Thursday 31 March 2011
Wednesday 30 March 2011
This does put me on the horns of a dilemma again though as my plan was to tackle an OGRE set up after the ACW ships had been completed (the next 4 vessels are now at the fitting out stage and should be ready in the next few days). I want a tactical sci-fi set up of some kind so I suspect I will have to reconsider my plans once again in this regard in the light of this new and most welcome release.
Tuesday 29 March 2011
Monday 28 March 2011
Sunday 27 March 2011
The next of my 10p bargains was a book of which I had never heard of ; neither have I heard of the author. The book is titled A History of the Balkans by Ferdinand Schevill and it covers the region from the Byzantine era up to the end of the Great War. Needless to say I was very pleased to get this and am looking forward to reacquainting myself with the region prior to tackling the 15mm armies I have for the war of 1912-13. The final book of the three and the most expensive at a pound is 1812 - Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow by Adam Zamoyski. The campaign in Russia in 1812 is often cited as the beginning of the end for Napoleon and certain as an epic of high drama and human endeavour it would be hard to find anything comparable. Many years ago I started a 28mm Napoleonic Russian army and over the years I have read and owned a number of titles on the subject. This book then will be a welcome addition to my modest Napoleonic library - especially given my recent acquisition of Command and Colours Napoleonics although I suspect that the Russians will be sometime in the future as far as availability is concerned! The notable first referred to in the title was the fact that this is my first post I have written using my new netbook. Prior to this I had never even used a laptop so getting used to not having a mouse was a unique experience - I think I have gotten the hang of it though. Setting the netbook up was very easy and I now have Office 2007 (I am still getting used to this so the 2010 version will be some way off yet!) in place as well as some of my other desk top features and software. To say that I am really excited about the potential of this new toy is a massive understatement and I was suitably impressed with appropriateness of the logo on the outside of the box - The Computer has just become Personal again'.
All in all then it has been a busy weekend but a rewarding one - next weekend promises to be more of the same but I will be able to spend some time at the Navwar shop on Saturday so the domestic round will be nicely balanced out with some 'me' time.
Friday 25 March 2011
Both of these campaigns provided much in the way of entertainment and the concepts employed have stayed with me and have shaped much of my thinking along the lines of setting up and running any of my own future campaigns. I have a number of ideas for campaign material - the mention of the rivers earlier was quite intentional - and I have wrestled with how best to tackle this, both as a solo and club night undertaking. I think I have reached a solution to this issue and in doing so it will allow me to not only see the campaign through to its conclusion but also, and more importantly, ensure that the required level of enthusiasm can be sustained both from myself (that should be easy as it is my pet project!) and the participants.
The biggest hurdle to overcome in organising or running a campaign has to be that of sustaining the interest and enthusiasm of the participants. I offer no definitive answers for this problem (human nature being what it is) but my own thoughts on the subject are very much along the lines of keeping the scale and intent at a small level, at least for the club night games - regardless of whether or not the overall intent of the campaign is epic in its scope. An example of this would be (and using a topical subject, at least for me anyway) an operation based on a tributary of the Mississippi, say the Yazoo or the Red River - in other words, a campaign within a campaign. This would probably be more achievable in terms of gaming in a club environment than the whole war on the rivers - a tasty side dish rather than the full main course.
My idea then is to run the campaign at the strategic level myself with the tactical events being handled by the participants if appropriate or myself if needs be, depending of the strategic situation arising. The club night action will probably be at the 'linked scenario' level and the results will be then be applied to the overall 'big picture'. To support this, and as a way of keeping the all important interest alive, I intend to produce a campaign journal/diary detailing the action as it occurs, suitably embellished with the appropriate period 'feel'.
The trick will be to ensure that the tactical and campaign level rules are of a similar level of complexity so that the action flows in a relatively seamless way and the transition from strategic map to tactical table top is handled sympathetically.
The map work is already under way for this and the forces are being amassed and I am hoping that ultimately this campaign will prove to be suitable finale to the work and effort thus far expended. It will be a lot of fun (I hope) and if it is even half as successful as the two campaigns mentioned earlier I will be a very contented and happy wargamer!
Thursday 24 March 2011
Wednesday 23 March 2011
Montcalm and Wolfe by Francis Parkman
Yes, it was my way....
Tuesday 22 March 2011
Sunday 20 March 2011
Saturday 19 March 2011
One 2" spine box
Scenario Booklet that features 18 historical scenarios plus Expansion rules.
