Monday, 25 November 2013

My Skaven Screaming Bell

Following my recent fall into wargames depravity with the collection of a Skaven Warhammer army, I found myself in an odd position, having birthday money to spend and just happening to be in the same road as the Maidstone Games Workshop. It is all rather a sad blur (as are several large chunks of my life) but when I got home I found my self to be the owner of a Skaven 'Screaming Bell'. This is a large war engine that mounts a demonic bell - when the bell rings, tolled as it is by a Rat Ogre, it discharges magical nastiness upon the enemy; well most of the time. It has a bad habit it seems of exploding or turning on its owner!

The model was quite straight forward to put together although despite being plastic some of the many pointy bits are bloody sharp. Nor was it too bad to paint as the serious level of detail, such as deep wood grain, makes things much easier to highlight. The model was to be painted in block colours and washed in Army Painter dip, my usual technique, but the detail screamed highlights. There are actually two highlight colours over the base wood colour, two over the base stone colour and two for the bell. Other areas, such as the plague filled smoke emminating from the bell and the two censers, are just one highlight.

Strangely, the real problem was adding the dip and then the varnish. The dip took almost two hours to apply as there are just so many areas to cover. Being made of timber baulks each piece has four sides and all is woven together with some very tricky to reach bits indeed. My main concern was the dip drying out in places and forming tide marks on areas as I worked around the detail. I had to mentally break the model down into defined areas starting with the bell as this was fairly central and divided the model. I then worked down one side of the carriage, taking care to get between all of the various struts, and the wheels. I then had to get to the inner areas of that side which was a pain. After completeing the second side of the carriage I could work on the Rat Ogre at the back and then work my way along the decking areas. So many times I came across pooled areas of dip between various struts that were on the point of turning into toffee, that almost dried out stage that can realy mess you up if missed. This is what happens when you have to do inner and outer areas of course, and you have to put on a lot of dip to let it do its thing and then take off the excess. This also meant that the model took a long time to fully dry out.

The varnishing was just as bad as the dip application, you really ned to make sure that every surface had been given a good coat of the varnish otherwise you are left with some really obvious patches! This was another two hour stint but rather than toffee like blobs I had to deal with those irritating varnish air bubbles! Back and forth picking up excess varnish before it dried out to much...sigh. I gave this a full day to dry out and I have to say I am pleased with the result, no major patches, no missed bits, no blobbing....and I think the bell itself has come out really well, has that metal look I have had difficulty with before. Highlights before adding dip really does help give the model extra depth and takes so little time.

This model gets its first game on Tuesday against Phil's Beastmen army. We each have 2000 points and if the bell doesn't blow itself up, and me along with it, it might not be such a one sided affair as I fear....hell, we might even win! I have given myself a little extra edge, just in case. I made it myself because you never know, the Great Horned One may be watching! It might also serve to distract Phil too....I will accept any edge that I can get :)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

All For One - and Saucy Boots for me!

Who doesn't love Pirates? I for one am a huge fan of one of the least regarded but probably best Pirate programs on TV, DVD or Blu-Ray, one that almost everyone has missed to their loss. I am talking, of course, of the mighty piece of audio-visual piratical excellence that is 'Yoho-Ahoy'.

Yoho-Ahoy. Obviously, all pirates had to be taught shanties and work songs at some point in their career. Here some recruits are being trained by a music teacher, obvious when you think about it. Notice how few pink pianos you see in other supposed pirate films, makes you cry it really does.

These programs consider the rarely considered aspects of pirate life aboard ship and offer some fascinating insights. My personal favourite was the one where all the washing went missing from the line and it turned out a seagul had used it to make a nest in the high rigging. I had not considered this sort of thing before but it has certainly altered my understanding and cannot but help with game play scenarios; who knew???

Anyway. Last nights club meeting was supposed to have a game where Mark and I tried out the Cutlass rules from Black Scorpion. I spent a few paniced weeks trying to finish of my Royal Navy crew ready to fight Marks Pirates but the time was well spent and I think they came out rather well. Mind you, the figures are very nice and made things easier!

Captain Silas Pugwash (centre) and his two officers. Note the official 'faux leopard print topped PVC thigh length ships boots', standard issue to relieve calf strain apparantly.

Three Marines, the Captains best men.

The seamen, some more able than others!

A close up of Able Seawoman Chelsey...and some other guys.....all of whom are called Bob.

