Sunday, 27 October 2013

Undercoating the Germans

We're currently battened down bracing ourselves for the Storm of the Millenium [or something like that] which is due to hit the SE any minute now... currently we're under Amber alert which seems to mean it's a bit rainy!

I've made a start on the Early War Germans which I picked up at SELWG a couple of weeks ago.  I'd splashed out on some of the Plastic Soldier Company sprays which supposedly give very good coverage.  I bought a can of the German Field grey and a Khaki spray [I think it's British uniform] which will be used on the French/Belgians which my son is painting.

The verdict so far is pretty good.... the paint covers really well and looks pretty much on the money in terms of the right shade of grey.

The vehicles are from Zvesda's snap-together, very affordable kits

So far I've only got as far as applying the base coat but I'm quite impressed with the effectiveness of the spray.... anything that shortens the pain of painting is good news for me!!

Sunday, 13 October 2013


SELWG's one of my favourite shows... not least because it's only a few miles from home, but also because the venue and atmosphere is always good.  For those that haven't been, it's held at Crystal Palace Sports Centre in South London.... it's always a very incongruous site, lots of healthy swimmers and squash players rubbing shoulders with the svelte, lissome figures of the cream of the wargaming community.

I arrived an hour or so after the opening and the hall was pretty busy... I hadn't been sure if the rain was going to keep everyone away but it didn't seem to have put people off.  By 2ish in the afternoon however it did seem to have quietened down a lot.

The ground floor, mid-morning

The event takes place on 2 floors with games and traders fairly well interspersed.  I'd already placed an order with Peter Pig for some 15mm WW2 figures so I headed straight there and picked up my Early War Germans and French, all set for Chain of Command.  I later came across some very cheap 1:100 WW2 vehicle kits at a low price so snaffled a few of these.

I also braved the Bring and Buy which was mainly piled high with GW 40k figures, but I did pick up  cheap copy of one of the Force on Force supplements... Bush Wars. I've been toying with the idea of rebasing my AK47 armies which would let me use them with FoF.  I nearly succumbed to buying a copy of Tomorrow's War as well [not in the Bring and Buy sadly] as I think this could have potential as a Star Wars skirmish set but I resisted.

I also picked up some Perry Japanese villagers to adorn my Ronin games  and some paints... not a bad haul!!!

Game-wise there were some very nice looking games going on.  I played in the Staines Wargames Clubs Gettysburg game in which everyone plays the Confederates, trying to reach the top of the hill first, usually at the expense of your comrades...excellent fun.

The game cunningly fits into a fold up box so it can be easily transported to shows.  I tried skulking at the back and allowing the other players to be shot up but it didn't pay off!

I was then talked into playing a rather daft but very enjoyable Balloon themed game put on by Maidstone Wargames Society.  Each player was piloting their balloon back across the Channel to deliver the first batch of Beaujolais Nouveaux while dodging the police balloon and taking potshots at each other.  I'm only slightly ashamed to say I won at the expense of another player whose balloon was about to reach the White Cliffs when I shot it to pieces and coasted to victory on a strong Southerly breeze.  Both of these games were ideal Show games... not too demanding in terms of time and effort but highly entertaining.


Some photos from the show... apologies to the clubs whose names I couldn't remember!

Sunday, 6 October 2013


Now that I've completed the 2 factions... sorry, Buntai... that I'd bought for Ronin, I've finally had a chance to actually try the rules.

Given the similarities in presentation and in the alternating figure activation, I wasn't sure if it was going to essentially be a far Eastern version of In Her Majesty's Name.  There are quite a few common features... single finger activation, equipping each figure with a range of skills or attributes etc.  Combat and turn sequence are quite different however.

Once Priority for the turn has been decided each player takes turns to activate a figure: although this is the Move phase, figures have the option to fire instead at a penalty. Combat follows [of which more in a second] and then there is an action phase.  This is where figures can do a range of 'other' thngs, ranging from removing heads [ bonus victory points to one of the factions] to firing again.  This does mean that bow armed troops [...sorry... Yumi...] can fire twice, albeit with penalties in each phase.

So far, so similar to other rules such as IHMN.  Hand to hand combat is where the game introduces some more specialised rules.  Each figure involved in combat adds a number of tokens to a combat pool... these can be used to enhance attack or defence or to try and gain initiative.  Players choose the combination of attack or defence secretly and then reveal their hand.  This allows figures to make multiple attacks, make fewer powerful attacks or to fight defensively.  It can make combat quite time consuming, especially if you end up with a mass brawl which does seem to have been the result in the games played so far.

The addition of a range of skills and attributes [eg acrobat, fast] or specialised weapon skills with suitably Eastern names [tetsubo-jutsu anyone?] mean there are a few extra things to bear in mind but not too many additional factors...  I find that we often forget these in the heat of battle if they become too numerous or complex.

Both games we played featured a skirmish between the local warlord's Bushi and some monks.  We decided that the Bush had turned up to collect some taxes from the local temple and had been met with armed resistance from the allegedly peaceful monks.  Scenery comprised the temple and Torii Gate from Sarissa Precision and some cherry blossom trees I found on line from a Chinese company...nice trees which were cheap and delivered surprisingly quickly. 

The Cherry trees

The Sarissa buildings were pretty easy to put together [even for me] but do need painting.  I haven't painted MDF buildings before... my only other ones from 4Ground came ready painted.  Undercoating seems to be the answer here as the MDF soaks up paint likes nobody's business.

The Sarissa Buildings

I played the game through twice... once with my son and then repeated at Guildford with Keith and Anthony playing and me umpiring. Both games descended into a hand to hand bloodbath with missile fire proving pretty ineffective... except when one of Anthony's musket [...sorry...Teppo...] armed troops ran up to point blank range and blasted away...definitely the way to use muskets! In both games players took to firing into hand to hand combats, taking the risk of hitting their own side without any compunction at all!

The Bushi advance on the Temple's prized vegetable patch!



All in all another really nice set of rules from Osprey.  I do like this size of game as it means I can actually get something on the table fairly quickly and then build on it rather than feeling daunted by the amount of painting etc. needed in advance.  The rules would also lend themselves to other periods without too much work.  They'd certainly suit other Renaissance periods, Pirates etc. but could be tweaked to suit Medieval or Fantasy games too,