Monday, 20 April 2009

Ambush Alley Hotspots

Drums with corrugated iron awaiting a witty slogan
Drums, a girder and a bicycle.
Drums and a 'no camels' sign
Drums and a 'warning' camels sign
Drums and a 'Stop' sign

The theme is basically drums with the number on the base denoting the hotspot number.

Ambush Alley - First Play

I have been wanting to play Ambush Alley for some time, I had painted miniatures and other bits and pieces but I had insufficient buildings and no insurgents yet painted. In stepped fellow Guild member Andy who bought his impressive collection down for the evening.

The table was just bigger than 3' x 3' which was just right for this scenario - the contractor rescue mission. First here are some scene setting shots of downtown.

Insurgents begin to gather around hot spots in preparation to ambush the Americans who are advancing to rescue the 'civilian' contractors.

Here we see the contractors, whose Range Rover has given up in the middle of bandit country, they use their Uzis to keep the locals at bay but their ammo is running short. Luckily they have been able to summon aid from a nearby US Marine Corp patrol.

Below is another of the hotspots next to the side of the shops and the water tower, no cash point but apparently the houmous in the deli is great! Just off the table is the bus stop where the Jihadi Bus Co regularly make stops to drop off passengers.

Lock up garages, another hot spot is behind here.

A long shot looking towards the broken down Range Rover, the AA was quoting recovery would take at least 4 years as occupants weren't lone females.

The Marines advance up the road towards the contractors watching the opposite roof lines as they had been taught in Call of Duty 4. With the team on the left taking out a couple of the enemy.

The insurgents continue to gather.

Insurgents gather in a building near the contractors, keeping them pinned down with occasional ineffective fire.

The fireteam and squad leader make a charge for the building near the contractors in order to provide an overwatch position. They trade shots with the insurgents opposite to good effect.

The other fireteam had come under fire from behind as insurgents burst from the alley, with everyone using the car for cover, the Marines manged to get their fire in but one of the team is wounded at a cost of several insurgent killed.

With the insurgents driven off they race for the contractors, with the other team provide effective overwatch support.

Insurgents gather on the roof of the Quickimart.

The team move off with the contractors.

Moving higher for a better view the covering team engage the mob of insurgents in the street below.

Ignoring the Stop sign the insurgents race on, encouraged by their leader.

Almost off table, just the other team to exfil.

The covering team make a break for one of the other table edges taking a casualty on the way.

After firing their AKs in the air to celebrate driving off the Yankee imperialists they probably go for a pizza and a movie.

In the end, an American victory. It was a very close game, very enjoyable, I am hoping to play the insurgents next time to see the game from the other side.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

To the Sudan ...............

Well after the Baccus Sudan range caught my eye last weekend I have been reading up and trying to think about rule sets and organisation even though this project is off in the distance.

Baccus will have a Polemos variant for Colonials eventually, which is great because I love the basing scheme - it gives the opportunity for mini dioramas on the bigger native bases. In the meanwhile I am trying to track down information on battles of the period, focusing on the size of the Mahdist forces. At the moment I am thinking of 10:1 and 20:1 depending on the scenario, at 10:1 a base represents a company, 8 to a battalion. The bigger native bases 250 men - the basic sub unit.

Any way I am painting buildings for Ambush Alley and Force on Force.

Paul (and the Khatoum DVD is in the post!)

STOP PRESS I have finished the buildings!


Thursday, 9 April 2009

The quiet revolution

The wargames hobby is undergoing a revolution with the mass increase of historical plastic injection moulded miniatures, typically in kit form with some multi-pose options.

We have;

Romans, Celts and Zulu Wars from Wargames Factory
Romans, Celts and ECW from Warlord Games
ACW and Napoleonics from Perry Miniatures
Napoleonics from Victrix
WW2 from Valiant Minatures

I have seen a number of these sets and they offer a number of advantages of their metal cousins such as price, weight, customisation etc but they do have to made made. I wonder how many of these boxed sets will remain unmade.

More importantly, often these new figures are incompatible in size with existing collections, the Valiant seem to be the worst offender in this, dwarfing my slender SHQ castings.

Plastics are made from reducing larger models in size to create moulding tools, these tools are very expensive. I am sure that more modern technology has let to reducing costs but Airfix mentioned a cost of £1000 per part on a sprue. That is a lot of costs to recoup.

We are also seeing 40mm miniatures. Old Glory seem to be selling an ever growing selection of these but the nicest by far are from Front Rank who have a small range of AWI figures. They are gorgeous but even the smallest skirmish project is going to cost a small fortune.

However ......

We have seen another shift in the hobby, as people are shifting down in scale. Who would have thought 10 years ago that 15mm would have been such a dominant scale in WW2 gaming? Battlefront and their Flames of War rules have had a large impact on the hobby, which will continue now that Battlefront also own Wargames Illustrated.

Wargames Illustrated, much like interiors magazines seem to portray a different view from the general reality. We don't all have dedicated games rooms with super sculpted terrain and massive 28mm figure collections, we have to make do on dining tables and dented polystyrene tiles.

The shift to 6mm and 10mm is driven by rulesets such as Warmaster, Blitzkrieg and Coldwar Commander as well as gamers wanting to play big battle games with the massive time and cash outlay larger scales require. Larger games often don't look right in 28mm, the move distances and ranges all out of scale with the figures.

Leading the shift to the smaller scales are Pendraken and Baccus, regretably Heroics Ros now owned by Navwar is not to be found at shows. The Baccus stand is always a draw at shows with Pete's evangelical zeal in promoting his scale, his approach showcases the scale. Pete estimates to have sold in excess of three and a half million figures in the last year.

The secret with smaller scale often lies in the quality of the basing, bold contrasting painting and of course to quote Stalin "Quantity has a quality all of its own".

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Triples 2009

I visited Triples today, my first wargames show in about a year, I did have a shopping list but most went out of the window when I saw liberation weren't attending.

So today's haul was;

2 Adobes from Minimi. Reasonably priced and separate roofs in 20mm for Ambush Alley.

Hovels middle eastern tomb - but I reckon it will work as a mosque, it is supposed to be 25mm but will work for 2omm AA.

4 late Pz IV with skirts from Raventhorpe.

A couple of books of the Sudan campaign, the obligatory Osprey title and 'War in the Sudan' by Stuart Asquith. This has been something I have been interested in for some time but I have wanted to do a big battle version without the pressure of a massive painting chore. Pete at Baccus released both Sudan and Zulu wars ranges, his painted stuff on his stand is inspirational and I have a couple of packs to try them out.

Final purchase was Britannia TV crew with the Ross Kemp look alike.

I hope to paint these soon, photos up when finished.


Thursday, 2 April 2009

Home at last!!

After about 8 weeks, I finally have my painting/modelling room set up in the new house, broadband is in and I am able to make something.

I am starting easy just an Airfix Scimitar to begin with. Photo's when I have something worth sharing.