The paint jobs here are my now standard block colours with occasional highlights for larger darker areas, and then a judicious coat of Army Painter Dip; in this case I used the Dark Tone rather than the strong tone. I didn't bother varnishing the saucy boots, just left the dip as it was. The figures come ready for the slit type plastic bases, which I hate. So once the varnish had dried I simply cut off the slot bar from the figures, drilled holes up into the figures feet, added a length if thick wire. I made the decking bases from marine ply topped with lengths of coffee stirer coated with the acrylic version of the Army Painter Strong Tone wash. These were then drilled to accept the pins added to the figures and Bob is your Aunties Live in Lover, sorted.

But then it all went runny. Mark's coach from London didn't get back till late and so by the time he got to the hall nobody fancied trying to pick through a new set of rules. So we used two figures each and played '...And One For All', the Three Musketeers game again, but with pirates! We struggled to remember bits but we got by and had a jolly old time and no mistake...apologies to the rest of the club...

"Two Saucy looking birds walk into a pub....", as the saying goes, and found a couple of geeky looking blokes to push around...who then fought back.

Chelsey and Courtney go for a quiet drink....

...and meet Frodo No-shirt (front) and Fat Alan (back)

You can see where this is going I am sure. An exact game report is impossible given how the games work but, there was the usual stupidity, throwing barrels, twatting each other with benches and a bizaar episode involving a table and trapped toes beneath it. Poor Frodo tried to tip Courtney off the table but each time rolled a disaster (more than two 1s) allowing me to decide upon his fate. Each time I decided that he had dropped the table onto his bare toes and was trapped! This at least meant that I could get Courtney to stroll nonchalantly up the table and kick the stuck Frodo into submission...never quite worked out that way though! There was an alarming number of disaster rolls made...mainly by me, five in as many turns! Each time Cheslsey or Courtney got a boot heel stuck in a floor board or spun like a top into a wall. The fight went on and on with not a single injury, just lots of slapstick and nasty looks. As usual the game caused a lot of laughter but we did decide that it was about time we actually read the rules for ourselves and played it properly.

Chelsey survives being tipped off the table by Fat Alan and prepares a scathing looking before using her nice boots to remind Fat Alan how to treat a Lady....

The meeting also had two other games, a very nice AeroNef game run by Andy and played by Bob C. and a possible new member, Andrew....we seem to be accumulationg a few Andrews in our ranks...Two battles were fought out and considering niether player had used the rules before this was a very good result, testimony to the rules and Andy's umpiring! The last game was a Warhammer bash between Steve and Drew...which Steve won! He was very pleased and not smug in the slightest. Chaos troops seem a tad more effective than the Tomb Kings it seems....although it might just mean Drew was bloody unlucky!

Sunday, 10 November 2013



       A roll of thunder..........

              A rain soaked night alive with lightning......

                       A howling wind tormenting the turrets of the obviously evil castle....

                                More crashing thunder and a lightning bolt that splits the very fabric of reality......

A surge of power bordering daemonic in intensity writhes through the incomprehensible workings of the damnable machine, dials spin, screens flash, restraining bolts scream; and then an eerie silence descends. The weary and soulless eyes of the operator, crazed by months of failure despite endless research and new experimentation, look up through the smoke at the now hated but curiously loved focus of his insane devotion. There is a delay, just a second or two, but for the near destroyed mind of the operator age passes age....and it appears! It is there, at last, alive and pulsing with a life born of anguish but so full of hope and potentiality that it towers beyond time and space. Yet all was so nearly lost, but for the change of that solitary line of code.........

It lives! 


The operator checks again, to be sure. There it is. Oh it may look weak and empty now but in time it will grow! It will need care...and understanding of course...but what is that compared to the future it beckons? Life may be a mere Bagatelle, but this? Oh, sweet child of manic and selfless devotion....Oh, sweet child of your peoples hopes and dreams.....of need and desperation....hear our prayers.....

"...please do not get hacked again..."

Bloody websites! Is it me or are they a total pain in the arse? Yet what would we do without them? The MHWC website was killed off, as you may remember, a few months before Broadside 2013. It caused us no end of grief and the help we received from those being paid to offer such help was negligible. In the end the only option left for us was to start again, not something that any of the membership was remotely experienced with. So, as any good chairman should, I took responsibility. I am good at that, when anything goes wrong at home it seems that the responsibility is mine...or at least that I was responsible which adds up to the same thing....apparently.

