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GNW, Little One, Sweden 1943, Mutant 1984 and Podcasts – a review of 2019

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.

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This is my Twitter Feed and probably the best place to follow the going-ons!

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!

Background to your Miniatures – a little trick

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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.

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Overview of Poltava, the Monastery and the Swedish Camp
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Overview of the Redoubts and field outside the Russian Camp

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Detail of the Swedish Camp
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I was really happy with the Poltava model

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).

Some progress on the Poltava Battle and Grand Thoughts (TMT)

Poltava Town done (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – the Swedish Camp (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Redoubts and Casualty Markers (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Playing with Matches (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Plush Foam Fields (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Total Battle Village Tiles (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Trees, tree Bases and small rocks (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Siege Lines and the King (TMT)

All revved up and ready to go to Joy of Six (2019)!

Poltava 1709 at Joy of Six 2019 – the Grand Finale of the Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT)

Passing through Joy of Six 2019

What is up next? Great Northern War, Scanian War and some Bonus Pictures of Poltava 1709

Battle of Lund 1676

My next bigger 6mm project is the Battle of Lund in 1676. This is one of the most famous battles of the Scanian Wars.  I am doing this using the fantastic Wars of the Sun King range by Baccus 6mm.

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Rauch’s Geworbne Cavalry Regiment
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Prince Georg’s Regiment – a Danish regiment looking more Swedish than meatballs!

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Sea, Six and Scanian War – and a few Podcasts

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 1 – Danish Cavalry

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 2 – Danish Cavalry

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 3 – Danish Cavalry and a note on Winter Basing

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 4 – Danish Cavalry and some Aerosans

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.

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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.

Dear Henry,

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.

Hope to see you again soon,

Max

We also went to Mike Whitaker’s house and played on his fantastic Omaha Beach board, and we wrote about it here https://rollaone.com/2019/11/18/omaha-beach-iabsm-with-the-little-one/ .

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It was an absolute privilege playing on Mike’s table

We also painted up a lot Star Wars legion miniatures and terrain that we wrote a few blog posts about (more in the links below).

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The Little One’s review of Airfix Battles

Some Platoons for France 1940 and a kind of a review by the Little One of Airfix Battles

Star Wars Legion:

Painting Star Wars Legion with the Little One

Painting Star Wars Legion with the Little One – Part 2 (+ Basing and Mats)

Readers Digest version Feb-19 – Star Wars Legion and Great Northern War

The Little One’s review of Salute 2019

Salute 2019 by the Little One

 

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.

Roundpole fencing (picture borrowed from Wikipedia – link here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundpole_fence )

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.

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A Mechanised Platoon is getting into position to defend against advancing Germans in 1943 (the KP-bil, was not taken into service until 1944 as the initial batch was rejected due to the weak armour plating – in this what if whatever was available was pressed into service – as they look too cool to not be part of this project).

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Some tanks in support!
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Troops embarking and jumping over the roundpole fences – it does not get more Swedish than this!
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Tysken Kommer! (The German is coming!)

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Granatkastargrupp i Position, skjut mot skogsdungen! (Mortargroup in position, fire against the trees!)
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Target Spotted! Get ready to Fire!

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.

 

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These are a few in 28mm with some Mutant 1984 characters.

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Paul also does some gate options.

I have also found a reasonable Vallejo mix for Falu Rödfärg.

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50/50 of Bloody Red and Burnt Cadmium Red…
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…gives that dark red old style colour that was more common around 1943 than the brighter red colour being popular today…
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I think if works really well….
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Beautiful design by Paul Edwards

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).

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The two half-pint campaigns

Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Getting a Ride

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25th Panzer Division for the What-if Swedish Invasion 1943 – Part 1

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Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Getting some Heavier Support, Part 1

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Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Updated Listzz1

German Infantry Platoon(s) for the What-if attack of Sweden in 1943

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Germans for the Swedish 1943 Tourist Season and CoC in Dulwich

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The Mutant 1984 Project and our Christmas Mutant Dinosaur Hunt

This project is my Post-Apocalyptic homage to the old 1984 RPG Mutant – anything goes.

Järnringen / The Iron Ring (Mutant 1984) – Part 3 – Nordholmia Infantry Regiment

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A Sharp Practice Force for the Mutant 1984 project and Colour Sergeant Bourne from Zulu

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Border Skirmish at Hammering – Mutants who would be Emperors (Mutant 1984)

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Mutant (1984) and Death Ray Guns – from Ganesha Games!

