Monday, 19 March 2018

West Midlands Military Show - WMMS 2018

Braved the snow for my annual trip to WMMS - my local wargame show - at the weekend. The overnight snow-fall (c.2-3") had a big impact, and I'd estimate about 25% of traders and 50% of demo games didn't make it. On the plus side it was the fastest drive I ever had there as once I was off our road and onto the city B roads and then the M6/M54 the roads were clear and the traffic light! And the car park was actually usable (rather than having tens of soccer teams in and playing).

It must have been a tough call for the organisers, but I think they made the right one. And all the traders I spoke to thought it had still been worth the trip. So thanks to everyone for making the effort!

The main traders I did make it, Pendragon, Magister Militum and Tumbling Dice, so that was good.

From TD I bought my first batch of metal 20mm ECW. They look good alongside the plastics (if headless!), and nice figures with separate and multiple heads, so I'll be buying and painting up 6-12 units this year (flash not removed yet!).

I'd planned to get some trial medieval 20mm from MM, but they weren't carrying any on the stall, and it sounds like an old range. But TD did 20mm WOTR (which I'd missed), and they looked really nice. Didn't buy any but I think it's where I'll start in the next couple of months.

I'd also planned to get some trial 10mm WW2, but Pendraken only had big unit packs. But MM had smaller packs and nice looking figures so bought some of those. They'll fit OK with my existing 6mm scenery (and I usually used buildings one scale down anyway), so I can see myself doing a Coy or even Bn of WW2 North West Europe next year, and using those instead of the 6mm I'm currently using for IABSM and BKC.

10mm Magister Militum figures with 6mm building (Baccus?)

Other purchases included:

  • A couple of nice small stone buildings (grottos) for use as objectives (MM again)
  • Some 10mm haystacks from Pendragon for 6mm objectives
  • A deviation dice
  • Daniel Mersey's Wargamer's Guide to the Desert War
I probably bought less than planned, but more ECW figures!

As I said there were a lot of empty wargames tables, so slim pickings in terms of games to dwell on. The ones that caught my eye were :

  • A nice Wars of Religion game from the Wyre Forest Wargamers using "Twilight of the Sun King: Birth of the Age of Reason" - they have an ECW version coming!
  • A nice 10mm Lace Wars game by the same group (pics below)
  • A nice 12mm Crusade era game using Hexon terrain and Hordes and Heroes rules - nice scale 12mm (pics below)
  • The card driven Napoleonic game (NapPoker or something?)

It did strike me that 10mm/12mm was around in far more profusion than normal - just easier to cart through a snow-storm? My brother is heavily into 10mm, and I can increasingly see its merits, but having just finished as shed-load of 6mm I'm not about to redo them! But the 10mm WW2 will be a start. Perhaps I should have (should?) decide to go metric and standardise on 10mm/20mm/30mm!

Some nice MM 10mm Napoleonics....

All in all well worth the trip over, and again thanks to everyone who turned up and made it happen.

Friday, 16 March 2018

8th Army Armour off the bench!

11th Hussars Honeys

The British armour for Rommel is mounted, labelled and off the work-bench. Also some of the scenery items. Last big tasks are the infantry and hills, and then time for a game!

The latest batch - just waiting for the Matildas - Caunter takes longer!

Crusaders of 7th Hussars - fond memories of the Airfix 1/72nd kit!

Grants of 2RTR - far nicer than the Lee!

An oasis - scenery only, and the "budget" palm trees

Supply base - one for each side

Thursday, 15 March 2018

IABSM Test Game - Turns 8 - 12

After about another turns of damage which forced 1 Section of 3 Pl to withdraw under the "loss of bottle" rule (and down to 3 men!) the Platoon Commander finally managed to get the 2" mortar to lay a smoke screen in front of the German position.

At the same time 1 Pl (still on blind) and 2 Pl started to swing right behind 3 Pl ready to launch a right-flanking, bags of smoke assault.

1 Pl in position, 2Pl almost there. The screen is now fully stoked so has 4 turns left, and the German Zug 2 commander has brought up his reserve Gruppe to cover his left flank in expectation of a British assault.

Should be time to test the hand0-to-hand rules next time.

In other news, almost finished all the North Africa armour, and its the West Midlands Military Show this weekend!