The new club website  


if you prefer a less snappy address to type, is now back. Ok, its not as full as it once was but I am working on that. I have two very basic pages in place and now an events calendar waiting to be filled in. The front page is a basic Welcome-Mat affair with the relevant info about who we are and what we do. The second page is for Broadside and this has several sub-pages being prepared to cover traders and clubs etc. Soon, I hope to have a links page for traders, the ever popular Polls will return (if I can remember how I got them the last time).

What would you like to see on the new website? I would love to hear from you all about what you think a wargame club website should run....what about what it shouldn't run? Come on Guys, get in touch and give us your ideas and thoughts.

Also, please pass it on that the website is back and that if anyone is interested in Broadside 2014 they now have a place to go!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Warhammer - the STD of wargaming....

I started proper wargaming at the age of eleven, having previously spent many a happy hour alone in my room with my toys wargaming in all but name. I am now forty seven and the bug has never died, if anything it grew and became all consuming, having other people to wargame with! I have had many a casual dalliance with various periods over the years, flitting between one thing and another as the interest arose and passion became inflamed...then casting that aside as the new love of my wargaming life appeared on the it me or is this post getting a tad saucy? Well, can't be helped, I am a man of great passion after all and I make no apology for it.

Anyway, as you know I have recently been involved in that 'Wargame Nasty', Warhammer, something that I have showed no previous interest in at all...good, wholesome, clean living boy that I am. I have sneered derisively at the mere thought of such a game and considered those that did play to be in the foetid pit of wargame debauchery, not a little odd and a tad...well...wargame perverted; there, I have said it. But now..........

I collected a small Skaven army, nothing too involved, I could give it up anytime I wanted of course. I read the army book, did a bit a maths and with my proper wargame mind calculated a point based army that was well rounded and militarily sensible and even plausible...apart from the magic spells options. It all got a bit runny after that.

Then I played my first game...actually, it was a bit worse than that...if I am truly honest dear reader. I actually fielded an unpainted army.......I know, I am sorry! I didn't mean for it to go as far as that, I really didn't you must believe me! ..... I played a warhammer game with an unpainted army that I owned and as if that was not terrible enough.......I enjoyed it. I'm sorry, I need to stop for a moment.........

OK. so I played my first game. I won. But more than that I found myself getting to like that simple way the game worked, the way one could build an army without the restrictions and the oppressive Victorian social values...even the strange magic element where you can blow up an enemy with a weird spell...or make it melt...or change sides....and that a game only lasted  for six simple turns and could have an actual result at the end of wasn't complicated....the armies were fun, my Skaven have a very good chance of blowing themselves up at the drop of a hat and I liked it all the more. I arranged to play a second game at the next club meeting and I found myself looking forward to it.....

I played a second game with the unpainted army and already I had a very good understanding of the rules and could even run sections of it. I made movement trays for my large Clanrat units...I even offered to help touch up and re base a friends 15mm ancient army in return for some old Skaven models and it was then that it hit me; I was lost with little hope of a safe return. The true depth of my condition was brought home to me at this years SELWG, I actively encouraged my good, good friend to buy a warhammer army book and the beginnings of an Ogre Kingdom army.

As the title of this post states, Warhammer is the STD of wargaming.....its all just simple fun until you realise you have become infected, and then you get the urge to pass it on......

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

All for one...and a Turnip for Steve!!

I do so look forward to club nights, the meeting of like-minded people, the air of camaraderie, the chance to get your character figure to violently sexually assault your mates character figure with a choice of root vegetables....war is indeed hell. My good friend Clint made a visit to the club offering to run a game for was all down hill from then on. Take a look at Clints blog for another view of the game.

Building by Ziterdes, other terrain by Frontline and others, figures by Redoubt...hanging chandelier by Mark

The game in question was the highly interactive Three Musketeers game called '...And one for All!', a skirmish level game available as a free download from Eureka Miniatures. The USP of the game is the very open ended game turn for each player, you can get your figure to almost anything in a bound as long as you do not roll a 1 on a D6. After each successful manoeuvre, such as 'I will jump on this table...', you have the option of trying to carry out another manoeuvre. Each new manoeuvre adds a dice to your stack and if any of them come up as a 1 your turn ends. The idea is that by successfully carrying out as many manoeuvres as you can prior to an actual attack with a weapon you can add dice ready for that killer bit of sword play. This means that players will invariably come up with the most outrageous plans to get themselves in a good position to attack and build up power. This could, and often did, involve a players turn going something like this....

1. I will move up to the table and pick up that small keg (roll one D6 and anything other than a 1 your character does the action).

