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Russian Scout Platoon for CoC, Painting Rig and Strelkovy

 

 

This week, actually the last few days, I have been working on a 15mm Scout/Recon Platoon for Chain of Command to fight the Finnish platoon I did last week (see here).  The organisation of the platoon is based on the list found in the Too Fat Lardies Christmas Special 2016 (link here).  They are all from the Peter Pig (link here) range and are in 15mm scale.  I really enjoyed painting them and I think they are really nice models. If you are not familiar with Peter Pig, go and have a look at what they do – they have a very comprehensive WW2 range and a lot of specials like different type of Uniforms, Sniper, engineers, etc.

In addition Peter Pig has a lot of ranges covering War of the Roses, Samurai, English Civil War, Pirates (and even small 1/450th pirate ships), American War of Independence, American Civil War (and again some naval ships in smaller scale), Vikings & foes, colonial, wild west, great war, Spanish civil war, Vietnam and Modern Africa.  Further they sell Scenery and some fantastic rule sets (http://www.peterpig.co.uk/).

I could have painted the Scouts in a one colour  uniform but were keen to have some kind of camouflage to make them look  a little bit cooler. Artizan design have some very useful Painting Guides produced by Mick Farnworth on their webpage (link here), I found one showing Russian Leaf Patterns that I liked (link here) with only two nice contrasting colours. I then found two good colour matches (Vallejo 886 Green Grey and 887 Brown Violet – it may be called US Olive Drab nowadays).

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It is great to have these kind of guides. I just place paints until I find matches.

Then I painted the Uniform in the 887 and made small random dots with 886 on top and I think it looks good from the distance they will be looked at.

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Very happy with the test model. It certainly looks like he has some kind of camouflage on him and it looks good enough from here (yes I have since sorted the moustache from that skin tone).  Black boots, some gun metal, light brown on dark brown for leather details and the rifle.  US field drab on skin, highlighted with Medium Skin tone.  Relatively quick to do but be careful with the dots – I used a fine detailed brush for this.

Anyway, here are the completed miniatures.

Platoon Headquarters

Leytenant, Senior Leader, with Pistol

Serzhant, Junior Leader, with SMG

3 Squads each consisting of;

Serzhant, Junior Leader, with SMG

Light Machine Gun (LMG) with 2 crew

4 No. Submachine Gunners

4 No. Semi-Automatic Rifle Men (SVT40, not sure the models are, but hey!)

Support Options

Anti-tank rifle teams

50mm Mortar teams

Generic Engineering team (more a marker)

Commissar, to give the troops a kick in the arse (sorry, I meant to increase their morale)

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Mid-week Paining Solution – Getting my Hobby time back

Due to work I currently spend about 2 nights every week in hotels – it is a little bit of a change but I thought I make the best of it.  I am already getting tired of hotel bars.  I have decided to do some painting on these evenings, if I can, and have set up a little “paint-rig!”. Not very high tech and based on three old VHS boxes, and the system is modular as you can add more boxes ;).

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The three VHS Boxes
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The set-up! – (1) basing box on the left. The dark brown base, the three tone for dry brushing on top of the base layer, pva/water mix for static grass, superglue for tufts, tufts and 2 colours of static grass in bags under the paints! (2) Colours needed for current paint project in the middle box (10 Vallejo bottles can easily be fitted) and (3) the brushes and miniatures (magnetic sheet in the bottom, magnetised washers for bases, primed grey and black washed, ready for painting).  Piece of plastic for the paint, a little bowl of water and some paper, and your favourite podcast or audiobook on the iPad.

Light is a problem in hotel rooms and I have invested in a travel led lamp that will be a very welcome addition to the “rig!” but it is waiting for me in the house at the moment. I will get back to you with my verdict.

Capture

With regards to Podcast there is a new one out from the Wargames Soldiers and Strategy team that I enjoyed whilst painting yesterday, it is about participation games (link here). I wrote a blog a few weeks back that relates to this about engagement at wargames shows (link here).  Give it a go.

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Future Plans

I also plan to do 4 No. platoons of normal Strelkovy/Russian Infantry and I won a new box of Battlefront plastic 15mm Russians for £18 including postage from Ebay (they retail at about £26).  I checked them out and I like them and think they will paint up nicely. I also looked at Plastic Soldiers company pack but decided to start with the Battlefront ones – perhaps I get a PSC box in the future.  Since then I found out that the Battlefront ones are bulkier than the PSC ones and may not work together that well (thanks Ignacy Kurowski).

