Gosh, how do you review 2020? It was a bloody miserable year from many aspects and I think better analysts will summarise the world events like COVID-19, Brexit, American Elections and whether historical wargaming is dying. This review is more personal…
Well given all the time I have had working from home rather than getting into an office my blog activity has been really poor – this is only the 24th blogpost this year, that is about half the number of blog posts I normally do. However I do a lot of mini-blogging on Twitter and sometimes wish that I could link the two in some way. The blog posts feel more permanent and perhaps more like an achievement and gives time for a little bit more thought and wider information compare to doing tweets – I do not know.
Anyway thanks to everyone who follows this blog, the facebook group (not sure what to do with it) and/or my twitter account. All your encouragement has been really helpful this year, keep it up!
In terms of the hobby it has been a fantastic year and a few highlights for me have been playing in Jeremy Short’s Runequest campaign with some great people, attended the virtual Grogmeet that was an absolute blast and again catching up with new and old friends, hosted my own RPG on Roll20 for the Gang running a 28 year old scenario I wrote for the first Dalcon in 1992 (The Dweller in Darkness). Mike Hobbs set up a virtual paint club that I have really enjoyed and again met new and old friends for some casual chat. Thanks to all of you!
The Little One and the Others
The Little One is always up for a Game and playing with him is not something new I have discovered during lock-down but we had a blast playing a lot of games including Chain of Command, What a Tanker, Twilight of The Sun King, Men who Would be Kings, Dragon Rampant and many others. We have even got the rest of the family involved in some RPG and board game fun which I have to say is an achievement, Cheers mate!
Painting for Charity
I also had this idea that now seems like a no brainer about paining an army together as a community projects and try to make some money for charity. Well what a total blast that was and in 2021 we will take it further. This project actually makes me really proud and I take my Tricorne, of is it floppy hat off to all the painters who participated.
Here are some links about the project, including painting guides, etc.
Below a few pictures when we fought a Battle using these two amazing armies, with the help of the Twilight of the Sun King rules.
The high level plan for the project moving forward is
Doing a booklet with the armies
I would like the Army to fight a Battle at a Proper wargames show
Raising monies to Combat stress by doing a Raffle to win the army
More about this in 2021, again thanks to all who participated and encouraged.
Gods Own Scale Podcast
Sean Clarke re-launched the Gods Own Scale following some, I hope positive pressure, from Peter Berry and I. Sean has a relaxed style and brings out the best in the interviews he carries out, his passion shines through and the his list of guest have been varied and some new voices not previously heard, I especially enjoyed the episodes on Irregular Miniatures and Heroics and Ros.
I was invited together with Daniel Hodgson, Alex Sotheran to the Christmas special. It was a long show and I hope it came across like a few hobbyists having a good talk in the pub, because that is how it felt.
After a long and relentless campaign of trying to get Dirk at Grognard Towers to do an episode on MERP he did TWO episodes and he even brought Legend Liz Danforth to the party – what an absolute delight. Dirk also asked me to do a “First, Last and Everything”, you can listen to it in the link below.
The project got some attention from the Dala Radio and it was fun to talk about the project and I wrote about that here. I have also made some suppression markers and jump off points here as well as some river assault boats, here. This is a great project and I will try to start playtesting some scenarios for a Swedish Half-Pint sized campaign in 2021. You can find the latest Swedish Platoon lists here.
I also did some strange base forces for Infamy! Infamy!, more here. This is expanding the Mutant 1984 world in an early era.
I did some cool 2mm bases and that I will use to try out Mark Backhouse’s upcoming rule set “Strength and Honour”. More here. This will be my early 2021 focus.
So for 2021 it will be more of the same, I wish you from the bottom of my heart a fantastic 2021!
But before I go, we had a fantastic game last night and I am too tired for a write-up and there are other things to do, so a few pictures from the Twitter Feed – Another Mutant 1984 diversion using a variant of “The Men who would be Kings” rules, with some freaky events.
During the hostilities of WW2 the Royal Swedish Army was undergoing a number of changes and the most significant at the Platoon level was the 43M reorganisation. This organisation was ordered for the Army in 1940. The objective was that all units would have completed this reorganization by 1943. This re-organisation introduced more fire power to the Rifle Section by equipping the NCOs with SMGs and adding 2 No. Semi-Automatic rifles to each section. Further firepower was also provided by the introduction of a fifth Specialist Section with a 47mm Mortar team and an Anti-tank rifleman to each Platoon. In addition, a rifleman per section was a designated Sharpshooter and had a scoped rifle.
These lists allow you to field a normal Rifle Platoon (Skyttepluton) or a Ranger Platoon (Jägarpluton). The latter was more than often used to do specific recon missions and to distress the enemy.
These platoons would most often march onto to the battlefield, with a platoon cart and a horse. Some platoons may be equipped with bikes and some may even be driven to the battlefield in a truck.
The changes were gradual, and we suggest that the player can choose to play either the 1940 to 1943 or the 1943 to 1945 Rifle Platoon for the 1943 campaign.
You can download the latest lists in a PDF format below (they are work in progress, if you have any views or suggestions let me now).
Writing this after another day working from home during the Corona lock-down in Greater London – I am happy to report that my immediate and extended family are all ok. It all feels very surreal, and I hope as always that this blog will give you a few moments of being away from it all in a safe place.
More pictures from the Dalarna 1943 Project and being contacted by Swedish Radio
A note on my appearance on the Grognard Files
I was contacted by the Swedish Radio last week, their regional Dalarna branch, about this project and recorded a short thing for their morning show today. It made me happy, I hope I did not come across as too much of an idiot whenever it is being aired.
Here is a sound file containing the segment (in Swedish, aired 03 Apr 2020)
A lot of recent progress on this project as I have finished the third batch of Prints from Sabotag3d (link here). I am really happy to see that Paul has been shipping some round pole fences (gärdsgård) over to Sweden and consequently me not being the only one fascinated by this type of Fence. So if this appeals to someone get in contact with Paul and see what he can do for you, he makes these fences in 1/100 scale (15mm size miniatures) as well as for 28mm miniatures. But I suppose you can get them in any scale you like – it really takes us straight into the Dalarna landscape of old (and new) without to much leap of faith. We should also add that Paul also did a few damaged sections for me, to be used to illustrate the impact of an explosion or that a tank has driven through them.
