First Shots Fired in the Battle of Shiloh

Club member Sean gets a few turns in fighting the exciting, close run Battle of Shiloh (April 6,7 1862) at home.

In a dawn surprise attack the Confederates threatened to inflict a pyjama-clad rout on the Federals asleep in their tents. We’re playing with modified Fire and Fury rules in 6mm and will have, when the Union soldier finally wake up and get out of their tents, about 4,500 figures on the table. There was a naval element in the battle (the Lexington and the Tyler ironclads, not the casement Carondelet and monitor Pasaic gunboats shown) and the Great Western Battles F&F scenario book allows them the strength of half a battery and an indirect fire range of 16″. Any Rebs silly enough to go within 2″ get canister. But the airforce, in the shape of the balloon, was not present, so is only for decoration.
Two Union, gunboats await the Rebs on the Tennessee River at Pittsburgh Landing
Two miles to the SW three Confederate corps face only two Union divisions roused tousled & disordered
Sherman’s division holds them up but takes losses
The Confederate columns push rapidly towards Shiloh Church, more shed than church
Meanwhile 3Corps, on the right, makes a fast march north to outflank the whole Union position

Hopefully Sean will be able to get back to this game soon with an update on the action.

Work in Progress Wednesday

It’s Wednesday again so that means a chance to see what the club members have been up to.

Mark J has made some good progress on his 6mm panzer companies.

Light Tank Company

Mark says “a tale of two companies; 1 panzer grenadier company with heavy weapon support and a light tank company. I’ve used two shades of dark yellow on the tanks, I wish I could say this was done intentionally  but it wasn’t; never trust what the spray tin tells you. Anyway I feel it gives the unit that cobbled together look, which was what was going on at the time, each platoon was usually responsible for applying the dark yellow paint and camouflage, so there were lots of variations. I used contrast paint for the camouflage striping. Two more light companies on the go at the moment.”

Grenadier Company Infantry

Mark also had this to say about his great basing for 6mm infantry that can sometimes get swamped by flock/grass. “I use the Baccus basing system, very fine sand applied using PVA, then apply a red brown wash followed by dry brushing 3 shades of sand, dark medium and light. I use a thinned PVA wash for the static grass, the grass is dropped onto the base using a small plastic bellow.”

Next up we have some Scavengers from Eric. These are from Copplestone Castings and painted up for use in games like Zona Alfa.

Copplestone castings Scavengers

Saved from last week we have some 1:3000 ships from Marcus apparently for Guadalcanal, I’m not sure I’ve seen Marcus running WW2 Navy games but maybe he is branching out.

A selection of destroyers from Navwar 1:3000 for Guadalcanal

And last but not least Steve has put together some more miniatures for Frostgrave. In his own words we have “Using some old, and some unused models, I’ve put together a party for what I’m calling ‘Dark Grave’.
Here’s Rollo Magwitch and his apprentice, Edith Blackthorn, and their band of treasure hunters…”

Rollo Magwitch and companions

That’s another WIP Wednesday from the club members, do let us know if you’re managing to make progress on your own projects.

 

Revisiting Snowfall

Back in 2015 club member Marcus put together a James Bond themed game for that years show circuit. The game had secret agents being chased down a snowy mountainside pursued by numerous bad guys.

Marcus demonstrating an early mock up of the game

There were many challenges to putting on a game like this, constructing the mountain, sticking magnets to it to stop the miniatures sliding to the bottom as well as many action cards, unit stats and rules for the game.

But another challenge was a real lack of 28mm modern era skiing miniatures. Marcus could find plenty of WW2 winter troops but wanted this to be modern. Marcus did manage to find suitably positioned troops to act as the bad guys, and converted them to be on snowboards.

Modern troopers on snowboards

However Marcus needed skiing miniatures to represent the secret agent, their love interest and a final miniature for the main bad guy (well bad woman in this case).
Having dabbled a bit with sculpting miniatures I volunteered to see if I could convert some existing miniatures for the starring roles.

The man himself

Marcus provided a number of miniatures, so I started with the main character, the body was an artic trooper miniature with a head swap from a Copplestone Castings Man in Black miniature. I chose this miniature because it needed to be holding ski poles and have their feet in a suitable position for ski’s, and this one was already in a good pose.

I had changed the left hand because of the original weapon being held, repair the detail on the miniature and added a fur collar to ensure it looked suitable for cold weather.

The Female Agent before and during the conversion

The miniatures Marcus was hoping to use for the female characters I struggled to get to work, after a few failed attempts I went looking for substitutes. For the good female agent I went with the Vampire Hunter also from Copplestone Castings. After removing the weapons and replacing them with ski poles I repositioned the arms and legs into a skiing pose. Marcus wanted them to look cool so I also added a pair of sunglasses. A bit of fur for the top of the boots and jacket collar added the winter feel, rather than the leather style of the original.

