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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(TMT) Horka 1708 – Making the Battle Mat – Part 1

First a big thank you to all of you who either come by here by chance, occasionally, have registered as followers of the blog, likes the Roll a One page on facebook and/or follow the Per at RollaOne account on twitter (@Roll_a_one).  Please feel free to get in touch here, on Facebook or Twitter if you have any questions or comments on this or anything else.  Just doing this for fun, thanks for making it more so. Now without further ado…

It has become a tradition in doing a battle board for Joy of Six as a start of the Summer in our house. For the last few years I have made 8 by 4 feet tables for my GNW stuff, but this year I came to the conclusion that I needed a 12 by 5 feet beast (more on the battlefield and how it was derived can be found in a previous blog post, click here).

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Some of the stages in deriving the map for Horka 1708

For the first generation of boards (Fraustadt 1706, Klissow 1702, Gadebush1712 and Kalisz 1706) I used 8 No. 2 by 2 feet mdf boards with underfloor heating boards (blue styromfoam) on top that could be shaped to rivers and hills, etc. This created more sturdy individual blocks but it takes a lot of space, especially when you start getting a fair few of them. There is also a question of warping and its impact on the gap between the boards, unless you make very sturdy ones.

 

In the process of needing to make two smaller tables (4 by 3 feet) for running Saga in 6mm at Joy of Six in 2016 I tried out a method I had seen on the net.  This used a canvas sheet covered in a mix of paint, acrylic sealant and sand (see my notes from then here). This worked really well and creates a mat with some nice texture on top that can be dry brushed and decorated very much in the same way as I would do with the boards (and you can also incorporate roads and rivers directly into the mat).

This is the mat I did last year and apart from the houses, trees, bridges, some small elevation markers and miniatures, all the features are in the 8 by 4 mat and it makes set-up very quick (here are some notes on that process here , here, here and here) – no gaps!

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The Mat at Joy of Six 2017 – The Battle of Lesnaya 1708.  It is very difficult to roll up the mat with all the trees so I did not glue them in place.  The bridges are also loose, but flat and placed on top of the river crossings.

I decided to have another go with the mat approach this year and got myself some backed dust sheet from Screwfix here in the UK (I did get some before but it was not backed, so I kept this for some other day). The reason I use the backed version is that the backing (a layer of plastic/poly) stops the paste going through the sheet when it is applied and I also think it strengthens the actual mat, compared to using a non-backed dust sheet.

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No nonsense sheet, I cut out the desired dimension 12 by 5 feet and will use the other part some other time.

The “innvoation” for this year was that I had some paper backed grass sheets lying around that I cut out some fields from and glued straight onto the mat (I used gripfill for this purpose, still not sure they will stay on!) – the colours are very sharp so far but I think it may work better once the shit (sorry, I meant chocolate brown) colour is dampened by my normal 3 colour dry brushing and the static grass is being added.  Here are a selection of photos from the work so far.

The issues I have found (so far) in making and using this kind of mat are:

  • It is physically harder work to make one than you think – it gives a good workout! My Doctor told me that I need to gain more height so I think this is a good exercise for that purpose – there is a lot of stretching involved!
  • It is very difficult to manage a 12 by 5 sheet when you make it. I do not have a big enough space to put the whole sheet down on a flat surface. So I tend to work on it in sections and then roll it up again, meaning that you have to wait for it to dry which means that works have to be done in short burst and then wait for 12 to 24 hours. If you have a flat surface for the full size of the mat then this is not a problem at all (however if the surface is not totally flat this can effect the shape of the acrylic you apply and also the effect of the dry brushing as any edges will show through very well by the technique – something you may not want. I did mine in the lounge but this is honestly not the ideal place if you are not on your own. It is not just the space you occupy but other impacts to consider.  I try to use low odour stuff but this does not mean no odour so ensure you have your windows open and create a draught. Health and safety for you and yours are more important than a bloody wargames mat – just be sensible.  Luckily, I have a more than understanding family when it comes to these kind of things.   They are more than happy to spend the weekend with breathing apparatus in their own rooms (that was a joke, sorry!).
  • The sheets seem to be 4 feet standard width.  The 12 by 12 sheet I bought from Screwfix was made of 3 no. 12 by 4 feet sheets, it means that there is a border to be dealt with for any greater widths than 4 feet.  I covered it with some gripfill before I got the mix on top. This mediocre mitigation is more than likely going to fail in the future but I am ignoring it for now.  In general it does crack in places but normally looks decent when it lies flat – be prepared to do some repairs the first few times you roll it out.
  • Although I did iron the sheet before I applied the paste (properly I thought, but being mindful not to melt the backing), very often some of the folds seem to reappear and this is less than ideal. I will try to hide this as part of the drybrushing stage by avoiding to make the fold stand out to much by being careful with the brush – you do not want to highlight the fold, it does not look very natural.
  • It does not allow you the same artistic freedom compared to a fixed board. Hedges are more difficult to incorporate into the design and rivers obviously can not be filled with resin (but if you apply some varnish it at least gives some reflection to the surface that fools the eye, at least from a distance.
  • It goes without saying that the mat is not very versatile with the features built-in (rivers, roads, etc.). This is not an issue for me, and it was the same when I did the boards, but worth considering with regards to how much specific stuff like roads and rivers you incorporate into the mat, especially as it is an investment in money and time to make one.
  • Looking back some of the features of those boards some are very difficult to beat using the mat. Maybe some boards next year!?