Last time around we had done the basic village tiles and the round pole fences and it allowed to create something like this (there is a link here to an earlier blog that covers this is some detail and talks about the Falu Red colour used for the houses, etc).
For further detailing I wanted to have some mail boxes, typical of the Swedish country side. So I sent Paul the idea and as always he returned a fantastic little print (truth is that the state post box may not have had the colour scheme and the symbol at that time, but I felt it just needed to look that way).
Milk of course was collected differently in those days and milk churns would be standing on tables alongside the road, ready for collection on the morning.
The centre of the village is the Lanthandel that would sell you the supplies you needed.
And finally a little petrol station, probably not that operational due to rationing, but again a not to uncommon feature in the Sweden of 1943.
On top of this I have spent some time doing further features to add to the landscape and increase the immersion factor on the table.
We laid out another table and had a game with the Little One last weekend (using the Chain of Command rules by Too Fat Lardies, link here) and then we did a lot of shots of vehicles because we could.
A Little Game
Some random shots of Swedish WW2 Vehicles
The Grognard Files – First, Last and Everything
For you not familiar with the Grognard files here is Dirk’s own summary what it is all about (stolen from his webpage).
I’m Dirk the Dice and this is the GROGNARD files podcast, talking bobbins about table-top RPGs from back in the day and today. The Armchair Adventurers are small FRPG group that meet monthly in Bolton. We first got together thanks to a ‘small ad’ in WHITE DWARF in 1983. We got back together in 2010 to play Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep monthly for 3 years. Playing again reignited our passion for RPGs, so we returned to some more classic campaigns from our teenage years: RuneQuest BORDERLANDS, Traveller ADVENTURE, RuneQuest GRIFFIN MOUNTAIN and Call of Cthulhu FUNGI FROM YUGGOTH. Our interest began to shift towards what had happened to RPGs during our period away from the hobby.
I have been, in a friendly way, been pestering Dirk to do a podcast about the Middle Earth Roleplaying Game for a long time (check out #grogmerp on twitter if you do not believe me). Last month he released part 1 of the MERP (Middle Earth Roleplaying) show and he asked me to do a “First, Last and Everything” segment for Part 2 – that is a presentation of my first, last and overall favourite RPG games. I went for (because it is true) the first being the old Swedish RPG game Mutant (from 1984) that I have written about here on a few occasions (link some of it here, here, here and here), MERP as it is the last one I played and you can find out more about it in the two Episodes below, my everything is the classic Call of Cthulhu Rpg.
Here are the links to the two parts of Episode 36 – Middle-Earth Role Playing (MERP) with Liz Danforth:
/ As always I do hope that this was of some interest, stay safe during these and any other times
First, Last and Everything
Hi, My name is Per and I am delighted to deliver my first, last and everything. You can find me on Twitter as Per at RollaOne or on my blog rollaone.com.
It was 1984 and I was 12 and my slightly older cousin Mika was visiting us in our little provincial town in the heartlands of Sweden, Dalarna, where if you take the wrong fork you may come upon a lonely and curious country, in areas that remind you of some Lovecraftian environment – desolate, quiet and with the occasional character sneaking around, or looking through the windows with empty stares and some doors hanging on rusty and consequently noisy hinges blowing in the wind. These are places where they say shoot-dig-keep quiet – that kind of thing. I mean all that Nordic Noir crime stuff must have come from somewhere? But most of it are quaint red houses with white trimmings, surrounded by, wait for it, round pole fences.
He, my cousin, cajoled me into buying this new game that he had played called Mutant, a game set after the catastrophe in a future Scandinavia. You could play as mutated humans & animals or be a robot from the old time (but with a messed up memory bank, with a tendency to obey orders from pure humans or those who had not too obvious mutations – later I learned they were programmed to follow Asimov’s 3 robotic Laws). You could also be a PSI-mutant with mental powers, shunned by most people with or without fur. They were like magic users but very often with defects like madness or confusion triggered by failing to use a mental ability – making it very frustrating at times, or pure (non-mutated) humans considerable sturdier and more clever than we are today and with a patronising at best to a disrespectful view on mutants. The society that had risen was roughly at the technology level of the early 19th century – you could arm yourself with a musket if you had the cash but equally common were a baseball bat and an old bin lid, or traffic sign with a moose, as a shield. It was a more organised society than in movies like Mad Max – things had calmed down. There were forbidden zones to adventure in and the dungeon equivalent were old research labs or other underground facilities with the chance of finding old tech, crazy cyber computers, frozen people from the old times or mutated beasts – sometimes all at once. The dragon equivalent were giant beetles and land sharks that swam through the earth It was my fist role-playing game and we had never heard about anything like it and it also came with some funny looking dice, but no gaming board. Just a little cardboard sheet that was used to resolve whether the character understood what the old tech item he has just found was. My cousin had never GM:ed before and actually as it turned out he had never played the game – however he spent a day reading it and the following evening a few friends and I made some characters – mine a mutated moose, a hunter, with a big club and a musket – then he very ably played us through the introductionary scenario “Mission in Mos Mosel” until the small hours ….it was love at first play….
This game has evolved to what today is known as Mutant Year 0, and a number of the modern products has given more than a nod to the old modules and adventures.
However we quickly advanced to non-Swedish rpgs – it was not as cool to play the Swedish games – at least not in those days.
We went on a School trip to London in Year 9, this was 1987, and the trip was funded to not a small part of us selling loaves of home baked breads outside a local shopping centre and we also set up a school show and invited all the parents and students – I and yet another cousin and fellow gamer Sebastian played two drunk characters and we made some crap jokes pretending to be pissed and we had a grand finale with the song “Shut uppa you face”, by Joe Dolce. In London we, equipped with a Summer of earnings from working for the local council’s real estate department cutting lawns, bushes and collecting rubbish, delivering leaflets at weekends or selling the Sunday issues of a broadsheet newspaper, bought a lot of RPG games and modules from Orcs Nest (still on Earlham Street today), Games Workshop and The Virgin shop on Oxford Street. We got Judge Dredd, MERP (Middle Earth Roleplaying Game), Call of Cthulhu, and “who ya gonna call” Ghostbusters, Top Secret, Chill, Timemaster, Paranoia and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying and god only knows what else, I remember the only non-rpg stuff I bought was the God Save the Queen single by Sex Pistols and Bob Marley’s Exodus (movement of Jah people).
