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“A prayer’s as good as a bayonet on a day like this” – Colonial 6mm, Welsh Wizardry, Car wrecks and Focus in Combat

col2A few things to write about this week, so I better get on with it…

The Men who would be Kings in 6mm

I have to admit that I like the format of the little blue Osprey Wargame booklets (link here).  Not all of them have suited my palate in terms of period or type of rules. However, I have bought a fair few of them to date and found most of them interesting and worth a go. One of the earliest I really liked was the Dux Bellorum rules (Arthurian stuff) by Daniel Mersey.  I fondly remember trying to figure out the rules one evening after sunset on the Island of Rhodes using some  flats I had printed out before the trip.  I have since used it to play some games using my Dark Age stuff I did for Saga, which in technically terms in not from the Arthurian period – but none involved seemed to suffer!.

However, this posting is not about Dux Bellorum, but instead relates to another of Daniel’s sets (also published by Osprey) that I want to give a try, namely the Men Who Would be Kings rules. This is a large skirmish rule set derived from his very successful Lion Rampant rules. As implied by the title it is a colonial period rule set.

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I have to admit to some, well actually a lot of, 6mm Baccus colonial stuff (link here) on my lead pile that I “will get to one day!”.  I have also promised to have a go at trying out “A Steady and Deliberate Rate of Fire” (yet to be published) that seem to be another great set of rules, by Peter Riley who did the Polemos Franco-Prussian war (link here) and the American Civil War rules (link here) . I seem to be a lead mountain away from testing the rules, unless I use some flats but that is more a last resort issue. Sorry Peter, I will get there one day!

What my experience with Sharp Practice has taught me is that it is possible to do skirmish in 6mm that works (see more on this here).  With some emphasis on the terrain and playing the game seated instead of standing the immersion is on par with other bigger scales. Further it only requires 40% of the foot print (doing it in centimeters instead of inches) of your normal table.  If you pick a range that is well served and have models that are possible to single base easily (like those of Baccus, Rapier and Adler) you can do a good job of it.

I thought I would do a simple set of two forces to try the rules out – I wanted to do some British and Zulus to start with.  I find this conflict being one of the most interesting in combination of not needing to buy any new miniatures.  Miniatures I have been using are Baccus 6mm form their colonials range and I have been using the 1,2,3 basing method as described by Michael Leck, on his eminent Dalauppror blog, here. By using a combination of 9mm (for leaders),12mm (for singles), 15mm and 20mm bases for infantry and 15mm,  and 20mm for cavalry (I did actually a 1,2 basing for these). This is, I think, a very clever way of basing miniatures for large skirmish rules that removes individual miniatures (e.g. Sharp Practice), especially for 6mm that can be a little bit fiddly with small bases.  I suppose you just have to make sure you base each unit so that all combinations of models left can be done.

So far I have finished the little British force consisting of 4 units of regular infantry (12 in each unit) and 2 units of regular cavalry (Lanciers, with 8 in each unit).  I am very pleased with the way they look and the little space this force takes. I will add a few more unit and some artillery later, but this is enough to get started.

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The Zulus are quick to paint and I have to brush up (sorry for the pun) on my Zulu shield knowledge before I can complete them. There is some variation based on marital status and experience (age) if I recall things correctly.  I am nearly there though.

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A Welsh Wizard’s tome

I bought the War of 1812 supplement for Sharp Practice penned by Mike Hobbs last week. You might be familiar with Mike if you listen to the Meeples and Miniatures podcast.  I am not that familiar with the period but having read it on a train last week I am now resisting getting some miniatures to have a go.  There is a thread on what miniatures to use for this in 6mm if you are interested here.  I really enjoyed reading it and if you are interested in the period than this is a very good things to get started with even if you do not play Sharp Practice. I actually may end up using the scenarios for my French Indian War battles with a few modifications.  The fact that Mike is very enthusiastic about both the Sharp Practice rules  in general but more importantly about the period itself shines through and puts that sparkle of magic on top of it all.