2. I will throw said small keg at Andy's head (roll two D6 and avoid getting a 1...also note that the actions were most definitely directed at the player rather than the character! Such aggressive actions could actually wound and possibly kill!)

3. I will run up to Andy and pull his hat down over his eyes (roll three d6 etc....all very cinematic)

4. I will now fight with Andy in a duel (this is the attack that the previous moves were building up to and gaining dice for) Andy will defend with a number of dice equal to his remaining life/wound tokens, three or less, and I fight with three dice gained from my three successful actions plus the number of dice equal to my remaining life/wound tokens. The numbers of dice are not that important, it all hangs on your highest dice against theirs and the difference.

So that is the basics. Now add some wargamers with the wit and sophistication of a concussed eight year old, desperate to build up to a decent attack whilst trying to out-do each other in the silly stakes, and you have one hell of a boisterous game on your hands! Oh, it all starts of nicely enough, each player appearing to be working out some very logical move with a sensible narrative, but all too soon it begins to get personal and you just know there is going to be tears before bedtime....and it gets oh so personal too.
" I push Steve off the balcony....I jump onto Steve's now prone body....I jump up and down on Steve's head..."...and all this before a sword is even drawn!

Some highlights....

The mass small beer keg throwing episode as each player tried to knock the others out at range (we had a lot of movable terrain pieces such as tables, benches, kegs, boxes, bags etc. to encourage the imaginations)...all very early St Trinnians...

My attempt to build up some attack dice by first ...'poncing about the place a bit'...only to roll a 1 and leave my character poncing about the place a bit on a street corner outside the Inn for an entire turn.

My character 'poncing about the place a bit' outside the Inn....sigh.

All the 'leaping from the balcony onto the chandelier so I can swing around in a large circle and thump into Andy/Mark/Alan/Steve's back'...this went on for some time, there was almost a queue for the stairs to the balcony at one point!

The aforementioned episode of Mark jumping up and down on Steve.

Andy throwing an insult (in French) so heinous at Mark that his character dropped his sword and actually took a wound!

Andy kicking my prone and wounded character in the nuts and killing him.

My character urinating over Steve's.

My character attempting to insert a turnip from the market stalls outside the Inn into Steve.

Everybody picking up a large bench at one time or another and attempting to twat someone but failing every time.

The new rule we added near the end of the game whereby if anyone rolled more than two 1's in an action move that move went disastrously wrong. The defending player could then decide just what had gone wrong and leave the attack in a very compromising position. My character jumped from the balcony for my third action, rolled two 1's and it was decided that his cloak caught on a nail and he was left hanging in mid air!

I managed to kill two characters and only died once!!!!

There was an awful lot of laughter generated by this game and all those involved a very good evening indeed. There was a great deal of talk of how the game mechanics could be used for a variety of other periods and genres.... Despicable Me Minions Vs Clangers for example (this should give you a very good indication about the mental balance of the MHWC membership....)

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

SELWG and stuff

I went to SELWG this year....first time in ages. In fact, I am not sure when I last was that long ago! I do remember it being a pain to get to, park and make it along the looong walk to the entrance and sadly not much had changed there...the rain storm didn't help much either; quite a few soggy items on the bring and buy! Mark and I went along top promote Broadside and sign up new traders and visitors.

Once in, and after I had dried my glasses and stopped steaming the rain off, I found I had plenty of room to move about; a big change from my last visit. back then, the upper level was packed with traders and public making it difficult to move along let alone stop, look and buy. I had chance to stop and chat with the traders, hand out Broadside 2014 flyers and trader booking forms...fell in love with the 28mm Napoleonic frigate Andy from Grubby Tanks had on display and then sulked all day because I knew I couldn't afford the £125.00 price tag....and even if I could where the hell would I put it? It was a very pretty thing but in 28mm very big too. Sigh.

Anyway. The bring and buy was well attended and quite well stocked although there was a lot of games workshop gear...nothing Skaveny for me though. That said, I did only have £15.00 on me :( , the trip was very much a Broadside recruitment drive not a jolly (I kept telling myself) so I contented myself with spending time looking and chatting. I did notice that the Bring and Buy was smaller than I remembered it and I was able to actually stand there and look at items without getting ribs broken. Somehow it wasn't the same.

