Thursday, 10 August 2017

A Blast from the Past....Part 2


Magnificent figures from a bygone age....

As mentioned in my previous blog post I visited the house of the couple I acquired the three volumes of Miniature Warfare from. Alas the the other bound volumes are not of this magazine - they are instead of Military Modelling. The volumes (again, in binders) are for 1971 and then 1973 to 1985. I shall have a look around to see if anyone would be interested in the same. There is also a large selection of bound copies of the Bulletin - the journal, I believe, of the British Model Soldier Society. Once I have fuller details I will let you all know.

The big news though, is that there is a large number of unpainted plastic Spencer Smith Miniatures - the 18th century types. Of those figures that featured in the War Game by Charles Grant there is roughly some 50 or so of the tricorn wearing cavalry and an indeterminate number of the marching grenadier and centre company types. There is also around a hundred of each of the figures pictured above. I will be getting an exact count soon.

All of the Spencer Smith figures are now available in metal and in my ignorance I thought that only the cruder versions appeared in plastic - certainly not the handsome looking fellows above.

There are also books and Hinchliffe figures to be disposed of and as soon as I have details I will be sure to post them.



Monday, 7 August 2017

A Blast from the Past


Now that is something you don't see very often....


Another Sunday and another boot sale. This time I was able to acquire something very special indeed. I am sure that many wargamers of a certain age will remember the magazine Miniature Warfare published by John Tunstill. I can remember buying a copy of this with my pocket money from the shop that John ran near the Imperial War Museum and being mightily impressed - it seemed altogether a more polished and serious offering than the Wargamer's Newsletter. In retrospect one could argue that Miniature Warfare, with its mention of such things as national conventions and such like, was attempting to bring gaming to the masses and more in the mainstream. It is ironic that after the passage of some forty years my thoughts are more Featherstone-like than Tunstill but things change.

I was able to acquire the first three volumes of the magazine in binders from issue number one for the princely sum of £3 in total and will also be acquiring some later volumes gratis. The seller was disposing of the last of the collection belonging to a deceased distant relative and amongst the bits and pieces therein are a number of books and a lot of unpainted Spencer Smith plastic figures that I will be taking a closer look at later next week.

A quick glance through the contents has some rather interesting articles although naturally some of the adverts are a little on the 'quaint' side....

This is a wonderful piece of wargames history that I shall enjoy reading - I will also take a look at Discovering Wargames and the various spin offs that used to be available from Shire Publications - and it will be interesting to see how much of the content has stood the test of time.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

1/600th Thoughts and the Portable Wargame


Tumbling Dice 1/600th infantry and cavalry with Perry Travel Battle buildings and Renendra plastic bases

As well the plans afoot for the Risk figures mentioned in my previous two posts I have also been looking at something a little smaller - namely 1/600th scale or 3mm to be precise. The only issue is that these figures from Tumbling Dice are in fact closer to 5mm than 3mm but are fairly basic in terms of details compared to other 3mm models available or the more extensive 6mm offerings on the market. These are actually rather nice models in a generic kind of way which suits me ideally. You can see that the figures fit rather nicely with the Perry Travel Battle buildings which is a different project altogether although I may be doing something with these in a Command and Colours or Portable Wargame kind of way. If I mentioned that I have some assorted WW1 aircraft and vehicles on the way you may see exactly where this may be headed....


The Portable Wargame - Volumes one and two - with the front cover....


....and the back which also reveals the contents (and saves me having to type them!).

My old friend Bob Cordery has been a busy fellow indeed. Developing the Portable Wargame is the second book about the concept of the Portable Wargame and what an inspirational read it is. Taking the two titles together is a must in my opinion as the second volume expands upon the first and adds a greater degree of sophistication and variety. If you want a well thought out, extensively tested and extremely well written book(s) about how to fight a wargame then look no further.

Both titles are available in paperback, hardback and ebook formats from Lulu and Amazon and are quite simply outstanding.

I know Bob has some further 'Portable' ideas in the pipeline so check out his excellent blog Wargaming Miscellany for updates as to what is happening and when.