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To do 4 No. Platoons I will need:

  • 4 No. Senior Leaders with Pistol (there are 6 No. in the pack)
  • 12 No. Junior Leaders with SMG (there are 12 No. in the pack).
  • 12. No. LMG with 2 crew (there are 12 LMG soldiers in the pack but I would need 12 more Russian riflemen. I have some lying around I think).
  • 84 Riflemen (there are 84 No. in the pack)

In addition it comes with 6 No. MMG. These should keep me busy for a while!, but I will not start it until my Greeks are done (another story) and I have enjoyed a few weeks of leave.

/ Hope that was of some interest!, back in a bit.

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Finnish Continuation War – Infantry Platoon for Chain of Command

If you follow this blog you are aware that most of my projects end up getting some kind of Nordic twist in the end. The Little One and I have enjoyed the What a Tanker rules (link here). We have been playing this during the 1944 Summer offensive of the Finnish Continuation war. In two earlier blogs I wrote about a Finnish Career ladder based on tanks actually available as well as tanks that could have been (more in the links here and here).  In doing this I felt that I wanted more continuation war so I have painted up a Platoon of 15mm Finns from Battlefront (the same guys who makes Flames of War) and some supports, that I intend to use for playing Chain of Command by Too Fat Lardies (link here, but I suppose that the platoon can be used with any WW2 Platoon based rules).

Incidentally Osprey’s book vote this month offers the following potential title (with only a few days left).

Soviet Rifleman vs Finnish Infantryman: Continuation War 1941–44

From June 1941, Finnish troops fought alongside German and other forces against the Soviets. After recovering territory lost in 1940, the Finns participated in the siege of Leningrad before facing a renewed Soviet onslaught in mid-1944.

In my option there is far too little produced on the Continuation War in English – if you find this period interesting please click and vote here.  Back to the platoon.

From the excellent Jaeger platoon webpage (link here) we find the following information on the Infantry Company from 1943 to 1944 (there is also information there if you would like to run a Machine Gun platoon or an Anti-tank platoon, both these could offer some interesting battles):

  • Command Squad
  • Gas Protection Section
  • Antitank Squad
  • 3 Rifle Platoons (4th Platoon usually only on paper), in each rifle platoon

Command Squad

– Lieutenant/2nd Lieutenant (pistol and/or submachinegun)

– Platoon Sergeant (submachinegun)

– 2 men (messengers) (rifles)

4 Rifle Squads, 9 men in each squad

– Corporal (submachinegun)

– 8 men (light machinegun + submachinegun + 6 rifles)

Relatively straightforward, here is a Rifle Squad.

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The Finnish squad, the Alikersantti (Corporal)  in the Front with a Suomi Submachine gun, leading his squad of six rifle men,  submachine gunner and a light machine gunner (the domestic Lahti, that was relatively unpopular but since I do not have any with captured Russian LMG this will have to do).  The LMG comes in the Jalkaväki Platoon (FI702), this is standard infantry, see more below of what the pack contains (however I have had some variation in the content for the packs I have bought). To get sufficient amount of SMGs you need to buy the Jääkari Platoon (FI703).  This will give you what you need.

and all of the squads

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I made all the squads the same combination of miniatures.

…and finally the company command (note that the runners are not included as per normal Chain of Command praxis).

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Vänrikki Ruotsalainen and Kersantti Pössi

In a discussion on the Too Fat Lardies forum the potential of more Submachine Guns in the squads were discussed (link here), so I did a few more submachine gunners (some of them have very big hands!).

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Some extra Submachine Gunners

In addition the Finns were equipped with both Panzerfaust and Panzershreks in the Summer of 1944.

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Some punch against those Russian Monsters! (They were being used from June 1944).  The Panzershrek was called Panssarikauhu by the Finns and the directive was to repaint them in Finnish Camouflage Colours before being used – I need to rectify that or pretend it was pressed into service without a repaint.  The Panzerfausts were called Panssarinyrkki. Before this (and after) the Finnish infantry man would have used Anti-Tank Mines, Anti-Tank Rifles, logs and Molotov cocktails in trying to stop the metal machines.

I also some did some other supports,

  • Sniper Team
  • Some Medium Machine Guns
  • A medic (a artillery chap with a green stuffed bag on the front)
  • An anti-tank gun

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I will try to get some more types of anti-tank guns and also some Anti-tank rifles, but in  combination with the tanks I already have (see the link above) the force is ready to go and try to stop the Russian Onslaught.

Here are the contents of the various platoon packs from Flames of War (to build the platoon above you need to get FI703 and FI702) :

  • FI703 Jääkari Platoon –  1 Officer with a Pistol, 1 Officer with SMG, 5 No. NCO men (I think, 3 Rifle and 2 SMG), 1 No. SMG man with AT Grenade, 8 SMG Men, 24 Riflemen
  • FI702 Jalkaväki Platoon – 3 officers (one with pistol, the other with binoculars), 5 NCOs (I think, 3 Rifle and 2 SMG), 1 SMG man with AT grenade, 4 LMG, 29 Riflemen.
  • FI706 Pioneer Platoon: 1 officer, 5 NCOs (I think, 3 Rifle and 2 SMG), 13 Pioneers with AT grenades, 18 Riflemen, 2 Flame-throwers.

