Sunday, 23 August 2009

At last the postman came ............

Well it took me two attempts to buy these, finally I have them. The first order from ebay disappeared without trace and the seller gave me a refund without even asking, the second try was even cheaper, so result!

When picking an army for a game, I invariably manage to pick the side which has the easiest paint-job, then I can get the figures to the table faster. Uncharted Seas is no exception to this as I noticed that the Iron Dwarf fleet was both the cheapest and the easiest to paint.

The castings were clean and crisp with only minimal clean-up needed and no air bubbles in the castings either.

Well this is the fleet for now, I have the rulebook but was disappointed to see typos in a second edition, and hints at future releases of rulebooks to cover submarine and aerial warfare. Although the Dwarves have two submarine models in the range already I quite fancy trying to make my own, at least the submerged markers should be straightforward.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Back from the Seaside

Well I have returned from my week at the seaside with the family. Wargaming, modelling and the Internet were out, sandcastles and 99s where in. I managed to reread another Simon Scarrow book as well the Battleground Europe book on Operation Bluecoat, the only model shop I found was disappointing and mainly for railway modellers.

~ Scooby Do flashback mode on!

Whilst making 1/72nd WW2 aircraft and hanging them from my bedroom ceiling in the early 1980s, I had come across Wargaming from a column in the Battle comic and persuaded my mum to order the Airfix Magazine Guide to WW2 Wargaming.Buying the occasional copy of Military Modelling I came across amongst others Heroics & Ros and Citadel Miniatures. Whilst I ordered a small selection of micro-armour, which never came to anything, I never saw Citadel Miniatures in the flesh for some years.

This was however a return to where it all properly started for me, in the early 80s I spend a number of years holidaying in Devon with the family, on one of these visits I discovered Tamiya 1/35th scale models and moved on from aircraft. In 1983 I went into Mansell's Models in Paignton and saw blister packed Citadel Miniatures and a brand new game released to play them with. The miniatures I bought were a pack of Chaos Warriors which if I remember had separate shields and heads.

The following year (1984) I bought the first Citadel paint set from a shop in Dartmouth and from a shop in Plymouth, possibly Antics I bought the Goblin Raiding Party boxed set.

Well being well and truly hooked I looked for other shops. Worcester had Friar's toyshop and close by a proper wargames shop - albeit the size of my front room and a rather bizarre stocking policy where there was one of these and one of those, literally. Building units was a nightmare.

Our local shop, Evesham Models started to stock Citadel and that became a regular haunt, the owner John would keep the shop open late on a saturday afternoon as I would rush up from my Saturday job to spend my wages. Through the shop I met many of my good friends, even going on an early Citadel open day where I played against Rick Priestly him self. Being the eager teenager I made sure I used all of the points allowed for my force, having a chaos warrior lead a goblin warband. Rick had a few old menfish which quickly became sushi when they met my cheesy warband.

As the 80s progressed, White Dwarf got into WHSmiths and with some friends we formed ERA, the Evesham Roleplaying Association and had a trip to Games Day. 1987 saw the release of Warhammer 40K and the plastic marines. The early plastics from Citadel were the dreadful 'drastic plastic' dwarf and orks along with the large 60mm Fighting Fantasy figures.

The Marines, known as wombles because of their helmets, were better and bacame a big hit. 30 figures for £9.99, I bought a box and invented the Dark Star chapter who often fought against my Eldar at those ERA meetings.

On an occasional visit to occasional visit to the Games Workshop branch in Birmingham's old Bullring I bought my first slotta based figure. At this point the slots weren't cut out and with out any explanation of what to do I based my figure with the slot upside down! On reflection I can now see the figure was reminiscent of a Turkish Janissary.

After playing most of the RPGs on the market, our group got older and the club broke up. I moved on to historical wargaming and sold off my earlier figures. I did come across one of my goblins some years later on a Bring & Buy stall recognising the shield pattern.