Obviously none of the points above were showstoppers for me this time, but I hope this discourages you unless you are prepared to get into to something heads on and improvise along the journey.  The rest of the family laugh at my swearing and screaming when I mess things up, so if nothing else it is some cheap entertainment – maybe that is why they tolerate me doing this in the first place?

[To be continued when appropriate level of progress achieved]

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/ Hope that was of some interest, keep toy soldiering on!

In other news I had the opportunity to see the fabulous Tiger Lillies (the forefathers of Brechtian Punk Cabaret!)  last week and it was absolutely brilliant! More on them here.  I stumbled upon them a few years ago as they had done an album called Mountains of Madness as a homage to H.P. Lovecraft.

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Tiger Lillies

 

 

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The Russian Army at Horka and some more 1/600 aircraft

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In the last blogpost the Swedes inspected their forces in preparation of the Horka battle at Joy of Six this year (more here). The Russian spies were in attendance and following their report a few brushstrokes had to be done, but now I dare to say they seem to be ready for inspection and eventually to welcome the attacking Swedes.

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There is a total of 91 cavalry 60 by 30mm bases of 9 No. riders (apart from the irregular elements on 60 by 60mm bases of 8 riiders) and 64 infantry 60 by 30mm bases of 24 No. infantry in this army as well as Command bases and artillery bases.  Tsar Peter himself has inspected the various infantry detachments – General Golitsyn flying column with the elite regiments who may be ordered to March behind the cavalry and attack the Swedish left flank on they day!.  The three other Generals Sheremetev, Hallart and Repnin are ready as are their men.  A few rounds were fired by the artillery to mark the occasion.  I have included a few of the sketches that the scouts manage to deliver to the Swedish King.

 

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7 feet of Russians

 

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In other news I progressed my Bag the Finn project (more in the last blog post, link here) adding two more aircraft types:

  • The Fokker D.XXI that was the Finnish primary fighter aircraft during the Winter War (I painted it in the simple paint scheme used during the winter war – the more elaborate camouflage pattern used last time was used during the continuation war).

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  • The Polikarpov I-16 that was one of the three fighter planes used by the Russians in the Winer war (ther others were I-15bis and I-153).  The I-16 was the most common type and about half of Fighters were of this type at the start of the Winter War.

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Below are two relevant titles from Osprey and contain a lot of useful information on the fighting during the Winter War era. I really enjoy doing these 1/600 scale planes from Tumbling Dice.

/ Hope that was of some interest.

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The Swedish Infantry for Horka 1709 and some post-Salute 2018 Stuff

“…but in summary of Salute I can say “a lot of people, met some new and old friends, the games looked great, got some gifts(!), picked up some stuff and bought some more, What a Tanker from Too Fat Lardies looked fun, a fantastic GNW battle from Michael Leck – from my perspective the Show rolled a Six.” 

From about a week ago!

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We have been busy with the Little Ones year end Rugby Tournament the last week so I have not been doing that much hobby wise lately.  We went to Isle of Wight and had a blast – it is a wonderful part of the world.

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The Little One getting ready for another day of fun!

 

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Isle of Wight is a nice part of England and with the ferry crossing it almost feels like a “proper holiday!”

I realise that it is now about 10 days ago since Salute 2018, so I think there are plenty of better places for an overview of Salute –  I suggest you try Big Lee’s most excellent blog here.   Alternatively, or as well, you could go to youtube and watch the terrain tutors very nice video of the show (press play below) – if you have not checked out his other stuff do that as well.

What follows are just a few snippets of things from my personal experience.

