I Hate You Little Wars TV – 1st Manassas (Bull Run)

There I was, happily minding my own business, preparing some World War 2 1/285 scale aircraft for painting, planning then to move on to my 6mm Anglo-Saxons, and then perhaps off to something nautical, perhaps 1/1200 scale galleys or modern vessels when Little Wars TV presents First Manassas. They show the battlefield, then discuss the tactics and Gen. McDowell’s performance. Just have a look at this.

Now I am getting an almost uncontrollable itch to paint 6mm American Civil War figures. Of course, to do that, I would need to purchase some 6mm American Civil War figures as I do not have any in the lead pile. English Civil War, Ancients, Napoleonics, World War 2 and Cold War figures in stock aplenty but no American Civil War figures. I have several sets of rules on the bookshelf, lots of reference works but no figures.

I hate you Little Wars TV. I must resist!

Curse You Bob Flywheel

Damn, there I was the other day quite comfortable with the state of my 1/300 [1/285] Aerial Wargaming. I had rules and aircraft for the Winter War – the Finns were complete and the Soviets would not take long. I had decided that Bag the Hun from the Lardies could be added to the rules library and I had even made a cursory look through the free scenario book, resisting manfully adding any more lead to my collection this year*.

Then you had to mention Korea and visions of MiG Alley spring to mind, as well as some interesting aircraft. I could see some B-29s (does anyone still make them in 1/300 [1/285] scale anymore) trundling along on a bombing run with some MiG-15s and/or Yak-15s trying to attack them. Enter some UN support – P-51Ds and Meteors of the RAAF, F-80s, F-82s or F-86s of the USAF not forgetting some F-84s.

Add some Yak-9s and La-7s to the mix and not only are there some interesting games possible but a fine collection of aircraft for the display shelf as well.

Of course, as one would have some B-29s available, late World War 2 air raids over Japan or Japanese held islands by the USAAF are a possibility. The P-51Ds (admittedly in RAAF colours) could be repurposed as escorts for the bombers in WW2. Attacking them would be some Japanese Nakajima Ki-44s (Tojo or Shoki) and some Mitsubishi J2Ms (Raiden) to attack them. Throw in a Shinden and there is another set.

Some early WW2 combat collections have been popping up in my head as well, in part the fault of the scenario book from the Lardies, in part from Bob’s off hand remark about the Korean Airwar.

When will this wargames megoalomania end?

This has been an insight into how a wargamer’s mind works! Curse you Bob Flywheel!


* there are some orders for lead under way at the moment but they had all been ordered, online and via Australia Post, prior to the start of 2020.

2019 … That’s a Wrap

I was listening to podcasts on the drive from mum’s at Macksville to Sydney to catch a flight back to Manila. One podcast I listened to was the last episode (number 283) of Meeples and Miniatures (https://meeples.wordpress.com/). This podcast has been running for 12 years and whilst I can’t say I have been listening for the last 12 years, the last couple of years have provided a great deal of wargaming amusement.

In this last episode Neil Schuck (Twitter – @TheBrummieDwarf) and Mike Hobbs (Twitter – @HobbsThe Gamer) discussed their 4 or 5 best games. It was pleasing to note that I had at least one of the games they had mentioned. The podcast finished just prior to my arrival in Sydney so I spent the rest of the trip considering wargaming tasks for 2020.

As many of you will know, I have an interest in matters nautical as well as a commitment to 6mm. Two things that amazed me while at mum’s. First was the number of books that I will need to ship to the Philippines, I am thinking that maybe it will be 2/3rds of the collection that needs to be eventually shipped. The second was the commitment I had to 15mm Ancient wargaming. I will need to decide at some point whether to sell those collections or ship them.

That is not what I am talking about here though. Currently in Manila I have literally thousands of 6mm figures to paint – some sets have been discussed here previously. I also have hundreds of ships in both 1/3000 and 1/1200 scale. There are also aircraft, principally the Winter War collections, Finnish aircraft having graced my Instagram account.

