeks safe in the knowledge that the the disposal of this part of the collection is well in hand.

Upon my return from my travels Eric's WW2 and Marlburian painted armies will be next on the list, followed by his library and collection of 1:1200th scale ships.

....and its Great War cousin 

For my own part the need to get a game in is becoming more and more pressing and so I have taken the decision to fall back on that old standby of Memoir 44 and its first world war cousin, The Great War. I came across a very useful files section on the Memoir 44 Facebook group. Essentially there are some potted campaign PDFs that include a brief overview of the campaign itself and then a list of scenarios from all sources that can be found on the official Memoir 44 website (you have to register a copy of the base game to access the full content). The campaign specific PDF found in the files section of the Facebook group lists all the scenarios available in historical order so players merely download the scenarios as per the list and then fight the battles. Simple for sure but a very handy resource for those of us where time is at a premium.

Naturally both of the above would lead me quite seamlessly into Portable Wargame territory in due course. For the moment though, just opening the box and setting up a game has a an attraction all of its own although my long term plan is to '3D' the above with both terrain and models.

One more project then....

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Pausing to Catch One's Breath....

Not so much a full commercial break but more of a 'treading water' exercise

I had a long chat with Bill this morning concerning Eric's collection and I am happy to say that he is delighted with progress so far. I was able to tell him that I had probably cleared out at least a third of the unpainted late 17th and 18th century figures with roughly half the remainder being Minifigs with the rest Dixon, Essex, Hinchliffe, Greenwood and Ball etc. The remaining figures span the entire period from the English Civil/Thirty Years War up to the Napoleonic Wars with the former being used for late 17th century militia types and the latter for imagi-nation purposes. For the most part this lot (excluding the Minifigs) will be bulk listed for 'as cheap as chips' prices on eBay on a 'sold as seen' basis. I may well be taking a few crates of figures to COW in July but have yet to make a final decision on this.

This brief interlude (I am going away for a couple weeks just after Broadside in June) will enable me to sort a few things out, not least of which is planning for the next phases of the disposal of Eric's collection. Bill will be the one doing the work over the next few weeks as he will be sorting out the unpainted 20mm WW2 metal collection (around a dozen crates worth), the painted 18th century armies, the 1:1200th scale fleets and Eric's extensive library. Crucially Bill is looking to get the remaining parts of Eric's collection under one roof - his main place of residence - rather than having it split between two houses.

The plan is for the two of us to have big catch up towards the end of next month (with beers) to plan the next phase.

In the interim period I need to ensure that all the units being listed are photographed and assigned an ID number. I have drafted a template for the description and will make sure that all readers of the blog will know when it all goes live. Using the Buy it Now option means that once the units are listed they are listed they will stay on the site until sold which will take a weight off my shoulders for sure as I then only need to post out as and when needed.

The above task, preparing for listing, is easy to do but again is rather time consuming. The big advantage I have though is that I have 4 weeks to ready it all - there is roughly a hundred units or so - with pictures etc. Luckily I can spread this out and even find some time for my own 'stuff', of which the new command blocks are the obvious choice.

Although I am still working on Eric's collection it will be scaled down for a while which will enable me to draw breath and tackle some of my own bits and pieces before the next onslaught!

Monday, 13 May 2019

The Weekly Sitrep....Number 28

I have never seen a copy of this and nor do I intend buying one but it certainly looks like the kind of book I would really enjoy!

This weekend saw some fairly significant moves in the man cave. I managed to package up nearly 50 Kg of unpainted metal across 7 parcels - all heading to the same place I hasten to add - which is now winging its way to its new home. I also filled up half a large recycling bin with old Hinchliffe, Greenwood and Ball and Alberken figure boxes - all of which carried the dust of ages and scribbled notes - so at last I can see the floor in the man cave! With a couple of exceptions everything else can be re-crated and stored far less intrusively under my gaming table. Once this is done I can then hoover, dust and polish - a fact of which SWMBO has, ahem, encouraged me to do although to be fair she has a point as the entire loft looked liked something out of Steptoe's Yard!

There was thing I had overlooked. Whilst moving crates around and repacking some of the remaining units I rediscovered the Seven Years War Hanoverian army Eric had acquired. Judging by the figures used  - the customary multiple manufacturers Eric routinely employed - I am of the opinion that this is one of his earlier armies as there are a number of Minifigs S Range types present. Some are even partially painted. I shall be taking a closer look this evening and will post to the blog if there is anything interesting.