The main hall was busy and some major trader names were there (and me with no money) but I did manage to get a South American Flesh Tone paint set from Wargames Foundry and a pack of four Maori figures with shotguns from Empress Miniatures. Their stand was flanked by two large and well made display cases filled with their fantastic figures. These days many companies simply wash their display figures in a black ink rather than paint them up. This works better for me, the ink shows the details beautifully and I am not intimidated by the unachievable painting skills before my eyes. I eventually moved on from that stand...eventually...with Marks help. By way of thanks for my rescue I helped Mark start on that dark path that is Warhammer...seemed only fair. Mark looks to be set to build an Ogre Kingdoms force and with his painting skills I am sure they will look very impressive indeed...and will stomp all over my rat things with giant hairy feet.

In all we both had a very nice time and managed to have a good chat with many of our trader friends and clubs. The Maidstone boys were doing well with their Balloon game, which I think looks so neat and unusual, and we stopped and admired many a well painted figure along the way. The show was not as busy as I remembered it being but it was as friendly as ever it was. I like the SELWG club, I like the SELWG show but I have to say that I really do not like the SELWG venue at all. I wonder if I am the only one?

Besides SELWG news I had an email from club member Simon about a new model shop in Maidstone. I have also been informed that the No Mans Land store in Maidstone has been closed down for ever; one goes and perhaps one arrives albeit a model shop rather than a wargame shop. This is what Simon said;

Having heard on the grapevine that a favourite shop from my boyhood, Norwood Junction Models, is closing after 60 odd years I was delighted to see that a new model shop has opened in Maidstone, on the same floor and directly opposite the old ModelZone unit. Chatting to the young lady at the till (as one does…) it seems they are a pop-up store until Christmas, at which point they’ll  take a view on a longer lease. It all depends on the footfall between now and the end of December, and I promised to pass on the news of their arrival. They are an extension of the Regal Models unit in Chatham Dockyard and so they are focussed on Humbrol/Airfix kits and Hornby railways. There is a small Gaugemaster stock for scenics plus the odd railway plastic kit (telegraph poles, war memorials, fences etc), and balsa wood. There’s also the inevitable die-cast model range upon which all these places seem to depend for additional revenue – not for me that one, but clearly has appeal for many punters.

I did my best to persuade her that Vallejo would be a popular choice for an additional paint range, and apparently they will extend to Tamiya from tomorrow. Wargamers tend be fairly low down the hobby pecking order, behind railway enthusiasts, military diorama modellers etc. so I doubt we’ll see a broad diversity of stock in the short term. But all the old Airfix favourites are there and who knows what the future holds. One thing is certain though, without the support of the local wargaming and modelling community these guys will struggle just as much as all their predecessors.

I think Simon has raised a good and valid point here. Such enterprises rely on our support and will disappear without it. That said, if they do not stock the things we need.....just where can you get paint from these days other than Games Workshop? That alone is a frustration but it is an issue relevant to the whole shop and custom equation; stock what we want and we will come...but what we want is so varied it is almost impossible to do. It's quite depressing.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Downloads from this blog


It seems that I had not set up the download page of this blog properly (sounds like me) and people have been having trouble downloading 'Worminators'.

I think this has been resolved now but if someone would like to check for me that would be appreciated. Obviously, Worminators is a great game that many thousands of you must have desperately been trying to access for a while; only the permissions bit was wrongly set. You should now be clear to run off your own set of the rules and cutting out your polystyrene play board in eager anticipation!

Just remember that it can get a bit messy and that a stingy smack on the back of the legs from a disgruntled partner, miffed at the amount of tiny polystyrene bits blowing about the place, can be unpleasant...but is totally worth it!

A second set of rules for an entirely different game will be posted on the download page on the 11th December. These rules have been designed and written especially for the club's Christmas game and are being kept a close secret until then.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

New Worms from MJ Figures!

As some of you are aware, I wrote a set of wargame rules to play a table top version of the old pc/playstation/xbox game, Worms. The rules were designed to be used alongside a great set of Worm figures designed and produced by MJ Figures. Mark, MR MJ himself, liked them and intends to make them available via his website as a download to support the figure range. These are not available on the site yet but I understand that Mark is also preparing some special board holders for the rules....theses are needed because the rules use a 25mm thick sheet of polystyrene (600mm x 400mm) placed on its edge. The game is played with the figures on the top edge of the board, which can be carved pre-game into an interesting shape. The beauty of this board is that as the worms dig tunnels or set of explosive sheep (so cool) the board gets chunks ripped off and so the playing surface changes throughout the game. Bloody messy of course but a great deal of fun. Keep a vacuum cleaner handy is my advice. The rule book can be downloaded from this site too via the Free Downloads page!