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The book contain a listing of the opposing forces and a very good campaign write up  for the 41st foot regiment, and seven scenarios.  Most of the scenarios are based on the memoirs of Private Shadrach Byfield [A Narrative of a Light Company Soldier’s Service in the Forty-First Regiment of Foot (1807-1814)] and, in my view, offer a wide range of challenges.

Further it introduces a few specific unit characteristics for the War. My favourite is the War Cry that allow an Native Indian unit to instill fear (technically Shock) in another unit.  The army lists for both sides covers standard infantry forces, royal marines, militia, scouting forces and native forces (and some cavalry for the Americans).  It looks comprehensive enough to me. There is also an overview of the war and two Appendices cover the two armies of the war.

You buy and download the PDF from Too Fat Lardies here.

Terminator Car Wrecks

We needed some more terrain to provide some additional cover for the Terminator games so.  This give some additional cover to give the resistance a better chance of winning against the machines.

I and the Little One got some close enough to 28mm scale cars from a charity shop for 20 pence each and stuck them on bases and added some debris on the side (cut up matches, toothpicks, some plastic from a DVD cover and added some various sized stones and mixed it with PVA glue) and, after they were dried, spray painted them grey. Painting left to do, but will do a very good job in breaking up the field of battle.

Focus in Battle

On a funnier note (and repeated from the Roll a One Facebook page) I came home from work one day finding some particular modifications having been done to the Little Ones Nerf gun glasses.

“Why have you stuck pieces of paper on your glasses?”, I asked the Little One.

“They are tactical information screens, it gives me the ability to focus in battle. Got that Private?”

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A sleeping hero

The title of this posting – “A prayer’s as good as a bayonet on a day like this” is said by Colour Sergeant Bourne in the movie Zulu (link here). Colour Sergeant (Frank Edward) Bourne was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (CDM) after the Battle at Rourke’s Drift and was, at the time, the youngest soldier in the British Army who had achieved the rank of Colour Sergeant.  He ended his career as a Lieutenant Colonel and was awarded an OBE. As I read up about him I found out that he was buried not far from where I live.  I think I will take the Little One and have a look for it after Rugby next Sunday.  Although he was only 5’6″ tall he was certainly, in every sense of the word, a big man.

/ All the very best, next time I will go through the forces who will be fighting the Kalisz battle at Salute in April this year.

Double Joy at Six, Tiger Lillies, bare winter trees and headswaps

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A little bit longer blog this time…

Neil Shuck doing Sharp Practice in 6mm at Joy of Six

There are some very good news indeed with regards to Joy of Six this year, from my and I believe many others perspective, as Neil Shuck will be running some Sharp Practice in 6mm using my French Indian War stuff I did last year. You may recall that I and Neil did the Saga in 6mm last year. Neil will be developing a scenario so we are not yet fully sure what will happen on the day, but we will let you know as and when the mystery unfolds.

Most of you, I suppose, know that Neil Shuck is the man behind the, in my opinion, best wargames podcast available called “Meeples and Miniatures”.  If you have not listened to Neil and his co-host give it a go, it is more than worth it (there is a link below).  I have been listening to it for years and it has given my joy, inspiration as well as sound investment advice.

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There are of course other podcasts out there, including the new, and equally, addictive Veteran Wargamer as well as the long running Wargames Recon show that are also very good.  As I have said before listening to podcasts and audiobooks is my way of keeping my hands free to do painting and modelling.

Joy of Six is a show that from one perspective could be seen as an exclusive 6mm event but that would be a very (did I say very) narrow view, instead I, and perhaps you should too, see it as a fantastic event that bring something to all wargamers.  To get an idea what it is all about you should check out the link to the show report from 2016 below. Personally it is another chance to see Dan Hodgson’s amazing Star Wars stuff that I totally missed out on last time due to the demand around the Saga tables.

Thanks Neil! Looking forward to seeing you again.

I will be running the Great Northern War Battle of Lesnaya 1708, if I ever get there!

