Work in Progress Wednesday

Just a few offerings for this week. I’m blaming the heat. It certainly saps creativity and painting.

Above we have some space fighters from Stephen (really need to find out who makes these). And below Stephen has been creating more Loot tokens for Stargrave.

Physical and Data Loot ready to be salvaged

I’ve also been creating Loot tokens for Stargrave only I went with some blank indented dice and some free sci-fi textures to turn them into Loots tokens.

The dice were undercoated first before the textures added, then some dry brushing to get them blended in.

After about 10 years of sitting in a box I also managed to stick some previously purchased plastic aquarium plants into the start of a jungle.

Multiple plastic plants stuck together with the hot glue gun

And finally this week Andy has made a bit more progress on his medieval Sergeants.

The heat is definitely slowing down painting

See you next week for the next glimpse of our club activity.

 

Work in Progress Wednesday

It’s Wednesday and we have a few offering on club member progress.

Above and below we have some miniatures painted by John, this time some Cultists for a game of Perilous Tales.

Nice subtle colour scheme on the cultists

Next more progress from Andy on his Dark Age forces, here we have some more Saxon Thegns.

Another 4 Saxon Thegns out of a unit of 16

And lastly this week Marcus has added some paint and plant life to his Snap Dragon scenery.

The bunker in the woods

See you next week.

Richie Pays a visit

John reports on A Border Reiver Skirmish using En Garde Rules…

Introduction

I’d always been interested in this period since before I started wargaming. Picking up  George MacDonald Fraser’s book ‘The Steel Bonnets’ fired my enthusiasm , I started with modified Redoubt figures and scratch built some buildings and it became a club game for 2002. I sold off figures and buildings to purchase a collection of Outpost figures which promptly gathered dust. The advent of Osprey En Garde rules and finding I have links to two Border Reiver families sparked the flame again.

The Border Reivers occupy a unique position in British history. Before the Union of England and Scotland, the area between the nations was effectively a buffer state with it’s own set of rules. Over population and depredations from either nation took its toll. Cattle rustling, kidnap and blackmail ( in its original sense a protection racket) became commonplace. Fortified buildings, the simplest being a two storey Bastle house, of which there are more than 900, provided some shelter from Reivers who became very skilled in their craft and earned them the reputation of being the finest light horsemen in Europe.

En Garde is an Osprey blue book set of rules for small scale swashbuckling skirmish games for about 20 figures maximum. Each figure has a stat line which provides its rank which can range from peasant to Headman. The higher the rank, the more capable the figure. Each figure has a combat pool (cp) for hand to hand combat. When this takes place, the figure is allocated a number of chits for either attack or defence, which allow the figure to use ploys such as riposte and feint to give a sword fight feel. The higher the cp value, the more attack or defence options for the figure. Each figure has an initiative value which is a dice roll modifier to determine which gets the first hit in. Fight and Shoot stats give modifiers to the attack and AR is an armour protection value. Finally, higher ranked figures can add attributes for example beguiling means that an opponent is less likely to attack the figure, afraid of the consequences. All these features allow the player to develop the character of a figure. A bit like role playing.

The Game

Set up

This scenario is set in the late 16th century Border between Scotland and England about 8 miles east of Carlisle. Richie Graham of Brackenhill (Brackenhill Tower still stands and is a successful self-catering holiday retreat) runs a successful blackmail business. The Bells of Gilsland have failed to make payment and Richie and the blackmailers decide to teach them a lesson. Richie sits in the top three all-time Border bad guys and he’s accompanied by Thomas ‘The Merchant’ Hetherington (possible distant relative of the author) who collected blackmail payments on his behalf.

Forces

 

Terrain

Bastle house with Barnkin wall containing cattle in the centre of a 3’ square board. One boulder close to the bastle, two patches of Heather in the corners and a Long house with fencing containing sheep.

Time and Weather

Weather – a 6 is rolled which is wind and rain. Line of sight reduced to 24” and all shooting has a -1 modifier

Time of day – a 3 is rolled which is dusk. Line of sight reduced to 18”

Typical conditions for a border raid!

The Bell reivers, Willie Red Cloak’s wife and young son (both classed as peasant) are in the Bastle. Two peasants are in the Long House

Move 1

The Bells win initiative and Jamie fires through the window at the leading Graham. He rolls 4 and 2. +1 for skill, – 1 for weather, – 1 >12” away. Gives a score of 5. He needs more than 6 to cause a wound so it’s a fail. Willie runs to take cover behind the Barnkin wall. There is not enough room for all the gang so Richie does an ordered run into the cover provided by the heather.