The figure range is 20mm and there are about a dozen or so different four worm teams to choose from, and some very cool and fun teams there are too. each set costs just £2.50, a real bargain. Now, however, Mark has decided to go large! He has recently released three sets of 28mm worm teams and he has sent me one of each which I am eager to show you all. These sell at £5.00 per team and will look great when painted.

The WW2 set - Hitler Worm, Mussolini Worm, Churchill Worm and Stalin Worm.

The American President set - Washington Worm, of them is Lincoln...erm....why not visit the site yourself and take a look? Well worth a visit anyway, some neat ranges both historical and odd :)

The Wild West set - Cowboy Worm, Cavalry Trooper Worm, Mexican Bandit worm, Indian Chief Worm

So there you go, something new and unusual to look out for. Why not download a copy of the rules and take a look...then go buy some worms!!!

Monday, 7 October 2013

New Zealand Wars - new arrivals!

Well, I say new. Some of these arrives weeks ago but I couldn't get either the camera to work or the PC so apologies for the delay.

I placed the latest order from Empress Miniatures a while ago to get what I needed to complete the British side and start off the Maori you can imagine, you all being wargamers, I have already decided that I actually need a few more Brit bits! This aside I thought I would show you the nice people at Empress have sent me. Fantastically, they also sent me a few extra figures for free given my need for extra sergeants; how cool was that? I must say that I have been very impressed with the whole Empress experience so far, figures, service, has all been good. If I was ever tempted to go down the whole Zulu war route for example I would have to go to them. I wonder if they would come to Broadside 2014? hmmmm, worth an ask.

Anyway, back to all things New Zealand. Take a look at these....

Maori with shot guns....

the provincial 'ranger' troops...

Maori with muskets...these four will be the small scout unit attached to my British force.

Maori chiefs....look at the detail in the faces!

The local militia...who doesn't love a top hat on the wargames table?!

An officer, NCO and two sharpshooters....I have no idea where to use the sharpshooters but just love them.

As you can see these new arrivals continue to illustrate the quality of this range and I cannot wait to get them finished and on the table. As I said before, I now think I need a few more Brits points wise and I am so tempted to get a small Naval landing party, just to show off the mix of troop types available if nothing all know what we are like. In my efforts to get the figure to man ratio to 1:1 I may also need to get a few more regular troops to better represent a reduced company; thirty odd is just not quite right.

These are all very cool of course but figures in themselves do not make a game, I need terrain. I have now made a start thanks to a few purchases from Stuart at Col, another company that believes in customer service and good products. I now have a house for the settlers to live in, a waggon with a load and the all important privy...with a little surprise! These all all by 4ground, pre painted MDF kits that look great for very little effort....

All pre painted and suitably rustic...apologies for the odd mark on the roof, dropped the bloody thing onto the wood glue and couldn't get it all off!

The buildings come with separate internal wall panels to give a great effect and a lot more strength.

The upper floor has a hatch and even a small ladder...its all going a bit Polly Pocket here isn't it? Sorry.

The kit comes with an instruction sheet which is very helpful but you still need to be careful here.....

The range of waggons is good and again do not really need to be painted. The load are sold separately.

And we all need a privy too!

Col also make this brilliant figure for the privy...not a lot of use in game terms but who could resist such a thing? Certainly not I it would seem :)

The project is far from completion and there are more purchases to make and poo loads of thing to paint. But, things are moving in the right direction and I am far more confident in this than I have been of other things I have attempted. I think much of this confidence comes from the quality of the component parts and that I can actually get the things I need to do the job without having to make do here and there.

I wonder if I am talking too soon.........

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Open Day 2 - a good day too

WW1 Germans advance!
Our second open day was a lot of fun! We had a good number of visitors, including a bucket load of families with young children eager to take part in our Make and Take a Tank offer. Ok, they were not going to become members of course but they had a great deal of fun and it was a great piece of PR for us. Next year we will expand this part of the event and provide some paints and, given the number of girls taking part, we will also provide various tubs of sparkly things and glitter....something several of the young girls took great pains to tell me we needed! When a four year old girl looks you squarely in the eye and tells you that she wanted to colour her tank with pink pots and golden glitter but there wasn't any to use what else are you to do? Nothing like some feedback is there? Our thanks once again go to Tracy at Armourfast for providing the kits, very generous indeed.

Mark has painted up a couple of very cool Belgian armoured cars....this one got a little shot up!

