Tuesday, 18 August 2015

'Viva, Cristo, Rey!': Carlist Requetes

The workbench reveals it's summer goodies at last: a group of Carlist Requetes for the Spanish Civil War. The Requetes were a motivated, well-equipped Traditionalist militia that fought for the Nationalist cause. The centre of their strength was the region of Navarre. They were distinctive for their dashing great red berets - bravery and faith were order of the day over camouflage!

I wanted my Requetes to look like a better equipped force than usual, so they're more uniform than my Carabineros, I sprinkled in some helmeted heads but kept some variety for the ragtag look. I read *somewhere* that early in the conflict helmets were rushed to frontline units unpainted, later being were painted in the field. I can't find the reference now, but I liked this idea - it almost gives a medieval look. For later batches, I'll probably do them a typical colour. The miniatures are all from the peerless Empress SCW range, a couple having head swaps and one or two being from a Foreign Legion pack - I needed 24 Requetes and preferred not to triple up on either of the riflemen packs. The webbing is slightly different but it isn't noticeable and adds to the ragtag look. 

I'm delighted with how this force is coming together. But gosh it's slow, partly because of summer distractions but also as they take a long time. Despite efforts to speed up my technique by minimising the use of washes, the high contrast style uses a lot of highlights as I shy away from big jumps in highlights. That, the numerous colours and patterned blanket rolls on top! 

Getting more adventurous with my patterns

I've been reading Antony Beevor's Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939. I'm only a few chapters in, but it seems exceptionally well written and very readable, so far presenting clearly and succinctly what is often a confusing conflict.  

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Wvyern All Dayer - Chain of Command

July brings another all-dayer up at a Wyvern, and Ade was kind enough to bust out his massive 15mm WWII Normaspndy collection. We played the first day of Operation Epsom using Big Chain of Command - the first day of the assault on 26 June 1944 by the two platoons from the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division supported by Churchill tanks.

Connor, Gav and I took the three British platoons agains a well dug-in two SS platoons commanded by Seasoned CoC players Ian and Bob. Ade was kind enough to umpire.

The town of Raurey (?) somewhat worse for wear after the naval and artillery bombardment.

The end of the patrol phase - a respectable attempt to reach the hedge line. But not wuite'a out jump-off points were thrown back and the Germans were in deployment range of it.

The game had a foreboding start , with this as Ian's Command Dice roll - so much for out preliminary barrage!

British troops cautiously approach the hedge line. The SS pioneers had done good work and were well dug in. A merciless fire erupted from the defensive positions and the morning mist meant the British couldn't bring their firepower to bear. The advance section was quick,y beaten back.

As the mist rose, the armour finally make an appearance, having been held up at a minefield on the way from the beaches. 

Churchill crocodile does its work on the makeshift bunker, and the Germans wisely withdraw


In the face of all the British armour, the Germans melt away from the hedgeline and a general advance begins.

But with caution and wisely so. Two panzershreck ambushes fair to take out the hulking Churchills, and the teams are scattered by British reaction fire. 

Sporadic fire continues, and British morale is shaken. But they reach the minefields and a Sherman flail begins to clear a path.

But the surviving Germans strike with their Panzerfausts, starting the collapse of British morale.

A cagey game all in all, it felt like the British should have had the resources to smash through, but despite a reasonable tactical approach, the dug in and elite German platoons were just too tough a nut to crack. Also completely a game of two halves - the first dominated by Ian's above average rolling and Connor's impressive ability to roll kills for his own troops. But once the British armour rolled on, the Germans were reduced to hit and run attacks from the hedgeline while the Brits leapfrogged onwards to try to engage them. It felt like it went to the wire, but the loss of the Sherman and a lucky shot killing my platoon leader sent us packing. Well played by Bob and Ian and as Walsh, Ade out on an excellent, highly historical and challenging scenario. Cheers to all!