Move 2

The Bells win initiative. Jamie concentrates his aim on the Barnkin gate. Bell’s son is sent to light the warning beacon beside the bastle. Richie orders a group move and the Grahams run around the Barnkin wall.

Move 3

The Grahams win the initiative and continue to run around the Barnkin wall. As they pass the gate, Jamie Bell fires at Wat. He rolls a 9 +1 for aimed shot, +1 for skill – 1 for weather -1 for the gate – 2 for distance gives a score of 7 A hit is scored but the armour saves Wat.

Move 4

The son is in serious danger but the Bells win the initiative. The boy gets back inside the Bastle and the drawbar is slammed shut behind the door. The Grahams prepare “Fire to the Door”. They are going to smoke out the Bells, this tactic was known as “scum fishing”.

Move 5

The Bells win initiative and a group move is ordered for the armed Bells to descend the ladder into the Barnkin and take on the Grahams directly. This is overheard by the Grahams and a group move is ordered to the gate with Jock of the Peartree (crack shot) in the lead. He waits by the gate looking for a target. Thomas (The Merchant Hetherington) waits by the ground floor door to make sure the smoke builds up. Screams from inside the Bastle alert the two peasants in the long house who move, just out of view towards Thomas.

Move 6

The Bells win initiative and move towards the Barnkin gate. Its slippery, the cows are in the way so only a short move is possible. Jock of the Peartree fires his latch and rolls a double 1! The latch bolt is stuck and Jock will have to spend a move clearing the latch to fire again. Wat attempts to climb over the wall but fails his dexterity roll and falls, grazing his shins.

Move 7

The Grahams win initiative. Archie fires at Davy. He rolls 6 and 6  = 12 – 1 for weather = 11 – 6 = 5 a hit has been scored. Davy’s armour is 1 plus 1 for the shield = 2. Final wound score = 3. A light wound. Willie Bell opens the gate and moves into combat with Wat.  Willie’s combat pool is DDDA (where D is defence, A is attack) in Case Richie attacks. He rolls 8 + 4 for his fight ability = 12. Wat defends his combat pool is DD. He rolls 6 + 2 for his fight ability. A wound is caused to Wat but his armour saves 2 and it’s a light wound. Richie attacks Willie with a combat pool of ADDD He rolls 10 + 4 fight ability gives a total score of 14. Willie rolls a 5 from 2 dice attempting a parry and using one of his remaining defence chits,  +4 for fight ability = 9. A difference of 5. Willie has an armour of 3 giving a wound score of 2 a light wound. There are no more attack chits available so combat ends for the turn.

Move 8

The Grahams win initiative. Jock fires at Davy. He rolls 11 + 2 for sharpshooter -1 for weather -6 = 6. A wound has been caused. Davy has an armour of 2 which gives a final score of 4 a Grievous wound. When this is combined with the light wound he is killed. Because Willie has a light wound, Richie has the initiative and launches an attack and goes for the subdue option. If he can kidnap Willie Bell, He could get a ransom and the outstanding blackmail payments. Willie uses his Weapon Master attribute to attempt a riposte.

On two dice Richie rolls 7, not great. Willie only rolls 1, a difference of 6. Willie already has a light wound so his combat factor is reduced to 3 a difference of 7. A subdue attack is a -1 modifier and Willies armour is 3. A final score of 3 another light wound. Two light wounds become one grievous wound and Willie is subdued.

It looks grim for the Bells now. Ritchie has his dagger at Willie’s throat and a retreat would be covered by the two latchmen. Meanwhile at the Bastle door, Thomas the Merchant is fighting off the two farm hands. His combat pool is ADD He attacks one of the farm hands whose combat pool is D. He rolls 8 with two dice plus a combat factor of 3 = 11. The Farmhand rolls 10 with two dice but with no armour, a hit is scored. The farmhand is stunned. The second farmhand attacks He rolls 5 from two dice but Thomas only manages 2 from two dice. His fight skill of 3 saves the day and as there are no attack chits left combat ends for the turn.

The Bells now need to take a morale test they need to roll under 7 on a modified roll of two dice. They roll 3 and pass.