In addition I got the following packages for supports:

You can buy this directly from the Flames of War website, your favourite retailer (like element games) or occasionally get some good deals on ebay.  The total cost for the above, excluding the Pioneer Platoon, is about £55, excluding postage.  This gives a lot of spare miniatures but I have a cunning plan for those at a later date – it is from one of the scenes from the recent Finnish 2017 blockbuster “The Unknown Soldier”.

Here is a trailer that contains the scene in question., 54 seconds in.

 

I actually bought the Pioneer Platoon pack, but as for variety and uniqueness it only offers the flame-thrower model.  For £12 to £14 for a pack it is perhaps not really worth it, anyway here is a flamethrower team.

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I also have some gents carrying Anti-tank mines, they can also serve as an engineering team, or part of a anti-tank hunter section (with the Panzer knockers! above).

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The platoon can now report for service, where is the enemy?.

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A lonely man is observing the advancing Finns
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He stays hidden and signals frenetically towards the Roller of Ones

Ok, ok, I only have painted one of the opposing side yet.  I thought I start out with some Russian Scouts and make a Recon Platoon (as presented in the Lardies Xmas special 2016). But in writing this I have only done a test miniature.  This one is from Peter Pigs excellent range of Russian Scouts (link here). But that is for next time…

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Привет (Hello), Roller of Ones,  Now get you act together and do my platoon!

/ Hope that was of some interest…

Note to self, paint used for the project.

Paints

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The Roll of a Six that is Joy of Six

I have attended Joy of Six every year since 2011 and have presented a game on the show since 2012 with the Wyre Foresters spearheaded by Nick Dorrell (except in 2016 when Neil Shuck and I was running two tables of Saga in 6mm) presenting various battles from the Great Northern War.  We have done Fraustadt 1706, Klissow 1702, Kalisz 1706, Gadebusch 1712, Lesnaya 1708 and this year Horka 1708 (I wrote about that one in the last blog update here).  Next year will be a very special game for us as we will do Poltava 1709.  The Welsh Wizard called me Lord of 6mm the other day on Twitter, if that is so, then the Joy of Six should really be referred to as the House of 6mm Lords.

The show has grown over the years and so has the quality and range of games on offer. I know it is a typical thing to say, but I truly think the latest show was the best to date. I was scared about the move to the new location at the University but if felt like it was coming together nicely and I believe there is room to expand.  The food arrangements were brilliant.  I did not have/took the time to get involved in any of the other games but I took a few pictures that I will share (however contrary to my earlier post about shows – link here – I did not really do what I preached, but to my defence is the fact that I did put on a game). At the end of this short post are a few links to some very useful blog posts to get a better overall impression of proceedings – I suggest you have a look at these.

Shout Outs

First a big shout out to a few of the people I met up with including Commodore Rob, Pete, Dan, the Wyre Foresters, Derek & Son, The Wargames Calculators, Vlad, Mike (Welsh Wizard), Neil Schuck, “6mm Sceptic” Dave, Dave Luff, Trevor Crook and the Other Mad Gamers and Simon. Some of these I had only known through the blog or twitter and it is really nice to put a face to a name.  It honestly makes my day every time.  I have inevitably forgotten a few, and I am sorry for this as my mind was somewhat spinning during the day. It is after all a little bit emotional to put your baby up for public display, especially as I had not done it before.

The Baccus/Wargames Emporium crew (i.e. people involved in the event, spearheaded by Peter Berry but with strong support) are always nice to see and they do a hell of a job. Also to the Little One who hanged around the table most of the day and joined in managing the Russian Elite Infantry (Golitzins Brigade/Command). Also to my daughter who has helped at Joy of Six for the last few years and the Better One of Course.

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Speaker at the House of 6mm Lords – Mr Peter Berry

I thought the bring and buy was handled well and I managed to sell a few GHQ stuff, some board games I never play and even a few Flames of War StuGs. There were a mixture of scales on offer and some books, etc.

As for traders I think it is nice to have such a good number of specialised vendors in one place allowing you to see what the scale has to offer, traders attending were (with a link to their webpage):

Special mention to our new friends who came all the way from Poland, GM Boardgames, as promised here are some of the Polish Forces, including Winged Hussars, Pancerni and the Polish Camp we used for the Klissow and Kalisz battles.

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Dr Mike’s painting clinic could not make it due to some logistical issues which is a shame because apart from showing you how to paint 6mm miniatures, Mike has the warmest smile on the wargames circuit and was sorely missed by me and I think many others – hope to see you next year Mike.