But also a shout out to the Amazing swedish shop Hobby Huset in Uppsala – they had an amazing selection of RPGs in their catalogue and excellent shipping service. We sometimes even took the 1.5 hour train trip and visited the cellar it was located in and got some strange stuff from the bargain bucket. It was this shop that really opened up the hobby for us country boys.
We played so much RPG games in our youth, in people’s houses but eventually in a shed with a heater that made it bearable. We hated splitting up the group as we had to stand outside in the bloody cold freezing our Dirks off (remember this was Sweden when we had proper seasons). Later we asked our school if we could use one of the class rooms in the evening and weekends and the head teacher gave us a key and we had a hell of a good time. We had a good group with a few changes along the way, but then playing in death metal bands, national service, university education, and moving abroad split the old gang. We had our ups and downs but now 30 years or so later I can only recall the positive aspects, so to my old Grogsquad Jonas, Petri, Sebastian, Tommy, Thomas, Magnus, Micke, Reidar, Erik, Petter, Christer, Anton, Fredrik and the guy who only came once and played Pendragon with us and anyone else I forgot, but also to my new Grogsquad the Adventurers Club led by Dirk, Blythy, Ed, and the Daily Dwarf, I raise my glass of vodka to you all!
Although there was a lot of fear mongering around the Rpg hobby in the mainstream media at the time, thinking we would become too introvert, turn into extremists or jump from buildings imagining we could fly, I think our parents were grateful for the fact that instead of being out drinking moonshine vodka, a speciality of the region, and making the town unsafe, we instead sat in the shed telling each other stories and rolling dice. I think we all turned out ok in the end.
In the day we shared the burden of Game Mastering in our Little but Merry band, but the longer campaigns were usually game mastered by myself or Jonas and one of the first games he ran was MERP – Middle Earth Roleplaying. Jonas was amazing with regards to preparing for campaigns and game sessions and his knowledge of Middle Earth was very deep – he had even read the Silmarillion and the Lost Tales! Later Jonas were to run a very long AD&D campaign (2nd Edition) and although I never really liked the system, his overall campaign with a mixture of shorter episodes, long running plots and reappearing protagonists was probably the best one I ever played. However back to MERP. The rules today feels old-fashioned, being a Lite version of the bigger Rolemaster System but at the time offered us some kind of balance between the always fragile characters in the basic Roleplaying system kind of game and rise of your AD&D characters toward immortality – with MERPs open-ended rolls there was always a chance that an opponent could score critical hits and do some substantial damage whatever the differences in character levels, armour class etc. You had to be careful and not every encounter would be a question of drawing a sword. And the magic system was definitely not Tolkienesque but then Jonas did not allow us to be wizards. But what was more on top of this and perhaps the real legacy of MERP was the many fantastic modules and not the rules. The modules had some fantastic drawings and amazing covers that shaped our vision of this amazing world. There were many talented artists contributing to these modules but for me there are two I would like to mention especially – first the legend Angus McBride who did some exceptional cover art for many of the MERP modules. The second artist is of course Liz Danforth who created an outstanding visual presentation of the various characters, races and creatures of this wonderful world, and by the way a big thanks to you Liz for your support to the #grogmerp campaign on Twitter. But there was more, the modules contained information about the people and lands and it felt like it stayed true to the lore but expanded where there were white spots. Herbs, requires a special mention, and were like modern mobile phone apps – there was an app, sorry I meant a herb for that. It is actually my last RPG, I played and a big part of my recent interest in the hobby.
However, there was only one game that I really really immersed myself into in the day and it was the Call of Cthulhu rpg – I guess it does not need any deeper introduction. The first time I played it was at the RPG club in my hometown that some of us used to go to and play as well as playing with the core group, the club was founded by Magnus Seter and Dan Algstrand who today are well known characters in the RPG Industry. It was an excellent way in getting to know likeminded and try out a wider array of games. The club even run a few conventions and I wrote the Call of Cthulhu Scenario for the first two – with the imaginary titles of – the Shadow in Darkness and the Dweller in the Shadow (You can actually find these on the net, but mind you they are written in Swedish). Our little band played some of the epic campaigns like the Fungi form Yuggoth (later more adequately renamed the Day of the Beast), the Spawn of Azathoth and even the Horror on the Orient Express – although our campaign derailed after a few stops. But for me it was the Arkham county series of books that really made the game come alive – we played scenarios in the Miskatonic Valley – in places straight from the Lovecraft stories like Arkham, Dunwich, Innsmouth and Kingsport. The players included Professors working at the Miskatonic University, a PE teacher who could throw a javelin like no other, a retired Major from the British Army (yes he was a hell of a Marksman with his Webley Revolver), Private Investigators, a daredevil pilot and a Medical Doctor at the Arkham Asylym. The scenarios both readymade and homebrewed focused on local events – it made it more scary and intense when reoccurring NPCs asked for help, suddenly disappeared, ended up at the Asylum, or were found dead. When you could weave in characters family trees into the scenarios with the realisation that great grandfather Elijah Waitrose was a Cthulhu cultist or that Great Aunt Tess Collie was an adventurer lost in Dreamlands. As For anyone who may not be familiar with the literature I really recommend that you read the wonderful but not for the faint hearted stories like “The Call of Cthulhu”, “The Dunwich Horror”, “Escape from Innsmouth”, “The Whisperer in Darkness” and “The Colour out of Space” to name some of my favourites. Yes, having moved on more than 30 years from that initial fascination, I know that H.P. Lovecraft probably was a man I would end up arguing with in the pub – he was a racist, homophobe etc, revealed by studying his letter and analysing some of the stories – I get it! But I was never in it for that, I was in it for the chill, sense of hopelessness in a world full of unknown things that humanity at best had a very limited understanding of, the desperate fight against overwhelming odds of getting either permanently insane or ending up dead. The sheer joy of game mastering a group of seasoned investigators in gathering clues from libraries, local newspapers, speakeasies, weird locals, etc. They, the characters, were never flashing heroes with shiny armour and glimmering swords or caped crusaders flying the flag , they were mostly normal people who endlessly fought on. Call of Cthulhu is my everything!
If you have followed this blog you may recall that I have been working on a project relating to a “What-if” German invasion of Sweden in 1943 through the Dalarna County – where I “incidentally” was born and grew up. There is a good summary of where I got to with this project to date in a previous blog post (link here).