Move 9

The initiative roll is tied but the Grahams have a higher initiative leader now so win the initiative. Thomas goes on the offensive with AAA in his combat pool against the farmhands. He attacks the unwounded farmhand and rolls 11 The Farmhand Combat pool D rolls 4 from two dice and dies. Thomas then attacks the remaining farmhand who is already wounded. Thomas rolls 5 + 3 for fight = 8. The farmhand rolls 6 – 1 fight value for already wounded. It’s a second light wound and this now becomes grievous.

It’s all over and the Grahams win the day. It’s going to be a long hard winter for the Bells!

We’ve played a few games at the club and it’s a game I’m keen to bring back once we are allowed to meet again. I’m keen to run a mini campaign involving two feuding families a group of outlaws known as ‘Mad Meg’s Bairns’ and the Hebburn garrison (complete with sleuth hounds).

The Grain Mill

We’ve already seen snippets of John’s Grain Mill scratchbuild, but now we can see how John created this impressive piece of terrain.

All the buildings I’ve made so far have been quite generic but couldn’t resist this build. It’s quite an imposing structure measuring 35 cm Long and 25cm high and 14cm wide excluding stairway and ramp. In order to protect the model for transit and storing it had to fit into a shoebox. Here’s how I went about making something like this.

Step 1 Detailed plan
I spent a couple of evenings drawing up a plan of the building on A3 paper. I looked at as many photographs as possible of this particular structure and learned something about it’s function to help with the design and build. The tall section is a Grain Elevator. A bucket elevator carries grain from ground level to the top of the elevator where it is discharged into a silo contained within this structure. The horizontal gantry contains milling equipment and three discharge hoppers are suspended underneath. On the other side of the building is a ramp. At the end of the ramp, grain is dropped into the bucket elevator feed.
For dimensions, I used the assumption that door opening heights would be 7 ft and width 3 ft. I used 5mm to a foot so that gave me the dimensions of this item then worked out the height and length proportions based on that. So the building worked out at 70ft long x 50ft high and 28ft wide. As I drew up the plan, I rechecked against the photos to make sure everything looked in proportion and decided that there would be four stages to the build :- Stairway, Gantry, Elevator and ramp. I thought the stairway would be the most difficult so decided to start on this.

Stairway.
I used the same method as in the office build to start with so glued together 2 cm x 1cm pieces of foamcore to make the steps. The maximum height being determined by the height of the shoebox. I added sides from mounting board to correct any warping then added steps from lolly sticks making sure some were damaged.

I made the landing wide enough for a 28mm figure base as I thought this would make a suitable sniper position. The supports I made from wood strip rather than replicate the flimsy metal supports on the original to make sure the stairway was robust enough for the table top. I added bannister rail supports from matchsticks and then the rail and surround at the top of the stairwell from mounting board which I also used for the base.

Gantry.
With confidence high I turned my attention to the gantry (which turned out to be the most difficult part of the build). I built the wooden structure from foamcore clad with cereal packet cardboard strips, lining the window openings with the same, then adding cut down matchsticks for the window frame parts. The length of the gantry would match the width of the shoebox to fit in.

The hopper assembly was cut from cereal box cardboard glued to 2 pieces of foamcore. This was then glued to the base of the Gantry

The next task was to build the supports for the gantry. I decided to replicate metal girders for this so I made H section girders from 40 thou plastic card. In order to fit in the shoe box, the supports would have to be detachable so I made sockets on the underside of the gantry and on the base. These were a snug push fit. I then added cross struts to provide additional strength. I needed two goes to get the base right and the small ‘turret’ would have to be detachable for the structure to fit in the shoebox. I used Hobbycraft corrugated foam for the asbestos roof.

Elevator.
This was constructed using foamcore clad with corrugated foam but provided a few problems so wasn’t straightforward. To fit in the shoe box, the top section had to be made separately and had to fit inside the gantry, fitting over posts on the lower section of the elevator when in use. There are also two ‘wings’ at the base of the elevator which were constructed separately and slot into the side of the elevator when in use and are stored inside the elevator when packed away.

Elevator under construction showing one of the wings. The top section fits inside the gantry for storage.

Ramp.
This was the simplest part of the build which I nearly missed as it’s so overgrown on the photographs. I made it in 3 sections. The start of the ramp was from mounting board covered in fine sand painted to represent concrete. The middle section was constructed from plasticard as it’s a metal structure. The third part appears from a video clip to be metal and wood. I made this from foamcore and added card planking.