The enemy agent before and during the conversion

The enemy agent proved to be the most difficult to create. After a lengthy search I found a suitable miniature from Reaper Miniatures.

The miniature came with separate hands holding different weapons. These were tricky to remove and I had to pin the hands to the main body. I decided to do a head swap on this figure since the original was wearing desert style garb. The next step saw a twist of the arms and legs, again to get that skiing pose. I also bent the cloak to give the impression of it being caught by the wind as the agent sped down the hill. Sunglasses came last with the same added fur to winterise the miniature.

The finished conversions

Here we have the finished converted miniatures. The ski’s were cut from a plastic cover off a note pad, with the final stage just to add the ski shoe binding points.

The agents in action

Tony F from the club volunteered to paint the agents and we can see them in action. This was an interesting game to create things for and a popular choice at the shows that year.

 

Work in Progress Wednesday

It’s Wednesday again, so let’s see what everyone has been up to.

First up we have some more Panzer progress from Mark J. Mark says tis is a picture showing some finished Germans from his 3rd Panzer project, these represent each type of vehicle painted for the mech battalion. Mark added, “Currently painting a company of panzer grenadiers, panzer III company next.”

picture of miniature vehicles
Selection of completed 6mm German vehicles

Marcus has been busy on a number of miniatures, firstly after a bit of repair work he presents a Dreadball miniature. Apparently the lower arm needed pinning back in place. I knew of Dreadball but I’d not seen these miniatures before.

picture of miniature
A miniature from the Dreadball Kalimarin Ancients Nameless team

Next up from Marcus we have a Tiger shark and another reptile from HLBS for Pulp Alley games. I k now Marcus has a collection of scuba miniatures these would look great next to.

picture of marine miniatures
Two more Marine animals to go along with those in our header image

And last but not least Andy has made a start on a selection of terrain pieces from Ainsty Castings. 

picture of miniature terrain
Andy says you can never have enough things to hide behind

That rounds off another WIP Wednesday from the club members, next up I believe we have some WW2 ships and Tudor buildings to look forward to.

Village in a Shoebox

Club member John L takes us through his latest terrain project.

One of the problems with 28mm wargaming is the size and bulk of terrain. I resolved to deal with this by fitting as many buildings as possible in a shoebox in a systematic manner.

The first task was to determine building foot prints to fit in the box. I started with four single story wooden buildings.

picture of model buildings
Size test for new buildings

Phase 1
These first four buildings would be the main dwellings of the village. I elected to go for an all wood finish as these would represent traditional buildings prior to modern materials (a mistake as I spent days cutting out planking from cereal box cardboard) The building shell was foam core and exposed rafters were from coffee stirrers.

picture of model buildings
The first two village dwellings

I used matchpots for the finish with light dry brushing of acrylic for the faded paintwork.

Phase 2
I looked at making a number of buildings with a concrete finish and corrugated roofing (asbestos I think). Along the centre line I could fit two inverted buildings which I decided to make as Chicken sheds.

picture of model building
Concrete style building

I covered the foamcore shell with pva and then fine sand for the concrete effect and used corrugated foam from Hobbycraft for the roofing. To get the ivy, I used Jarvis Heath Green scatter finished with Morrison’s dried mixed herbs

Phase 3
I worked out that I could fit a further four buildings in the ones I’d made in phase 1, like Russian dolls. These would be the same construction as the Chicken sheds above. I made another Chicken shed, two workshops and a small office or dwelling.

picture of model building
Building number four with rust in full affect

Phase 4
I thought I could make more buildings to fit along the sides of the box so added a further two buildings, a Sauna and a Village Store.

picture of model building
A sauna and village shop

That’s it for the moment, twelve buildings in total, I’ve still got room in the box for wooden fences but I’m glad it’s finally finished so that I can get on with playing the game!

Work in Progress Wednesday

It’s Wednesday again, so that means a quick look at what everyone has been up to.

First up Andy has finished his Saxon, Viking and Welsh Princess. I suspect these are going to make an appearance in quite a few games.

picture of miniatures
28mm Saxon, Viking and Welsh Princess

Steve has been taking advantage of the season’s availability of various plastic creepy crawlies to paint up some monster miniatures.

pictures of spider miniatures
Various plastic spiders and scorpions accompany a few other creatures (from Ral Patha)

Tony has finished painting up a new force for Hammers Slammers. This time the New Ukrainians, apparently they’ve already seen action (successfully), vanquishing the Thunderbolt Division.

picture of miniature tanks
Tony’s new force of 15mm miniatures for Hammers Slammers

Lastly for this week John L has finished painting his scratch built bunker for Zona Alfa.

picture of a bunker
Finished Bunker for Zona Alfa

The club members are definitely getting quite a bit done at the moment, next week it looks like we will have more Panzer action from Mark J and sea creatures from Marcus.