Also on the day, Dane and Chris had a great looking American War of Independence game in 10mm - I gather the British same out on top twice on the day.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Tewksbury Medieval Festival

The summer does bring its advantages, like a big reenactment event this weekend, Tewksbury Medieval Festival. It marks the Battle of Tewksbury 1471, a decisive battle in the Wars of the Roses. The Yorkists, despite being outnumbered, defeated and routed the Lancastrians, leading to a great slaughter in the 'Bloody Meadow' just outside the town. 

Young Edward looks serious as the Armies assemble

Archers exchange fire.

Gunpowder weapons add further excitement

The Lancastrians advance

The lines meet

 A fine sunny afternoon out, it's a big and busy event, despite the crowds it was easy to park up and traffic all flowed freely around the town - somehow! Lots of era eye-candy on display, all shiny armour and heraldry. I was thankful for the zoom lens and tilting  LCD screen on my camera, helped me capture a few shots that I'm pleased even over the heads of the crowd of onlookers. 


It's been a pleasant summer over the past few weeks, and I've realised I haven't put brush to miniature for over a month. While my painting hole is a cooler room in the house, the paint still dries too quickly to suit me. 

Instead, I've hit the terrain. I had a therapeutic week building up 15mm 4Ground WWII buildings. They are really fine pieces, and ready for the tabletop, but still need the edges touching up and some details adding. 

I've also churned out a bunch of small pieces that I've picked up over the months, ready for a game of 15mm CoC at Wyvern last weekend. First up 12 entrenchments for small and medium FoW bases. Well priced and I appreciated that they are all different sculpts. Thanks to Mike Whitaker of troubleatthemill for the tip on these, sourced from Daemonscape on eBay for the princely sum of £4.99.

For scale, with apologies for the lighting

More defensive works - barbed wire at 2"x6" for Flames of War. Mdf bases from Warbases, toothpicks and some hobby barbed wire. 

Next up a small copse of trees. These were from a bag of cheap Noch railway modelling trees, which means they aren't that durable and the flock is starting to bald already. Don't think they'll last that long, but I've loads of better woodland scenics armatures to build up at some point.

Last up for the 15s, some Landmark high walls that were on discount at Timecast, giving me 6' of walls. 

A nifty sidestep to 28mms, I saw these nice cypress trees in the local (usually pretty mediocre) model railway shop. They were only £1.50 each too. Based for my 28mm terrain, they'll go nicely in Spain.  

Last up, harking back to some of the first terrain I ever bought, I finally, finally painted the rest of my 28mm roads and junctions. I never loved these: while keenly priced and well detailed, they are a bit too chunky for what I was after and needed a lot of work to tidy them up. The originals feature in one of my first ever blog posts - so these have been sat awaiting the brush for at least 4 years! Once painted, they  make a decent large rural roadway though. I took an opportunity to refresh the original ones, re-touching the rocks and flock to match my terrain from the last few years. 

Last Sunday I got in a good game of Chain of Command with Ian up at the club. I took a small but powerful US Para platoon while Ian defended a farmhouse with Panzergrenadiers.

With precious few support points, I settled for a .50 cal.

And immediately emplaced it on a dominating hilltop overlooking Alan's jump-off points. 

I'd be outnumbers and outgunned, so wanted to hit the PG's hard at the outset, but my first section was stalled facing two. We mad an error here and interpreted the walling as hard cover - soft would have made a more sensible game. The .50Cal was valued support, but didn't do the damage that I'd been hoping and a static grinding firefight ensued. 

My second section moved to encircle the farmhouse, but Ian dropped his third into the farm itself, where it would be difficult to shift. This section took a battering as they tried to work their way out of the line of fire. 

Eventually, the Para's brutal firepower and more consistent activations meant they could grind the Germans' morale down. A well timed assault by one of my sections, followed by a sub-optimally timed one by Ian (assaulting a section that just unpinned on the turn end...) closed the game with a narrow US victory. 

I really should play more Chain of Command - it's been a few months! 