2 Spanish National Unit Reference Cards
95 Infantry blocks (71 Spanish - 24 French)
73 Cavalry blocks (39 Spanish - 34 French)
9 Artillery blocks (9 Spanish)
4 Leader blocks (4 Spanish)
3 Block Label sheets
1 Terrain Tile Sheet - contains 15 double sided Terrain Tiles
1 Square and Counter sheet
1 Spanish Infantry Square Track
4 Spanish Square Counters
9 Spanish Victory Banner counters (Spanish Flag one side, French Flag other side)
6 Spanish Guerrilla Action tokens
Friday 18 March 2011
Thursday 17 March 2011
I find this to be a very therapeutic pursuit and it serves to stoke up the enthusiasm when all you are doing is flagging for whatever reason (in this case due to having spent a considerable time poring over some quite involved spreadsheets). A short browse through my ACW naval library soon restored my positive thinking and I am now as keen as ever to resume the building.
It also serves to inspire the soul and to plant those little seeds of projects for further contemplation and consideration at a later date.
All this whilst contentedly sipping a cup of tea and thoughtfully nibbling on a chocolate digestive biscuit....
Ideas can sneak up on you and sometimes from the most unlikely sources.
Now just where did I put that XYZ miniatures catalogue? I am sure they produce a range of figures for the ABC war....;-)
Tuesday 15 March 2011
Monday 14 March 2011
Should this be successful then the implications for my modelling tray are profound as this will open up a whole range of periods I can tackle on a scratch built basis. The Lateen sail is perhaps a clue as to where my thoughts are heading....;-)
I realise that many gamers will ask themselves why? Why bother when the models are available from XYZ Models limited? The simple truth is that I am enjoying the 'old school-ness' of making my own kit and this is just another facet of the hobby I can really enjoy. It takes me back to the days of being an impoverished student and the irony is that way back then I was probably of the opposite view and would have rather purchased the latest and most detailed range of figures available (and probably did!)! I genuinely believe that many of the models we take for granted now are really superbly detailed works of art and as such are beyond my modest talents in terms of painting etc. At table ranges models are effectively markers and close up they are, well models and I believe they should be treated as such.
I am as impressed as the next man at some of the moving dioramas we see at wargames shows and adorning the pages of our magazines and I have nothing but my admiration for those that choose that path of detail. Its not for me though, hence my home made and purely representational approach.
Vive la Difference I say!
Sunday 13 March 2011
The price of these two combined was £6 which is a pretty good deal to kick off the season with!
I also picked up a goody bag from a guy that was just packing up to leave in the shape of an Airfix Roman Fort and a copy of their Fort Sahara - together with an unopened pack of Ancient Britons, some French Foreign Legion and Arabs, two packs of plastic rod and three 75mm metal figures (all the same) of what can only be described as a stylised 19th century idea of what a ancient Gallic Warrior would look like! I am not sure what I will do with these although there are some very good figure painters at the club that could probably find a use for one of them. This bag of bits came to £5 which for the plastic rod alone was good value - the other bits I will either find a use for or will offload at some point. The Foreign Legion and Arab figures do look very nice though.....
This little lot will go some way towards making up for the fact that I had completely forgotten about the Skirmish Toy and Plastic Soldier show in Kent today and so have missed it!
Saturday 12 March 2011
Thursday 10 March 2011
At the club last night I took part in a most enjoyable Napoleonic Naval game organised and umpired by the redoubtable Mr Fox - who also very kindly supplied the beautifully detailed models from his collection. The rules are a fast play set that first appeared in a magazine and have benefited from some in house tweaking, again under the tender mercies of Mr Fox. The action was based on an incident from the Seven Years War and featured a French squadron, having broken out from Toulon being intercepted by the Royal Navy. All but one of the French vessels managed to escape with the lost ship gallantly engaging the pursuing British and gaining valuable time enabling the remaining ships to head unscathed for the dubious delights of Brest. The highlight of this action was the harrying of the British by the two French frigates - they kept to the naval tradition of not firing at all so the British 'gentlemen' would not stoop to such underhanded behaviour as to engage them - actually 'harrying' should be better translated as 'getting in the way of'! Whilst all this was going on the rest of the French squadron, contrary to the usual 'death or glory' instincts of its commander (aka me!), sailed serenely off into the sunset having not fired a shot all evening!
It was great fun and many thanks to Mr Fox for laying the game on and to the participants for making it such an enjoyable evening.
As a naval gaming period the 'wind and water' era of course has much to commend it. I would love to tackle something from this period but could not ever see me emulating the superb models Mr Fox has built - fully rigged I hasten to add - unless I could come up with a scratchbuilt alternative. I have mentioned that the next phase of the ACW naval project would see me tackling models with masts and spars and so should this work out I may well revisit this at some point. I am sure I have seen a chapter in a naval wargaming book describing how to scratchbuild an man of war from the sailing era so should any reader have a copy of the same then I would really appreciate a scan or copy of the same.