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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”.

See the source image

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).

Meeples and Miniatures, Part 1

Meeples and Miniatures, Part 2

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.

God’s own Scale

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.”

Thanks for having me Henry!

Henry Hyde’s Battlechat

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.

Lardy Da!, not La-Di-Da, my day(s) at OML7

I think it is over and out now!

Well almost…

The Winter War

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…

That was all! See you in 2020.

Poltava 1709 at Joy of Six 2019 – the Grand Finale of the Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT)

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This is a quick report back from Joy of Six focusing on the table Nick, Andrew, Neil (from the Wyre Foresters, thanks to all of you!) and I put up on the day. there are some additional reflections and pictures of the show overall that I will issue sometime this coming weekend. Thanks to everyone who came by we really enjoyed the feedback!

The Towards Moscow Trilogy

More than three years ago I decided to have a go at doing a few battles of the ill-fated Russian campaign (1707-1709) of the Great Northern War 1700-1721.  I set out the plan in a blog post (link here) and the three battles we would cover were:

Lesnaya 1708 – link to more pictures here in the blogpost from Joy of Six 2017:

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Battle of Lesnaya 1708 (8 foot table)

Horka 1708 (a what-if battle that would allow us to field a more balance army composition and linear battle that would be the case for the battles of the Campaign) – link to more pictures here in the blogpost from Joy of Six 2018:

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Battle of Horka 1708 (12 foot table)

This year it was a 16 foot table and the disastrous (from a Swedish perspective) Battle of Poltava. Here are a number of pictures from the day with the occasional comments and some link on how some elements of the tables was being made – we were far to busy talking to people to even have a go at actually trying to play it! I think the vision of a grand spectacle was achieved, hope you enjoy  (if you have any comments do get it touch through the blog and ask away):

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Initial disposition the Russian Infantry in the Camp on the left, the redoubts filled with Russian Infantry and the line of Dragoons behind the redoubts.
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Close up of the Redoubts, we can see the Swedes in the far right corner starting their march. More about the redoubts here and he colourful fields here.

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More detail of the Yakovetski forest, the Monastery, Poltava itself and the Swedish Camp.

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The Swedes quickly overrun the first redoubt and set about taking care of the other one.

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Poltava with the Siege Lines in the upper left corner. Buildings mainly from Total Battle miniatures with a Scratch built Fortress (walls and towers).  More on the Poltava here, the ruined villages here and the Siege Lines here.

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The Swedes are through
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Some battalions being lost in the forest

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The Swedes organising themselves for the main battle

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Some immense firing

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Swedish Artillery being left behind!

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Detail of the Swedish Camp, more about the camp here.

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Siege works

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/ Hope that was of some interest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All revved up and ready to go to Joy of Six (2019)!

It is now a few days until Joy of Six 2019 and I am really looking forward to it.

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Our Little Poster with the famous artwork by Martens.

The 16 by 5 foot mat is done and will be decorated with all the key elements on the day (in addition there will be trees, villages and a few fields – not to forget all the miniatures).

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I always made some cards (actually mdf bases) with all the Commanders, there were a large amount to be done.

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Command Cards – yes I got the Peter card wrong and did rectify Russian to Russia. The +1 and +3 indicate Command Ability, Peter being Average (+1) and the Swede Exceptional (+3)!

And the command structures are all done…

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Boxes have been packed and it all fits in the car – we are all revved up and ready to go!

Looking forward to see some of you at the show and to take some pictures to share with the rest of you, until then keep on toy soldiering!

Here are a few files you may find interesting (the command structures, the poster and the command card)

Poltava 1709 Command Structure and Units TotSK v1 

Poltava 1709 One Pager TotSK v1

Poltava Command Cards TotSK v2

/ All the very best!

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Gearing up for Poltava 1709, painting some Horse Grenadiers & the Swedish Breakdown – Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT)

I have done my first proper effort on the 2019 Joy of Six project – the Battle of Poltava 1709.  As I have stated before it will be a full blown table showing not just the main battle, but also the besieged Poltava, the Monastery and of course the redoubts (more background at the end of a previous blog here).

