This is a bonus 2017 blog, my annual review/reflection can be found here if you are interested, that blog also contains some pictures of Gaslands movements templates I will be using for my games and where to get them.
I wanted to have some additional cars for my Gaslands project to use as cars for the game, but more importantly to have in the background and to make some terrain pieces with so I ordered some models for architectural and/or railway use. As we noted in a previous post the 6mm scale (a link to that post here) is an artistic scale and varies between manufacturers and even between ranges from the same manufacturer.
I ordered cars in the following scales on e-bay: 1/300, 1/250 and 1/200. Pictures below and valid as at 31-Dec-17. These were from the actual sellers I used.
In summary (the 1/250 vehicles are from the UK, the others come from China). It took between 1 and 3 weeks for them to arrive.
1/200 – 50 vehicles for £2.98 (in different coloured plastics) – length 25mm, width 10mm.
1/250 – 50 vehicles for £8 (in white) – length 17-20mm, width 7mm. But you can find cheaper from Chinese sellers.
1/300 – 100 vehicles for £2.54 (in white) – length 14-15mm, width 5mm.
So how do they compare to the stuff I am using for Gaslands?
So the 1/200 model is a pretty good match for me and the 1/250 stuff reasonable for the first set of cars Microworld did. They also come in a lot of different colours and variants, I think they will just need some clean up of the plastic, some highlights and perhaps some matt varnish to tone down the shine and we are good to go. I may even stick some weapons on some of them and use them for regular races not just as fillers.
I have ordered some more 1/200 models as I would like to create some nice obstacles, it would be cool to have racing track through an old car dump, a car graveyard track – that would be classy indeed!
/But that is for another time, hope this was of some help.
I have been away on holiday in Sweden over Christmas with the family and the only miniatures related stuff I have been physically close to have been my copy of the Gaslands Rules. I have read them and they seem to be a lot of fun, but more about that later.
This is the second year end for the blog and I have yet again had a joyful hobby year. My original idea was to do a blog about my preparations for my Saga Game(s) at Joy of Six in 2016, but then I never stopped. I found that it gave me some kind of efficiency in a strange way and I seem to have been more productive and organised than I used to be as a direct consequence. That original post on Saga in 6mm (link here) still gets some hits, but the most popular one from 2016 is the first blog on Sharp Practice in 6mm.
With the Saga game in 6mm I wanted to show that it is possible to take a “28mm game” and change the individual 28mm miniature on a 25mm circular base and replace this with a 25mm square base with 4 to 10 No. 6mm miniatures, keeping all measurement as they were and still have a good time. The game was still played on a 3 by 4 table, just as recommended by the rules.
Saga, as a game, worked anyway and playing it with 6mm miniatures gives a different feeling using individually based miniatures – I have tried both and I prefer the multiple based version.
The other approach I have taken with regards to 6mm is that you can take a game where 28mm miniatures (to take an example scale) are normally being used and half the measurement or use centimeters instead of inches. In this case each 28mm miniature is replaced with an individually based 6mm miniature. I have done this and played Sharp Practice, Pikeman’s Lament, the Men Who Would be Kings and Dragons Rampant. It works but it is more fiddly than 28mm, but this aspect can be mitigated somewhat if you use the (1-2-3) basing as suggested in the Pikeman’s Lament rules, if your game is about figure removal from units with non-individual figures – like the games mentioned above. This method is best described by Michael Leck who came up with the idea on his blog page (see here). A blog entry shows how I based my Colonial 6mm British (see here) using this approach (kind of!), pictures below.
Here is an example of a game we played this year on a 2 by 2 board (Pictures below, link to the write up and lots of pictures here) – you could carry the board under your arm and the terrain and the miniatures in a small little box. We had a jolly good time playing it. Did I mention that it took me two short evenings to paint up each force used in the game!
Here is another one (with the write-up here), this time Ottomans vs Swedes.