Twisting the Dragon’s Tail

On St George’s Day! 100 years ago the Royal Navy attempted to block the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.   The idea was to block the canal entrance by sinking obsolete ships – this to stop U-boats and light shipping from leaving port.

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Lovely model of the Vindictive (An Arrogant Class Cruiser).  Her guns were replaced with flamethrowers, howitzers and mortars for the raid.

The game presented by the Maidstone Wargames society showed the actions of the HMS Vindictive that carried a troop or royal marines that were to take out some German Gun positions.  It was a beautifully presented game and the ship was a thing of beauty and  scratch built (using a lot of tomato pure tubes as sheeting material – that is hard core in my books – “What a we having for Dinner today?”, “It is another round of Pasta with Tomato Sauce!”).

Mission Command: Normandy

Mission Command is a new set of WW2 rules that promises to capture the essence of tactical and operational combat for company level to division level.  It captures the way in which different armies (nationalities) operated in practice in terms of tactical and operational command, control and communication.  It was a pleasure to have a chat with the guys.  I found it intriguing – more information here.  It is currently at the final stages of playtesting and a relatively inexpensive beta ruleset can be obtain through the link above.  The game is Umpired and orders are given at the beginning of them game but can be modified.  However the changes to the orders have to be achieved within command structures where the fog of war, imperfect information and confusion can cause unintended outcomes.

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Mission Command: Normandy. Bocage, I think they are from the Tree Fella!  Ground scale is 1mm equals 2 meters.  Each figure represents 5 to 10 men and a vehicle model 2 to 5 vehicles.  They used flames of war based models on the day.  Further theatres and armies will be covered. I really like the players manual that can be downloaded from the their page – it has some interesting overviews of doctrine, practice and organisation for the Americans, British and Germans (here).

The Battle of Foy

Most of us remember this from the phenomenal Band of Brothers book and TV-series.  This table was a joy to watch and the group presenting it was passionate about sharing their enthusiasm.  I have a special place somewhere for snow terrain and this one was inspiring.  The miniatures used were 20mm and it was played using the Bolt Action rules.  The tall pine trees are made with the same technique as I used from my trees earlier in the year (more about how to make them here).

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Tumbling Dice and another Diversion – Bag the Finn!

Paul at Tumbling Dice (link here) have a nice range of 1/600 aircraft and I bought myself a bundle of his nice aircraft that I want to use for some aerial dogfights between Finland and Soviet.  They are very nice and they are relatively easy to paint them and it will not cost you a fortune to get started.  I have some already that I used for Battle of Britain 1940.

I also got myself a selection of books from Amazon recently about the Finnish and Sovietic air force of the period – mostly second hand from Amazon at a not too heavy cost.

 

I will be using the Too Fat Lardies rules Bag the Hun for these (link here).  The Scramble supplement have a little piece of using the Rules for the Finnish Winter War to get me started, but I think I will focus on the Continuation War period – those Brewster Buffalos looks far too cool!.

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A selection of Aircraft used by the Finnish Airforce in the Winter War and early part of the Continuation War, including the Bristol Blenheim, Gloster Gladiator, Brewster Buffalo, Curtiss Mohawk, Morane-Saulnier MS406, Fokker DXXI and VL Myrsky.  This is from the Tumbling Dice trade stand from Salute. They are between 10mm to 20mm long.

 

I was not going to but I got some of Lifecolors nice paints for this project (I got all the colours individually, from their paint set pictures below a part from the black as I thought I could get away with it!).  This is a perfect on the move project as it does not take a lot of space – a handful of paints and a handful of planes and you can take off anywhere!

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The full set from Lifecolor

The only question is what playing surface to use.  It would be really good have a aerial picture with good resolution of a winter land scape from above.  Have not seen anyone doing one and I do not know where to get a good resolution picture from – any ideas gladly taken?

 

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Like this but, taken from a higher altitude.

 

Eureka!

With some help from the Welsh Wizard, Mike Hobbs, we manage to order for a sufficient amount to get a healthy discount from Eureka (more here) – who did their annual trip from down under to Salute. They have a good selection of stuff and I got myself a lot of 15mm (some WW2 Australians with Great Coat and Russian Partisans) and some 28mm stuff (for my Mutant 1984).

 

I will show these in a later post as I have no intention of doing anything with them at the moment.  Big shout out to Nic and crew – see you next year!

 

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My favourite miniature in my Eureka Order was this Boiler Suit Monkey with a Submachine Gun M/45B – also known as Carl Gustav.  Today an obsolete weapon (being developed in the 1940s) having its last years of service with the Swedish Home Guards.  But in Mutant 1984 this is a potent and useful weapon.

