Measure twice – cut once!

Recently I have been working on how to use  Bob Cordery’s gridded wargame systems with my 6mm toys.

I have spray-painted and gridded a small cork board (already painted and gridded on the other side for another game).  I have been trying to find a way to satisfactorily reduce (or bathtub) large battles such as Blenheim into a grid of 18 x 12 squares.  Previous efforts at this sort of thing can be seen here.

From my viewpoint there is one major problem.  A battle like this has three or four villages that must be occupied.  If you put houses (a house?) in the square at this scale there is insufficient room for troops.

Yesterday I remembered the pictures I had seen in Chris Kemp’s ‘Not Quite Mechanised’ blog, where he uses something looking like cinema flats across the sides of the squares to represent towns.

I decided to create some outline towns in a similar method, using the 3d printer.  I also had the same idea for woods that could be occupied by troop blocks.

I use the free online site Tinkercad to create my models.  I created a trial town with terraced gables on a 40mm x 40mm base with a 2mm “wall” depth, and a similar woodland with greater depth to the trees.

After a few hours printing the town I was quite pleased with the result until I tried it on the board – and realised my squares are 30mm x 30mm!  Doh!

I immediately cancelled the woodland print half-way through, but realised that I can use the resulting half-model, inverted and cut into pieces,  to make 6mm gabions on a parapet.

So I reduced the size to 75% and tried again.  This time I was not impressed with the result and the wood was too small to accept a troop base.

And thus I started all over again.  This time I think it will work.  The woods need to be filed on the inside to insert the troops on a 2cm 2cm base.

Below are the undercoated pieces (and some fresh from the printer) awaiting detail painting.  I think that once the houses are painted in a variety of brick, stone or render shades, maybe with some half-timbering detail, they will do the job.

Front row, left to right:  original 40mm print, reduced 30mm print with command unit, typical “Blenheim” infantry unit, redesigned 30mm print.

Second row, left to right:  inverted half-printed piece (now destined as gabions), 30mm outline wood (too small), redesigned outline wood.

Third row, left to right:  hexagonal outline town, Heroscape tile for this town.

I may decide to make models of only two sides (3 sides for hexagonal towns) so that larger built-up areas can be constructed.

We shall see.  Far more pressing projects await.  Little lead men keep screaming at me in incredibly high-pitched voices things like: “I love the hat boss, but can you PLEASE get round to the breeches?!”

 

 

Painting Blog 26/12/18-17/01/19

Just to prove that I have not been idle for the past 4 weeks, this is what I have been preparing for various wargames.  I must remind readers that I am a wargaming butterfly, in that I have may projects active at all times.  However, my priority is to keep the “Market Garden” campaign active for my five on-line Generals.

So, what have I painted and modelled since Christmas?  For reference, any photographs below on a gridded board are displayed on a 2″ x 2″ (5cm x 5cm) grid.

Painting and modelling projects in the last four weeks

WW2 German 6mm Adler Panzer Grenadiers.

16 Platoons of 4 figures each.  To be painted in late war camouflage smocks.

26th December:  Models sorted, bases labelled.

27th December:  Figures glued to 2cm square plastic bases using UHU contact adhesive.  Snipped corners from some bases to indicate weapon type.  Milliput added to bases to help strengthen the contact.

28th December:  Basecoat (Vallejo WW1 German Field Grey) applied to figures.

29th December: Bases painted for urban setting.   Uniform Grey overall, sprinkled with fine sand, then “splodged” with Vallejo Green Grey.

30th December:  Flesh tone added to faces and hands.

31st December: Repainted hands and faces with lighter flesh colour (Coat D’Arms Flesh).  Rifle barrels painted with Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal.

1st January:  Stippled smocks with Vallejo 70.875 Beige-Brown.  Stippled smocks and some helmets with Coat D’Arms 209 Dark Green.

4th January: Brick wall ruins on bases painted Coat D’Arms 509 (Brick Red?).  Black leatherwork painted Coat D’Arms 102.

6th January:  Gas mask cases painted Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal.  Army painter Matt spray paint applied.  Unit Finished.

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WW2 1944 Polish Parachute Battalion

16 Bases of 4 Infantry; a mix of Adler British Paras and British Marines.

15th January:  Glued troops to bases.  Painted bases Coat D’Arms Grass Green .  Base Coated Figures Coat D’Arms 537 Faded Khaki.

17th January:  Rifle stocks painted Coat D’Arms Horse Tone Chestnut.  Helmets painted Vallejo 382 Reflective Green.  Faces painted Coat D’Arms Dark Flesh.  Dabbed smocks with Vallejo 70.782 Chocolate Brown.  Dabbed smocks with Coat D’Arms 223 Chestnut.  Trousers overpainted Coat D’Arms 225 Khaki.  Weapons painted Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal.