Tuesday 8 March 2011
Monday 7 March 2011
When I first embarked on this project I was quite happy to draft my own rules to use with the models on my Hexon terrain. The rationale behind this was that I wanted a set of naval rules that mirrored as far as possible the mechanics employed in the Command and Colours ACW game Battle Cry. A casual conversation with Bob Cordery at Skirmish last year led to both of us devising sets of rules based on a fusion of ideas from both Battle Cry and Memoir 44 called - after Bobs excellent idea - MoBaS or Memoir of Battle at Sea. These were not so much a collaboration - more like an idea that went in two very different directions.
My own 'spin' on this era has taken on the size of the proverbial camel (being a mouse designed by a committee!) and as a result is very far removed from the elegant simplicity of Battle Cry. With this in mind I have taken the conscious decision to scrap my existing set of rules (currently awaiting a play test) and go back to the drawing board with a much simpler set.
At this point I should take my hat off to Bob C as he is a very experienced rules writer and developer and after a brief email exchange generously acknowledged the sense behind my decision to redraft the ACW rules into something a little more in keeping with my original intention. I had been guilty of falling into the trap of assuming that writing a simple set of rules would be, well, simple. The rules for the ACW naval project have proven to be anything but as I think I have consistently 'over-egged' the pudding and have absorbed additional levels of complexity where I did not need to.
Stepping away from the rules for a few days showed me the path, so to speak and so the next set (which are actually very close to a first draft) will be much simpler and will sit alongside Battle Cry far more easily. I want the rules to occupy no more than two sides of A4 BUT I have bitten the bullet so to speak and so the rules will feature ship charts, albeit in a very simple form.
More to follow as and when the rules are at the draft stage and I will try and get some games in for the blog if I am able. Even if my own ships are not ready there are plenty of models available amongst the denizens of the club t be able to run a test or two.
Sunday 6 March 2011
For the meantime though, my thoughts and efforts will be towards getting the existing 36 ships painted and into action. Once that is done I shall be stepping ashore for some land based projects as I have been afloat for a long time now (what with the Balkan Fleets and the WW2 War at Sea project) and fancy a change.
Saturday 5 March 2011
The USS Tuscumbia (left) and the USS Chillicothe (right) on patrol.
The Union Ram Fleet heading for Memphis.
The Union gunboats moving up in support of the Ellet Rams.
Friday 4 March 2011
Confederate Gunboats on patrol
The deck guns are, as usual, from Peter Pig and they really make the models stand out - I am looking forward to giving these their coat of paint in due course.
The ships of the Confederate River Defence Fleet - a selection of cotton clad rams and gunboats.
I have said many times that I have really enjoyed the building aspect of this project and this continues to be an undeniable fact. So much so, that I will be sorry to take a break from construction when the last two Union ships are finished! I have a number of other building projects under consideration but once these are completed I plan to 'go ashore' for a while and work on some land based stuff for a change.
I will post a fleet review of all 36 models before the paint job commences and this will be the last time they will be seen in their natural form. I will not be posting any pictures of them whilst they are being painted either - they are designed to be viewed en masse and so showing them off in ones and twos will defeat the object somewhat!
The last 2 models for this phase of the collection are under construction as I was able to cut out and shape the hulls last night. These are the USS Tuscumbia and USS Chillicothe with the former being a large side wheeler of similar size to the USS Benton. I am going to press on to get these two finished for the close of play on Sunday and with three nights to work in should manage this barring any unexpected events.
Wednesday 2 March 2011
CSS Mississippi as she might have appeared - complete with 20 gunports and 2 funnels
Confederate casemate ironclads of various types - from left to right (top row): CSS Mississippi, CSS Louisiana, CSS Texas and CSS Columbia. Second row: CSS Arkansas, CSS Tennessee (the first vessel of this name - a 'sister' to the Arkansas but burnt on the stocks whilst under construction to avoid capture in 1862), CSS Baltic and CSS Missouri. The small ship in the foreground is the CSS Manassas.
The next batch of ships will feature some more casemates but the above is sufficient to be going on with. The reason I have incorporated a pair of 'never was-ers' (Mississippi and Tennessee (1) is simply because if I did not then the quantitative advantage the Union would enjoy on the Mississippi would be too great for the purposes of a game. In reality the Louisiana and the Mississippi were both of great concern to the Union command even in their unfinished condition so I am tweaking history slightly to see 'what if?'.
The final three Confederate gunboats are now under construction - I cut the hulls and started on the superstructures last night. I would like to carry on building models for this (and fully intend adding to the collection in due course) but I need to get some paint on the models and get a return in gaming time for the investment of modelling effort!