Here are a few useful links with regards to the above:

  1. Joy of Six to be held in Sheffield on the 16th July 2017
  2. Sharp Practice in 6mm (many more associated posts on the blog)
  3. Saga in 6mm that I did with Neil last year.
  4. Joy of Six show report from 2016, Part 1 and Part 2.
  5. Meeples and Miniatures webpage, the best wargames show.
  6. Veteran Wargamers webpage, the best new wargames show.
  7. Wargames Recon webpage, the longest running wargames show on the planet.

Bare Winter Trees for my Chain of Command Winter War Project

I am finishing of the stuff I need for running some Winter War battles with regards to terrain and markers (see more background here and here). Trees are very important to get the right feeling and my current focus are on these.  I already have a fair few pine type of trees (Christmas trees) and these are just the same Summer and Winter apart from some snow flock on top,  but also wanted some bare (leaf less) winter trees.  To get the right look I have considered Sea foam (but it seems to brittle for my requirements), making it with wires (but it seems too time consuming to do large quantities) or to go out looking for twiglets (but this gives limited amount of branches, unless you look very hard!).  What follows is how I intend to do my bare forest.

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A picture of a river with some bare trees in the foreground during the Winter War, the objective of this little note.  Picture taken from SA-kuva (Finnish Armed Forces Photographs) and you can find their webpage here.

 

 I went to eBay and found these trees (see below) and thought I give it a try. As they come from China it could have taken a while to get them in the post – but I was pleasantly surprised to get them delivered in a week.

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The look pretty much like the picture and if you were in severe rush you could probably base them and field them like this.  I took a few more steps and I have written a narrative of what I did in the text for each picture on what I did. I thought this could have some general interest.

What you need:

  1. The trees shown above (go to ebay and search for them, you can by other quantities, the one above is for 50 trees 5X 10X).
  2. Something to cut with (whatever you have clippers, nail scissors, etc. The plastic is very soft)
  3. Washers (for bases) mine were 25cm in diameter.
  4. Super glue
  5. Putty or green stuff
  6. Primer (I used Black Gesso)
  7. Paints for the trunk and branches (see below for the ones I used)
  8. Modge Podge (Matte), but perhaps PVA is as good
  9. Modelling Snow Flock
  10. Some sealer (have not done that yet) – maybe a matte spray varnish would be best?

 

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As they come, a plastic brownish feel and those arrow heads at the end.  I suppose they are there to help keeping it together if you apply clump foliage. There is some nice structure on the trunk making it look like a tree.
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I cut away all the arrow heads (and also the bottom part that is still present on the picture).
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I superglued it on a washer (yes I did forget a few of the arrowheads but sorted that out later) and put some putty to support it at the bottom.
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I prime it black using Black Gesso. I find Gesso very good for priming plastic stuff.
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I used Vallejo model colour and did a heavy drybrush over the whole tree and then a 50/50 mix with whire of light drybrushing. I feel this is a better generic tree colour than the brown before!  I may do a few to look like birch trees when I do full production later.
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I applied Modge Podge (Matte) on the branches where I wanted snow to stick. Do not cover everywhere as it more effectful to see some of the branches too. Put some on the base as well. Try to put on generously wihout too much drip (if that makes sense!).
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Let it snow, I use spoon to apply the snow modelling flock from above.  Shake off and apply more Modge Podge until you are happy with the result.

 

 

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The finalized tree next to a little Cabin (I do not remember who produced these and it broke my heart covering the nicely modelled roof with Modge Podge and Snowflock!, but now I think it was worth it) and a Finnish Submachine gunner in 15mm (from Resistant Rooster I believe with a Peter Pig headswap). Maybe the trees would work in 28mm too?  I will try to make the bases less bulky in the future and will not put on any sand and keep them as they are after applying the putty as they will be covered with snow anyway. All I need to do is to put the production machine on and do another 119 of these!

 

 

Tiger Lillies

I went to see Tiger Lillies perform at the Camden Roundhouse in London this Friday. The concert was in celebration of their latest album released last week called ‘Cold Night in Soho’. It was their only gig in London as was advertised and promised as a night to remember.  As I may have uttered before, the first time I heard them I was not sure whether it was absolute rubbish or bloody brilliant – I settled for the latter and this concert yet again proved that decision was the right one, being a mixture of old and new and I really enjoyed every minute.