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One of Mike’s many nice creations. Models from Rapier

Seminar(s)

The first seminar was about Baccus itself and what the plans are moving forward.  I did not go to this one but an overview is provided in one of the links below.

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The second Seminar was a panel moderated by Peter Berry, with three brilliant panelists being Neil Shuck and Mike Hobbs from the Meeples and Miniatures Podcast (link to them here) and John Treadaway who is the editor of Miniature Wargames (here).  The initial question was whether 6mm had a bad reputation, but I think the general conclusion was that it did not have a bad reputation but a low profile. Both the 6mm manufacturers, wargames press, and most importantly the hobbyists themselves have a shared responsibility.  What I took away personally from it, with my afterthoughts added to it, was:

  • Spread the Joy of Six – blog about it, write articles and send them to the wargames press.  John Treadaway left his card for anyone interested to contact him at miniaturewargames@warnersgroup.co.uk , and I suppose you could try the others too, you know who they are.  Nick and I decided to do a write-up on the Horka table and see how it goes.  With this blog I have tried to highlight some different approaches and uses for the scale – mostly mass battle but also space efficient and easy to set-up skirmish gaming.  As Neil Shuck says be passionate about it! It will shine through and people will get it.
  • Show others what we can do – take your stuff to other events – I have put up two 6mm tables at Salute.  It was a different experience than Joy of Six and the average interest is somewhat different but there is enough interest for you to have a good day and if it looked good at Joy of Six it will look good on another show.  We will make sure Horka get some other outings.
  • Enhance the signal by supporting each other – there is a 6mm community out there and I think we could encourage each other more and trying to do links in blogs, mentions on Facebook, retweets on twitter etc to make sure that we enhance the signal of the smaller scale stuff.  This hobby is far from a competition, it is a co-operative game – if you like 6mm it is in your own interest to promote the hobby on a wider scale – more interest, more sales, more ranges, more Joy of Six (these things of course applies to other scales and aspects of the hobby).

In addition the issue of taking photos of 6mm games were raised and I agree that it is difficult. However, what are we taking pictures off? – men or battles?.  Remember the painting from the last blog (here) – it provoked a life-long interest for at least one little boy I know very well.

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Just a few Games (Sorry)

Finally a few games that I took pictures off.

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Zebrugge Raid 1918 – a very nice table and grand.  You may recall the excellent 28mm game from Salute covering the same raid (see more here) – this was a totally different spectacle and told a wider story. Presented by the Naval Wargames Society.
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Daniel Hodgson, who runs Reveille Studios and does a lot of fantastic 6/10mm stuff, inspired me with his Sudan War stuff at Joy of Six 2011.  I hold him responsible for giving me the courage and inspiration to put mine first one on in 2012.  This one being the action at Gilly 15th June 1814 (part of the 100 days campaign).  I really like they way he has worked the Kallistra bases.  If you need something 6mm beautifully painted I think you should send him a line ….  Daniel Hodgson on Facebook, reveille miniatures.  Hats off again Dan!
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The Mad Gamers always put on an interesting and beautiful battle – last few years we have seen 18th century stuff, Zulus, WW2 at Joy of Six. This year some Sci-Fi with a fantastic overall colour scheme and some pretty innovative terrain and some home-made miniatures (being, but not looking, cheap) mixed with some traditional 6mm sci-fi stuff.  Using Future War Commander rules.

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Had a Burger on the Way up to the Show at Milton Keynes, but did not know that their Wargames Society had this fantastic meal on their Menu.  This was Rome vs Barbarians DBMM Ancients – I really like that mass of barbarian warriors in the centre.  That looks like a proper battle at least in the way I envisage them.
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That is really impressive!

For a lot more pictures, click on this link to the Beast of War Webpage with excellent pictures and some commentary by CommodoreRob – https://www.beastsofwar.com/project/1227711/

The cold war commanders put on an interesting battle fought in different eras – more here on the land of counterpane blog  http://thelandofcounterpane.blogspot.com/2018/07/joy-of-six-2018.html

Last but not least a very nice show report by the Heretical wargamers – I really like this format http://hereticalgaming.blogspot.com/2018/07/joy-of-six-2018-show-report.html

Hope that was of some interest,

/ Looking forward to the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The What-if Battle Horka 1708 at Joy of Six 2018

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Yesterday, the Wyre Foresters and I had the pleasure of presenting Horka 1708 at the Joy of Six.  We have discussed the background to the battle before and I have attached a handout that contains some background on the idea of the battle, the rules we used (Twilight of the Sun King) as well as an list of the forces used on the day:

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Handout – word format – Handout – Horka 1708 v2

Handout – pdf format – Handout – Horka 1708 v2

It could be useful to read this one before pushing on.