Flags for the memory (there are two sheets of the above). Rather than regimental standards I opted to use national flags. In many cases this means two or even three variants. The eagle eyed will not the use of the revolutionary war flag for the US of A with the circular 13 stars. I have the more usual version already.

Around the middle of last week a small order from Tony at Brigade Models arrived in the shape of a couple of flag sheets he kindly prepared for me. These are going to be used for the command blocks with my block armies (not the WW1 German Naval Ensign though - this the normal size I use for my ship models) in conjunction with a number for identification purposes. If you recall my plan was to use a quarter size block (roughly 15mm wide x 12mm high x 20mm deep) as a command block complete with a flag to show the orientation of the unit. Having the unit number will help with identification when using a roster to record casualties. Now that I have the flags I can press on with this stage which will mean I can use the blocks 'off the grid' so to speak although Tony has made such a good job of them I am thinking they will be used on grid as well.

This will be a simple job but it is one that I can tackle easily enough. Having the unit flags with numbers will make the battle reports far more easy to follow and will also add to the personality of the armies represented. This in turn will enhance the gaming experience. There are slightly more flags than I have blocks for but I have more than sufficient for my current needs and can get extras cut should the need arise.

The one standard I will be sticking to though is that block number 1 will always be the army commander.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

A Decade of A Wargaming Odyssey

I like to think that the picture above shows me valiantly resisting the lure of a new boardgame/book/range of figures/set of rules but the sad truth is a little different....

It is hard to believe that ten years ago to the very minute I posted my very first blog entry! What an incredible, epic and Homeric journey it has been and no mistake!

A Decade of A Wargaming Odyssey: The Wargaming Bit

I took the opportunity to take a look back over the decade to see what I was up to and how everything has developed - or not, as the case may be. I would say that the biggest single 'project' was without a doubt the block armies. I have used these for many periods and I am certainly pleased that I persevered with them. They are now one of my wargaming staples.

I have made a virtue of what I call frugal wargaming (the block armies are a very good example of this) and so tales of my boot sale and charity shop  acquisitions have been a continuous feature and to this day there is nothing like the feeling you get when you score a book or some other piece of gaming kit for mere pennies - even better when you sell it on via eBay for a healthy profit, thereby enabling some serious expenditure to take place whilst avoiding the admonishing looks of SWMBO at yet more money being spent!

Then there was the great ACW warship scratch building programme using balsa, assorted pieces of timber and plastic card - 50 odd vessels built for use along the rivers and swampy bayous of the US of A. This was enormous fun to do and I certainly learned a lot about building models other than from a plastic kit! For a variety of reasons though, these went the way of the Dodo but I shall be making some more ACW models in support of the Kurz and Allison project although not as many as previously and also at a larger scale.

Naval wargames have featured a lot and my various navies (and scales) have waxed and waned over the decade. Plans for ancient galleys were made and unrealised and lots of ideas for WW2 actions featured at various points. Then of course there was the whole Jutland thing - where I certainly missed the boat, so to speak. Currently I have a number of 1:2400th scale Tumbling Dice ships waiting for a 1914 style campaign and have some long distance plans for the ancients once more, as well as some 'wind and water' style games. Cruel Seas came and went and if I have learned anything from that experience it is that trying to add a little dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl of a rule set is destined to failure when set against the needs of big business.

Some aerial activity has featured but not for a while although I hope to rectify this at some point. I had a lot of fun with Angels 20 and Wings of Glory is always good for a laugh. Funnily enough I never seem to have gotten past Air Force, Dauntless, Richthofen's War, Wings and Air War for my air combat games - similarly with Ship 'O the Line, Jutland and Bismarck for the naval dimension. Perhaps my fascination with grid based wargames stems from my board gaming roots - who knows?

My land based games seemed to have mainly fought on a gridded basis and this has given me a lot of pleasure. I have seen the ingenuity of others take the Command and Colours system designed by Richard Borg and then stretch it more directions you could possibly imagine. I like the original board games and all the various figure based variants - they emphasise the 'game with soldiers' approach to the hobby rather than the uber-detailed simulation style, both of which I enjoy as the mood suits. I would say that the game side resonates rather more with me these days!