Highly recommended!



















Thursday, 13 July 2017

On the Bounding Main....


From the collection of Chris Hardman. The models are 1/600th scale and were first used for an Armada based game back in 1988. There is rather a lot of it as well....


Well this is a first. I finally got around to not only having a game on a club night but also to play test a set of rules with my old friend Chris Hardman. The rules in question are 'Galleys and Galleons' by Ganesha Games and whilst they have been around for a while getting them to the tabletop has been a challenge for me due to time.

Kaptain Kobold has used these a lot and if check out his blog The Stronghold Rebuilt you will some of the games he has taken part in as well as some rather nifty scratch built models he has Kobold together for the period.

The scenario was the entry level Pursuit contained in the rules book which pitched a very nimble 'Jacht' against a merchant Galleon. The scenario is designed to get the player used to the game mechanics. Now Chris and I (Chris especially) have played numerous wind and water naval games over the years so you would think we would have a reasonable handle on such things as the weather gauge etc.

Hmmm.

After much blundering about and frantic manoeuvring to avoid the islands dotted about the Jacht was able to get a few shots aways but with no effect. It was great fun though and the potential is there for for further entertainment.

The picture above was taken on my phone so apologies for the mediocre quality.

The tool box containing the models was revelation although a couple of models would need a little TLC to get them into fighting trim as the years and much travelling had taken its toll. One model in particular was quite badly damaged. The ship in question was called the San Andreas.

Needless to say I pointed out that it had a fault with it....

Many thanks to Chris for his patience - this play test has been months in the making - and for the game and use of his magnificent collection.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Even Riskier Business....

Following on from my post of yesterday I thought it would be a good idea just to see how the generic 18th century Risk figures could look and also to show the variation if styles from notionally the same edition of the game.


The planned basing convention - note the frontage is 40mm in each case.

I am planning units of four bases for infantry, three for cavalry and two for artillery. the base depths are 20mm, 30mm and 40mm respectively. I am toying with militia types being three figures to a base and dedicated light infantry (rifles and jager types) perhaps having two figures although I have yet to decide on this. 


The two infantry types. I have two complete sets of the left hand type and just the one of the right hand figure - which is a more delicately sculpted and scaled figure.


You just about make out the differences between the two types and you can see that the yellow figures have a much thicker base.


The cavalry figure looking suitably dashing.


Finally the artillery. The gun is not great but usable although why the gunner has a flag is beyond me...The gun looks more early 18th century than later but it will suffice.

The figures come out at anything between 12 and 14mm so I am hoping that Kallistra will be close enough to be able to fill in any gaps. I want to keep the project as self contained as possible and reckon that there are a couple of conversion possibilities - I certainly have enough figures available to experiment with!












Sunday, 9 July 2017

Risky Business or Needs must and all that....


Slingshot arrived on Saturday but the book came from our local boot sale.

It is Sunday which can mean only one thing in our house - boot sale! Sure enough SWMBO and I headed out to our local boot sale on a day that was extremely hot. We were struggling in the oppressive heat before we had even gotten halfway around but we persevered and were able to pick up a few bargains. Whilst Laurel scored a number of bargains (she has a real 'eye' for a good deal) for my part my acquisitions were rather more modest although I was able to pick up the book you see above and a copy of the boardgame Risk.

By virtue of my postponed (and probably cancelled if truth be told) Salamis project my interest in Ancient Wargames has experienced a little bit of a renaissance recently - hence rejoining the Society of Ancients - and the Later Roman Empire is a period I am keen to learn more about. Where this will go I know not but one thing is for sure - it will not be any time soon!



This particular version of Risk contains some rather useful late 18th century plastic figures - infantry, cavalry and artillery at around 12mm scale

I am sure I am not alone in always looking at a board game and seeing what the pieces can be used for. The above set caught my eye when it first appeared as the figures seemed very useful in a generic 18th century kind of way. The infantry look very much like British troops for the AWI but are suitably generic to be useful for pretty much any nation for the period (echoes of Charge! spring to mind....). Some time ago that renowned fashionista, wit and raconteur Kaptain Kobold cobbled together (or should that be Kobold together) a couple of armies for the Great Northern War using these figures - and mightily impressive they looked as well. The idea was such a good one I am sure he won't mind me stealing it....