Following a nice family Saturday in the Derbyshire Dales, visiting the impressive Crich Memorial for the Sherwood Foresters Regiment and the nearby Tramway village, we went to Sheffield and attended the famous BBKBCE – Baccus Balti King Beer and Curry Evening.  This is a chance to meet some old a new friends on the eve of the many battles being fought at the Joy of Six.

The Doors at the Joy of Six opened at 10am, but by this time I had been trying to set up the table since 8.30am.  It took me a few minutes more – I always mess up some of the regiments in terms of placement and being pedantic with regards to these things knock-on effects on the schedule are inevitable.  The mat worked reasonably well, but I had some issues with the sides and I may want to use some duct tape when I roll it out again.  I am still in two minds on how I will do the Poltava battlefield next year as it has some interesting elevation – perhaps reverting back to boards or a mix of elevation pieces and a mat – I have a few more months to worry about that.

Having put it all on and taking a step back I have to admit that I said a little “wow”, and reflected on the fact that this is why I do this.  Not to stare at an individual miniature being nicely painted (because that is not really my forte, but I do like nicely painted larger scale stuff), but to stare at something that resembles a battle when you take a step back – a battle from one of those many pictures the old man used to show me when I was a little boy and an aspiring General.

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The Battle of Poltava, 1726, by Denis Martens the Younger.  One of those paintings that really inspired me. It is the grandeur and the drama, Peter the Great in the middle front with his entourage fighting their way forward, the Russian camp on the left and the first Russian Line of infantry and battalion guns giving fire towards the oncoming Swedish force, the smoke, the intensity – just brilliant!

 

Admittedly not your average evening game weighing in at 12 by 5 feet, more than 3,700 miniatures on more than 270 bases – but at Joy of Six – why not! Here is Horka 1708.  I dedicate this game to my Dad, who I hope is feasting in Valhalla!

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The squares (65mm) are “Command Cards” – 5 for the Swedes and 10 for the Russians.  I printed these on sticky labels and put them on MDF bases. It adds a little bit of flair to the game – I think – and also indicates the rating of the Commander. From Poor (+0) to Exceptional (+3).

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Here is the file I used for these – Command Cards – Horka 1708  (and in Powerpoint – battle of Horka commanders ).

The actual battle worked out great for the Swedes.  The Russian left cavalry flank collapsed under the pressure of Major-General Creutz relentless cavalry attack on the other side of the river, combined with the strong push of the centre.  The Tsar himself died heroically in the Battle.  Surprising Field Marshall Rehnskiöld with the finest of the cavalry regiments was struggling on the Russian right.  It was a decisive Swedish victory.  In a re-fight setting we would probably consider making the Russian position stronger with defences and perhaps treat the waterway as more treacherous.  So the next refight may be more desperate for the Swedes than this first go indicated.

However, for now, the Swedes won at Horka in 1708.

I will do a general update about the show itself later this week – but I actually did not have time to do very much. It is how it works out when you have table to attend to.  There are however some things I need to mention, a few shout outs to people, the seminar I attended and a few of the tables that caught my eye (and I actually took some photos but only a few)  but that is for another time.

/ Hope that was of some interest, a few more pictures of the battle.

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Many thanks for passing-by, next year we are doing Poltava 1709.32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handout for Joy of Six 2018

Trying to get organised for the Joy of Six show…

Count Basie! (I hope it is all there).

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Packing some books

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Dice, measuring stick and markers

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Making the table stand poster…

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Getting some questions on what we are doing etc so here is write-up for the handout we will be giving out on the day (some of it has been used in previous blog updates), it is to give the passer-by some information on what they are looking at.

 

The Battle of Horka 1708 – a what-if battle

POSTSCRIPT – I have provided an updated version of this in a later blogpost (see link here) – there is a downloadable word and pdf document that covers this and also show the forces and the commands we used on the day – I suggest you go to the other blog post and stop reading this).

The Great Northern War started in 1700 when a coalition formed by Peter the Great of Russia, Frederick IV of Denmak-Norway and Augustus II the Strong of Saxony-Poland attacked Sweden. The coalition were formed following the death of the Swedish King Charles XI and based on the belief that the new and very young King would not be able to put up an organised fight.  Following Swedish successful expansion during the 17th century a lot of these neighbours wanted lost territories back, limit Swedish economic dominance and gain access to the Baltic Sea.

However the King turned out to be a skilled warrior and leader of men and the preparedness, quality and efficiency of battle methods of the Swedish army built up by his father was second to none during this era. The King quickly pacified Denmark and a Peace Treaty was signed in 1700 at Travendal. The Russians were defeated at the Battle of Narva in 1700 but then the King turned his attention to Saxony-Poland and Augustus.  However due to a number of factors it took the King another 6 years to defeat the Saxon-Polish and force the abdication of Augustus the Strong from the Polish crown (1706 Treaty of Altranstädt).