I decided to reduce my Christmas gifts to myself then to just the following:

  • Terrain items and buildings from Irregular Miniatures
  • Racing Chariots from Irregular Miniatures, enough to cover the Blues, Greens, Reds and Whites
  • Ancient British figures from Baccus 6mm as one additional opponent for the Imperial Romans – DBA sized
  • Bag the Hun from Too Fat Lardies
  • General d’Armee from Reiswitz Press from Too Fat Lardies – Napoleonic Wargaming

Later in the year I may add some 6mm Napoleonics to the collection or perhaps 6mm American War of Indendence. I will make an order for some 1/1200 modern aircraft from Magister Militum to finish the modern 1/3000 naval collection. I may also buy some more rulesets … but just to plan for 2021 😉

This year then will be one for painting and finishing collections (and maybe getting off to Makati Marauders to play some games). I will play some more boardgames (more? I haven’t played any for about 20 years). I have many books to read and review on the table and hope to get two or three of those off in the next two weeks. Lastly, I want to start some more research and writing, and I am looking at both my admittedly poor YouTube channel and considering some podcasting.

So, 2020, the year of getting on top of things!

Late Addition (1 January 2020): Of course, I did neglect to remember that I had also sent some readies off to Warlord Games for copies of Black seas and Black Sails – just the rules as I have a collection of 1/1200 coastal vessels and it would be a shame to not get them on the table at some time. In addition, I have some 1/2400 and also some 1/3000 sailing vessels that need a reason for painting and then an outing. And I will be sending an order off tomorrow to Magister Militum for some 1/1200 scale modern aircraft to complete the modern naval fleets.

Any other pruchases in 2020 will be rules, books and, maybe, occassionaly, some figures to finish out a set I am starting to paint!

Labels on 1/3000 scale ship models

Japanese vessels – ready for Modern Naval Wargames

With a large collection of 1/3000 sale ships (more unpainted than painted I will admit), remembering the name of all the vessels can be a memory trial. As the vessels are primarily painted to wargame with, it is good if both sides can see the vessels name during battle.

One option is to put the name under the base, but this suffers from the vessels being lifted off the game surface constantly to check. A second is to add the name to a tab at the rear of the base, in the wake as it were, in the same way that Figurehead provide a label area for their 1/6000 scale vessels.

Chilean Navy Ensign

I prefer to base my vessels on 3mm thick bases and add the vessels name to the side. The 3mm thick base is good as it allows those of us with corpulent fingers to grip the base and not hold the vessel in our fingers. More importantly, I like how it looks 🙂

The method used to produce the base labels is quite straightforward.  Using word processing software such a Microsoft Word or similar, I create a table of six columns. In the second, fourth and sixth columns I type the vessel’s name.  Let’s use three modern Chilean Naval units for an example: Almirante Cochrane – a British Type 23 class; Capitán Prat and Almirante Latorre – Jacob van Heemskerck class.

Ensign placed

I then decide on whether I will add the national flag or the naval ensign. I usually lean towards the ensign although in some navies the national flag and the ensign are the same. In this case, a hunt on Wikipedia for “Chilean Navy” will return the basic details, including national flag and ensign.

Table set to Autofit to contents

Next step is to resize the text. The font I use is Calabri (not sure what the Apple font equivalent is) and it is set to “bold” and resized to 6pts. I also set the table contents to “Autosize to contents”.

The ensign is then copied and pasted to the first column, first row of the spreadsheet. It is usually quite large at this point. Once the ensign has been copied in, then we resize that image, using the size of the text as a guideline.

Ensign resized

The image of the ensign is then copied to the empty cells we have ready for the. We set the wrap text option for the image to “square”

It can then be moved to the next column where the name of the vessel is.

Set the distance between image and text … make 0.1cm in this case

When formatting the layout of the image, under text wrapping set the “Distance from Text”, Right to 0.1cm (or 1mm).

After this it is pretty much straight sailing.

Drag the ensigns to the left of the name of the vessel (see Almirante Cochrane below). Once the columns the flags were originally in are empty, they can be deleted.

The table can then have a design adjustment in “Borders and Shading” by turning off the cell lines in the table.

Select the table one last time, set font colour to “white” and the “fill colour” to a dark blue, close to the shade you will use on the base. You end up with something like below.

The final name labels

Of course, when I got to the end of this it occurred to me that the blue on the ensign may make it disappear after printing. In this case I would add a white border around the image.

I then use a sharp knife to slice the names from the sheet and some PVA glue to affix to the base. Slap on a bit of varnish and job done!

Inclusiveness in Wargaming – Women

Back in September this year I wrote a post about Inclusiveness in Wargaming and Tastelessness. This week the guys at Little Wars TV along with Jasper from Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy looked at one of the items from the Great Wargaming Survey, made more interesting as now there is five years data available for comparison.