As for the most popular post in 2017 it is more difficult to say and perhaps unfair to compare as some of the posts, by the nature of weekly postings, have been on longer than others. However, the first blog on Colonial 6mm using The Men Who Would be Kings rules (link above) seem to have got some wider interest and so have the other postings covering Dan Mersey’s rules (Dragon’s Rampant and the Pikeman’s Lament rules he did with my friend Michael Leck) – they are all very similar with some notable variations in the Colonial set where there are commanders for each section as opposed to the overall force for the others and the damage is based on actual figure count – not a fixed full damage until half units are left going then down to half until wiped off the table, to mention a few of the more notable differences. I refer to these as the “Mersey Skirmish Engine” (MSE).
On the whole we have really enjoyed these games and they fit us really well as the rules are simple but not simplistic – i.e. there is sufficient depth to make the decision making challenging and there is a high level of friction built-in the activation system. I mainly game with the Little One who is celebrating his first double digit birthday next year so this simple but not simplistic factor is important to us. The best children movies are the ones that contain some sneaky adult jokes – watch any Shreck movie and you get what I mean. I find that the more complicated games looses the little ones interest quicker and in some cases never really captures him to start with.
The best games was when we were using my 6mm French Indian war models with the Pikeman’s Lament set, on that horrible “wargames mat” I bought in Rhodes on the family holiday. We played a fully functioning skirmish wargaming on what in fact was a doormat (some pictures here) and had some great fun in the sun.
We also played some other games including the Terminator Game, Sharp Practice, Dreadball (a great late start!), X-wing, The Twilight of the Sun King, Road Wolf, Maurice, to mention a few. I also read and tested the new Basic Impetus rules and Sword and Spear and would like to try these a little bit more. I also did two forces for 6mm sci-fi but I am yet to find a ruleset that inspires me.
I wanted to play Chain of Command with my Finns and Russian, but I failed miserably.
Anyway here are my key painting, modelling and gaming ambitions for this coming year.
Great Northern War – Twilight of the Sun King Rules (6mm)
Painting/Modelling 90%, Gaming 10%.
The 18th century in general and the Great Northern war in particular is one of my favourite historical settings and I am currently working on the Horka 1708 battle for Joy of Six in July 2018 (here is a link to some background to this). This will be the biggest battle I have done to date and I am very excited about it and this is the kind of battle and set-up that really works with the 6mm scale and gives the look and the feeling of a real battle.
I would also like to do a smaller table to give the Düna crossing in 1701 a fair go with the Twilight of the Sun king Rules (see some discussion on the rules here). I think the “did I hit?, did I damage?, did you have armour protection?, did you manage to save? – rolling sequence” is funny and engaging for a skirmish level rule-set but I am warming to the abstraction of the Twilight rules for BIG battles more and more for every time I play them (here is a note about the rules and where to find them). I have plenty of nice modelling and painting ahead of me for these projects.
Winter War and Continuation War – Chain of Command Rules (15mm)
Painting/Modelling 50%, Gaming 50%.
I re-read Hjalmar Siilasvuo’s account of the battle of Soumussalmi (Wikipedia link here) over the Christmas break. It is an inspirational account of how, in essence, three Finnish regiments defeated two Russian divisions and one tank brigade. Siilasvuo was one of the most successful Finnish Commanders during the war years.
The Battle at Raate had ended with a total defeat of the enemies 44th Divison, The objective given to my soldiers were completed. My men had, with commendable resilience fought for over a month in the harsh winter conditions at Soumussalmi. In defiance of death they had attacked the superior enemy. Their only guiding star was the precious, common fatherland, that fought for its existence. The cost of the great victories was paid with the heroic deaths of many brave warriors. With sincerity they had given their life for the fatherland, their homes and their faith. The white crosses on the graveyards where the signs of their sacrifice. They showed the people the path to honour, a hard path, but the only path.
Translated, hastily, from H.J. Siilasvous book “Striderna I Suomussalmi”
I also went to the Cinema in my Hometown in Sweden and watched the new film based on Väinö Linna’s book the Unknown Soldier about a Machine Gun Company during the Continuation war from the mobilisation in 1941 and the early successes to withdrawal and retreat leading up to the armistice in 1944 , I have read the book and seen previous iterations of the movie and thoroughly enjoyed it. The story is fictional but based on Linna’s experiences serving in the Infantry Regiment 8 during the war – it would make an interesting wargames campaign.