 

 

What a Tanker!

Too Fat Lardies were demonstrating their What a Tanker game and it looked great.  Go and do yourself a favour and buy the book from here.  If you need a little more convincing check out the stuff below.  Had a good chat with Rich, Nick and Sidney – thanks for your time!

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The Command Dice results

For more on the game if you do not want to take my word for it.

A video by the Lardies themselves:

Also check out these links for podcast whilst you paint your tanks:

  • The Veteran Wargamer (Jay) have gone Tank Mad in a wonderful way – check out his two podcasts for more here and here.
  • ..and the Meeples and Miniatures here.

We are hopefully doing a game of What a Tanker this weekend using some 15mm German tanks vs Russian or American tanks – preparations are underway more to come.

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However 6mm may be a good option and I spotted Baccus Shermans and Panzer IVs at Salute – they look very nice and the Sherman is due out very soon.

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Baccus tanks – very nice!

 

Stäket 1719

Michael Leck and friends, as have become tradition, presented yet another stunning table with a historical battle with a Swedish denominator – this time depicting the battle of Stäket 1719 (more here). This is a small battle at the end of the Northern War with with the King having been shot in Norway in 1718 and with the Russians and Cossacks terrorising the Swedish east coast with a fleet of Galleys (this was know as the Russian Harryings (Rysshärjningarna).  The attack was repulsed but the Russians managed to escape without any damage to their fleet allowing them to continue their harrying the following year.

 

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Mr Leck himself – setting things up!
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The Pikeman’s Lamen rules that Michael co-wrote with Dan Mersey were used to run the Battle
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Jan’s homemade galleys – they were “mass produced” by making a master and a mould!
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Overview!   You can read more about this battle on the Dalauppror blog here.

 

The galleys and the terrain boards (and a few of the miniatures) were made by Jan (who is another exile Swede living in the UK). The rest of the miniatures were flown in with Michael and chums.

As I have declated before Michael, and I, used to roll dice and use our imagination in the same role-playing club many moons ago.  It is always nice to see him and his latest stuff – he actually brought me two presents, a giant stag beetle and a Swedish king.  Many thanks Michael!

 

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This Giant Stag Beetle will be bent into shape and used for my Mutant 1984 project.  It is one of the most memorable monsters from the 1980s rpg.  The miniature is 28mm.

 

 

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This is the stats from the original 1984 rulebook, not very clever but big!  A gigantic Stagbeetle is 7 meters long, 2 meters tall and 2.5 meters wide. It is very aggressive. Its colour is blue-black with blue jaws.

 

 

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The next gift came in a nice box and is a miniature depicting the Swedish King Gustav Vasa. The model is based on a painting by Carl Larsson showing his entry to Stockholm as King 1523 (more about him here).

 

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This is Michae’s painted version of the model.  Mine is on the lead mountain – maturing as Sidney would say.  Some more background on the model can be found here.

How much is your collection worth!

I also had a nice chat and a coffee with good friend Peter Riley who is running the Wargamer Collection Calculator (I have discussed them before on the blog, here) that now features a wargames directory with more than 1,000 traders, clubs and societies – is your club on it?  Their base offer is in effect a collection manager where you can log you wargames collection in words and pictures with some high level estimate of its potential worth – perhaps for the purpose of using this as a basis for a separate insurance of your collection.  Even if you do not want to insure your collection you could perhaps use it as a collection manager. Registration is free.  Check them out here.

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…I think that represents a biased but still fair sample of Salute goodies!  I forgot the Daleks, here we go.

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Horka 1708 update – Swedish Infantry and Artillery thoughts

I have been working away with the Horka project and here is the Swedish Infantry contingent. 28 bases (compared to the 64 Russian ones, presented earlier here).

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I am also working on Artillery and have come to some kind of compromise for artillery. The Russian used a lot of smaller artillery pieces – battalion guns.  In the accounts of Poltava once of the key elements is the Russian Artillery ripping away the advancing Swedes, changing to shrapnel for the last 200 meters.  Placing a few cannons on the sides, as is the typical set-up, where the cannons representing 8 to 16 pieces of something like are shown as two bases on the sides, that does not really convey the story.  So I will use thin frontage bases (15mm wide)  and put them between the Russian battalions to illustrate these pieces.  It may be overkill from a ratio vs model count – but we can deal with this and having a quick glance at the way it looks I do not think there is a way back.  More about artillery in a later post.  This was just me getting carried away!

 

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Fire!
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Looks good enough for me!

 

/ Hope that was of some interest!