But the King still had unfinished business with the Russians and the time had come to march towards Moscow ….

In the beginning of July 1708, shortly after his victory against the Russians Holowczyn, the King had reached the Dnieper river with the Crown Army at Mogilev (in todays eastern Belarus).    It was, he believed, the last major physical obstacle on the road towards Moscow.  The Russians had not made the advance easy as they had applied an scorched earth policy (the same policy that both Napoleon and Hitler would come to know later in history) destroying or removing supplies, burning bridges, withdrawing from villages, harassment of the moving army by irregular Cossack and Kalmuck light horse and dragoons, in combination with the constant rain (it had rained for about 4 weeks almost every day) that destroyed the crops and the hay and also affected the roads that further slowed down the March.  The Russians would not give the King the decisive battle he needed.  An army does indeed not only march on roads in knee deep mud but also on its stomach and there were still another 300 miles to Moscow – but as we know hope was on the way in the form of the column of supply and soldiers being brought by General Lewenhaupt.

“So once the Swedes had secured the area around Mogilev they stopped to wait for Lewenhaupt and his vital supplies to arrive. … Meanwhile the Russian army had also halted and encamped, as the next obvious destination of the Swedes was the city of Smolensk, the Russians occupied a strong position on the road from Mogilev to this city.  The camp was at Horka, sometime called Gorki, a short distance east along the road to Smolensk. … The Swedes considered attacking the position but in the end did not. Had they done so it seem likely that the Russians would have stood and fought.”

from The Dawn of the Tsarist Empire, by Nick Dorrell

We know the King would have liked to get on with it.

“Charles XII wanted to march on and put further pressure on the Russians after their disappointing defeat at Holowczyn – the sooner the better – before they had a chance to recover.”

Translated from Katastrofen vid Poltava (The Catastrophe at Poltava) by Peter From

So in our scenario the King gave the order to break up the camp and “Gå-På” towards the Russian position at Horka and the Russians did not slip away.  It is large battle for the period and roughly represent a force of 32,000 Swedes vs. 55,000 Russians.

The battle is fought on a 12′ by 5′ table using Baccus Miniatures from the Great Northern War and the Spanish Succession Range.

The Russian Army consist of 787 cavalry miniatures and 1536 No. infantry figures (excluding artillery and command bases) on 155 bases.

The Swedish Army is about two thirds of the size of the Russian Army and consist of 636 cavalry and 672 infantry.

Typically a base on infantry represent a battalion of about 400 to 600 men armed with musket and pike, typically represented by 24 miniatures.  They are grouped in either normal units of 2 bases or large units of 3 bases.  A base of cavalry represents two or three squadrons of about 200 to 300 men, as for the cavalry they can be organised as normal or large units.  There are normally between 7 and 9 cavalry models on each base with.

We are using the Twilight of the Sun King Rules to run the game, The rules are, to quote the Design Philosophy notes, “…radical, some would say reductionist, in their conception. It is based on the premise that during this time period, morale rather than numbers of casualties was the key to deciding combat and even the outcome of battles. Many wargames rules pay lip-service to this; however, these rules take the radical step of collapsing shooting and close combat into morale. This dramatically simplifies game play but does so, in the designers’ opinion, without significant loss of historical accuracy.”

We are the Wyre Foresters and the Game is Umpired by Nick Dorrell who has edited the latest version of the Twilight of the Sun King Rules and Per Brodén who has painted the miniatures and made the terrain.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS AND/OR WANT TO ROLL SOME DICE PLEASE APPROACH US – THAT IS WHY WE ARE HERE AT THE SHOW.

We will be back next year putting on the Battle of Poltava 1709.

For further information:

Wyre Forest Wargames club: wfgamers.org.uk

Per Brodén’s Wargaming blog: Rollaone.com or twitter @roll_a_one

Twilight of the Sun King rules: http://www.wfgamers.org.uk/resources/C18/Twilight/ToSK.htm

 

 

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Engagement at Wargames Shows and a final call for Joy of Six 2018

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Following on from some discussions I have followed on twitter recently (@Roll_a_One) I wanted to write a short note about two things about wargame shows that triggered a little bit of deeper thought than I normally allow myself. Also helped by the fact that I have spent more time than I ever wanted on delayed trains this week and have had no chance to do anything practical hobby wise, here we go.

1. The Show walkthrough
2. Demo vs. Participation Games

The Show Walkthrough

I had the following amusing situation (well at least in my view) at Salute a few years back (it was when Nick Dorrell and I demonstrated the Fraustadt 1706 game):

“Do you mind if I take a picture of the table?”, a middle-aged man with a beard that would be called trendy nowadays with a smart looking camera asks politely.