Well that's enough of a stroll down memory lane. My painting priorities for the next fortnight are a few bases for Cold War Commander as I have a game coming up - more artillery, Rapiers and a couple of Harriers.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Carry on up the Rhine

Sunday night evening saw the first game using Games Workshops 'Lord of the Rings' strategy battle game with some amendments as found on the LOTR Variants Yahoo group. I have been collecting Romans for a few years, playing WAB either with German allies or smaller games against the Germans themselves.

The game gave me the opportunity to paint up a number of bits and pieces that had been lurking around the garage for a few years, these were the then limited Roman Engineers (courtesy Dave Thomas) and some camp bits and pieces courtesy of Dave Bodley from Grand Manner and Shaun Bryant (then of 1st Corps).

I do have some more bits and pieces hidden away including a reasonable number of numidians. I did originally have 4 players but with one leave pass rescinded we were down to 3 and I had to lend a hand. Dane and Mark played the Romans whilst I assisted Stu with the Germans.

The basic premise of the game was that continued pressure on the Germans from fiercer tribes was causing them to again gaze on the rich lands on the other side of the Rhine. Unfortunately since the time of Caesar the Romans had guarded against Germanic expansion into Gaul, here we had a watchtower and small encampment.

Dane had a force of an Optio and 10 legionaries. The tower, palisade and tents are from Grand Manner.

Mark with his force of an Optio and 10 auxila are leading pack horses and a supply wagon to the camp. Without supplies the Romans might have to give up the watch tower leading to the consequences of a possible German incursion.

Here Dane surveys the route of the supply convoy from his chair, unfortunately he is unable to race out of the camp until he sees the invaders.

The Auxila appear to have collected themselves to the front of the convoy.

Ah, this is the reason a warband has appeared in front of the convoy, yet cunningly out of sight of the watch tower.

A second warband appears of the right hand side and begins to move in, supported by wailing women and a horse's head on a pole.

Seeing the second threat Mark splits the Auxila to cover both flanks. He has already had casualties from German archery whilst the meagre Roman return fire was negligible.

Here they come, supported by their archers.

The Auxila are bracing themselves for combat whilst wishing they had that cushy billet in Judea.

Finally the Legionaries assemble to march out of camp.

A random event brought a small patrol of Auxiliary cavalry to lend a hand.

The Auxila come to blows with the Germans, who's greater number give them the advantage.

Another random event brought a Roman dignitary to the table with his servants and trumpet players, luckily for Mark he brought some more Legionaries with him.

The thin blue line is thinning out after taking casualties, courage rolls will be needed to avoid retreat.

The Germans get to the horses and the wagons.

And steal two of the pack horses. The Auxila below half strength.

The Legionaries throw themselves in to the battle against the Germans, because of the high defence value they are hard to kill, unless of course the Roman players mention this. I then roll the jammiest set of 6's in ages.

Romans flee as the Germans race off to the nearest branch of Cash Converters with their stolen booty.

Here come the rescue party.

These geese look pretty angry, the Romans will regret not having the trousers now!

The numbers of Germans overcome the Romans, the survivors begin to break.

The VIP uses the opportunity to break for the safety of the tower.

The close in for the rescue, the game doesn't seem quite so like Custer's last stand now.

As the last of the Legionaries fall to my Germans the Archers advance.

The fresh legionaries manage to form up in between the VIP party and a fresh German warband which has just come on table.

The Auxila rally as the Cavalry charge in.

Prepare pila ...........and release.

Oddly the archers beat of the Cavalry.

These cavalry definitely had a death wish!

The Roman heavy infantry do what they do best.

The Cavalry is surrounded but after a round of combat most get away to fight another day.

We called it a night shortly after that, the fresh Legionaries tore a nasty whole in the fresh Germans whilst the remaining pack horses and wagon carried on moving and couldn't be caught by the Germans.

An excellent game, most enjoyable. Figures are painted by me and are Wargames Foundry and 1st Corps. Inspiration is from the excellent Macro and Cato 'Eagle' series by Simon Scarrow.