We had plenty of more wargamey visitors too, Ian Barber of the Shepway wargames club, Clint Burnett from the Twydal wargames club and fellow blogger (Anything but a one) and Bob Cordery of the popular wargames bog 'A wargames Miscellany' who has already posted a very positive review of the event. It was great to see everyone and we did indeed have a chance to chat and put the wargame world to rights! Of course our good friends at the Maidstone wargames Society were already at the show running a couple of great Sci-Fi games. Annoyingly, I really wanted to see the Star Wars fighter game they were running but by the time I had found time they had started something else! Still, it will give me an excuse to chat with them all again :) We really appreciated the Maidstone boys coming along and supporting our event, they are a lot of fun and always put on interesting games.

The Maidstone boys play Starmarda!

Bottom line, did we gain any new members? I think we did. One visitor had never gamed before but had an interest in naval games, mainly from reading Alexander Kent books. He was impressed by the various games on show and that we were able to run a Napoleonic naval game at our next meeting. He was also an Iwade resident and so it looks good so far. We meet on Tuesday so we shall see. A young couple, also new to Iwade, came along looking to find a new club. They play Warhammer and Flames of War, a few card games for good measure, and also look to become active members. They are to bring along a fantasy game to the next meeting so more positive news here.

The Rapid Fire game was as popular as ever, Simon runs a very cool game!

Another view of the Rapid Fire game...note the burning vehicles!

 On the subject of Warhammer - it seems that we as a club may be missing a trick by not being as all embracing of non historical game types as we could have been, this is something we are looking to actively change. If we are to grow as a club we need to look at ourselves from the ground up and make some grass-roots changes to accommodate alternatives. This does not mean that everyone needs to rush out and buy a bucket load of Orcs of course, we have the space and resources to open ourselves up to a wider audience. The Open Day is something that has really brought this to our attention, having the time to actually talk to visitors rather than just say hi as you rush past from one issue to another at Broadside makes a difference; we can learn a lot more and make some great connections.

The Open Day has become a firm part of the club's diary, hard work but very much worth the effort.

Greek Phalanx shoving Persians off the table edge!

Darius ( in the chariot ) encourages his troops...good man that.

A closer view of Darius.

The game had some awesome cavalry clashes too

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Skaven Rat Ogres

Oh, dear reader. I have wandered from the one true path and muddied my feet in the evil, stinky pond that is Warhammer :(

No, I do not know how it has happened. I was minding my own business one sunny afternoon without a care in the world when BAM!
'What the hell was that'? I said.  
You are now the proud owner of some warhammer figures, said a disembodied voice from the middle distance.
'Bloody hell', I said, 'how did that happen?'
All rather too quickly....Mr Fantasy Boy!
Nooooooooooooooooo, I cried.....but it was true. I was now a Fantasy Head....oh the shame.....and I had been so careful too; always washed my hands after talking to a warhammer player and everything.

It seems that I now play Skaven, a warhammer race of rat people....lots of violent psychosis
and cute twitchy noses. Annoyingly, this army is made up of lots of small fairly weak rat people so you need loads of the bloody things to make an army.....and me with all those nice Maori War figures just screaming to be painted too. But, given the club open day is approaching, I wanted to have a few to use in a display. I have now painted up a unit of Skaven Rat Ogres, mutant, bio-engineered, giant, junkie rat things. I used my usual methods, block painting with a judicious coat of Strong Tone Army Painter; although some areas of the figures depicting fur were given highlights prior to the application of the dip.

I think they have come out really well given fantasy is really not in my comfort zone at all. Once again the dip has been key, it created good shading, depth to the main colours and actually worked really well on the areas I had highlighted with dry brushing. I love the effect the dip has given to the are of bandages/tape on some of the figures. The main colour is GW Komando Khaki simply blocked in, the dip has done the rest. I am not quite so concerned about painting the smaller rat things now, it seems my technique will work well on them too.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Open Day nearly here!!!!

Our club open day is just days away!

Saturday 7th September, 10am to 5pm. Iwade Village Hall, Ferry Road, Iwade, ME9 8RG

There is a lot of rushing about behind the scenes, game details being finalised with the odd figure being painted up to complete the last units, food being prepared, local press being contacted......I am even to be interviewed by local radio station Swale FM to help spread the word. I have done a few radio interviews before, usually in relation to my work in Local History and Heritage, and they can be very helpful. You never know who is listening and when you are a club looking for new members such an opportunity is too good to miss. If you happen to be about around 11.30 to midday on Thursday 5th September why not tune in (you can listen on line too) and see what a twat I sound like...or how much rubbish I can gibber on about; should be a laugh and break up your day if nothing else :)

We are hoping for a good number of visitors this year too. We advertised the event on the back of the Broadside 2014 flyers and spent an age pushing local press. We have some visitors coming all the way from Suffolk! I have emailed all the regional clubs and interested parties...even had my hair cut...what more can an anthropomorphic personification do?