“Not at all!, are you familiar with the Battle of Fraustadt or the Great Northern War?”, me leaning in and hoping for some kind of interaction.

“Not at all!”, the man says taking a few shots form above and then moving away from me trying to zoom in on one of the Saxon infantry bases and his camera takes some time to autofocus (the lighting being unforgivable in the Salute hall).

“The models are from Baccus and they are mostly from their Great Northern War range, they are 6mm. Those Saxons are from their War of Spanish Succession range as the Saxons wore similar uniforms to the Western Europeans”, me moving closer and leaning even deeper.

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“Couldn’t paint anything so small”, moving onto the Swedish side and taking another quick succession of shots and then a close-up of some of the cavalry bases, with the same issues with the autofocus.

“This is the decisive Battle of the Saxon campaign of the Great Northern War and as a direct consequence Charles XII managed to obtain a peace treaty with Augustus II the Strong of the Albertine line of the House of Wettin was Elector of Saxony, Imperial Vicar and elected King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. after 6 years of war”, me getting very excited and with sweeping arm movements I am set up to transfer this essential knowledge of history to the man with the camera.

“Sorry not really interested, I am just taking pictures for my blog. Do you mind moving a little bit so I can take a picture showing the name of the Battle”, he interrupted me, I moved surprising swiftly out of his firing arc, he took his snap and then proceeded to the next table repeating the procedure.

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I put my waving hands behind my back and carried on! I reflected on the fact that he would never know that the marshland on the Saxon/Russian left flank was moss from my garden baked in the oven then soaked with pva glue, that the hedges around the field were made from green scourers, that the reason the line was not straight were due to a miscalculation on the available space between the two villages by the Saxon Commander, that the Saxons/Russian had been standing in their position for ages and were freezing their balls off, that the reason I painted the Russians in Red Coats was that they had turned their coats inside out to look like Saxons, etc.

I was interrupted in my thoughts as another a middle-aged man with a beard that would be called trendy nowadays with a smart looking camera came towards the table. I got my lean-in position ready.

The incident above made me laugh and I reflected on these unsung heroes rushing around taking pictures of stuff not for themselves but to share with other people who may be interested but not able to attend themselves – it s a great service and sacrifice! So to the Man with the Camera – thanks for doing this and sorry for retelling the story in what may be confused with irony or some kind of bitterness.

I find myself invariably drawn into a wargames table (yes we are drifting back towards that kind of thing again) and I am keen to understand what is going on and very often how things have been done and how it works – I am kind of into this hobby you see. It is not always obvious and I like it when a table either gives a nice history/story lesson and/or gives a great game – I love it when it does both. I also like nice terrain and clever solutions mainly with regards to decluttering the table of makers and instead using inventive markers that blend in with the table – it helps the immersion.

It is a lot of hard work and research behind most of the games that are presented at shows and my best advice when going to a show is to stop and talk to people and learn more. If you are shy just stand next to someone who seems to be part of the group until they are free and I bet someone will start talking to you. Grab a handout and ask, they did not just come to show of their game as a flashy post card in an album of many – let them give you its soul and perhaps you will fall in love with it to. Perhaps you could share this experience to the world with a little write-up and maybe a picture or two trying to convey what you felt about the game as a whole – not just what it looked like. I think we need a few more Walkthrough Reflectionists too – the slow walkthrough. Beauty, it is said, is only a paint layer deep!.

Are Demonstration Games the Opposite to Participation Games?

Some groups putting on games seem to treat shows as an outing and any passers-by as a distraction. They face inwards and normally seem to have entrenched themselves with everything they need for the day within reach – they are there to play their game with themselves. Luckily, I think these ones are in decline.

When Nick (Dorrell) and I do our Great Northern War battle we do them as demonstration games, but you can participate for as long as you like. Perhaps to try out some of the mechanisms of the game, we never expect to play the game to its conclusion – although, as a notable exception, we managed to finish Klissow 1702 a few years back at Joy of Six. The game is there as a discussion point in our case about the Battle itself, the rules we are using, the origins of miniatures and terrain, how we painted it and built it, etc. We have roles – I talk about the terrain and the miniatures (having painted and built it), Nick does the rules questions (having developed the latest set of the Twilight of the Sun King rules), we both talk about the Great Northern War (both being passionate about it). Anyone else helping gets a role depending on what they know, normally they will keep the game going.

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Some time ago I heard, or perhaps read, Richard Clarke (one of the Too Fat Lardies) saying that he does not run dumbed down versions of the rules at shows to make it easy – he runs his rules as they come. I think it is important to reflect on this in how you want to present your game. I have had a lot of fun playing some game specific rules in 30 minutes at many shows, but we cannot run the Battle of Fraustadt in 30 minutes with the rules we are using – Sorry! Therefore we need to engage in a different view.