A Decade of A Wargaming Odyssey: The Wargaming People Bit

One of the most priceless benefits I have accrued over the life of A wargaming Odyssey is of course the people. I have made countless new friends over the last decade as well as forging closer ties with older ones and indeed, have even met a few of them! Their comments, emails, encouragement, ribbing and suggestions have been a continual source of support for which I am both hugely grateful for and am humbled by. I cannot pretend to be the most prolific painter, gamer or modeller on the planet but I love the part of our hobby universe that I inhabit. The fact that people extend me the courtesy of dropping in and out occasionally is a prize beyond value.

In closing this post I would like to sincerely thank everybody that has contributed over the last ten years and I hope to be able to continue my butterfly like progress over the next ten. I was mildly amused to read the contents of my very first blog post - especially given the projects content - so for your delectation:

Laying the Foundations 

Here's to the next 10!

The Weekly Sitrep....Number 27

Hawker Hunter ground attack FGA.9 as deployed to the Middle East during the Aden Emergency

Later than usual this week but for a very good reason! The Canadian branch of the family consisting of my brother in law and his wife are in the UK on a visit and so we were entertaining them over the bank holiday weekend.

I have mentioned previously but my brother in law, Gordie, is an ex paratrooper that initially served with 3 Para before transferring to the pathfinder unit of 1 Para. During his 11 years under arms he served during the Radfan campaign as a GPMG gunner and is always willing to talk about his experiences. He freely admits to enjoying his time with the colours and maintains contact with many of his ex comrades in arms. Time and the rigours of service have left their physical mark on him and so back, knee and ankle problems are the common lot of the ex paratrooper! As a pathfinder - incidentally serving alongside the S.A.S - Gordie was involved with HALO drops from around 20,000 feet. He has a professional respect for the RAF and regaled me with tales of when he undertaking parachute training at an RAF base - apparently the standard of RAF cuisine was far higher than that within the Parachute regiment! He also told me about the air support received from RAF ground attack Hawker Hunter FGA.9s during the campaign and how effective it was - especially the nose full of 30mm Aden!

Naturally the three days we spent with Gordie and Diane were not entirely given over to matters military and so we went out on a couple of trips, dined out and had a really good time. The invitation to visit them in Vancouver is something we will have to seriously consider!

The great packaging of the figures winging their way to their new owners continues with the plan to ship on Saturday. It is not difficult to do but it is time consuming. The good news though is that I will at last be able to see the floor of the man cave!

My order to Spencer Smith will be on its way today for the last of the ACW figures and I have also taken the opportunity to sort out the 1:2400 scale ships I have from Tumbling Dice. I am itching to get a game in at some point so all this sorting out has served to heighten my enthusiasm so I may well be rolling some dice over the coming weekend.

I am not sure what with though!

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Thoughts on ACW Armies

For the Union - Berdan’s Sharpshooters in action

For the Confederates - 1st Georgia Sharpshooters in action.

After a busy afternoon tackling a few DIY jobs and the rest of the usual Saturday domestic round I was able to spend a little time sorting out my 30mm ACW Spencer Smith collection to see what was needed to finish it off. After going through the figures I was quite please to see that to bring it up to the strength I am aiming for does not really need very much at all so I will get an order together over the weekend.

I have settled on the size of the two armies and each will look something this:

3 x Mounted Officers
6 x 12 figure infantry units
1 x 12 figure Zouave unit (more about this later)
1 x 12 figures ‘Rifles’ unit (again, more about this later)
4 x 6 figure cavalry units
3 x 12 pdr cannon each with 4 x crew

This works out at 108 foot figures, 27 mounted and 3 guns. For a variety of reasons I am looking at this as being my standard army size for the horse and musket period and it represents what I would call a full strength army. Usually the games I fight contain less units but it means I have a flexible roster to work from as required. Crucially the units can also break down into Portable Wargame sized Corps level formations. 

I do not profess to be any kind of an expert on the American Civil War and so my armies will be very much ‘based upon’ rather than historically accurate - which is why the Kurz and Allison project works really well for me. I like to think of this as the ‘Hollywood’ approach! As can be seen in the above list I shall be including Zouaves for colour and the Rifle units will be green clad sharpshooting specialists. I was rather pleased to discover that the Confederates had a green coated sharpshooter unit and even more pleased to read that the historical unit served during the advance on Atlanta.

