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Sunday, 3 December 2017

Ahoy There !

This toy pirate ship was found in Wilko's and with a bit of a repaint will serve as an 18th century frigate to provide close support on the beaches.

Monday, 2 October 2017

A question of scale.

The French Revolution project i swell under way in 1:72/20mm but I have other irons in the fire which have thrown up the question of figure size and compatibility so here are some pictures which give a vague indication of the comparative sizes of various ranges:

Left to right - large Italeri 1:72 Austrians, HaT 28mm French, Spencer Smith 30mm French, Victrix 28mm French and Perry Miniatures 28mm British...

Same again from a different angle - not sure you could use those on the right with those on the left but they don't look COMPLETELY ridiculous.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Raszyn 1809

Bit of background: In addition to the invasions of Bavaria and Italy in 1809, the Austrians had launched an attack on the newly formed Grand Duchy of Warsaw. This state had been formed by Napoleon as a satellite from the rump of Poland and its inhabitants saw it as a torch bearer for the Polish nation. For this reason and in the hopes of drawing Prussia into the war as an ally, the Austrians sent an army led by Archduke Ferdinand across the Galician border in April 1809. Raszyn (spellings vary) was the first attempt to stop them by the Duchy's nascent army, commanded by Prince Poniatowski.

This is quite a small battle in Volley and Bayonet terms. I would double up the figures but to be honest I don't have any more Poles. Perhaps the sparse look is a good representation of odds. Anyway I made each base an independent unit (normally it is two bases) and increased the hit points to make more of a battle. Poniatowski is outnumbered roughly 3:1but he only has to hold Raszyn and the bridges till nightfall.

Turn 1

As in the historical battle the Austrians pushed their Grenzer across the stream on their far right and advanced towards Falenty in the centre.
The Poles fired some opening shots but otherwise held their line.

Here the Polish commander issues his initial dispositions...

Turn 2

Little manoeuvring here as the Austrians just head straight for the Falenty salient. Honours are even in the initial firefight.

The Poles throw up barricades across the causeway in Falenty:

Turn 3:

The Austrians move up their cavalry to counter the threat on their left.

The Austrians move to surround Falenty.

Which is assaulted unsuccessfully.

Heavy casualties are taken crossing the bridge to attack Kamieniaki on the Austrian right.

On their turn the Poles pass an initiative roll and move their cavalry reserve to the right.

But lose the elm wood to superior numbers.

Turn 4

The Austrians are doing well; they are over the river on the right though in small numbers.

They take Falenty but fail to overwhelm the single artillery battery remaining in the salient.

The Poles whittle down the Grenzer and destroy the Austrian line infantry on their side of the Mrowa stream.The collapse of the Falenty salient however sees an end to the proposed Polish counter attack and the line is stabilised.

Turn 5

The Austrians are forced back from their bridgehead on the right and mainly consolidate in their centre and left.

Turn 6

As darkness begins to fall the Austrians launch a costly bridge assault into Raszyn but fail to cross. they continue to feed troops in.

Turn 7

The Austrians pushed their guns up the causeway opposite Raszyn but fail to make any impact.


Well that was short and sweet. Unusually the weight of numbers has counted for little here. As I have failed to emulate the historical Austrians this must be considered a Polish victory.
(Rules used were my adaptation of Volley and Bayonet. Figures were 1/72 or 20mm from various manufacturers and painted by me)

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Ratzyn 1809

Well to be honest I still haven't fought the battle but the table is set up and the armies are ready:

Rather empty looking table at the moment The Polish side is on the right with Ratzyn in the middle - might make it a bit bigger...

Poles in Ratzyn ready to contest the bridge crossing.

Austrian forces advance.

Polish cavalry reserve.
More when I finish being really busy...

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Image may contain: 2 people, text

You remember me saying that there weren't enough books on the French Revolutionary Wars?
Well I thought I'd do something about it so I wrote this... It is now available from Pen & Sword and will be on Amazon and in bookshops on 30 June 2017.
I plan to wargame the campaign in August - watch this space.

Monday, 8 May 2017


So a few weeks ago I travelled to a secret location in Devon in order to refight the battle of Stalingrad with 54mm figures. Now Stalingrad was a large and complex battle over the ruins of a vast city on the Russian Front in WW2 so any portrayal is going to be abstract. This version was no exception but the dedication of our host and the enthusiasm of the players made for a great game!

Soviet forces head out to occupy the factory sector at the north end of the table. As it was they stayed there for much of the game and saw little action.

More of the same - no sign of the Germans yet.

This building in the centre, though not representing any specific historic structure was the scene of ferocious fighting.

The Fascist invaders attempt to bring Blitzkrieg to Stalin's own city...