They key with a show game, in my opinion, is that it is should be there to engage with others should they want to. Have handouts to give out or to refer to, bring some books about the period (it always looks impressive) or props. We want people to get a feel for whether this kind of game, period, miniatures used, etc is something for them. Scaring people away will not showcase your particular niche of the hobby and to be honest it is at your own detriment.

Demonstration games should not be the opposite to participation games – you actually have to work as hard, or perhaps harder, interacting with the visitors. What the hell are you demonstrating? It is your flippin’ job on the show mate!, you may not get paid but you are taking up space.

Let me know what you think!

By the way, you have a chance to see whether this engagement talk is just bullshit at Joy of Six next week as Nick and I are putting on a table. You are free to ignore us, come by and take a photo and just go, or to stay around and ask a few questions if there is something of interest, or even stay and roll some dice for a while. We are happy to engage with you at any level you want.

We will be putting on a 9 by 12 table with 250 bases of the finest Russia and Sweden had to offer in 1708! – Horka 1708.

Check it up here. And here some background on the table we are putting on, but there are 22 other games ranging from ancients to sci-fi and pretty much anything in-between.

All the best,

/ Have a good day!

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(TMT) Horka 1708 – Making the Mat – Part 2 and ready and steady for Joy of Six 2018

It has been some busy weeks since the last update on this mat business.  Had time to go to a 50th birthday party, visit the Tower with the kids, Father’s day celebration, some relaxation by the river and starting a new Job.  However I have done some progress on the 12 by 5 feet battlement, or the hairshirt as I call it,  that I will march my soldiers on at the Joy of Six on the 15th July.

I managed to do the dry brushing for most of the mat, I use the normal three colours on top of the chocolate brown I have used for the last 10 years or so.  It may not be the best combination but serves to tone down the cholate brown and the final light yellow is very effective.  All my stuff, terrain, model bases, etc. fits together, it is done with the same colour and even the static grass (I use the two tones of green that Kalistra sells).

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Colour I use to drybrush with and the order they are applied.

Here is my best advice for doing the dry brushing of the mat, use a small brush (not a paint brush) and take your time, change direction, small brush strokes.  Dry brush to scale!

 

 

I prefer a little bit of patchy application of the grass areas as I want parts of the base mat to be seen, you may like it differently.  This is a messy process as it is difficult to turn around the mat to shake the excess of with this big mat without causing major mayhem – with static fibres flying everywhere.  When I did my 2 by 2 boards I used to shake them in a large plastic bag.  Now I use a bagless vacuum cleaner (make sure it is empty before you start) but it is not a perfect process.  I also detailed up the river and used some high gloss varnish on top.  This is how it ended up (note the darker grass areas are to be filled with trees on the day) and I am very happy – apart from the real estate, bridges and trees it is all in the mat.

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The Original Concept Sketch

 

 

So apart from making some bridges (5 No.) I think we are ready to go and I can fit the roll in the car….

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the trees are ready….

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and so are the men…

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Joy of Six 2018 we are ready for you,  I hope to see you there (link here).

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Traders

  • Baccus
  • Wargames Emporium
  • Commission Models
  • Brigade Models
  • Leven
  • GM Boardgames
  • Heroics and Ros
  • Rapier
  • Christopher Morris (Books)
  • GS Miniature Workshop

And as for the games…

  • GM Boardgames
Battle of Seven Pines
  • Wakefield and District Wargamers
Ultra fast Sci-Fi
  • SAD Wargames
Operation Excess
  • Cold War Commanders
  • COGS
DBA
  • COGS
To the Strongest
  • Gripping Beast
Swordpoint 6mm
  • Naval Wargames Society
Zeebrugge Raid 1918
  • Per Broden and Wyre Foresters
Horka 1708
  • Commission Figures
Napoleonic
  • Mailed Fist
Normandy 44
  • Yorkshire Renegades
Megara
  • Ian and Mark Henderson
Hastings
  • MAD gamers
Future War Commander
  • Baccus 6
Manchester 1642
  • Milton Keynes
DBMM Ancients
  • Harry Ryder
Battle of Issus
  • Grantham Strategy and Gaming club
Battle of Britain
  • Ian Willey and Lee Sharpe
Magnesia
  • Robert Dunlop
Matz 1918
  • Sheffield Wargames Soc & WD
Cliches of the Great Patriotic War
  • James Mitchell
ECW – Halfway Down

 

Also some seminar and Dr. Mike’s painting clinic, more stuff here http://www.thejoyof6.co.uk/

/ All the best.