Another thing I have decided on is that the infantry units will feature a command element of an officer, a musician and for all except the Rifle units, a standard bearer. The infantry and Zouave units will have a drummer whilst the Rifles will have a bugler. The gun crew will be four figures strong - the 3 figure gunners pack and an officer.

It was a real pleasure spending some time with this collection and making plans for how I am going to use it going forward. At that remains now is to find some time to realise it!

Friday, 3 May 2019

A Portable Rebel and Patriot Gentleman's Civil War

Kurz and Allison with some very dapper looking Confederates for 1864!

This year so far has been largely occupied with sorting out the collection of Eric Knowles – so much so that most of my own projects have ground to an ignominious halt. I am not bothered by this although as the days turn into weeks and then months I am becoming more aware of my apparent lack of progress in, well, any direction other than packing figures for posting!

It is true that I have made a few acquisitions this year but to be honest, other than skimming through the various rules or books that have been added to the collection, I have invested little other than the odd half an hour or so, usually on the train during the daily commute.

However, now that I am close to a temporary break in the grand disposal, I have taken a little time out to revisit the ideas I was looking to tackle this year. First and foremost is of course the Spencer Smith 30mm ACW Kurz and Allison based collection. With the release of the Portable Napoleonic Wargame followed by A Gentleman’s War and Rebels and Patriots, I finally have the rules that I want to use for the collection once it is ready for action. These three sets of rules between them will cater for most of my immediate gaming needs as they cover virtually every scale of action from army level down to skirmish - and cover both grid based and free table usage. The first order of business though, even before the paints come out, is to acquire a few extra figures from Spencer Smith. I will also need to revisit the basing I shall be using as I am leaning very much towards individual figures rather than on multiples.

In support of this project will also be the need to tackle the naval dimension but certainly not to the same scale as previously! If you recall from some years back I scratch built around 50 assorted ships for use on the rivers and swampy bayous of the US of A. Some of these models featured in a couple of games in the games folder if you want to see them again. They were all built with one overriding rule – none of them were larger than 4” long so as to be able to fit in a single Hexon tile. The models I will be building in support of the Kurz and Allison project will be far fewer in number and larger than their predecessors. I have a Peter Pig Hammerin’ Iron gaming mat which uses hexes of 5.5” across the flat edges so the models will be built to that size. I will also be making them ‘cartoon style’ in that they will be taller than you would expect. As I intend using these alongside the 30mm figures the extra height will help with the overall look of the thing.

Once I have this phase of the disposal of Eric's collection suitably 'battened down' I shall be taking advantage of the break to address the ACW project, at least in terms of fine tuning the resources needed.

For the record I ma really looking forward to this!

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

The Weekly Sitrep....Number 26

One of the 60 odd pictures I have of a small part of Eric's painted Marlburian collection. 

It has been a busy week in respect of the great lead mountain sort out. The last of the Front Rank and Foundry figures have found a new home and this has made a major dent in the collection. Aside from the Minifigs the remainder of the collection consists of Essex, Dixons, Hinchliffe and various other odds and ends - including some rather nice RAFM French and Indian war figures.

After a number of discussions with Bill the plan is to now number each remaining unit box, photograph the contents and sell them as seen via eBay on a 'buy it now' basis. Naturally I shall handle any direct enquiries about anything listed with the utmost discretion....

I should also mention that Bill has come with a great idea that he and I need to flesh out in a little more detail. Basically he is planning on using his local village hall to display all of Eric's painted 18th century collection with a view to the disposal of the same. He has also agreed that selling individual units - bearing in mind his armies typically consisted of figures from several manufacturers - would be a viable option. I will keep you all posted about this but personally I think it is a great idea.

The big advantage of this is that I can condense down the remaining collection into a far more manageable number of crates which could easily live under my gaming table in the man cave. It also means that as I will be able to see the floor once again I can give the place a proper tidy up - just in time for the next lot of Eric's collection to arrive!

With the recent launch of Bob Cordery's Portable Napoleonic Wargame, together with A Gentleman's War by Messrs. Whitehouse and Foley, I am feeling fairly comfortable about my horse and musket rules of choice when I get to the armies. Both have much to commend them so I am confident that which ever path I venture down - either the Minifigs Marlburian or Colonial or Spencer Smith ACW finding the right set of rules will be the least of my worries!

This coming bank holiday weekend will see me dropping parcels of figures off and welcoming my brother in law over from Canada. I have mentioned him before but to remind you he is a former paratrooper that saw active service in the so called 'Aden Emergency'. He is great fun to have around and is never short of an anecdote or two as well as having a very colourful vocabulary of Arabic insults!