Dalarna, Sweden in 1943 does not look like Normandy or the Eastern Front and one of the challenges to create the immersion is to create an overall look that feels right. A lot of the existing wargames buildings and terrain are not suitable for this theatre – the Normandy buildings looks totally out of place whilst the typical eastern European houses, whilst in wood, does not neccesarily have the right look (the common thatched roof on many of these houses are not really suitable). However I have found a few houses, barns etc that will fit.
The house on the left in the picture and the excellent round pole fences are made by Paul Edwards. Paul does some amazing work (Sabotag3d.com) and future blogposts will show more of the stuff he has been doing for me once I have painted them up.
The other houses shown in the pictures above and below are from Timecast (Eastern European 15mm buildings, link here) and Ironclad Miniatures (link here).
I have also, previously, talked about the typical red colour that was predominant, and still is, in the area – The Falu Red Colour (Falu Rödfärg).
Although the paint fell out of favour in the Urban areas during the 18th century the paint still survived and in the countryside, even today, is still the dominant type of colour.
The origins of the pigments used for this paint was a rest product from the process of calcination of copper ore at the Mines in Falun, in the Dalarna county. In the 16th century it was found that these pigments mixed with lineseed oil and rye flour worked as an excellent anti-weathering and preservative when applied to wood.
The Falu mine itself deserves a mention as it operated for 2000 years and at its most productive phase in the 16-17th century it produced more than 60% of the copper in Europe. It even had its own regiment (with some infantry and cavalry units) during the Scanian War and Great Northern War era.
Every School child in the county visits the mine to learn about its glorious past – today it is not longer a working mine but a fantastic museum with a permanent exhibition as well as the opportunity to travel down to the depths of the mine.
Farm tiles and Gas Wood Cars
As easy way to integrate your built up sections is to make tiles for a building or a set of buildings. This allows a more defined look on the table and makes the buildings blend in better in your layout. I made mine from adhesive floor tiles from Poundland (they are made from vinyl) some acrylic paste (caulk) and sand.
Start by marking up where you want your buildings to go. I also consider the size of the fencing around the farm.
Then it is time to start the messy bits, with acrylics, sand and paint.
But what about these strange cars? Well if you study cars during this era, not just in Sweden you will notice the strange burners on other arrangements attached to the cars. These are utilising wood gas to power the vehicle due rationing of fossil fuels. I have rarely seen these on WW2 tables but very often in pictures so I made a few (based on some Kinder Egg vehicles I bought off ebay).
A game of Chain of Command
A few weeks ago the Little One and I had a small CoC (Chain of Command) infantry vs infantry game (with a tank each) mainly to test out the terrain and how it all looked together, we have a blast and we were really happy with the overall look.
I will let the picture talk for themselves.
Whilst I love playing in Normandy or the Eastern Front I have to admit that there is something special for me with this project in terms of passion and immersion. For this table all it really took was a type or Fence and the colour of the houses to transport us straight to Dalarna 1943.
Yes the whole thing is made up but I am trying to make the rest of it justice. As you may have figured out by now immersion is very important for all the projects I do. It takes an extra effort, but an effort I am more than happy to make.
If you have a what-if idea or a project based on some obscure location spend some time reflecting on how things looked – study photos and find those key elements that immediately gives it away – that is your primary focus for your wargames table. If these items do not exist – consider making them yourself or contact someone like Paul who has the talent to design something in 3d for your, make it printable, print and send it to you! (Sabotag3d.com).
It has been a little bit of a strange year with a lot of pressures making it difficult to devote as much time as I would like to the hobby – but in retrospect and upon reflection I seem to have been doing a lot more than I thought. I had lots of fun with the hobby and that is what it is there for!
This is a summary blog of the year and contain some additional pictures not covered in any published blogs. I hope you will find this review interesting. I take my hat off for all of you who engage with the blog directly, follow the roll a one page on faceboook (Roll a One, @rollaonepage) or the Per at RollaOne feed on twitter – It really matters to me – so thank you very much. I had as an unwritten rule to do a blog every week, this year I have managed to do 41 blog posts – so I failed the objective but I am happy with that. I could easily have dragged this one out over a few blogs with the extra material but wanted to make a long one of this last one.
The most popular blog post this year was this one detailing how you can enhance your 6mm, or any scale, pictures using your computer screen. Bleeding obvious to me but a lot of people have found it useful!
This blog post has a lot of pictures and links (these are the underlined sections, they lead directly to the blog post I am talking about) and basically covers:
Poltava 1709 and Joy of Six 2019
Battle of Lund 1676 project
Gaming with the Little One and a book from Henry Hyde
WW2 What-if Invasion of Sweden in 1943 and roundpole fences
The Mutant 1984 Project and our Christmas Mutant Dinosaur Hunt
Being on Podcasts and some other stuff
Poltava 1709 at Joy of Six 2019
This was the culmination of a three year project covering the Russian Campaign of the Great Northern War and this year I presented Poltava 1709 at Joy of Six show in Sheffield. This has been a fantastic project and this 16 by 5 feet table actually made me somewhat emotional when I first put it up on the Show (but then each one is pretty special at the time). I did plenty of blog posts about the project this year, you can find them below. We will put up the table again in 2020 at Salute in April. This project was done using 6mm Baccus miniatures.
Here are some of the blog-posts covering this topic ( The last few are the finished article the others about how various elements were done).
Gaming with the Little One and a book from Henry Hyde
I have had immense pleasure in engaging with the Little One yet again this year in painting, playing games and going to a few events together. He even wrote a review of the Airfix Battles Rules and about his day at Salute on the Blog. When I asked him about the highlights this year he told me that it was the book he was sent by Henry Hyde, the day we had playing Mike Whitaker’s Omaha game and doing the Star Wars Legion miniatures (more in the links at the end of this section).
The Little One and I met Henry Hyde at Salute (who of course wrote the Wargames Compendium, was the editor for Miniature Wargames & Battlegames and now runs the Battlegames Patreon Site that I am a supporter of, see link here https://battlegames.co.uk/patreon-supporters/ . Please check it out as there is a lot of good stuff there in terms of podcasts, videos and articles – whether you are a supporter or not).
On the way back Max realised that the Henry we had met was the same guy that had written the Wargames Compendium, a book he really loves, and said that he should have asked for an autograph. I mentioned this to Henry and a few days later, to our great surprise and delight, a parcel arrived with a letter and a book.