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Blindheim Project.  6mm Irregular Miniatures troop blocks.

Lt-Gen. Horn.  Mounted General with 3 footsoldiers carrying a flag)

31st December: Horse painted Vallejo 70.875 Beige-Brown.  Coats painted Coat D’Arms 211 Light Grey.  Base painted Coat D’Arms 209 Dark Green.

1st January: Musket barrels painted Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal.

17th January: Faces and hands painted Coat D’Arms Flesh.

Danish Foot Brigade. 3 blocks of 18 musketeers + 3 man flag base.

6th January: Black wash to all. Diluted Coat D’Arms Black 102.  Command base. Boots painted black.  Faces and hands painted Coat D’Arms 213 Flesh.

7th January: Coats painted Coat D’Arms Grey 236.

17th January: Musket Barrels painted Citadel Mithril Silver

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 American Civil War 20mm Plastic Figures.

Two Union Regiments of 5 bases (15 figures each).  Part-finished.

31st December: Repainted musket stocks Coat D’Arms 225 Horse Tone Brown

1st January: Repainted musket barrels Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal, Touched up bases with Coat D’Arms 209 Dark Green.

4th January:  Backpacks, cartridge boxes and belts painted Coat D’Arms 102 Black.  Sprayed with matt varnish.  (Will be resprayed gloss for a “toy-soldier” appearance.)

3rd Maryland Regiment  8 bases of 3 figures each.

9th January:  Musket barrels painted Coat D’Arms 142 Gun metal, Card bases painted Coat D’Arms 209 Dark Green.  Sprayed with Rustoleum clear matt varnish.

13th January:  Bread bags painted Vallejo 886 grey-green.  Trousers painted in various greys and browns.  Bases touched up with Polyvine Acrylic Enamel 52 Brunswick Green.

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Terrain for “Market Garden” campaign.

City river bank hexagon tiles.

2nd January

Five existing river hex tiles masked and one point sprayed with grey stone effect paint.  (Will need a touch-up by brush – stone effect spray cans only work well the first time).

Two railway sloping embankments started.  Cork tile sections cut, glued and clamped.

5th January:  Tried to cut cork embankments to form slope.  Failed.  Designed similar shape for 3d printing and printed two sloping embankments.  A partial failure as the bottom of the piece was curved, so I inverted them.

7th January: Overpainted the city river banks with light grey “tester pot” paint.

14th January:  Glued Leven Miniatures rail sections to sloping embankments.  Re-glued rail sections to sloping embankments!  Ordered more hexagons from Kallistra.  (Plain Blue single tiles).  Spotted new half-hex tiles, and ordered them too.  Made side slopes of rail embankments from Milliput.

15th January:  Painted and flocked railway embankments.   Added streaks of PVA to blue hexagon tiles for wave/river effect.  Glued railway sections to polder/swamp tile for rail crossing with embanked road.

16th January:  Discovered I was using the wrong bridge for the Arnhem Rhine rail crossing.  Dug out different bridge and added Leven Miniatures resin rail sections.

17th January:  Black washed rail sections on the sloped embankments.  Railway sleepers (railroad ties) painted Vallejo 70-872 Chocolate Brown.  Rail track tops painted Coat D’Arms 142 Gun Metal.

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1940 3mm German force.

Two SIG33 15cm Self-Propelled Guns.

6th January:  Black wash overall with diluted Coat D’Arms Black 102.

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WW2 Naval

Sinking destroyer token (3d printed)

6th January: Black wash overall with diluted Coat D’Arms Black 102.  Deck painted Coat D’Arms Flesh 213.  Bottom of hull painted Coat D’Arms 509 Brick Red.

7th January: Superstructure and gun turrets painted Coat D’Arms 236.

17th January.  Repainted hull and superstructure darker grey.  Repainted deck with a darker tone.

HMS Warspite (prepainted model from Axis & Allies Naval)

13th January:  3d printed base (2 x 6cm hexagons adjoining, 2mm deep).  Repainted hull and superstructure with Vallejo 886.

15th January.  Spray-painted base with 2 shades of blue.

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WW2 1/600 Aircraft

De Havilland Mosquito, Focke-Wulf 190d.

6th January:  Painted all aircraft Coat D’Arms 211 Light Grey.  Poor coverage.  Maybe the models should have been washed first?

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6mm Commission Figurines MDF

French Revolutionary War, 24e, 56e, 90e de Ligne.  Part finished.

13th January:  Painted white coat turn-backs and breeches.