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

250 Years Later....

Foundry 8th army British troops in action

Two hundred and fifty years after my planned 1690 to 1720 historical/imagi-nation style set up for the Balkans sees global encompassing the second world war. What is the connection between the two? Well, once I have finished the disposal of Eric's late 17th and 18th century unpainted lead mountain I will then be tacking a peak of similar scale in the shape of his 20mm WW2 collection.

I had a long conversation with Bill, Eric's son, about the next steps with the disposal plan and we have taken the decision to tackle the WW2 unpainted collection first of all.

When Eric retired and moved to Coningsby he got into WW2 gaming in 20mm in a big way. When I say big way I mean big as in Cecil B. Demille spectacular big - Eric was never one that went for the 'less is more' approach! In real terms it means that I shall be receiving some dozen or so 32 litre crates full of unpainted 20mm metal figures, artillery and vehicles - the latter are mostly metal or resin and metal - for disposal. In true Eric fashion these have been deployed in units and as far as we know at present there is a lot of Foundry in the collection.

In the short term I need to strip out the remaining Front Rank and Foundry elements of the 17th/18th century collection and then organise the remainder into manufacturers so there will crates of Essex, Dixons, Hinchliffe and others. If I tidied up the crates I have I reckon I could condense the remainder down by around a half which is not bad going and of course it save me some space.

Just as well with another 12 crates incoming!

I should mention that Eric's WW2 collection covers the entire war and with multiple armies and theatres represented. I am looking forward to tackling this but it will not be easy if the earlier stuff is anything to go by.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The Weekly Sitrep....Number 25

First and foremost a belated Happy Easter to all - I hope the long weekend was a pleasant one however you chose to spend it!

St. George doing what he does best - skewering the odd dragon!

Of course another celebration to day in honour of our very own Patron Saint so a Happy St.George's day as well!

It was a veritable whirlwind of a weekend including two barbecues, a boot sale, three shopping trips, a further al fresco dinner, jet washing the patio, a party in between times, further sorting out of Eric's collection.

Now that the Wargames Foundry infantry has more or less gone my next step was to sort out the cavalry. This has proven to be a major headache as Eric not only used a number of manufacturers but also routinely mixed ranges within a unit. This will take me longer than I anticipated to sort out so apologies for the delay in getting a list together. What I can confirm though is that Eric did not use Front Rank for the mounted arm - the main bulk appears to be Dixons and Essex.

The Russian and Austrian Seven Years War armies both included a large number of Front Rank infantry and cavalry all of which will be heading to their new home at the weekend. I will then be sorting out the British and French which also feature significant quantities of figures from this manufacturer.

Once the high end ranges have been disposed of  - and by that I mean Foundry and Front Rank - the next will be Dixon and Essex as there is a prodigious amount of them in the collection. These are all perfectly usable and would be a cheap way of trying out a new period as the prices are very low - 50p per foot and £1 for mounted.

These are 30mm and are quite exquisite in a Charge! kind of way.

Whilst going through the Austrian Seven Years collection I came across two infantry regiments made up using the figures depicted above. These are lovely figures but I am at a loss to identify the manufacturer. If anyone has an ideas please let me know. There are grenadiers in the same positions as well as officers, drummers and standard bearers and a quite superb mounted officer which is a one piece casting. I have a feeling they may possibly be Hinchliffe - the mounted officer certainly is - but the round base seems a little out of place.

This coming week will see me packing figures for posting but as the decks are beginning to clear, albeit slowly, I will be better placed in respect of the remainder of Eric's 18th century unpainted lead mountain. In fact it will be more like a lead hill!

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

The Weekly Sitrep....Number 24

I can remember owning a copy of this in years gone by but sadly it is no longer part of the collection

The world keeps turning and so the collection of Eric Knowles is slowly being beaten into submission! At long last I have been able to make a start on the late 17th and early 18th century cavalry list and am aiming to have this ready over the Easter long weekend. In the meantime though the small amount of AWI figures - a mere couple of hundred or so - Eric had acquired have been sorted and are currently on eBay awaiting a buyer. Once I have the cavalry listed I shall then be doing he same for the infantry now that the Foundry and Minifigs have been separated out. the remainder appears to be a mixture of Essex and Dixons and still accounts for a couple of crates worth.