It is was an enormously generous gesture and one of those moments I think the Little One will carry with him for his whole life – many thanks Henry! The Little One then read the Featherstone book and wrote a letter he sent to Henry that made me really proud.
Many thanks for sending me the Donald Featherstone book, it was very kind of you and it made me feel very special. I like the words you wrote and I will keep this book forever. It has taken me some time to finish the book as I have had a few other things going on.
I enjoyed the introduction where he writes about ‘what wargaming is’ and also the overview of the different periods for wargaming – my favourite period is WW2. You have so many different aspects of things going on – on land, in the air, on and under the water and you are not sitting around in a trench for four years as in the Great War. At the very end of the book he writes something I really liked! “General Sherman, of American Civil War fame, is quoted as saying, ‘War is Hell’. So it is, and perhaps the wargamer, seeing just how helpless his little plastic figures are against the dice simulated effects of cannon and muskets, will appreciate more than ever the utter futility of real war.”
I also have a copy of your book, The Wargaming Compendium, and I think it is the best book a wargamer can get as it covers everything you need to know. In particular I like the chapter on understanding sizes, scales and chance. I love the picture on page 17 showing the different scales.
I hear you are writing another one and I hope it is going really well!
I know you like the Horse and Musket period so I thought you might like this Kings Carabineer from the Battle of Blenheim 1704 and a book about the Battle of Poltava.
WW2 What-if Invasion of Sweden in 1943 and roundpole fences
Some further works was done for the 1943 German invasion forces and defending Swedes. Making some transports for the Swedes with some tanks (including conversions) and a large number of German soldiers and vehicles. I also updated the Chain of Command list for the Swedes. More in the blog posts below (that is also including a note on the visit I did to Dulwich playing Chain of Command at the Warlords Lardy Day – thanks Iain!).
One of the best things that happened to this project this year was the roundpole fences developed by Paul Edwards (@Amaz_ed on Twitter if you want to contact him, or let me know and I will pass it on) that will enable me to give that special feel of gaming in Scandinavia/Nordic much in the same way as Snake Rail fencing indicate a wargame in North America.
How is this relevant to you if you do not play anything in Norway, Finland, Sweden or Estonia (where these fences are common) – well according to some theories they were in use during Viking times so if you are doing Dark Age wargaming (or Colonials as we Norse call it). So if you want to create that little Norse settlement in your Saga game or some other game including some Vikings and want to make it feel a little bit special than maybe this beautiful fencing will be an idea.
I asked Paul if he could help me out and quicker than I could say Gärdsgård – the name of the fence in Swedish – I now have 4-5 meters of it and I hope you agree it looks good.
The ones I have has been made for 15mm but Paul can make some in 6mm and 28mm too.
These are the ones I will be using for my Scanian War project.
These are a few in 28mm with some Mutant 1984 characters.
Paul also does some gate options.
I have also found a reasonable Vallejo mix for Falu Rödfärg.
Here are some postings for the Swedish WW2 project (as in all my posts there is plenty of pictures in each of them). The next step is to produce two half-sized campaign for Chain of Command (or any other Platoon based set of rules).
In addition we had a special Xmas game this year based on a vote we did on Twitter where the Mutant 1984 Dinosaur won the Day (beating Winter War, Swedish invasion 1943 and a “proper” GNW battle!). We used a variant of the The Men who Would be King rules (the same as in the Border Skirmish above) and it was a fun game with two factions of soldiers and hunters trying to take out as many Monsters as possible (2 Dinosaurs, a Giant Beetle, a Four armed Gorilla, 2 Swedish Tigers, a Dark Young of Stubb-Nigarakan) whilst fighting each other. I did not do a write-up but instead I have included a bunch of pictures from the game.
The Swedish (Sabre Tooth) Tigers are based on the Swedish Wartime information Poster stating “En Svensk Tiger” that means both “a Swedish Tiger” and “a Swede Shuts-Up”.
Being on Podcasts and some other stuff
Any regular reader of this blog will know that I have a few wargaming podcasts that I like to listen to whilst I paint and model – these are in no particular order the Veteran Wargamer, The Lardy Oddcast, Meeples and Miniatures, Havoc Cast Podcast, Wargames Soldiers and Strategy, Wargames Recon, Henry Hyde’s Battlechats and God’s Own Scale Podcast. They are all excellent and whilst I occasionally listen to others, those are my solid ones I will try to listen to every time (I listen to a fair few more non-wargaming stuff like the eminent Grognards RPG Files and We have ways and Audible books).
This year I have been humbled by having been asked to come on three of these shows and talk about stuff mainly relating to the 6mm work I have been doing, but also about wargaming with children and my great passion – the Great Northern War.
A few weeks ago Neil Shuck announced that he will stop the Meeples and Miniatures podcast as he has reflected on the time it takes to do the show and other priorities like gaming with friends etc. Meeples and Miniatures has, in my opinion, become like a wargaming (and Meeples) institution and its legacy is enormous and Neil and the other presenters (Mike, Mike, Dave, Rich and all the guest presenters) should be enormously proud of having created this. I felt so honoured to be asked to attend the show and had a blast – so much that it was enough to fill two episodes (sorry!, but thanks Neil and Mike for having me).
When I listened to Sean Clarke’s episode 0 and he declared that one of his inspirations to starting his blog (focusing on 6mm an history) was the work I have been doing with this blog – it made that and many days last year. I contacted him and asked if I could come and talk to him and we had a great time talking about the 6mm stuff I have been doing but also getting an idea of Sean Clarke’s upcoming WW1 project for Joy of Six in 2020. This is another excellent show and I really like all the episodes to date with many friends from the 6mm trenches. The show with Robert Dunlop (No 3.) is one of the best Podcasts I heard last year. Thanks Sean for my second outing this year – I had an absolute blast.
Henry’s Battlechat has very quickly built up an impressive catalogue of podcasts with a wide range of guests from the industry, rules designers, miniatures producers, artists, book publishers, academics, etc. I have stolen parts of Henry’s intro for this:
“Per is a wonderful ambassador of the hobby, friendly, approachable, intelligent and with a dry sense of humour that you might only notice when you’re halfway out of the door after meeting him! (Watch out for his comment about the Dark Ages being “Scandinavian colonial”!) Here, then, is this Swedish superstar of the hobby in full flow, waxing lyrical about 6mm gaming, the Great Northern War and other Scandinavian conflicts of the 17th and 18th centuries, making snow-covered terrain and the joys of being a wargaming parent.”