I did a inventory of the Swedish miniatures needed and found (not to a great surprise to be honest) that I have everything I need apart from some Cossacks and the models required for the Poltava Siege works (I want to make the siege lines, siege guns and sappers, etc), as for the forces on the table, all I need is (excluding artillery and command bases):

  • 41 cavalry bases (60 by 30mm bases)
  • 18 infantry bases (60 by 30mm bases)
  • 24 Vallack and Cossack bases (large light horse bases 60 by 60mm)

That is 83 No. of bases (and detailed below) in total compared to 100 No. of bases for the Horka battle.

I will do the same review for the Russians, but I already know that there will be substantially more work as the number of bases for Horka was 155 No. but I will need a total of 259 No. for Poltava.

  • 140 cavalry bases (60 by 30mm bases)
  • 89 infantry bases (60 by 30mm bases)
  • 30 Cossack and Kalmyk bases (large light horse bases)

Now all these did not fight in the main battle, but it allows a little bit of a reflection as to the relative strength of the Russians vs the Swedes in terms of available resources in the area. It will be a busy table, considering that it is about 40% more models (however they will be somewhat differently spread).

In the interim I do know that I have no Russian Horse Grenadiers and I need 3 No. regiments of 4 bases worth of models, so I have been painting some of these.

Horse Grenadiers

In 1708, Peter the Great, formed some Horse Grenadiers regiments, taken from the Grenadier company of existing Dragoon regiments.  It is a little bit confusing and unclear how these units were uniformed at the Poltava battle and how many were present, so what follows are an interpretation.  In game terms we will treat these as a better quality dragoon units and I have modelled these on a basis of 4 bases per regiment. Note that these are from Baccus Seven Years War range (and not from the WSS or GNW range) – they are wonderful little models and you can find them here.

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A. Kropotov’s Horse Grenadiers

I painted these in the most common uniform combination of the Russian Army at the time with Green jacket with red facings, this is a speculative uniform combination. The flag is green and I am thinking of making some transfers to add some detail to them (I bought some printable transfer paper).

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G. Kropotov’s Horse Grenadiers

Again speculative uniform – I made them as above but with blue instead of Green, apart from the flag.

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von der Roop’s Horse Grenadiers

Yet again speculative uniform – I made them blue coats with red facings and a blue and red Mitre.

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I have given them an ink wash (nut brown of course, see below) and will base them up shortly.

/ Hope that was of some interest

List of the Swedish units required for Poltava 1709 based on a rough guide of one base of 9 models of riders per 200 to 300 cavalry (about 2 squadrons) and the same for base of 24 models of infantry per 400 to 600 infantry (a battalion).

Unit Type Ref Bases
Drabanterna Cavalry S01 1
Life Horse Cavalry S02 4
Life Dragoon Cavalry S03 2
Småland Cavalry S05 1
Nyland Cavalry S06 4
Östgota Cavalry S07 3
Norra Skånska Cavalry S08 2
Södra Skånska Cavalry S09 1
Hielm’s Dragoons Cavalry S10 2
Meierfeldt Dragoons Cavalry S11 4
Taube Dragoons Cavalry S12 2
Duckers Dragoons Cavalry S13 1
D Albedyhl Dragoons Cavalry S14 1
Gyllenstierna Dragoon Cavalry S15 1
Upplands 3 männingar Cavalry S16 1
Skånska Ståndsdragoon Cavalry S17 2
Vallacker (light horse) Cavalry S18 4
Karelska Horse Cavalry S21 4
Livlands Adelsfanan Cavalry S22 1
Schreiterfelt Dragoon Cavalry S24 1
Schlippenbach Dragoon Cavalry S25 2
Upplands Ståndsdragoon Cavalry S28 1
Livregementet Infantry S29 4
Upplands Infantry S30 1
Skaraborgs Infantry S31 1
Södermanlands Infantry S32 1
Kronobergs Infantry S33 1
Jonkoping Infantry S34 1
Dal Infantry S35 2
Östgota Infantry S36 1
Västmanland Infantry S37 2
Västerbotten Infantry S38 1
Kalmar Infantry S39 1
Närke-Värmland Infantry S40 2
Kossacker Cavalry S52 20

 

 

 

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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 (I think that if you look at my flowery shirt long enough and then stare on a white sheet of paper you will see something very special!).32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

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!

Featured

(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.