If I have learnt one thing from this process it is that separating out figures by the manufacturer is probably what I should have done in the first place. The several hundred Wargames Foundry Marlburians were easy enough to identify and as they are largely generic it made perfect sense stripping them out of their original units. Essex and Dixons have a surprising amount in common in some cases and bearing in mind my relationship with buying 28mm figures has been minimal over the years it is no surprise I have spent so much time on this. I am not for one minute complaining though!

The famous Hinchliffe blue box. Eric has used hundreds of this for his units and they are so old that the corner tabs have lost all adhesion so when you take the lid off the box falls apart! The man cave is littered with these small brown tabs!

Mention of Hinchliffe reminded me of many things from my early wargaming days. The first metal figures I ever purchased were some Russian Napoleonic infantry advancing in greatcoats - even then I was looking at ways I could make my painting life easier! - and wearing forage hats. There were twelve figures originally and I was quite shocked when I purchased the next twelve as they had been completely redesigned and were huge by comparison! I also remember buying Russian Cuirassiers, Hussars, the inevitable Cossacks and some Moscow Militia. I painted them all (except the Hussars that Chris Hardman painted for me) and along with the aforementioned infantry as well as the grenadier units and gun crews I acquired from Tradition, it formed a useful force of around a hundred foot and thirty odd mounted. When I moved to London (this would have been early 1978) and joined the former Newham Wargames Club and discovered that nobody played Napoleonics I sold them on to Eric Knowles himself. I am unsure if these are still in the painted part of his collection but who know?

I rather liked the later Hinchliffe models as they seemed to have real character about them whereas Minifigs always seemed a little soulless. I still think that today although Minifigs have a look about them that satisfies a specific need.

I was hugely delighted to see that Hinchliffe are in fact still available courtesy of Hinds Figures and the prices are pretty modest as well - far cheaper than Minifigs.

Eric has used a goodly smattering of Hinchliffe across his Seven Years War armies as, if memory serves me correctly, they were one of the later 'large' ranges.

I am pleased that progress is being made with this portion of Eric's collection and the resultant trips down memory lane have been very enjoyable although I am conscious of the fact that I need to do something of my own as well.

Plans are afoot.

Monday, 15 April 2019

"A beast approaches, and it was King Leonidas himself who provoked it."

The climax of the film 300 - the Spartans and Greeks have been betrayed by Ephialtes and are now surrounded by the Persian host. A beautiful death and immortal glory awaits Leonidas and the remains of the 300.

Now I know as well as the next man that the battle of the 300 Spartans as depicted in the film 300 bears little resemblance to what actually happened but it is a great film all the same albeit in a comic book over the top kind of way. I thoroughly enjoyed it, 300: Rise of an Empire less so but it was still a worthy effort. Anyway, the long and short of it was that when the recently launched game by Footsore Miniatures (the company formerly known as Warbanner until the Evil Empire took a degree of umbrage…) Mortal Gods, covering skirmish level games in the Hoplite world (set after the Persian war), then I was always going to take a look at it! So I did and immediately picked up a copy.

The core set contents and yes, there are other figures available as well as sets for Athens and Sparta...

The game contains 32 28mm plastic figures from the Victrix range for the period so there are armoured and unarmoured hoplites, peltasts and slingers. I had a few problems with some of the figures as the box they come in has very little in the way of packaging so the heavy components – two decks of cards and bags of dice and stones have plenty of room to roll around. A quick phone call and all was sorted so some replacement figure sprues are winging their way to me.

The game can best be described as follows:

“Mortal Gods is a skirmish tabletop game played with roughly 15-25 models on each side. Players select their warriors before each game based around a single heroic leader, or ‘Lochagos’, and a number of loyal companions and heroes forming a single Lochos (war band).
Battles are swift and bloody as players alternate acting with one warrior or a group of warriors – moving and fighting to achieve the scenario objectives, whether that be cutting down the enemy, defending an outpost or finding and protecting an important character.
The rules are available as a box set consisting of a Rulebook, Roster Cards, Gift Cards, Omen Cards, Injury Cards, Damage Dice and Mortal Gods Dice.”
To be honest I certainly like the look of the game and there are a few folks at the club that are into this which is useful. However, in my usual way I am looking beyond the obvious and so will be expanding the figure collection to eventually produce a couple of forces the new Osprey rule set Men of Bronze – which covers hoplite warfare with forces around 50 to 80 figures per side. Obviously DBA could feature as well as the Portable Wargame or even Command and Colours should the need arise. There are also plenty of Greek mythological figures around so Dragon Rampant or HoTTs  may even feature.