Finally I would like to say that my favourite wargaming thing this year was the visit I did to Evesham and OML7 (Operation Market Larden No. 7) – Thanks to Ade et al for this. I met so many nice people and had a fantastic time playing some great games.
80 years ago Finland was fighting for its independence against Soviet Union in what has become known as the Winter War. The war has a personal connection to me as the family on my mother’s side is Finnish. We have therefore fought a few battles using the Chain of Command rules to honour and remember the people on both sides who fought and died in this war.
The war started with a Soviet Invasion of Finland without a declaration of war on the 30th November 1939, the war ended 105 days later on 13th March 1940. More than 25,000 Finnish died and many were wounded. At the end of the War Finland was still an independent state but had lost about 10% of its territory and 12% of the population lost their homes and where re-settled. The Soviet Union’s losses were far higher and somewhere in the order of 150,000. The campaign was badly planned and conducted by the Soviets and the Finns fought bravely and with great skill.
Here are few pictures from one of these battles, somewhere along a country road…
I based the two German Platoons I made last week for the Swedish 1943 Tourist Season (this being the What-if German Invasion of Sweden in 1943) on Sunday evening. These are the Skytrex 15mm ones that form part of the first part of the Campaign – the Northern Approach through Dalecarlia. This part of the Campaign will be infantry vs infantry with limited options for heavier support (perhaps an armoured car for the Germans, etc). I have a few ideas that I think will work well in a setting like this. Anyway here they are:
On Saturday I was invited to play a game of Chain of Command in Dulwich by Iain Fuller. This was one of the South London Warlords Saturday game days – they run these on the second Saturday every month – on this occasion a few Too Fat Lardies games were played. It was a really good game and although I lost I had the best of times. It was tense and hang in the balance more than once, more than a few bad rolls but then again a few good ones too. Chain of Command is a very enjoyable game! Below a few pictures from the day. it was nice to meet up with Iain Fuller and his chums, seeing Dave Brown again and having a chat with Rich Clarke. I may have a solution for playtesting the Swedish Campaign stuff thanks to Iain and Des – I will get back to you shortly.
I had the pleasure of attending the wargaming event Operation Market Larden 7 (OML7) in Evesham last weekend. I was going to go to OML6 last year but things conspired against me. Luckily, it was whispered, this one was the best one so far.
I arrived the evening before and caught the end of the drinking session at the hotel where the day would be held and a small contingent of us ended up in a pub for far too long – but good times were had.
OML7 is one of the many Lardy Days that are being arranged by various Lardy Ambassadors in the UK and also in many places abroad. Basically there were 12 games being played on the day and each participant played in two games (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). I did take some random shots but have to admit that I was a little bit like a child in sweetshop on the day and focus on the games. I had none of the stresses of a show where I put on a table or where my compulsion forces me to run around and find new shiny. The only thing to purchase were an excellent collection of old books that were being sold to support the Combat Stress charity – I bought a few.
The games played were, of course, all using the Too Fat Lardies excellent rule sets and although the lion share of the Games were using the Chain of Command (CoC) or Sharp Practice 2 (SP2) rulesets, there were also individual games using; I aint been shot Mum (IABSM), Bag the Hun (BtH) and Dux Britanniarium (DB).
I played in an excellent game of WW1 East Africa action as Lt Beaverton in charge of a supply dump on the Shore of Lake Victoria and a force of some Kings African Rifles, a few regular british and a Vickers Team. I was further supported by a platoon of Belgian Force Publique. The Supply dump was being attacked by a company of German troops. Very well Umpired by Bob Connor and the table looked stunning.
In the afternoon I played a Bag the Hun scenario controlling some mighty machines of the Italian Airforce in a joint German and Italian attack on a convoy (somewhere near Malta in 1942) defended by Hurricanes Our side had B109s and Stukas (with bombs) and Machis/CR42s and SM79 (with torpedoes). It ended up with classic dogfighting, bombs immobilising the ships and some torpedoes in the water hitting home but not on the main objective – the tanker – but it was great fun. This game was put on by Geoff Bond and we flew Mike Hobbs wonderful 1/600 Tumbling Dice aircraft – some excellent decaling going on there.
The day was excellent and I met a lot of people which whom I have had interaction with on Twitter and other social media – I did not manage to have a proper chat with all but I really appreciate the ones I had. I do think our little Twitter corner is a wonderful place. Normally, I judge an event on how many “arseholes” in the allegorical sense I meet, and I have to admit I met none. Just some excellent games being put on and people having a bloody good time playing them.
The evening entertainment offered a nice curry and later some more beer drinking at a local pub with a small but cheerful crowd.
A big thank you to Ade Deacon, his family and friends who arranges the event, and to the Too Fat Lardies crew (Nick, Rich and Sid) and all the other wonderful people – good stuff.
I need a pretty good reason for not coming back to OML8.
I have had the strawman of this blog post in my draft folder for a long time as I have stalled this part of the Swedish 1943 Invasion project until I sort out some decals etc. I have been working on the opposition though (here is a link to the last blog post on them). I do get the more than occasional question on what tanks to use for this project and what proxies are available. Therefore with an apology in advance for the tanks presented here being 80% complete lacking the final wash, drybrush, decal and weathering. The stripy painting will be subdued by this process – I promise and hope, but looks good at the right distance as it creates some depth. The final garage will be presented in a Part 2 together with some Swedish Armoured Cars, it may even contain a little mini campaign for what a Tanker in the What-if Swedish 1943 Invasion context.
More on this project in previous blogs here (links below):
I am doing this project in 15mm and have not explored what options exists in other scales.
In essence we need 4 different tanks for Sweden in WW2, here they are (the two first models would be available in an earlier war campaign, my focus is Summer 1943 when all these models are available/in service. Each links to the relevant Wikipedia page if you want to know more about them):
Strv m/37 (available from the start of WW2) – This was the AH-IV Tankette the Swedish Army in the inter war years bought from the Czech company ČKD (Českomoravská Kolben-Daněk) company, it was produced under licence in Sweden.
The tankette was strongly modified, including the suppression of original driver’s machine gun, this variant was heavier and larger, than the AH-IV. On the turret, was placed two Swedish-made machine guns, the 8mm Ksp m/36 Strv and a commander cupola.