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This is one of those very fine British cultural treasures and to quote the roundhouse webpage, “The music they produce is a mixture of pre-war Berlin cabaret, anarchic opera an gypsy music, echoing the voices of Bertholt Brecht and Jacques Brel”.  Check them out here.

Could not resist chopping some heads

With regards to the Genisys project I did say I did not need any more miniatures, but I got a good deal on the John Connor and a Lieutenant set the other day so I could not resist getting these.  What would the resistance be without John Connor?. Also I thought I would convert some of the resistance soldiers by using heads from Badsquiddo games (link here., I recommend a visit) to bring some gender balance in the resistance to the machines.  Just as a note, one of the miniatures on each sprue in the box is a woman, but I wanted some more variety.  I had also waited for an opportunity to use these heads since became aware of what Annie at Badsquiddo is doing.

Here are the shots of the resistance miniatures with the headswaps done (have not yet started painting them).

You may think the heads are a bit too big, and perhaps they are?  They are good enough for my purposes. However, and this is great, they are sold in three different sizes fine, pulp and heroic. I bought the heroic ones and perhaps a size or two down would work better.

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Incoming ships

I also got my order of “wave whatever” ships for the X-wing miniature games, I have lost count of what wave it is (I think it is Wave 10!). However, they are very nice indeed and I suppose we have to test fly them soon.

The Quadjumper and Upsilon-class Shuttle from the Force Awakens movie as well as Sabine’s TIE fighter from the Rebels series.

I also got some plastic toy cars that I intend to use for the Winter War project, but more on that another time.

Thanks for not asking about progress on the TMT project!

/ May the force be with you

Sharp Practice in 6mm Part 7 – Shock Markers done and some deliveries (TMT, Conan and X-wing miniatures)

This week the Sharp Practice shock markers were finalized for the two starting forces an also the  first batch of painted miniatures arrived from Marching in Colour for The Moscow Trilogy  Project (TMT).  We also had some notable deliveries of (i) Conan the Boardgame and  (ii) the Heroes of the Resistance Expansion pack for the X-wing miniatures games.

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The Growing Sharp Practice in 6mm box – not the box but the contents. I think I have to add another layer soon. I am toying with the idea of making a 2′ by 1.5′ box containing everything you would need  (including miniatures, the support options, trees, hills, roads,  houses, river sections, etc.) and when folded up becomes a 2′ by 3′ playing surface.  That would make it truly portable and get the whole point of the project across in a very visual, and practical, way.

TMT – First Batch Arrives

The first batch of painted miniatures from Marching in Colour arrived this week but did not have time to get started on finishing them off. Absolutely brilliant stuff!. I wrote about Chris and his services in the last blog update (link here). I have already sent him the next batch.  This will make the process, at this end, very quick!

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15 bases worth of Russian Dragoons and 15 bases worth of Russian Infantry.

Sharp Practice in 6mm – Shock/Casualty Markers and some new “heroes”

… continued from last week.

Step 9 – prepare ground basing by applying sand and painting it chocolate brown.

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Step 10 – pick out the details of the unit the marker represents, e.g. in the middle the markers for the British Regulars and in the right upper corner the Rangers. I made two for every unit.

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Step 11 – Drybrush with three colours (light browns and a light yellowish colour).

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Step 12 – Apply static grass and tufts. This shows the French Canadian Militia. All ready to go!

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Conan the Board game – Finally Arrives

This week we got a big parcel with the Conan Board Game stuff from Monolith games. I have to admit that I and the little one were following the Kickstarter at the time with great excitement and we had been waiting and waiting.  The little one used to say “When is Conan coming?”.  When I finally told him that Conan had arrived, he asked me “What is that?”.  Joke aside what arrived was an impressive set of two boxes fully package with all you could ever want for the game.  It was a Carlsberg moment and worth waiting for.