My plan originally was to put this way down the batting order but it is very tempting to crack on with it as the figures are really nice and with a myriad of uses.

So much for focus....

Friday, 12 April 2019

Death in the Dark Continent or Into Africa

The latest edition of Chris Peers excellent rule set covering wargames set in 19th century Africa.

As a long time fan of the adventures of Allan Quartermain as well as various periods of African history - typically anything Colonial through to the Great War -  having a set of wargames rules that focused on the 'Dark Continent' was always going to be of interest. It is true that games set in this theatre could readily be undertaken using The Men Who Would Be Kings but these rules are far more specific in their approach. To begin with there are a pretty comprehensive selection of army lists for the European powers as well as the various tribal opposition. I like this approach as it creates a closer feel for the period as well adding to the variety of potential opponents. The terrain as well as the diverse flora and fauna of the Dark Continent  is also addressed which adds greatly to the all important flavour. In many ways I see this set of rules as a logical step up from Congo which is almost at a role playing level.

A great set of rules for low level skirmishes and almost role playing.

There are some quite superb 28mm figures available for this genre and of course the subject matter lends itself nicely to smaller armies. I have in mind a couple of ideas for use with Death in the Dark Continent although they are a long way off as the project list currently stands.

My knowledge of the various African campaigns in the latter half of the 19th century is limited in both scale and scope to the usual suspects - the Zulu War, elements of the Sudan campaign (included purely as it took place on the same continent!), some of the French adventures and the Great War so when I saw that Chris Peers had written a book that serves as an excellent reference source to his rules my only questions was how soon could I get a copy?

By no means a definitive work but a very useful overview all the same with plenty of inspiration for wargamers.

I can do no more than quote the Amazon advert for the above:

"In The African Wars Chris Peers provides a graphic account of several of the key campaigns fought between European powers and the native peoples of tropical and sub-tropical Africa in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His pioneering and authoritative study describes in vivid detail the organization and training of African warriors, their weapons, their fighting methods and traditions, and their tactics. He concentrates on the campaigns mounted by the most successful African armies as they struggled to defend themselves against the European scramble for Africa. Resistance was inconsistent, but some warlike peoples fought long and hard - the Zulu victory over the British at Isandhlwana is the best known but by no means the only occasion when the Africans humiliated the colonial invaders."

Certainly worth adding to the collection for some ideas.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The Weekly Sitrep....Number 23

A magnificent addition to the library and needless to say - the catalyst for a number of ideas....

Once again it has been a busy weekend although not with Salute featuring for yours truly. To be honest the gaming budget had been well and truly blown beforehand (see Red Alert and the above, not to mention a couple of books) and so this year going to the UKs premier gaming day was never likely to happen. I enjoyed last year, mainly because of the novelty value, but it was hard on the left ankle, knee, hip and wallet as well as the malodorous effects of the awful lighting. When I left the Excel – around 1pm as I recall– I felt worn out and ached in places I had forgotten I had (not to mention gaining a screaming headache) but, it must be said, with my gaming mojo for the most part satiated. There have been numerous blog posts from those that attended that have mentioned the same to a lesser or greater degree - perhaps our collective advancing years and the occasionally expanding waistbands are a little less forgiving than our previously more youthful selves! For the most part Salute is a little on the large side for me - I prefer a rather more leisurely pace for my browsing these days - so I will stick to the smaller events I attend although as previously mentioned, I suspect I will brave the Excel again at some point.

There was a lot of sorting out over the weekend and much progress has been made with Eric’s collection. The Foundry Marlburian Infantry has more or less gone so the next step is to tackle the cavalry – most of which is Front Rank – and the other infantry and artillery (actually gunners – there are no guns to speak of). I have taken out the Minifigs and Hinton Hunt/Higgins figures so what is left seems to be mainly Essex and Dixons. I have seen some Hinchliffe figures in the mix and also some that are unidentifiable so this will be an interesting exercise for sure.