– Wikipedia entry “Stridsvagn m/37”
To achieve something looking similar to the Swedish version I had to do a rough conversion of a Battlefront / Flames of War model (how I did it is included in the Appendix below, with the code reference RO005) of the Romanian R1 Tankette. I just made one of these, but they came in pack of 3, so I may do a few more of them.
Strv m/38-39-40, generally known as the L-60 series (available from the start of WW2) – This was a Swedish tank developed in 1934, a few were exported and one of the versions is the Hungarian Toldi tank . My version is a 3D printed Toldi. They can be bought from Butlers Printed Models (BPM) in the UK – I got mine from a friend. They are a little bit of rough models, compared to other manufacturers. You could buy a Toldi in 15mm from Battlefront as well. I did no modification on these.
Strv m/41 (available from Dec 1942) – Licence built 38(t) a common early war tank used by the Germans. I got some Plastic Solider company (PSC) 38(t)s and did some minor but I think effectful modifications (included in the Appendix below).
Strv m/42 (Available from April 1943) – The mighty m/42 with a 75 mm L/34 gun. I bought one from Shapeways, it was bloody excellent. I think I will buy two more of this one (PV112B Stridsvagn m/42 (1/100) is the Shapeway reference, they cost £25 each – ouch!).
Appendix – conversions
This was a Swedish-built version of the Czechoslovakian CKD AH-IV Tankette, it was also sold to Romania. Battlefront does a model of this version (R1 Cavalry Light Tank Romanian, code RO005), however there are a lot of notable differences between the versions. The Green model in the picture below is the Battlefront model whilst the black and white photos are the actual Strv m/37.
Machine Gun on the right-hand side (did not exist on the Swedish model, so I did not install it)
The detail on top of the tracked wheels in front is different, there is a smaller box on the Swedish version (I reshaped this part – see below)
The Swedish version had two MGs in the front, not one barrel (I re-did this part – see below)
The Swedish version had a cupola in the hatch (I added one on my version – see below)
This is how I did the conversion, a quick job as usual looking for something impressionistic and that looks more like the Swedish than the Romanian versions.
I more or less used these as they came in the box from Plastic Solider Company, however I wanted to add some spare wheels, because it looks very iconic on the n/41 and also the hatch opened forward.
Some time ago I fancied doing some Swedish WW2 era soldiers for fun, originally thinking I would do some kind of border skirmish scenario or something similar. It grew in scope somewhat, I have recorded the progress so far in a number of blog posts (here, here and here).
Current I am planning a few Scenarios based on the 1943 Swedish invasion plan made by Adolf Schell. Part of this plan had some of the lines of advance going through Dalarna (the county where I was born) in Sweden and it would be interesting to place some of the action here. So having some units for the Swedish side I really needed some suitable Germans and decided to start by doing some tanks representing the 25th Panzer Division as it was in the Summer 1943 when it was stationed in Norway.
So from this we know that the division had the following tanks:
Hotchkiss H39 (captured French tank)
Suoma S35 (captured French tank)
Self-Propelled assault Guns
As the Swedes on the other side did not have a very strong tank force and anti-tank capability at the time, this list is still challenging but not as devastating as a list with Tigers and Panthers for example.
In addition the division would have a number of other supporting units like Panzer grenadiers, scouts/recon, artillery etc. I will get to these later, however as this is a Chain of Command project, I am not interested in some of the heavier stuff and/or supporting companies, but it would be fun to include some scout types as I read somewhere that they were mainly on Motorcycles and did not have armoured cars, etc.
However back to the focus of today – the tanks.
First I had to decide on how to paint them, my initial idea was to just make them Panzer Grey but since the directive was to paint them in dunkelgelb was issued earlier in the year, I asked people on twitter for some advice and got may helpful hints, like this one from Petri Niemenien (thank you):
To be specific, Feb 1943: Dunkelgelb RAL 7028 base coat + Rotbraun RAL 8017 and Olivgrün RAL 6003 stripes 😉
So, and I noted this down mainly for myself, this is the process I used (it creates some reasonable and quick results, it works for my table):
I used Plastic Soldiers Tank Spray Dunkelgelb (link here) cans – awesome product to be honest, saved me a lot of time. But you could of course use a brush.
Then I dabbed/stipple (use a thin wasted brush) on the Olive Green mixed with the Dunkelgelb paint (4:1 mix to tone it down) forming some 2-3mm stripes – I used the paints in the picture below, but anyone will do. The MIG paints are a little bit runny and work great for this, if you use other paints water them down somewhat, I want to have some of the primer shining through.
The same with the Rotbraun (reddish brown).
Then I highlighted the green stripes with the Oliver Green unmixed, tried to do a line in the middle kind of – do not paint stipple it on.
For the Rotbrown stripes, use the colour again but mix in some dark brown (I used burnt umber). Again highlight the middle.
Let it dry
Wash the tank with a light brownish wash – I used Army Painter Quickshade – Soft Tone.
Let it dry
Drybrush with the Dunkelgelb
Do the details as appropriate.
Put on Decals (I used Plastic Soldier Company Decals for mine).
I will do some further weathering but will perhaps add some division insignia decals (I will do these myself later) and decide what time of the year the actual invasion “happens” so will wait with that and do it when all is completed.
I really fancied the idea of including some of the French captured tanks – as they are rarely seen on a wargames table unless it is depicting France in 1940. I went to the Tank Museum in Saumur in 2016 and really enjoyed the French tanks in the collection.
I bought three each of these French tanks from Peter Pig (link here) and they are brilliant metal models with limited parts, just ensure you use either 2 part epoxy glue or some milliput or equivalent when you assemble them to ensure strength and durability.
The French tank had cupolas instead of hatches on top and in many cases the Germans added hatches on top. I did not modify the H39s but on the S35 a used a modelling knife and did a cut in the middle of the cupola to represent a hatch on two of them and a tank commander with some improvised hatches (I cut some plastic Sherman hatches roughly from a Plastic Soldier Company sprue the Little One had not used).
Here are the H39s (Peter Pig)
..and the S35s (Peter Pig)
Then the standard German tanks, first out PzKpfw II.
Then the PzKpfw III.
So now we have some options, and good progress overall on the tank front.
PzKpfw II (done)
PzKpfw III (done)
Hotchkiss H39 (done)
Suoma S35 (done)
Self-Propelled assault Guns
I guess next I will do some PzKpfw IVs and StuGs but fancy including some early other Self Propelled Guns as well – but that will be the next binge batch some other time.