I have all I need for some Winter war action as I did a platoon of Finns and Russians last year. Here are some links to those Platoons (see here and here) as well as some background you may find interesting. I will not fail these platoons this year. I hope the Little One is up for it too! Link to the eminent Chain of Command rules here. I would also like to have a go at doing a winter wargames mat, as I have not yet found anything on offer that I especially like (I have an old mat but it could be better). I also have some Russian Scouts and more than enough Finns in Summer Uniforms to do some continuation war stuff.
Punic Wars – Command and Colours Boardgame (6mm)
Painting/Modelling 70%, Gaming 30%.
I am going to do a modular board and the necessary miniatures using mdf hexagons and 6mm units based on 50 by 20mm bases. I laid out the plans in a blog entry earlier in the year – here. I am looking forward to doing this as I am a fan of the game and I have wanted to do this since I read about Dan Becker’s project many years ago (see here) and got inspired from the game presented at Joy of Six this year.
Mutant 1984 – Mutants and Deathray Guns (28mm)
Painting/Modelling 50%, Gaming 50%.
I was going to do this project using (see more here) using the Scrappers rules but I have recently decided to try out the Ganesha games set called Mutants and Deathray Guns (link here). I am keen that Rifleman Croc Lacoste gets some battle-hardening sooner rather than later, he has been waiting more than a while.
I actually did some mean looking power armoured warriors (from Ion Age, IB52 Muster Female Squad, link here) when I got home yesterday evening as well as a gang of rats (conversions from the following miniatures – 3 of the bodies from Crooked dice here, 2 of the bodies from Moonraker miniatures – 0046 Scavenger. Handgun. Shotgun here, and 0074 SMG. Rasta here, the last body on the far left I do not remember, the heads and tails are from Giants rats, also from Moonraker, here).
Painting/Modelling 30%, Gaming 70%.
This is the best thing that I have come across in 2017 and I read the rules over Christmas (link to the Gaslands page, here. Where you can get the rules and accessories). This will be fun and I have more or less everything I need to get on with it (some notes here, here and here). Being true to form I decided to do this in 6mm as I was aware of some nice looking models out there. However there are some considerations to make and I advice that you read my blog entries above, if you are considering doing this.
You need smaller templates (I went for 50%) if you do Gaslands in 6mm – this does not, in any sense of the word, mean you need to do it in less style!
Contact Lee at http://www.bendyboards.co.uk and he may do you a set or 4! Lee is the one who makes the official ones and is where I was sent when I asked Mike at Gaslands if he planned to do any smaller templates than the official ones.
In addition I may do the occasional game of Colonial skirmish, Dreadball, some Saga battles with the dark age stuff, French Indian war with SP2 or T&M, Maurice or Pikeman’s Lament with Swedes and Saxons, and I may even progress the Rommel stuff I started, but we will see. I am pretty sure it will be totally different at the end of the day/year but as long as I have fun it does not really matter.
I would also like to do some WW2 units to use for a Norwegian Campaign. I did a fair few a few years back but in a moment of stupidity let them go.
Some thanks and then I will let you go
I have done a fair number of hours at my painting and modelling desk this year, when I do this I tend to listen to podcasts and audiobooks – the following are the hobby related ones I have found especially inspirational this year and I am grateful they are doing what they do. Get some paint and click on the titles and go and listen, you may have a painted army standing before you after you finish! Thank you to all involved in the production of these.
If I had one wish it would be that the Historical Wargames Podcast got on air again – I really enjoyed that show. If I had another wish it would be great if there was a wargames podcast similar to the Grognard Files (a nostalgic throwback show to the RPGs of yesterdays) that reflected on some of the “dead” games out there. The Veteran Wargamer, for example, had a show about games from beyond the grave (link here) and I think that one was a good start – look out for Jay’s comment on the game Chess.
Special thanks this year to the Little One who possibly prefers solo computerised quests as opposed to games with Dad using painted miniatures, but never fails to get stuck in and getting on with it. At Joy of Six he ably, more or less on his own, ran the Dragon Rampant table we put up. Also a big thank you to the Other Ones who may not be interested at all in this hobby of mine but who lets me get away with spending far too much time on it.