The big news for me this week was the arrival of the set of rules you see above. I will do no more than quote the blurb from the Amazon advert:

'A Gentleman's War' is a simple game involving toy soldiers of the classic style. It is a relaxed
and relaxing game, where enough depends on the turn of a card and the roll of a handful of
dice to say that our disasters are pure chance, but enough cunning decision-making to claim
our victories as acts of brilliant generalship.

Our model soldiers are very brave, obedient, and generally do what we want them to. Players
are expected to behave in a friendly manner, and conduct themselves as gentlemen (or ladies, 
as is appropriate). There are lots of six-sided dice, saving rolls, proper distances in inches, 
and a general sense that there ought to be salmon-and-cucumber sandwiches and tea, or beer.'

I think I may have found my non grid based companion to the Portable Wargame.

Mention of The Portable Wargame reminded me of two very good blog posts Bob had written about 'A Gentleman's war' which can be seen here:

....and here:

This is going to be hugely entertaining.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Uniforms in the Age of Marborough

Thus far the only information I have about uniforms of the 1670 to 1720 period is courtesy of the two Helion Titles I recently acquired and that feature Turkey, Russia and Venice. I was also keen to acquire something that covered the mainstream armies of the period (no disrespect intended to Russia and Turkey!) and so was delighted to discover that Caliver Books had exactly what I wanted. A swift email exchange with Mr. Ryan and I am now the proud owner of a copy of the book you see below.

The current version. This is an A4 sized hardback and contains the information from both the previous volumes 1 and 2 as well as some additional details from the authors original WRG From Pike to Shot title. This is a peach of a book with some Bob Marrion artwork, line drawings and a few maps as well.

The original softback volume 1....

....and volume 2.

The predecessor to the above and one that I should like to add to the collection for completeness.

Whilst I have no intentions of producing armies for the more usual protagonists of the War of the Spanish Succession having the uniform details is important for my planned 'imagi-nation' forces for the era. The arrival of this book coincided nicely with me starting to sort out the figures I shall be working with and so I already have a few ideas to play around with.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Red Alert by Richard Borg

Dramatic stuff in a space opera kind of way rather than 'hard' science fiction but what the hell? It is game after all....

Despite saying last year that I would go to Salute again - absolutely being the answer to the question - this year I am not. I have a couple of domestic issues to attend to and to be honest was not really bothered about making the trip. Don't get me wrong, it is the premier wargames show in the UK but for me it is simply too big to really appreciate. These days I much prefer a gentle wander about and a leisurely browse rather than fighting my way through the throbbing throng (or thundering herd if you prefer) to look at a game or buy something. Besides, as you have probably have guessed, the budget for Salute has been well and truly blown....

The components from the base game

Anyway, casting my mind back to last year I had the pleasure of talking to Dan Mersey (of  the 'Rampant series' fame) who demonstrating the latest Command and Colours board game designed by Richard Borg - Red Alert. This is a game of fleet battles in space - a subject dear to my heart - and whilst I did not join the Kickstarter programme for this I was always going to buy a copy when it was released. Lo and behold a year later and the game is finally out and so, by virtue of some canny eBay disposals,  I purchased a copy of the game and all the expansions from those very nice people at the Plastic Soldier Company. I say very nice as they threw in a couple of pieces that were Kickstarter exclusives which is handy.

That very nice man Daniel Mersey in action with spaceships at Salute 2018

I will post a full review in due course and I will certainly be painting the miniatures that are included - all 92 in the base game alone. The expansions add more of the base game models but there is one that I rather liked that contains a space station as well as 8 transports. I also rather liked the playing mat that is included with the core set.

I have already seen a few comments across social media that suggest these rules could be a good basis for a set of naval rules - not surprising really as many 'space' games are naval battles by any other name. I expect that depending on the popularity of this release that there will be further expansions in due course - the background to the rules mentions a struggle with a race called the 'Krawl' so I would not be in the least bit surprised if they made an appearance at some point. I tend to be a little wary of game specific backgrounds as there always seems to be a feature that does not sit well with me. That is a little odd I know, especially when one is dealing with a fictional setting. The one that always enjoyed was the background to Ground Zero Games Full Thrust space combat rules. Of course Star Wars and Star Trek feature as being at the very least, well supported in terms of stories.

This will provide a very welcome diversion from the unremitting toil of the 18th century and the great thing is that it is pretty much ready to go straight out of the box. Indulgent? Perhaps. Fun? If the recent game at the club was anything to go by then yes indeedy - and I didn't even take part but was merely a curious spectator!