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The Little One eagerly hacking his way into the Conan Stuff

 

Conan is one of those boyhood heroes and I read several of the fantastic novels and of course watched the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. The scene, in “Conan the Barbarian” where the young Conan gets chained to the mill grinder (wheel of pain) and then turns into this enormous and muscular grown up man is a nice cinematic touch.  I still find the books and the movies entertaining and, at least for me, the ex-California governor is truly etched as my mental image of the Cimmerian Warrior.  One of the stretch goals during the Kickstarter campaign was a miniature depicting the Camel that Conan has some fisticuffs with in the “Conan the Barbarian” movie, another nice touch.

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Many miniatures to paint if I am going down that route – however for the moment I have decided to play it first and then worry about painting some other day.  A thought occurred to me of doing it in 6mm – just joking – however there are a lot of stuff out there that would make this more than possible.

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6mm Barbarian from Perfect Six can be found here.

 

The Dragon Order and Adventure Set from Perfect Six we discussed last time and of course all the fantasy stuff from Microworld Games, Baccus (who does Camels as well!) and perhaps using some Pendragon 10mm for monsters – but I suppose I should never say never again!.

The Welsh Wizard, Mike Hobbs, has done a series of blogs posts showing what the boxes contain and even had time to play a game so teleport over there if you want to see/read more by starting here.  By Crom!, we have been waiting for this to begin.

Heroes of the Resistance

We also got our pre-order of the Heroes of the Resistance for X-wing Miniatures game containing the new (perhaps “older” is the word to use) Millennium Falcon, with its Square Satellite dish, and Poe Cameron’s X-wing. Fantastic stuff and ready to go straight out of the Box. We will have to have a go at flying these this evening.

/ Take care and fly casual!

New 6mm Stuff, Painting Service and Shock Markers

Limited progress this week but an update of some new and upcoming 6mm ranges that caught my eye, some discussion on the TMT project and the enlistment of a painting service, a little diversion and reflection on 18th century warfare on TV & in movies, and some shock markers for Sharp Practice. 

New/Upcoming 6mm Ranges – Landsknechts, TYW/ECW and the Order of the Dragon

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Landsknechts – picture from Wikipedia (link in the text below)

I have to admit that a few new 6mm ranges have blown me away these last few weeks:

Microworld Games Landsknechts rangecheck them out here.  I stumbled across these when I was ordering something for my Saga in 6mm project. I am planning on doing the Revenant Faction at some point and needed some ghoulish looking creatures. Microworld  has a wide range of 6mm fantasy but these are, as far as I gather, looking pretty historical like the real Landsknecths.  Splendid!, based in the US, flat rate international shipping at $12 (excluding Customs and Charges if you live outside the States, but if you can overcome that this would be an impressive and colourful force to field).  I am very tempted to add a few of these to my next order even if I am not screaming for projects at the moment. The pictures are from Microworld’s webpage and they also have a few other new sets that may be of some interest.

 

Perfect Six Miniatures, that I have mentioned on several occasions on this blog, does not just sell fine scenic items but have a growing range of, mainly fantasy, miniatures. Their latest release is their Order of the Dragon Miniatures and they are really nice. They have just been released so I ordered a few packs. Again pictures from their webpage.

Baccus upcoming English Civil War (ECW) / Thirty Years War (TYW) range are presented here and here. Based on these snippets this, in my view, promises to be Baccus finest range yet.  It is not just the detail but the poses are phenomenal and I am more than sure that at some point I will have to get into this period and make a Swedish Army led by the Lion from the North. The pictures are from the Baccus page.  Baccus are also soon releasing more French Indian War stuff that I am very much looking forward too.

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Painting Service for my Great Northern War stuff

I decided to enlist some help in completing the Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT) project (see the long and winding presentation of it here, if you have not read it yet) and have asked Marching in Colour (Painting service, with a link here) to paint a lot of the miniatures that will be used in the 3  battles. I have opted for block painted units that I will finish by applying some nut-brown ink and then some highlighting and basing – this way they will nicely blend into the existing collection.

I have had a previous experience of using a painting service that was ok, but I have to admit that I really like the way Chris communicates and deals with you as a customer.  I find his prices reasonable too.  The problem I have is that I have more ideas than I have time and I think I have already proven to the world, or at least to myself, that I can paint 6mm Great Northern war miniatures en masse.  This approach allows me to, in an IKEA like fashion, be directly involved in the production process and still have time to push on with all that other stuff.