But the narrow passages will slow their advance and Ivan has a few surprises up his sleeve. This T34/76 proved especially hard to dislodge and took a heavy toll on the Panzers.

Supported by infantry the Panzers attempt to bypass the grain elevator but the restrictive terrain causes a bottleneck when the lead tank is hit by a hidden Zis gun.

The Soviets fire from the rooftops...

And ambush the advancing Germans.

German reinforcements are rushed in...

But armoured units are confined to the more open areas.

The job of clearing the buildings in the centre is left to the infantry who have to fight a bloody battle at close quarters.

In the south the bulk of the German force makes little headway and is now under fire from the Soviets in the grain elevator.

In the centre however the Soviets mount an increasingly desperate defence as they are pushed back sector by sector. They are only saved by the fall of night which allowed substantial reinforcements to cross the Volga. (Through the game these had been diced for but hardly any had escaped the Luftwaffe util this nightfall).

A heroic fightback begins.

By the end of the game the Germans still held in the centre but too weakly to exploit their gains and as the uncommitted Soviets moved in from the factory sector in the north defeat was only a matter of time.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Now I know you are all dying to know what I have spent the bank holiday doing? "Surely you got some gaming done over that long weekend?" I hear you cry... Well no actually - mostly I joined the rest of the country banging nails into things (quite appropriate really) but I did get some hobbying in. I built no less than 16 of those 1:100 Zvezda tanks (to get them out of the way as much as anything) and in preparation for the next 1809 game I have been painting Poles.

These are made by Strelets. I have to say I rather like them. They have been criticised for being too skinny but I would say that although they are a little long in the leg they look fin eto me - painted up well.

Here they are en masse just glued to their bases.
The next battle should be Ratzyn - Poles and Saxons attempt to slow the Austrian drive towards Warsaw. That said I am going to be participating in a 54mm Stalingrad next week so I may post some pics of that if I get time to take any.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Update Time

No game in the loft since Sacile but I haven't been idle I have done a fair amount of painting. As I am utterly incapable of sticking to one thing I have done little bits of a lot of things.

French Revolutionary Wars

I have been studying and gaming the Napoleonic Wars for about forty years. As you can see from this blog it isn't the only conflict that I am interested in but it has been the chief focus of my hobby. It struck me a few years ago that the early part of the period (or the period just before if you prefer)gets little to no coverage. There are few books on the period and you hardly ever see any games dedicated to it so I decided to do something about both. I shall, however, just talk about the gaming for now.

One of the challenges of this period is a lack of troops, particularly in 1/72nd scale so I will hav eto convert and bodge most of them. The chaps pictured are my attempt at British light company troops around 1799 as I am intending to refight the Helder Campaign. They are converted from HaT Brunswick Avant Garde figures. I gave them a green stuff crest and I had given them coat tails before I realised that they were quite short by this point in the war so I cut them right down again. I should also have shaved off the running horse it seems but it is not actually visible in normal light.

Here they are again.

Russian Jager - Esci Prussians...

Some opposition - Grenadiers of Vandamme's division. Not the best photograph - this is just on the book case behind the painting desk.

Remember that Chosen Men  project I was talking about? Well these 1/32 Chasseurs are intended to participate. I you are going to skirmish then why not in glorious 54mm? Again these are conversions; this time from Supreme which are I believe copies of Italeri figures. The elite company chaps are made from the French 'cavalry' or officer, or whatever he is meant to be. I have given him an Irregular Miniatures colpack head and made a cross belt from wine foil and a miliput cartridge belt (which you can't see). The centre company Chasseur was a British Light Dragoon. I trimmed a few bits off and painted him green - I think he is passable?

Bush Wars

In addition to all the painting (the above is just the tip of the iceberg) I got a game in at Irregular Miniatures HQ. The pictures don't really do it justice but we had a nice game using some rules I wrote for these figures, inspired by AK47 Republic but more in keeping with our usual style of play. This was the third game in the series and featured a straight fight for possession of vital (but fictional) settlement in an area of Zumbara sympathetic to the

The village; all is quiet - modelling and painting by Ian Kay.

Zumbaran government forces make a dash for the objective.

But it is a trap and the lead elements are wiped out as the rebels arrive in force!

Government forces are attempting to outflank the rebels on the right but continue to pour troops into the village (probably a mistake) - Government forces painted by me.

Ian's elite rebel yellow berets lay down a withering fire from the edge of the village. Lets just say it didn't go well for the government troops and having lost the previous two encounters they are probably now hiding in the bush while the rebels effect a regime change in Zumbara.

Might have lost every game but they were fun to paint and the game was a nice change from the usual. All figures are from the Irregular Miniatures Modern Africa range with vehicles from a range of sources including Tesco (container lorry from scenario 1) and the £1 shop (funky technicals that I have manged not to photograph but have proven quite effective).