By the way I also did some Hanomags and command vehicles… (all from Peter Pig, except the Befehlswagen that is from Skytrex, this is the last vehicle in the second Picture)
If you have any information about the 25th Panzer Division that could be relevant up to them leaving Norway in 1943 I would be more than interested. Also any books that may include some coverage of the Division or the individual regiments/battalions that formed it, etc.
His shoes are too big and his hat is too small, His trousers are tight and his coat is too long, But it does not matter, because he is my soldier, Somewhere in Sweden!
– Translated from the 1940 Swedish Song “Min Soldat” (My Soldier), performed by Ulla Billquist and written by Nils Perne.
A few weeks back I presented an initial stab at a Swedish Platoon Organisation for the WW2 era (here is a link to the earlier posting) for Chain of Command. Since then I have been working on some miniatures for the platoon and some of the support options – I will present the work to date in this blog update. I will leave out the work I have been doing on vehicles (armoured cars and tanks, I think that will be a good one on its own) as I have not yet finished the tank markings/decals – but I am working on it with some help from some friends.
I want to state how grateful I am to the community when doing something like this, the support from all kind of places with encouragement, the research and offers of help. I even got a fair few of 3D printed models for a Swedish Tank type sent to me by a friend on Twitter. Good stuff!
Later blog updates will also show/discuss jump-off markers and some terrain features to make the battle field having a touch of Scandinavia – making it look as Scandinavian as a wargames table with Snake rail fencing looks American!
I would like to do an what-if Scenario based on the operational plan developed by the commander of the 25th Panzer Division (link to Wikipedia here), Adolf von Schell, to attack Sweden with a handful of divisions from Norway. This is described at high level in the book “Andra Världskriget och Sverige (2002)” (that translates to: The Second World War and Sweden) by Jan Linder, and contains the following picture.
I have not been able to find any more information on this operation and if you are reading this and know more – please let me know. It would be fun to do a linked campaign of fighting in some of the areas I know very well from my childhood.
It is interesting to note that the 25th Division was issued with outdated French Tanks and according to the Wikipedia entry above the following was the combat strength in 1943:
..21,000 men and fielded 14 Panzer II tanks, 62 Panzer III, 26 Panzer IV, 40 Hotchkiss H39, 15 Somua S35, and 15 Self-propelled assault guns, such as the StuG III.
It would give a nice opportunity to get some French tanks and do them in German “livery”. However that is for the future and I have yet some research to do…
The Swedish Platoon Organisation and Models Used
In reading the old manuals there are a few changes required to the original list that are summarised below. I will update the Platoon document at a later date.
(i) Due to allocation of runners, I have reduced the number of Riflemen in each section with one. I need to verify this so I did 4 extra models just in case!
(ii) The first Section/Grupp had an SMG armed rifleman in the Rifle Team/Gomgången. However, due to shortages this was not always possible, especially early in the period.
(iii) The manuals indicate the presence of two Teams/Omggångar and that there are situations when they fight as two elements – one K (Kulspruta / Light Machine Gun) and one G (Gevär / Rifle). Therefore I have re-organised the Platoon organisation in the picture to reflect these changes.
This is still work in progress and may change as I read more stuff. For the 1943 to 1945 Platoon I have made the same changes to the organisation. Again, this is an aspirational platoon, and as you can see it offers a significant increase of fire Power with 2 SMGs per section and the M/42 Semi-Automatic Rifle, and in addition the Platoon 47mm mortar and the Anti-tank rifle.
I decided to make enough miniatures so that I could field a platoon at any stage of the WW2 period. Following some discussions on twitter and a few other similar projects the 15mm Italians from Flames of War seemed to be a good match for the m/39 uniform.
This assumes the M/37 helmet and the M/39 uniform, at the time the latest equipment available. Some units would be equipped older uniforms and helmets, like the earlier helmet M/26 and older uniforms.
If you are doing this project in 28mm you could use the fantastic Ådalen Range that depicts interwar Swedes, these are just troops that have not had new kit – the range covers all that you need for the early war (limited poses, and there are no SMGs and the Machine Gun is perhaps a bit dated, but I think it would work and if you even use some of the earlier uniforms in the mix you may get a motley crew of ill-prepared 1940 soldiers), more information here (I have not ordered any, but they do look good. I suggest you contact them first before you make your order – I always do).
Anyway back to my 15mm project.
I bought the following from Battlefront
1 pack of ISO101 Italian Artillery Group – gives you crew for your guns as well as some SMG armed gentlemen.
2 packs of IT702 Fucilieri Platoon – your bulk infantry
3 packs of ISO131 Italian Fucilieri (Late) – again gives some SMG armed soldiers and some more LMG (for simple conversion)
2 pack of GSO517 7.5cm GebK15 howitzer – for the infantry gun option (more below)
1 No. PL510 37mm wz.36 gun – this is the famous 37mm Bofors Anti-tank gun, used by the Poles, Finns and the Swedens (and others).
I also had some Polish Machine Guns from Batttlefront and bought the WW1 Austrian Machine Gun from Peter Pig.
I used the following paints for these:
Jacket and Trousers – Vallejo German Field Grey 70830
Helmet – Vallejo 70895 Gunship Green
Bread bag – Vallejo 70886 Green Grey
Leather / Belt – Vallejo 70875 Beige Brown
Water Bottle / Gaiters – Vallejo 70988 Khaki
I tend to use Field Drab, then Medium flesh tone for skin, saddle brown for the rifle buts.
I put a wash of army paint quick shade on top – soft tone.
The Swedish 1940 – 1943 Platoon
The Swedish 1943 to 1945 Platoon
This is the same models as above but with some swaps and the Mortar Section.
In addition there is an anti-tank Rifle for the Platoon, I made two of these conversions.
The are based on a kneeling rifleman and I did the simplified rifle from some plastic coated paper clips, it shows better in the picture below.
Some support options
The next one was a little bit trickier, but once I found a reasonable proxy the conversion was simple, using some very thin cocktail straws I bought may years ago. I wanted to mode the Bofors 75 mm Model 1934 Mountain Gun.
It looks like this,
Battlefront makes the GSO517 7.5cm GebK15 howitzer, it looks like this.
I hope this sequence is self explanatory
And finally some Machine Guns, one using an old Polish MMG set and the other head swapped Austrian WW1 MMGs from Peter Pig.
I am really enjoying this project, it is not a Labour of Love, just Love