With a little bit of luck I will be able to complete all the miniatures needed in the next year or so.  This will give me time to do some of the things that are currently not being done like the 15mm miniatures for the Winter War of 1939 between Finland and Russia and perhaps more importantly the Little ones Halo Ships and Battles stuff.

So in summary,  I will be outsourcing most of the Russians I have left to do and will also have some of the Swedish Infantry done by MiC. I have seen the first batch on photos and I am eagerly waiting for them to arrive.

TV and Movies

I have recently started watching the TV Series “Turn” that is set during the American Revolutionary War period. I was watching the 2nd series finale depicting the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse and although the number of men involved were reminiscent of the Battles in the Sharpe series, i.e. being very few men compared to the real deal, I really enjoyed it. It is not that often 18th century battles are depicted on the white or silver screen, with a few notable exceptions including Barry Lyndon, The Last of the Mohicans and the Sovereign’s Servant that incidentally is about the Battle of Poltava – the last breath of the Russian Campaign 1708-09.

I also had another go at the Northwest Passage movie with Spencer Tracy. Not as adventurous as my childhood memory had indicated. The portrayal of the Indians on both sides is not very flattering even for its time – it was made 1940 .  I would still recommend it and it serves part of the my background “research” for my Sharp Practice in 6mm project.  I have Drums along the Mohawk and an alternative version of the Last of the Mohicans to look forward to as well – when I have a few minutes spare. I also ordered the Broken Chain with Pierce Brosnan, based on a recommendation.

Sharp Practice Shock Markers

Talking about Sharp Practice, I did start making some shock markers for Sharp Practice in line with my discussion in an earlier post.  The design concept is reproduced below.

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Here is a picture that may be useful as well, adjust to the size of your washers, I did mine with 15mm washers.

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Step 1: Print out the sheet above with the right dimensions.

Step 2: Cut out the top parts and stick to the adhesive side of a Flexometal sheets (or any other sheet that is magnetic, i.e. contains some metal. I bought mine from Abel Magnets but you can also get them from other sources) – then cut them out carefully, as seen in the picture below.

Step 3: Glue on your shock/casualty markers – these are from the Baccus ECW and WSS range and will do fine for my purposes (as there are no specific ones for the period). It is difficult to see any detail at this stage. So trust me or come back next week and have a look at the painted ones.

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Step 4 – prime the shock markers and set aside to dry. As per usual I prime them in grey.

Step 5 – cut out the round dials (0 to 9) carefully

Step 6 – take your washers (these are of the flat/penny washer type with a hole in the middle) and stick a round label/sticker on top, turn it around and put a (Neodymium Disc) magnet inside, put another sticker on top, then glue on the dial (0 to 9) on the top using PVA glue. These steps are shown below. Put PVA glue on the top of the washer and on the top of the dial as well to seal the paper on using a brush. Do not be too aggressive and do not worry it will dry clear.

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Step 7 – let it dry and join together. As you may have guessed due to the ferrous sheet and the magnet the two parts stick together and the dial can be turned allowing you to set any value you want it tosm6 show.

Step 8 – They are now ready for basing and painting, but we did not get any further this weekend. I hope to be able to report on some more decorated markers next week.

/ All the very best

FIW – Sharp Practice in 6mm – Part 6 Inspiration and Some Progress

Braddock’s Defeat

I just finished listening to Braddock’s Defeat on Audible and ended up buying the physical book as well from Amazon as a reference copy.  This is an amazing piece of work by David Preston and I have not had so much enjoyment (reading a book on Military History) since I read Oskar Sjöström’s Fraustadt 1706: ett fält färgat rött.  The Fraustadt book unfortunately, as is the case for a lot of Great Northern War literature, is not available in English. But I digress…

If you are familiar with the French Indian War period of history you will have heard about the British General Braddock leading a expeditionary force, in 1755, through Pennsylvania to attack the French Fort Duquesne on the forks of the Ohio River. A smaller French Canadian force, led by the French Captain Beaujeu and supported by native Indian Tribes, had decided to seek battle before the British arrived to the fort and encountered and attacked the British at Monongahela (about 10 miles from what is now Pittsburgh).  It was the French Canadian resolve and ability to quickly get organised and use the terrain efficiently in applying woodland tactics that won the day.