I would also say thank you to Chris of Marching in Colour (here is a link to his excellent painting service) who has been painting a fair few of my GNW units for this and next year’s TMT project – giving me more time to do some fantastic diversions and maximising the fun in the limited hobby time I have available.
Nick Dorrell, and his chums from the Wyre Forester Wargames club (link here), we ran Kalisz 1706 at Salute this year (see here) and Lesnaya 1708 at Joy of Six (see here). Nick and I have been doing 6mm Great Northern War Battles for the last six years as mentioned above we are doing Horka 1708 this year – if I get all of it done! Also to Rob and Laurent that helped us at Salute and Peter and Igor of Baccus who always makes Joy of Six an easy gig!
Finally (almost), a big thank you for all you people out there who likes the blog on Facebook, follows it on Twitter (yes I have recently got myself wired up on this too), directly here on WordPress, or just comes by occasionally or even incidentally. I really like the messages that comes through the blog and discussions I have had face-to-face with readers of the blog at the Joy of Six and Salute this year.
Now go and enjoy the end of this year. Hope you have a great 2108 and hey! – why not give something back to the hobby! Having just eaten half of the world and drunk the other part over Christmas it tends to be at these times when we reflect on our health and promise to deal with it next year. Henry Hyde, of Wargames compendium and Battlegames fame, just released a video that may not result in your lead mountain being painted any quicker but may help you being around long enough to have time to deal with it. The video is called “Exercise Ideas For Writers and Gamers” – that is giving back big time so a my final thanks goes to you Henry! Here is a link to the video on YouTube.
I have to admit to being less than productive recently due to work and other real stuff, but hey ho (ho ho ho.. it is soon Christmas!). A short blog entry this time.
Stuff for Horka 1708
I did do a few bases for the next TMT installment the Battle of Horka 1708 (more here), here is some Swedish Cavalry:
Kunglig Majestäts Livdragonregementet (His Royal Highness Lifedragoon regiment) – this enlisted regiment was set up by General Carl Gustaf Rehnskiöld in 1700. It was a prestigous regiment and it had fought at many of the big battles of the Great Northern War.
Södra Skånska Kavalleriregementet (South Scanian Cavalry regiment) – this provincial regiment fought during the Scanian War at the Battle of Lund 1676 and Landskrona 1677 (it was then called the Blekinge regiment at Horse). After the Scanian War it was stationed as one of the provincial cavalry regiment of Scania (Skåne, this is the most southern Swedish Province that has been fought over by Swedes and Danes for eternity!) and got the name it was known for during the Great Northern War.
Nylands- och Tavastehus läns kavalleriregemente (Nylands and Tavastehus County Cavalry Regiment) – this Finnish Provincial regiment had origins from the early 17th century. I already had some but then realised they were on wintery bases, for Fraustadt, so I had to make a few more.
Gaslands Death race Track
I also finished my Gaslands Board and if failure is the best teacher I now know a few more things about resin – But it is all hard now! I wanted to create an effect of toxic and radioactively radiant water and I think it looks pretty decent with some after pouring messing with paints etc – I also put a few vehicles into the resin giving the overall feel that if you end up in the toxic/radioactive it does not end well.
I have also ordered some smaller sized movement templates for Gaslands – but they are yet to arrive. It will probably be on the other side of Christmas before I have a go at racing the track, but I will let you know how it goes. More about this here.
I will do a little end of year review next week after I have met family and friends for some fun over the festive seasons. This will be a summary of the last fifty or so blog entries and my reflections on my plans and what I actually ended up doing and perhaps a reflection or two.
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Finnish Declaration of Independence from the Russian republic. Incidentally it is also my Sisters birthday, but she is no 100 yet! So double joy. Finland had (since 1809) been part of the Russian Empire and ruled by the Russian Emperor as Grand Duke. Before this Finland had in essence been part of the Swedish Kingdom since the 13th century. The independence and resolve of the Finns have been tested on many occasions, most significantly during the civil war in 1918, Finnish Winter war in 1939-40 and during the Sovietic offensive in 1944. In addition the cold war era was also to become a balancing act in trying to move forward next to the Soviet State. On the whole, this young nation has done an amazing journey as a nation from a very unstable start in 1917, when the deck of random event cards was firmly shuffled, to the current position of strength and stability.