We’ve All Done It!

A constant of all miniature wargamers has always been to come up with your own set of rules. Every gamer has either written a set of rules (unpublished of course!) or heavily modified a published set of rules (just to to improve it), although to be fair to the club a number of home grown rules are used on a regular basis.

Jeremey takes us through such a typical Wargamer project and what happened to it.

Back in 2009 I fancied getting into mass battle fantasy games. I’d played a bit of 2nd edition Warhammer in my youth but was in a period of preferring smaller scales. I picked up a copy of Warmaster but it didn’t really grab me, the movement section with 20 plus pages (slight exaggeration) explaining how to perform a wheeling movement, just looked very similar to many of the historical rule sets that put me of historical wargaming for years.

Like all Wargamers in this situation I naturally started writing a set of 10mm fantasy rules of my own, I went with units based on round bases with no need to worry about detailed facing and movement rules.

When writing rules I’ve always had a weakness in needing actual miniatures to test the game with. I hate testing just on paper or with stand in’s, so I  created two whole armies first!

picture of skeleton miniatures
Pendraken 10mm Skeletons painting up nicely

I decided to go with 10mm fantasy miniatures from Pendraken miniatures. Pendraken’s miniatures are cast individually which meant I could put them on a round base. Most other 10mm fantasy miniatures were cast on strips for 40mm wide bases. I used standard 40mm round bases and put 10 foot or 6 cavalry miniatures on each base. I was really pleased with the results but the first crack in the plan appeared as all the miniatures needed to be painted before putting them on the base and flocking the base was a pain to get between the miniatures.

Regardless I continued to torture myself and carried on creating two armies (Undead vs Barbarians).

picture of 10mm armies
The Barbarian army faces down the Undead hordes

Unlike a number of other rule sets I’ve written I did get to playtest this set which I called ‘Battle Fury’ (often referred to as Battle Furry!), it was a very simple ruleset with no unit facing so you just moved where you needed to. There were typical bonuses for combat based on charging and having multiple units ganging up on the enemy. Activation was done by players taking it in turns to move a unit. I also went with 10 sided dice as I’ve always found the range of a normal 6 sided dice does not offer enough variation. 

Picture of miniatures
Battle in full swing

Games of this type often suffer from needing lots of markers for activation, wounds etc. But I had the genius idea (in my opinion of course) of making flags for both sides that showed the number of hits the unit had remaining (see the skulls on the flags!). The rules had the units roll a number of dice based on the number of hits remaining so you could see at a glance how strong the enemy or your own units are.

Picture of miniatures
Fight between the Barbarian Mammoths, Skeleton Cavalry and a Skeleton Giant

The game worked fairly well on the playtest, the forces came out quite balanced and I got the kind of game I wanted with big beasts fighting it out and plenty of back and forth action allowing for tactical moves.

Picture of fighting miniatures
Barbarians and Skeletons in full Close Combat

This project taught me a lot about writing rules, having a clear idea of the kind of game I wanted from the start really helped. But it also taught me a lot about creating games and mistakes that can often be made.

The use of round bases for this scale hasn’t really been done and so the idea that wargamers would be willing to rebase their armies is unrealistic. However the round bases packed with figures looked good and better reflected warfare in an undisciplined world where armies just charged at each other and fought to the death. The flags that could be changed to reflect the hits of a unit felt like a good idea, but having to create enough to show the correct number of hits as units suffered damage became quite a challenge.

And so this project came to a halt and the miniatures are back in the pile of unfinished ideas (which is quite large if I’m honest), although after writing this I might revisit the flag idea for my WOTR army instead of the mini dice added to the base.

Work in Progress Wednesday

It’s Wednesday again and we have a round up of club members latest work and projects.

First up Marcus has been painting up some treasure piles. I forgot to ask him what these were for but they are for 28mm scale gaming, Marcus still needs to put the finishing touches to these, but they are looking good.

picture showing piles of treasure
Some very tempting piles of treasure

Next up Andy has been making progress on his Wolves and Freyir to accompany them.

picture of miniature wolves
Freyir and Wolves

Change of scale now with some 6mm WW2 vehicles from Mark J. But I’ll let Mark describe this project in his own words “Bit of a late one, back on the Panzers, this is my mechanised infantry battalion, minus engineers and Sdkfz251/9s which are arriving in the post. Most have been shaded and are ready for tracks and wheels to be painted before highlights are applied, also have a motorised battalion (same as picture but using trucks) and 6th Panzer Regiment (90 tanks in all) to get through. Part of my 3rd Panzer Division army as they were pre Citadel, June 1943.”

picture of miniature ww2 vehicles
Mechanised Infantry Battalion

And lastly Steve has manage to put together his scratch built medieval Cog.

picture of miniature ship
28mm Scratch built Medieval Cog

I think for next week I better start making progress on my own projects!