“Historians have generally ignored French and Native perspectives on the 1755 campaign. The French were outnumbered, outgunned, and faced crippling supply problems in their Ohio Valley posts. They despaired of their inability to halt or slow Braddock’s relentless march. However, convoys of French reinforcements led by a veteran officer, Captain Beaujeu, came to Fort Duquesne after an epic 700-mile voyage from Montreal, arriving only a few days before the fateful battle at the Monongahela.  …..

A newly discovered French account from the Archives du Calvados transforms our understanding of French and Native American leadership and tactics at the Battle of the Monongahela. The French commander, Captain Beaujeu, sent out Native scouts who brought him exact intelligence on the location and disposition of the British. Dividing his force into three parallel columns, Beaujeu organized a frontal attack on the British column with his Canadian troops. He instructed the Indians to spread out in the woods on the right and the left, and to withhold their fire until he had engaged the British. The Monongahela was neither a meeting engagement nor an ambush, but a well-planned and executed French and Indian attack on a vulnerable British column. “

Ten questions about Braddock’s Defeat by David L. Preston, accessible here.

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Painting showing a contingent of French and Indians attacking General Braddock, in the background, who is falling from his horse being assisted by Major George Washington, the future first president of the United States of America – one of many key characters of the American revolution that were involved in this expedition. (Painted by Edwin W. Deming, the painting forms part of the Wisconsin Historicial Society’s collection)

I really enjoy the story telling aspect of real history and to paraphrase Dan Carlin, “it has destroyed fiction for me” (go and listen to one of his Hardcore History Shows if you have not done so yet!, here is a link).  However being factual, intellectual and educational does not need to be boring and can instead be truly inspirational and that is this book in a nutshell.  If you have any interest in the period, or military history in general, I suggest you get hold of this one.

I think a lot can be done with the skirmish rules I have (i.e. Sharp Practice, Musket and Tomahawks and  Songs of Drums and Tomahawks) but for the “larger” battles I am not sure what good rulesets are there that captures the flavour of not just the period but in the particular way the war was fought in this theatre. But then this was only a small diversion!

Crystal Palace and that very famous Battle

I was intending to spend the day at SELWG (South East London Wargames Group) show in Crystal Palace today, but the little one had his first rugby festival for the season and luckily, because I would be a really sad bastard otherwise, I actually prefer to see him play rather than going to a wargames show.  As it is very close to where we live we ended up going for the last 45 minutes on our way home – but the last part of a wargames show is very often like drinking a pint of lager that was poured two hours ago.  I did not take any pictures of the tables on offer, but there seemed to be a good collection – a nice ancient game with loads of pikes and a Doctor Who game caught my eye.  Next weekend (on both Saturday and Sunday) is the big event at Battle with the 950th Anniversary re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings. We are looking forward to this.

Supporting Cast, Real Estate and Markers

I decided to spend the little time I had available for diversions this week finalising as much of the painting as I could for the initial Sharp Practice stuff – so I and the little one could play a proper game in a not too distant future.  This, instead of getting diverted spending hours gluing small strips of spaghetti like last week (see my last blog entry here) I actually managed to get some of the more immediate and necessary stuff completed.

temp-out-of-ammo-markers
My temporary “Out of ammunition markers” using crates from Perfectsix – I did a few more. “Resthouse” by Leven Miniatures. The bases are 9mm in diameter.
cannister
Ammo markers for artillery (again made from PerfectSix materials).
muletrain
Mule Train from Baccus
barricades-2
Barricades based on various items from PerfectSix
barricades
As above but from a different angle
breastworks-2
Breastworks based on some old Irregular stuff I had lying around. Painted up really well!
breastworks
As above but from a different angle
docs-and-clergy
Holymen and Doctors for both sides – Pere Bleu, Docteur Bleu, Doctor Red and Father Red.
carts
Carts – Engineering, Water and Ammunition Carts

I was thinking about a scenario with the characters from a famous movie set during the French Indian War – and did the three little chaps below.  / Until next

3-guys

 

 

 

FIW – Sharp Practice in 6mm – Part 5 Fort Al Dente!