We have put two candles in our window this morning. This was traditionally done to show support to the young Finnish nationalists who travelled through the countryside on their way to Germany (during the Great War) to get military training to aid their fight for Finnish independence. The candles also meant that the house was ready to offer shelter and keep them hidden from the Russian Authorities.
Germany, who was at war with Russia, supported the Finnish independence movement as this would weaken Tsarist Russia. The support was in the establishment of the Royal Prussian 27th Jäger Battalion that consisted of Finnish volunteers. The Anti-Russian sentiment had grown strong following repressive Russification of Finland that up to this date had a certain level of autonomous rule. This had escalated since 1899 and as a consequence many Finns hoped the Russians would loose the war against the Germans.
There is a very interesting article here about the Jägers; covering (i) the time leading up to independence and the actions during World War 1, (ii) their role during the Finnish Civil war that broke out in 1918, and (iii) their influence on the build up of the Finnish army that fought so bravely during the Finnish Winter War in 1939-40 (more here and a further related article here and here). There is a lot of wargaming potential here – but then I have not yet done much with the Winter war Finns and Russians for Chain of Command I completed last year (see more here and here).
However, when Tsarist Russia fell to the Bolsheviks in 1917 the Finns seized the moment – more or less (read all about it here). The rest is history – 100 years ago today! Being one part Swedish and the other Finnish, this is an important day for the family. We will be eating some Karelian Pasty and some Stew and perhaps a shot of Vodka or two (but maybe not the Mango version!).
Also, but a day late, but with reference to the Chain of Command mentioned above, an official “well done” to the Too Fat Lardies on winning the best game category as voted by the readers of Wargames Illustrated. You can find out more about Too Fat Lardies and the Chain of Command rules here. Whilst you are there check out their Podcasts, oddly called, Oddcasts! – enjoy the lard!
Gaslands moving forward
I have been working on my Gaslands Track I showed last week but did not like it and decided to do a new one – I will pour Resin this weekend. This is how things look so far. We have had the Gaslands Track inspector over and he has given us the Green Glow on the progress so far.
As you may be aware, I am going to do Poltava at Joy of Six in 2019 as part of the Towards Moscow Project. This is the long term project I am doing with Nick Dorrell and the Wyre Forresters (we did Lesnaya 1708 this year, see here, and are currently working away on the what-if Horka 1708 battle for 2018, link here and here) and I occasionally reflect (or perhaps Stress) on how I want to present it. The Poltava Battle is after all one of the most decisive battles of Swedish history and, I am sorry to say, without doubt a total disaster from a Swedish perspective. I have to admit that I found some of the past Battles that resulted in glorious Swedish victories like Fraustadt, Klissow and Gadebusch easier to present and prepare for than the battles at Kalisz or Lesnaya where the Swedes were defeated. The disaster at Poltava is in a separate league of its own.
One way of doing it is to show the full story including some additional elements on the table than normally are presented. The tables I have seen to date are showing the main action outside the Russian Camp; sometimes the redoubts are included and this is frankly all you need for the Battle. One example of this is the recent Poltava Battle, laid out by Jon and Diane Sutherland, at Crisis (in 28mm). This battle looked absolutely fantastic and as far as I could tell covered the main action and the redoubts. To me it looked as grand as one of Simon Miller’s To the Strongest Offerings (see link here if you do not know what I mean) – a real battle of the era and I wish I had seen it on the day.
However when we do it, and because we are doing it in 6mm, I will not let practicalities be in the way of creating a different kind of spectacle and will extend the narrative to include further elements that are important to the background of the Battle. So, in short I found myself compulsed to do a little plan/sketch over the battlefield and the various elements I wanted to include in addition to the mandatory Russian camp and redoubts.
Here we go.
1. The Swedish Camp – I want to take all the Wagons that I did for Lesnaya (link here and here) for a spin. The camp will be made from things from the Baccus Equipment Range (link here, EQU04 – Tents and EQU05 – Camp Site). Here is a link to Tiny Troop’s gallery showing some great and very inspirational GNW stuff and what can be achieved with these models as a base.