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That’s all Folks!

And now back to the painting table…

 

More organisation

Recently I have been trying to organise my wargaming clutter.  Today it was the turn of the “Pirates” game which, as yet, remains unplayed.

I spotted this game in a newsagents on my day off from a week long re-enactment performance at Mont Orgueil, Jersey, and snapped it up.  Last March, at the Donald Featherstone memorial weekend dinner, I was able to quadruple my collection in the after-dinner auction run by Henry Hyde in aid of Combat Stress.

Today I organised the collection and added playing the game to my “to do” pile.

The completed ships are in the ice cream box pro tem.   Tokens and small parts are in my favoured plastic playing card boxes.  The original tin now contains rules for the various games, unbuilt ships and several unopened game packs.

Now I need to get another “Really Useful Box” to store the lot.

A wargaming and general update.

So what have I been up to since the last blog post?

 Market Garden campaign.

More US paratroops from GHQ , Adler and Irregular Miniatures have been painted.  The Irregular Miniatures chaps were in stock awaiting painting and must suffice as infill for the numbers needed for my next battle, but will be replaced by more identifiable models as and when I have time. 

I have also been painting and dipping many new vehicles for the Guards Armoured Division, in preparation for the next campaign game in the queue.  They now await final detail and a flat varnish.

WW2 – the whole war.

I have both initial forces ready for 4th September 1939 – the Polish counterattack.  Terrain hexes are listed and need to be dug out of the stock, in preparation for the battle, when the Market Garden engagement is over.

Some potential reinforcements on the German side need to be based and (re)painted.

Operation Sealion 1940

Although I halted the play-by-email campaign, the project is still viable for the future. I found in the attic the 00 gauge model electricity pylon kits that I intended to convert into a Chain Home radar station in 1/285, and so started work.

AWI/Revolutionary War 

I have prepared and printed the labels for counters to play the battle of Chatterton’s Hill using Richard Borg’s “Battle Cry” ACW  boards and adapted hex-based “Black Powder” rules.

ECW table-top for youngsters.

 Yesterday I play-tested and tweaked my 3rd edition rules for the card table and 20mm plastic soldier battle game that I designed for the under-12s in our cavalry re-enactment group, but which has since been embraced by the “grown-ups” too.

Over the August Bank Holiday we intend to run a “knock-out” competition.

French Revolutionary wars

In my guise as a “Pensionnaire des Invalides” at re-enactments I use the same card table with wooden models to replay whatever battle we happen to be at. Although my models consist if several strips of MDF figures glued together as blocks, I think they suffice. I have been painting the basic white fronts to French infantry. More detail will be applied later.

ACW. 

I have a biscuit tin full of plastic 20mm board game figures based for “Black Powder” games.  I used them earlier this year to teach myself the rules. Now I need to give them at least a basic paint job, probably in high gloss as “toy soldiers”. I started, simply because the paint pot was to hand, with the cardboard bases.

Life in General.

Having failed to find out why Facebook no longer removes the “unread” markers from posts, I have closed my account and regained at least one hour each day for more useful purposes, including this blog.

I have also been to my local NHS practice (only took 6 weeks to secure an appointment) to discover from the X-ray results of two months ago that the degenerative bone disease that has previously taken both my hips (or something very similar) is now in my spine.  Next steps:  fill in a form (of course), then I may be allocated to an osteopath, a chyropracter or an accupuncturist for further mucking about with my body, according to the will of the NHS.

Meanwhile, on the wargaming front, sitting and painting is painful; standing and pushing models about is painful; sitting before a computer is painful.  So everything will be done in small doses.

And at the end of the month I intend to drive with a caravan from Hampshire to Northumberland and back (with an intemediate stay!). This will definitely be carried out in small doses!

Life and wargaming – an update

In addition to making a little progress on the longest running wargame move I have ever experienced – the Battle for Brighton currently set up in my cold, damp shed – I Brighton 18 0815 front lineshave had a few wargaming and other diversions.

The builders have finished restoring our house. Their company has closed the case. A pity nobody has thought to inform the scaffolding company that their decoration to our property is no longer required.
Just a bit more arguing with the insurer’s agents about replacing the gravel removed from the side of the house and maybe we can bring the caravan home.

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The new man-cave…shed

is going to have a new roof, yes – already! Half of the second botched covering over the first leaky roofing blew away in the recent storms. I have hired a professional company (who re-roofed both my lost sheds) to torch on a decent roof. I do have electricity, and therefore heating, installed. When the wargame is finished I can continue with putting up shelving.