As a club we will be running three games, a WRG 6th edition Ancients bash, A Rapid Fire WW2 game based around the actions in the Falaise Gap and a WW1 skirmish using 'To the Last man' rules. Our great mates at the Maidstone Wargames Society will be running a couple of different Sci-Fi games and we will have a trader, small club bring and buy, great refreshments with not just cakes (although their will be cakes so do not panic), parking, a kiddies 'Make and Take an Armourfast Tank' table.

We invite you all to come along if you can and say hi, perhaps join in with a game or two?

Failing that, just listen to me on the radio and see what a mess I can make of things!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Muskets & Tomahawks for the New Zealand Wars

Ok, I admit it. I am a rules snob. There, said it. That was difficult for me to admit but it is true, I am.

(Also, I have blatantly taken some pics of some very cool figures from the Dressing the Lines blog site of good ol' Roly...mainly because not enough of my collection is ready yet! Thanks Roly :) )

This has caused me no small degree of trouble over the years, so many rule sets read or even bought, only to find I hated them and often for reasons I could not pin down. Plenty of times I would take part in somebody else's game and came to hate those rules too...which was cheaper I suppose. Rapid Fire, Kaiser Bosch, Shako (and Shako 2)...the list goes on. It is annoying, it wastes so much time if nothing else. It has made my fondness of Maori Wars gaming nigh on impossible to get to the table...until now....I hope.

I liked the simplicity of the mechanics of Muskets & Tomahawks as soon as I came across it, the game allowed far more complexity but the essence was for straight forward combat. The game is card driven but each card gives the indicated units a number of options, allowing them two 'activations' to perhaps shoot and reload. It is intended for games set during the French Indian wars of the eighteenth century, even the later AWI, periods with native forces, light scout/ranger units and European infantry in linear formations. The terrain is forest, plain and scrub, remote get the idea. The nineteenth century series of conflicts in the then recently settled New Zealand are an excellent match, a great alternative period and theatre; the weaponry used is good match too...just add the odd shotgun to consider. I will need to draw up weapon stats for shot guns with lower ranges but higher impact. The rules have a rule for weapons that can only be fired once in a game turn (the use of all cards in the deck equals one game turn), this rule could be ideal for shot guns but I would also give them a little something extra when used in melee if still loaded.

Pic taken from Roly's site using Roly's great looking game I am sure you will agree.

The rules have a series of troop type stats and it is a reasonably straight forward job to transpose those onto the troop types fighting in New Zealand. Few lessons had been learnt from the eighteenth century and the troop issues continued in the wars against the Maori; there are a couple of minor exceptions for the stats....isn't there always? The British army was supported by parties from the Royal Navy for example, there are certainly no stats for those so I need to look through the stats for an approximation. They are not regular line troops like the infantry, yet nor are they militia. There is a stat for provincial troops, rangers and so on and to some degree the naval troops could arguably use those; yet they are not fleet footed rangers with a knowledge of the terrain and Indian fighting....isn't this fun? There is a stat for 'Torries', provincial troops from the AWI period that acted as simple line infantry. In these rules they do not get to act like line infantry with special 'firing line' bonuses but are more fluid; considered as auxiliaries they may be given orders by regular army officers as well as their is the answer then.

Roly's Very cool looking Provincial troops, note some use of British equipment here and there.

What passed for a New Zealand government in the 1840's did raise some troops of their own, a provincial force that were far more like the rangers of previous times and theatres. They were said to be more effective than the British Imperial troops when fighting the Maori in their own back yard, it seems the rule book Ranger stats will work well for these. of course, the Maori will be well catered for by the rule book's stats for the American Indians.

Roly's Maori break from the fern filled tree line.

So, forces. The rule book suggests a point system for games based around 200, 400 and 600 points, the top figure providing a longer game and needing a 6 x 4 table rather than a 4 x 4 for the other games. My intention is to have three units of ten infantry figures for the British regulars, forming a small company, along with a few officer figures. There will be a couple of six or eight figure ranger units with their own officer and, a must given the nature of the early Maori wars, some local militia and civilians. This force so far is very specific to a scenario but will be easy to tweek as needed. It will come out at under something 600 hundred points but there will be more than enough to play a few games through to allow me to work out what else I can do.