2. The Fortified Town of Poltava – at the time of the Poltava Battle the fortress was surrounded by ravines, had wooden palisades and a number of bastions. It had five gates and each of these was protected by a special tower. I found mainly stock photos, but if you google Cossack Forts you will get the picture – I will do this using very thin spaghetti (see here for how I have used this excellent material in the past). As for some buildings I really like the Total Battle Miniatures range that contains a large number of town type buildings that will work well (link to the range here). Most other ranges contain farm/village type of eastern houses – but for the Poltava battle I want to have the rural look outside the walls and some more “town” character within the walls.
3. The Swedish siege lines, with trenches, engineers and artillerists, gabions, siege guns, etc. The Swedish King (Charles XII) had laid Siege to the fortress in an attempt to provoke the Russians to a battle. Again, I will be using stuff from the Baccus Equipment ranges (see link above, EQU13 – Sappers/Pioneers, EQU06 – Military Site) and some Siege Guns and mortars (link here, WSS16 – WSS Siege Guns and WSS17 – WSS Mortars).
4. The Cossacks – the surrounding area is full of Cossacks and Kalmuks and I have a 2 meter frontage worth of these to put up in various places of the Battle (I used these in a similar role for the Kalisz Battle, we last tabled at Salute in 2016, see more here and here).
5. The Holy Cross Exaltation Monastery that still exists and have been there since 1650. It sits on top of a wooden hill and it would be shame if this was not part of the table. On the eve of battle it was used as headquarter by the Swedes and the infantry was deployed around it.
I have seen pictures of the Monastery on the net and it typically looks like this.
So in doing this in 6mm with a ground scale with a battalion frontage of about 60mm, some simplification is required, my first thought was to do the centre church and the taller clock tower closer to each other, and that would be it.
I even found two good contenders for the role of the centre church, both beautiful models.
However doing some further research I learned that the Monastery had been burnt down in 1695 (having been a classical wooden construction) and was being re-built in stone and a the two buildings we can see on this classic picture did actually not exist at the time of the battle.
The left hand clock tower was completed in 1776.
The Cathedral in the middle was completed in 1756.
Leaving us with the following skyline.
So there goes the main features I have had in my mind all these years. As to how it may have looked I have no clue. You can read more about the Monastery (and a lot more on the battle) on this webpage dedicated to the Poltava battle.
So, instead I thought I will represent the monastery with a Eastern type of Church of some kind. There are a number of options in doing this, so what follows is a little bit of a showcase of some of the ones to consider (this is based on browsing pages in the beginning of December 2017).
Total Battle Miniatures
I have a few Total Battle miniatures from their Pike & Shotte and Black Powder Europe ranges and they have been used to represent Klissow, Kalisz and some other places in the past. With regards to Eastern Churches there are a few options – with two smaller wooden churches and the massive Orthodox church presented above (link here).
Leven have some options too. I have a fair few of their dark ages range that I use for Saga battles (see more here). They have some fantastic stuff and the range is constantly growing, check out their Vauban fort whilst you are there.
I have a few a number of Timecast’s models including the Small Wooden church. You can also buy a similar small wooden church from Baccus, with a plinth base (More here and here).
Irregular offers a Russian Village that includes a Church in their 6mm scenic and assessor range (link here). The full set will set you back £20.
Hovel does a Greek Orthodox Church with Onion dome (link here).
Battlescale Wargames Buildings
I also found this one that I think looks really good from a company I had not heard of before. Link here.
I felt I needed a nice Eastern type of Monastery so although it represents overkill for the time of the Poltava Battle, I went for the more flashy look, and got the following set from Total Battle Miniatures (it includes the monastery and the large grand building on a tile):
On further inspection I also “fell” for the Timecast large Orthodox Church – this will be my church in the fortress itself, so I got myself one.
I also got the Russian Village church from Leven and the Russian Church from Battlescale Wargame buildings, and maybe one or two other items (like some cottages, mills, Zulu huts!, etc.) as I always feel it is a shame only ordering one thing considering postage. Now, that will deal with my spiritual needs for Poltava (and all of it actually all useful for the Horka battle too) and a few more pieces of resin to toss on that famous pile.