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Operation Market Larden 3: The Games

Last weekend brought the Lardest Day in the Wyvern Wargamers calendar: where like-minded gamers travel from far and wide to indulge in a day of all things Too Fat Lardies. We're honoured to have the presence of Rich Clarke himself and other Lardy luminaries such as the esteemed Sidney Roundwood for our day's gaming.

And wow, what games were available. With two sessions everyone got chance to play some real cracking setups from a whole range of eras and Lardy rulesets: Dark Ages to modern day. The village hall was packed out with 10 games and nearly 40 gamers.

Once again Ade of Bullets, Bandages and Lard did a sterling job of organising the day, as well as putting on an amazing Sari Bair-Gallipoli game using Big Chain of Command. Ade used a clever sharply sloped setup to represent the Anzac assault on the Turkish positions on the crest of the ridge, which looked outstanding but was a pain to capture in photos. I gather from the roars across the room that both games were particularly tense. 

Looking up at the ridge, a daunting assault

And looking down from the Turkish trenches 

We had Rich Clarke running his upcoming Fighting Season game, with modern British in Afghanistan

Returning from last year, a gorgeous Peninsular Napoleonic game of Sharp Practice by Jim. The buildings are Grand Manner and the boards are re-painted and flocked GW terrain tiles.

We had some 'Cold War Gone Hot' with West Germans looking to blunt a Soviet armoured assault. Fine looking terrain on this one, lots of neat details like the hot tub and washing line, and a large Aldi (of course!)

Wyvern's own Stu put on a lovely looking Russo-Japanese game based on the battle of Shaho, 1904. Stu did a cracking job of the new terrain tiles and pieces to really evoke the era and his growing collection looks excellent on the tabletop. 

On the next table over, Wyvern Paul had Sharp Practice in the Wars of the Roses with his new collection - what a great ruleset that can cover such an expanse with just a little tinkering here and there!

Last but not least (for this post anyway, was this great looking game of Big Chain of Command - a really great job done here of pimping the 4Ground buildings with gardens and allotments (I've been building a few of these this week, and will thieve these ideas unashamedly). This game run by Jason and Nathan.

That's all the games that I photographed (my own excepted - for a future post). I know Wyvern Chris was running Dux Britannarium and I think there was a game of IABSM too, apologies to those that I missed. But one more thing must be remarked upon: the continuing tradition of Lard-themed 'tiffin' on offer

What other event offers you branded cupcakes for all your rulesets of choice?! I can sense your envy from here. 

All in all, a corker of a day in fine company, rounded out by a few beers in Evesham's finest (?) drinking establishment and curry house. Roll on OML4 in summer 2016!

Thursday, 28 May 2015


...this might stymie painting progress somewhat for the next few weeks! 

Been dipping into Witcher 3, not a series in familiar with but damn it looks good.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

May Painting Progress

Happy Sunday everybody. It's been a while since I posted but I'm happy to report further progress on the Sudan project. It'll be very tight to get everything done, but I'm comfortable I can put a game without everything: some bits are just icing (or even the cherry on top). 

First up, a bunch more Sudanese Bazingers. This is the Perry command pack. Painted as before - two different colours on the robes, and a fairly motley collection of other equipment. 

Here they are with the rest painted during AHPC V. A bit command-heavy, but a decent sized unit for me. 

I've also done up some casualty/shock markers, using the ubiquitous dice frames. I wanted to do more but have run out of frames, so need a restock. I've a couple of Britsh ones on the paint table now. 

Two are actually converted as the Perry's Sudan range only has Beja tribesman casualties, simple head swaps to replace the distinctive Beja hairdo. You may see that the ones falling in action at the back also have some bullet impacts on the base to add to the dramatic effect - using Curt's simple but effective method.

That's most of the minis I want to get done, but I'm well behind on the terrain. Happily it's a bank holiday weekend here, an opportunity to make some progress, starting with smashing up some rather large bits of cork bark that I picked up. For those of you wondering about the SCW project that I had been making decent progress on, that's still on ice. I've a small batch mostly finished that I may well wrap up if the fancy takes me, but the bulk of it is on hold until next month.