Work in Progress Wednesday’s

Each Wednesday club members have taken to sharing progress on the various hobby projects they are working on. This has been a good way for club members to inspire each other, swap tips and build interest for when we are back gaming together.

Rather than keep that all to ourselves we thought we’d show you what we are working on every Wednesday.

First up we have Steve’s new tower, made from a Pringles crisp tube. This was made to provide scenery for various fantasy games, predominately Dragon Rampant.

Picture of model wizards tower
The White Tower of Wykeham Heath. Located in a remote valley in the Welsh marches, no one know who lives there, but he’s referred to as The Ferret…

Steve has also painted up some mages to go with the tower, he’s calling these ‘The College of Mages’ and is hoping to add few more figures from Ral Partha.

Picture of painted wizard miniatures
The Collage of Mages

Next up club Member John L has been increasing his figure count and scenery for the game Zona Alfa.

Here we have three Insurgents and a concrete bunker being suitably distressed and weathered.

Picture of three insurgent miniatures
Three eager Insurgents searching for targets
Picture of concrete bunker model
Work in progress on a concrete bunker

Lastly for this week we have Andy making progress on a set of Wolves and miscellaneous figures. Being a club that plays a vast number of different games Andy is hoping to use these miniatures with a score of games including SAGA, Dux Bellorum, Lion or Dragon Rampant.

Picture of wolf miniatures
Wolves and miscellaneous miniatures next in the painting queue

The Witch and mailed woman are from Belt Fed gaming, as are two of the smaller wolves. The other three smaller wolves (same pose) are Ral Partha.

How’s your Hobby Desk Looking?

Club member Jeremey takes us on a tour of his Hobby Desk and current projects.

Jeremey's Hobby Desk

I’ve always had a curiosity about what other wargamers hobby spaces look like, and of course a lot on envy of those able to dedicate entire rooms to the hobby! But this year i finally got my hobby space close to perfect for the way I like to work and so i thought I’d share it along with mention of the projects I am currently working on.
Early in the new year I finally treated myself to a Bureau, I picked up a vintage 1940’s one from a house clearance. It needed a bit of TLC but i managed to tidy it up (it contained an awful lot of glitter, so I new the previous owner also used it for hobby stuff). I wanted a Bureau to enable me to close the desk to stop children and animals disturbing things I was still working on.

Let me take you on a tour:
1. First up we have an old box my wife bought me on a whim, this now houses all of my glues and sculpting putty.
2. The ubiquitous stationery desk tidy, I have two, one for files and sculpting tools the other my paint brushes. I actually bought the desk tidy’s to use them as 15mm sci-fi buildings but they were more useful as intended by the designer.
3. My desk lamp that gives of disproportionately more heat than light, making it perfect for speeding up curing of bits of sculpting while I’m working.
4. My dad’s old tool box from when he was an apprentice coach painter in the 1940’s, shame to let it go in the bin so I rescued it and now keep my hobby tools in it, like drills, pliers, craft knives etc.
5. The first of my project shelves, this one contains the sculpting I am currently working on for new Celtos Models. I’m working with Brigade Models to create the new version of the fantasy wargame.
6. Spare Celtos bits, in this draw are various existing Celtos models I use to ensure any new sculpting I do fits in with the scale and design of the current range.
7. Moving on I have some 15mm Medieval buildings I am making for my current Wars of the Roses army. They are made out of EVA foam, with real wooden beams and I’m filling the gaps with bathroom sealant to act as the wattle and daub. The final stage will be to add thatched roofs.
8. These projects are painting ones, first I have my final Wars of the Roses units, Welsh longbows, Welsh spearmen, English spearmen and Mercenary crossbows. Under that I have a number of previously sculpted Celtos miniatures that I need to paint up and photo for the rules. It can be a bit odd painting miniatures that you sculpted, especially since you cannot curse the sculptor for any fiddly bits 🙂
9. This shelf has the projects on it that have stalled, I’ve lost my mojo on them but have put them there in case i suddenly get the urge. Currently I have 6mm power armoured infantry and an alternative take on a rock elemental.
10. This is just a drawn containing, my finer files and bits of wire I use for armatures and creating cables and ropes. In front of the draw is a Stormtrooper glass I was given which was really hard to drink out of and so has become my paint brush cleaning pot.
11. And finally on this exciting tour of my hobby space the set of draws I keep all my paints, basing materials, bases and my bits box for scratch building.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my hobby area, maybe some of the other club members will share their work spaces for comparison.