Windows.
I used clear plastic from food packaging for this. I taped the plastic to my cutting board to cut out pieces of plastic to fit the window recesses. I marked out where the vertical bars would be and then cut the windows to show broken panes before gluing the plastic strips to the rear face of the vertical bars using superglue

Painting and finishing.
Wood – Wilko Nutmeg Spice, then black acrylic wash, drybrush Wilko Mineral Stone and then a light white drybrush. I then used a black wash to make sure the planking was picked out.
Metal – Black acrylic and then a succession of dry brushing, dark brown, red brown and then yellow. (All plastic parts primed in grey)
Asbestos roofing – Primed grey first then Homebase Grey Fox then a succession of black and brown washes, finishing with a drybrush across the ribs of Homebase Silver Cloud.
Concrete – Grey, dry brushed white.
Earth – Red brown, dry brushed pale grey.
I then applied static grass where appropriate and the project was complete.

This building is going to be an impossing sight on the tabletop

Framing my Childhood

Phil takes us down memory lane with his introduction to toy soldiers.

We’ve been feeling rather nostalgic here at the club recently – swapping stories of our early wargaming experiences and lamenting the numerous model and toy soldier shops that have fallen by the wayside.
Many of our tales seem to start with the phrase “I had a lot of Airfix soldiers when I was a child” and I was certainly no exception to this. I had loads of them – WW1, WW2, Cowboys, Indians and ACW. The HO/OO Assault sets and the 1/32 Combat Packs with the firing pillboxes.
But it is the four boxes of 1/32 Napoleonic soldiers that stand out from the rest for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, they were all painted. I was given them for my 8th or 9th birthday but before then my mother had spent hours painting them. They were all lined up on the dining table waiting for when I woke up that day.
Second, I kept the boxes. I’m not sure if it was a conscious decision, but I do remember from an early age being impressed with the artwork on them – probably the best toy soldier boxes ever designed. They’re a bit dog-eared, paint marked and have a few other dubious stains, but they all managed to survive for well over forty years.
A house move last year suddenly presented me with a lot more wall space for hanging pictures. So, I decided to dig out the boxes and give them a better life than languishing in the loft. A quick trip to my local picture framing shop and they now have pride of place on my dining room wall. A permanent reminder of those halcyon days.

And the little chaps themselves? They are still here – battered and missing paint but still ready to serve king or emperor as appropriate.

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’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.

On Farthest Tides

John Lambert prepares to sail the Oriental tides.

I’d been interested in doing this for some years and with Lockdown decided to take a closer look. I’d considered the ruleset Galleys and Galleons last year and collected information on junks. A solo adaptation of the rules was available on line and I decided to scratch build the ships for variety. Here’s how I got ready to play.

Sea Mat

I decided to make my own based around the smallest playing area in the rules 20” x 20”. For this I used Weed Control Fabric from Poundstretcher and Acryllic Caulk from Wickes. I spread one layer of caulk thinly to one side of the fabric and when this was dry (overnight), flipped it over and applied two layers. When this dried, I painted the surface with acrylic Hobby Craft paints which I blended using a J Cloth. I added Pthalo Blue (a really great intense pigment) as a wash and when this was dried, I dry brushed white on any raised areas. Finally I sealed it with Wilko lacquer spray. This last step was a mistake as the surface remained as tacky as a dodgy pub carpet!

Terrain

I made shallows and whirlpools using the same method as above. I made islands from some old polystyrene tiles and made Karst Columns and a cave from carved polystyrene covered with filler then fine sand, then added flock and clump foliage.

Ships

For the hulls, I used 30 thou card for the basic hull (white) and 20 thou for the sides(black) and then on some ships I detailed the sides with microstrip. For the sails, I started with 10 thou card (white0. I then added battens from 20 thou rod. On the front of the sails I added strips of 20 thou (black) and when dry, sanded down to form the sail profile. I used cut down pins for the masts. I based the hulls on mounting board adding the sea texture from filler and painted the sails separately before fixing with superglue. I didn’t make the ships to a set scale, I just worked on what the smallest I could make was then scaled up from there.

Player Aids

All distances in the game are measured using measuring sticks appropriate for the play area. I used a Bamboo skewer for this. I copied the weather gauge from the ruleset and laminated it. I bought a wind direction indicator, some coloured dice and fire arc from Warbases. After this I was ready to play.