My hospital check-up revealed that my cancer was further advanced than the doctors or surgeons had expected. They believe they removed it all, but further tests towards the end of February should confirm or deny the fact. It is some relief, but still a nagging doubt.  Things in the underpant department are no longer as they used to be.

(No photo here. I think it may be inappropriate!).

So, back to the wargaming.
Projects that have emerged from my in-tray recently and been progressed:

1. Preparation of 3mm scale counter-mounted replacement gaming tokens for “Memoir 44” games, in particular Arras 1940. A lot of the infantry are on back order from Magister Militum, but most of the artillery and tank units are based, and some are painted. I have designed the bases to be used with “Memoir 44” and “Panzer Leader” rules on the same boards. I also have 3mm scenic models to be used with 3D terrain for World War II

new units

2. The naval Battle of Sevastopol, 1902. Part of my “Diplomacy plus” solo campaign and covered in this post.

3. Basing and painting my 2mm horse-and-musket cavalry units in preparation for the next campaign battle in 1702. Each unit needs three sets of bases: Deployed, March column and Routing. Each cavalry base is around 50 “figures”. Eventually this will represent a troop, but for the next game will be 1/3 of a regiment (maybe a squadron?).

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4. Painting my bargain basement 20mm plastic 30 Years War figures in preparation to introduce the younger chaps in my English Civil War Society cavalry unit to the joys of playing with soldiers. I am developing a game on a squared card table that I call “Battle Chess”. It will be a bit like a table-top version of a re-enactment battle, but with dice, and the casualties will not be recycled! Rules to follow after play-testing. (No photo yet)

5. Preparing the 3mm models for the first engagement in my Operation Market Garden campaign. Gough’s jeeps against a similar number of obsolete armoured cars. The scenario calls for only 3 models on each side, but I have 15 of each – should I shrink the ground scale and quintuple the chaos? – answers on a postcard please (or reply to this post).

To be fair, most of the recent progress has been painting the black bits on all the models in preparation. By using the “next paint pot in the queue” method I don’t get so bored, even if every painting project takes an age to complete.

 

 

 

A bit of catching up

It’s nearly three weeks since the keyhole robotic surgery to remove my cancerous prostate.  I am recovering well, but still have dressings over about half of the seven wounds because they coincide with my trousers waistband and tend to iritate.  I am still mildly incontinent.  I need to wear pads to catch the inadvertant leakages.

On the wargaming front I am managing about 30 minutes per day on the long-running Battle of Brighton 1940 in the shed before the cold drives me back indoors.  Indoors we have painters and decorators all over the house refurbishing after the July fire, and I am confined with the dog to the living room.

So I am spending my time catching up on several long-outstanding wargame campaign projects that have fallen by the wayside.

I have bought and painted five 1902 pre-dreadnoughts for my “Diplomacy Plus” campaign that is currently awaiting a Russo-Turkish naval battle off Sevastopol in September 1902.  The ships are replacement game tokens for “Axis and Allies 1914”.  I also drafted the battle rules, based on “Axis and Allies naval” concepts.  This is the first naval engagement of the campaign.

Strange that in real life the blue on the bases is very similar to the blue of the cloth.  Bases are 40mm x 60mm.

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Today I have been sorting and basing some old 2mm figures for the next battle in my  early 1700 campaign.  France is attacking England in the Palatinate (sounds painful!).  Again, draft rules are prepared and await testing in this battle.  Most of the previous battles have been fought in 6mm.

Eventually I want my 2mm armies to be on a 1:1 figure:man ratio, but for the time being I am using approximately 1:3.  The photo’ shows a 1:1 squadron of heavy cavalry in line, in column and in rout.  All awaiting (re)painting.

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Continue reading A bit of catching up

The Battle of Bunker’s Hill

Feeling the need for a break from the long-running Battle of Brighton, and the even longer running Sealion Campaign, I decided to try an outstanding project.

This year’s Donald Featherstone anniversary game was the Battle of Blenheim, played using Black Powder Rules at the Wargames Holiday Centre.  It was my introduction to the game system and I thoroughly enjoyed the games despite commanding the losing army twice!

So I started to think about how the rules would work with a hexagon-based set up which, as my readers will know, is my preferred terrain method.  Before committing models to the table (which is currently occupied by the aforementioned battle) I thought I would try this as a “hex and counter” game.

I was pleased to find that very few adaptations to the standard rules were needed.  The battle report is attached, with any necessary rule adaptations indicated.

The Battle of Bunkers Hill report

The battle was an overwhelming success for the British attackers, despite several scenario-based advantages to the Rebels, but mainly due to General Howe’s ability to roll less than 5 on 2D6 for his commands on every occasion, including three double-ones in five turns! (He needed less than 9 for a successful order).