In the last update I toyed with the idea of doing a fort –“wooden palisade type with some vaubanesque feel to the corner sections optimised for the scale and basing I have for the miniatures“.

fort-2

As the 6mm scale, rightfully, is primarily used for large scale battles where a small set of buildings represents a village or even a town, it is difficult to find commercial buildings that are appropriate to allow the full “6mm skirmish experience”.  With this I mean the individual maneuvering around, on top of and inside buildings. In addition, as the models are based on relatively wide bases (in my case 9mm – in scale about 8 feet) there are difficult to fit in confined spaces if these are in true scale to the miniature. I set out to “design” the fort so that I could use palisade walking ramps and the interior of the buildings as part of the overall experience. This creates somewhat exaggerated features  – but it works.

I used the footprint above and I stuck this on top of vinyl floor tiles and got on with it.  Materials used are patience, thin Spaghetti, coffee stirrers, matches and a few 10mm by 1mm maples strips.

I then gave it a first coat of paint and some dry brushing.  I still have to sort out some material for the roofs and an underlay for the fort courtyard – so almost done.

/ All the best

FIW – Sharp Practice in 6mm – Part 4 Spaghetti Fences and Warbases

Spaghetti Snake Rail Fences

I showed an idea I had in the last Sharp Practice post of using Spaghetti to make snake/split rail fences (here is a wiki link). Well I liked the test piece results and set about to make a few more.  These could of course be used for any future 6mm, never say never again, ACW (American Civil War) project. With this “risk” in mind I did a little bit more than I needed.  I recently re-read Peter Riley’s Crisis of Allegiance ACW rules and got tempted but have to keep the project portfolio in control.  I am currently listening to “The Civil War” edited by Don Congdon on Audible whilst doing my projects – It is a very good listen indeed.

These kind of rail fences were particularly useful in rocky ground as they do not require holes to be dug for posts.  They were relatively quick to build and could be taken down and put up where they were needed.  It adds that nice periodic and geographical flavour to the setting. Note these are a somewhat simplified in design, but I think they work well for my needs.  In trying to learn the Sharp Practice rules we set up a little encounter where some French friendly natives are attacking two groups of militia firing behind some fences.

indian-attack-2indians-attack

I used 10mm by 1mm wooden strips as bases and then put a magnetic strip under (poundland variety) .  I then glued a template on top of each and cut the spaghetti into the required length. It becomes stronger than you think. I used PVA/Wood Glue and the only advice is to use moderate amount of glue to avoid getting the spaghetti too wet. But as a construction material it is brilliant and dead cheap compared to plastistruct or metallic rods. Get the thinnest spaghetti you can find – Angel hair or Cappelini seems to work best (he said sounding like a true veteran – go crazy explore the cupboard). Cocktail sticks feels a little to big in 6mm. On reflection I should probably have gone with 2mm thick bases as it makes in easier to pick them up.

rail-fencing
This is the template I used. The long parts should be 100mm/10cm long and the short ones 5cm. At these lengths they are 8mm wide so fits well on top of the 10mm wooden strip.  I guess you could paste the picture into PowerPoint and adjust it to fit whatever you need.  It is a little bit fiddly to do them but I think it was worth it.

Warbases

I also ordered some bespoke designs from Warbases to use as movement trays for the unit –  I think they worked really well. This will make movement a little bit easier.  I have to say that Diane and Martin at Warbases are excellent to deal with and I recommend them for your normal and special basing needs. I have not yet painted the small “leader bases” I am using to distinguish the Leaders.

Next I am waiting for some reinforcements and stuff to finalise what I need. I am also tempted to make a little fort. A wooden palisade type with some vaubanesque feel to the corner sections optimised for the scale and basing I have for the miniatures.  I have just the material for the stockade! – but will probably go for some wood supporting the spaghetti!

fort-2

That is all for this time.

/ All the very best