I have a hankering to cobble together (actually I am thinking that Kobble would be a more appropriate word in this case) a pair of generic 18th century forces on an image-nation basis for use with, well, a number of things really. I already owned a couple of sets worth of the figures so have plenty of raw material to work with. Something to consider although with the imminent release of Richard Borg's Tricorne AWI Command and Colours game perhaps they may even be turned into Redcoats and Continentals.



The core Lord of the Rings set....


....and the figure selection contained therein.


The Mordor expansion to the base game....



....and the figures contained therein.


 For similar reasons I have also been acquiring a number of sets of the Lord of the Rings Risk set. Again the figures are quite useful and between the two sets you have Elvish Archers, Giant Eagles, Riders of Rohan, Moria Goblins, Trolls, Nazgul, Ents, Mumakils, Men and Knights of Gondor, Warg Riders and Uruk Hai. There is more than enough for HOTTs or pretty much any other massed fantasy system.

For both of the above I am keen to compare the figures with the 12mm models produced by Kallistra as there may be some bits and pieces that are usable with the plastics.

I also have some assorted 1/2400th WW1 ships to finish (leftovers from the Jutland project) which will give me a modest set up - a swift order to Panzerschiffe will provide the missing links - and finishing them is first on the list.

That leaves Travel Battle and a pile of 1/600th Tumbling Dice figures and WW1 aircraft as well as the ships for Lake Tanganyika as also being on the 'to do' list.

As you are aware I am currently out of work so any expenditure has to be very carefully considered - luckily I seem to have a good selection of things I can turn my hand to!


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Back from Foreign Parts....


Gotta love a peaceful, empty sandy beach with just the waves and a blue sky for company....

My good lady wife and I have just got back from our two week sojourn to the Cape Verde Islands (actually it was a week ago but I have been rather tied up with a few things) and so now it is back into the domestic round and the inevitable job search. I have a number of 'irons in the fire' so to speak and so am confident that I will be gainfully (or should that be gratefully....) employed in fairly short order.

The island in Cape Verde we visited was Sal and it has been described as a large sand dune in the Atlantic - which is pretty accurate as there is little there for the tourist to explore. We managed a jeep safari which was great fun and swam in the salt lake at the bottom of an extinct volcano - the the Dead Sea experience - so our time was not completely given over to relaxing on the beach. The food and drink were plentiful and the quiet vibe of the place was just what we needed. The motto of the island is 'No Stress' and that is exactly how it felt.

I managed to read two books whilst we were away - The River War and The Malakand Field Force by Winston Churchill - but constantly referred to Bob Cordery's The Portable Wargame for a number of ideas so I suspect you can guess where this may be heading....


Back in the boot sale groove

Sunday just gone saw our first visit to a boot sale for about a month and I was fortunate enough to score the above goodies. The Blandford title needs no introduction and was not only in tip top condition it also only cost me 50p. The Fort by Bernard Cornwall is on my to read list and I am rather embarrassed to point out that I have still not read the paperback version I also acquired from a boot sale ages ago. Still, a hardback edition is very nice to have and yes, there is a plan of sorts behind this.

The final title is a great doorstop of a tome and is one of books that answers pretty much everything you wanted to know about a very specific piece of a war, in this case the fighting in Tunisia as experienced by the second battalion of the Coldstream Guards. Maps, orders of battle, photographs, after action reports, patrol reports it is all there and as a source of gaming ideas and scenarios from Bolt Action/Chain of Command upwards to Memoir 44 you would struggle to find better.

I have absolutely no idea what I shall do with this but for £1 it was crying out to be purchased!

I managed to get a few ideas organised whilst we were away and am currently awaiting a modest delivery to start on the first of these so watch this space as something will be happening - at long last!