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Monday 29 June 2020

Spencer Smith Zulu War British Infantry

At last I have added the final touches to these splendid Spencer Smith figures.  I have to say that they do look fine due to the lovely castings and animation.  They are a treat to paint and come at a price where you can buy around three of these for the same price as a sincle figure from other ranges.

I have painted them as depicting 1st Battalion 24th Foot (Warwickshire Regiment) of course. I hear the officer cry, " This looks like a good place to defend!"

"Here they come! Steady boys"

Saturday 27 June 2020

My Dervish Army Takes Shape

The hot weather has driven me from my painting area in the attic bedrooms and so production has been slow; however, I managed to finish off another group of Dervish infantry, which brings me close to completion of a Dervish army, based upon the Portable Colonial Wargames book's suggested organisation. The new batch consists of 12 figures, which equates to three, four figure units, armed with spears and swords:
When placed alongside the other figures that are already completed this is what the emerging Dervish army looks like:

I think I will need to acquire some cavalry and a leader figure, but progress has been made.

On the painting table I have a british gatling gun almost completed and a couple more highlnders to complete that regiment.  I am also close to finishing off some red coated British to act as a foe for my recent;y pinted Spencer Smith Zulus. With the weather cooling down I should be able to complete that lot during the coming week.

Saturday 13 June 2020

The Portable Wargame - First Try

I have accumulated several of the Portable Wargame books by Bob Cordrey and whilst I have borrowed some of the ideas and mechanisms, I have not actually played a full WW2 game using the rules.  I liked the idea of a WW2 scenario, but I did not want to spend an age setting it up, basing figures etc etc. I also did not want to be bothered with keeping tabs on casualties and I wanted a solo game.

The solo game is well catered for in the books, using playing cards to determine initiative.  To cope with casualties I decided that one stand would equal one Strength Point (SP) and I was keen to make my units look like units, rather than single models on a base. I used the mechanisms laid down in 'Developing the Portable Wargame', particulalrly liking the pinning rule.  I took from Hexblitz the idea of having three states of activity, that is, moving, static or in defence. This is good for keeping track of which units are un/limbering up, or in defended positions, without the need for model defences.

For a board, I used a piece of 4 x 3 hardboard, painted green, with some roads and rivers painted on and a three inch grid drawn onto it.  Hills were 3 x 3 inch blocks of balsa.  For buildings I used Monopoly playing pieces. For troops I went to the nice Ian Kay at Irregular Miniatures and bought some 2mm armies. These are very cheap and arrived in about 48 hours.  I soon had the tiny tanks stuck onto 30mm MDF discs, with one disc representing one SP:

Within a couple of days, I had a board, two armies, one German and one Russian and it was time to try the rules. For my first battle I was going to have a small depleted German force defending a ridge line, to protect two river crossings. The Germans had two infantry battalions, a depleted assault gun battalion (Stug IIIs), two 88mm battalions, an SP howitzer regiment and in reserve a depleted tank battalion (Pz IVs).  The German end of the board was laid out thus:

The Stug battalion deployed forward into the village:

I am not going to give a blow by blow account, suffice it to say that the Russian, armour heavy steam roller rumbled forwards, initially taking a hit from the Stugs in the village, losing some heavy tanks and becoming pinned:
The Russians had a good run of card draws for initiative and soon the supporting Russian T-34 regiment, ousted the Stug Battlion in a flank attack, and a Russian Rifle regiment moved up through the woods to assault the main ridge:
The infantry attack was initially thwarted and the german reserve depleted Panzer IV battalion pushed the Russians out of the village:

With the Germans back in control of the village, the Russian commander decided to push his armour round to his right flank and attacked the German left. At first the 88s gave the Russian tanks a hammering, but were eventually overwhelmed and driven off the ridge:
The Russian attack built up, taking out the remaining Stug company, destroying the 88s and then pinning and subsequently forcing the German infantry (131 Regiment) off the ridge:

By now the Germans were close to their exhaustion point as the action shifted to the opposite flank. Here a second Russian rifle regiment swept around the defending 77 Regiment, with heavy artillery support.

With some rotten dice throws the Germans became pinned, and then were force to retreat off the ridge, taking more casualties. The Germans were finished, being pushed up against the river and reaching their exhaustion point. This was the board at the close of the game:

Overall I enjoyed this simple and fast game. I made a few mistakes along the way as I learned the rules. One thing I will do is write the rules out on a crib sheet as referring to the books each time was a pain.

2mm figures worked very well on the three inch grid and combat resolution was simple, allowing the game to move along at a pace.  I need to go back and study the rules. At one point it states that infantry cannot attck armoured vehicles, but I allowed mine to take on tanks when they were in an adjacent square - maybe I got that wrong.  I will give it another go soon.

Friday 12 June 2020

French Imperial Guard Lancers

Over the weekend I completed the renovation of another of my Minifigs S Range Guard cavalry units - this time it was the turn of the Guard Polish Lancers.  Splendid in their blue and crimson tunics, this unit can now take its place amongst the three other units already refurbished. I will be doing more on an occasional basis over the coming months:

Saturday 6 June 2020

Spencer Smith Zulu Warriors

For some reason Blogger has decided to change the format of the blogs, which has made it more difficult and time consuming to write a post. I hope this works! Why do they keep doing this?

I ordered some sampler figures from Spencer Smith as I have always wanted to try out the very reasonably priced and good looking 30mm Zulu War range.  The figures are in the 'classic' Spencer Smith range and I expected rough castings with vague detail, but actually they are rather nice, especially for the price.

I have around 30 warriors with a group 10 armed with rifles.  Here are some pictures:

Then the rifle armed figures:

Friday 5 June 2020

Look What I Found!

Today I was ordered out to find the steam cleaner, with the task of giving the showers a good clean.  I had not seen the cleaner for years, but was sure it was in the garage.  I soon found the steam cleaner box and proudly took it in to the kitchen to dig out the contents.

To my surprise there was no steam cleaner in the box but some boxes of figures and a few other bits and bobs, but at the bottom I found these two boxes:

Now, I knew that I did not have a kit of HMS Ark Royal, that was constructed years ago and stored elsewhere as it did not fit in the box once made up.  I was totally blown away by the contents:

I have not seen these vehicles, which are all 1/87th scale Roco Minitanks, for over 15 years; in fact I had long written them off as being lost in our last house move in 2006.

The second box also contained a very nice surprise, not a coastal defence fort, but a load of Allied vehicles, again mostly by Roco Minitanks:

Again, I had given up on ever seeing these vehicles again. Who would have thought to look in the steam cleaner box?

I eventually found the steam cleaner, tucked in the corner covered in dust and cobwebs. I gave it a rapid clean before presenting it to SWMBO!

Monday 1 June 2020

More Tribesmen

I have been experimenting a bit to see which tribesmen look the best by painting samples. First off are these Barry Minot Beja warriors.  They are nice figures, easy to paint, but I am not keen on this particular pose and so far I only have three figures by Minot. If I can find more I would use them:

Next, I have a handful of Minifigs Beja. Whilst I liked the riflemen recently painted, these figures just look wrong to me and I don't think I would bother painting any more:

Finally I have some Ansars and these are from Bicorne Miniatures, I believe originally Connoiseur Figures sculpted by Peter Gilder. I like these very much and I plan to produce two full units, with the second unit on the workbench right now:

What is interesting is that there are four or five base poses and variety has been created by adding different heads and weapons to the castings. These figures are still available from Bicorne Miniatures and I may add a few more to build up the numbers.