Monday, 5 March 2018

IABSM Test Game - Turns 1-7

Going well so far. The effectiveness of the initial (corrected) stonk was blunted somewhat by the first few turns having Tea Break cards after the  Axis Big men (removing Shock - ah, are they allowed to do that to Blinds?) but before the Brits could move! Eventually the Brits got going, using the cover of the corn-field and in two turns were crossing the small hedges into the first orchard. The Germans spotted the far right British blind - but that was revealed to be the dummy (1-3 on D6). The next left British 3 platoon were also spotted by the German blind in the forward house, but spotting back this was revealed to be a dummy - so there were no Germans in the first two buildings. The Company Commander doubled 3 platoon towards the house, and they quickly moved in, spotted the German blind in the next house, and  tried to get off some rounds but not being at full effect caused no damage - interesting how simple the IABSM fire chart is - no modifiers, just 3 range band and 3 target/shot categories - seems very odd! 2 Platoon also pushes forward and into the left hand near house - being spotted as they do so. Spotting working well and love the blinds.

Now that the situation was clear, the German's defending the two rear houses (left and centre) and his forces balanced also to the left it was time for the company commander to sit down and do his appreciation or Tactical 7 Questions. In "normal" wargames mode the Brits might just push on, squaring up against the two German strongpoints, and their two MG42, and probably get wiped out. All the Sandhurst training though says to focus on the right building, leave 3 Platoon as a fire base and then go right flanking with Platoons 1 and 2 with bags of smoke. So our gallant company commander calls for 1 Platoon to swing across to the right, followed by 2 Platoon (do they leave the 2nd house vacant?) to make their way to an FUP and start line. We'll see how it goes.

Situation at end of Turn 3. Only 1 Platoon is left on a blind on the British side. At the 1:1 scale 3 Platoon by the right near house is only just visible.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

First North Africa WW2 Units - German Armour

The first elements of my 1/300th North Africa WW2 project (with Rommel rules, and probably Blitzkrieg Command), have made it out of the workshop.

  • Two Panzer Abteilung, one with PzKfw IIs and IIIs, one with PzKfw IIIs and IVs
  • The 605th PanzerJager Abteilung with PanzerJager 1
  • One Kompanie of Sd Kfz 231 8-Rad
Lots of terrain, British armour, and infantry for both sides to come over the coming weeks.

Friday, 2 March 2018

North of Caen - IABSM Test Game Setup

I've been wanting to try out IASBM for ages, particularly when Chain of Command didn't "float my boat". Knowing how long it would take to set up (and tear down) a 20mm game I decided to go for 6mm instead, using my 8 man section hexes as half-sections, so I've got 16 figure sections but who cares.

One of the nice things about doing in 6mm is that with ~30m = 4cm hexes its almost 1:1 ground to figure scale. Needless t say I'm converting the rules to hex!

The overall layout looks really nice. Both sides start on blinds (like the blinds idea). A weak German platoon is defend the village from an advancing British platoon.

The Brits get 3 12" square ( 3 x 7 hex) stonk at the beginning of the game. But I then discovered that since all the Germans are on blinds then all the Brits can do is reduce German activations for next turn (BUT: see Update below) - which they do for two of the blinds, despite one salvo being so widely off it picks up the next target (like the deviation dice). Doesn't look like the arty rules give any benefit from being entrenched that I could see either (whether on Blinds or not).

Preliminaries out of the way then, on with the fight...

Long shot - Brits at Bottom, Germans in village at top

German blinds in the village

Update: Realised that "stonk" is a specific thing in IASBM - doesn't mention that at the start of the Indirect Fire chapter. Far nastier. Rolled for the damage on the two blinds that got it - one twice. Not revealing to myself which of the two blinds are real troops til I need to (by dice), so (as a German) hoping that the Germans are defending forwards!

Stonk results: red marker = Shock, White Puff = dead

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Alan Martin RIP

Alan studying a losing position in a game of Blucher

My oldest friend and fellow wargamer Alan Martin died this morning after a long, and largely successful, fight against cancer. Alan and I first met at Primary School when we were about 5 years old, met again in Secondary School, started wargaming, and stayed friends ever since. By the time I got back into the hobby Alan was more into the painting of the figures and creating stunning terrain than actually playing games, but we coaxed him back onto the wargames table over the last year or so, and he also loved board-games and even D&D. Alan contributed items on creating wargaming terrain to blogs like Wargames News and Terrain and pictures of his figures graced several commercial rule sets. His greatest joy in his last year though was his Grandson, Harry, not yet a year old. I was glad to be able to say my goodbyes to him in person on Monday, and he'll be sorely missed by family, friends and fellow wargamers.

Alan DM'ing Dungeons & Dragons in Hougoumont

Alan and Nick walking the battlefield at Waterloo last summer