This YouTube video looked at Women in Wargaming and less than perfect attitude of some male gamers. It is a short video and well worth the time to look at … and maybe if more folks see this, we may also see an increase in the umber of women involved in Wargaming.

I hope we have come further than the comment from H. G. Wells on wargames, in that they were “a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys’ games and books,” and now, wargames are now a game for people who ust like to play with toy soldiers and all that entails. Do watch the clip below.

Success or two!

So, I had only just posted that I’ve got a spare Pikeman … or two! and what should turn up at Makati Central Post Office but a book! And what a book.

This is Volume 1, covering all our favourite diadochi, like Ptolemy, Antigonus, Seleucus and Lysimachus, to name but a few. Mithridates of Pontus even rates a mention.

Is this the start of a new project?

 

I’ve got a spare Pikeman … or two!

The re-purposed Romans … almost completed the basing. Figures by Baccus 6mm

I have been re-purposing some 6mm figures recently and had re-based and am in the process of decorating the bases of some Early Imperial Romans. I purchased them a few years ago to base for Polemos’ SPQR Ancients. I decided to move off SPQR Ancients and return to DBA and/or Basic Impetus for my Ancient Wargaming, partly on the basis of space. When I purchased the Romans, I also purchased Numidians and a Pontic Army. The Numidians have been hacked around providing filler for the some other forces I have and I had clean forgotten about the Pontic army.

I rediscovered those figures the other day when looking for some decals in a little accessed box. Goodness I have a few. In fact, the following (all Baccus 6mm):

  • 144 x Thureophoroi
  • 18 x Skythian Light Horse
  • 48 x Foot Archers
  • 6 x Generals
  • 18 x Tarantine (??) Cavalry
  • 18 x Cataphracts
  • 144 x Imitation Legionaries
  • 144 Phalangites with no Sarissa
  • 192 Pikemen (pikes forward and raised)
  • 192 Pikeman (pikes raised)
  • 16 x lights, chariot crew, don’t know what
Bags of 6mm successor figures, pikes, imitation legionnaires and the like – the Pontic Army in 6mm

Quite a mountain of figures so … a re-purposing is in order. I can make a Mithradatic Pontic force (DBA Book II/48) from this bunch and will likely have enough figures left over to build another DBA army, maybe of Successors. I will need to add a couple of things though:

  • Scythed Chariot (maybe 2)
  • some slingers
  • some Javelinmen (maybe I can get some leftovers from the Erik Bloodaxe project)
  • some Companions  (for guard)

Of course this will naturally segue into more forces as the enemies need to be built as well and Pontus managed to acquire quite a few over time:

  • Skythian
  • Kappadokian
  • Bithynian
  • Sarmatian
  • Galatian
  • Parthian
  • Marian Romans (although I can substitute the Camillan (Polybian) or Early Imperial Romans for these.

I am really enjoying the ancient period again and I can see my lead pile increasing in the near futures again!

Inclusiveness in Wargaming and Tastelessness

My favourite wargames magazine is Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy. For those more Facebook savvy it can be found in Facebook at @WSSMagazine. It is a magazine that I will unreservedly recommend to anyone at all interested or involved in the hobby of wargaming. Every couple of months a new issue arrives and becomes my main reading for a few days. Apart from wargame based articles from different periods of history, there are also regular columnists providing opinion pieces or generic discussions on modern wargaming. I should note now too that I am a figure gamer first but somewhat period agnostic, although I have a love of the ancient world1.

Rick Priestly, a very well know wargaming personality, for example, writes from time to time as does Richard Clarke from Two Fat Lardies. This month Richard Clarke took to task Rick Priestly’s comments in a previous issue on equality between armies in battle and therefore in wargaming. After all, if there is only 300 of you against tens of thousands of enemies you would just walk away, right? Well except for that well known case. Clarke’s discussion was written in a gentlemanly manner and is the sort of debate that fosters the expansion and improvement of the hobby.

The 6mm Camillan Roman DBA Army – figures by Baccus, painting by numbers!

However, I was disturbed in this last issue (Issue 104) with both an advertisement and an opinion piece for essentially unrelated but related reasons, if that makes sense.

The advertisement on page 21 is of the gory, painted Wild West Exodus figure of Legendary Vor Khet. The figure is of a large, ugly monster who is devouring pieces of what was clearly, recently a human figure. Perhaps I am a little old fashioned, or perhaps just old, and think that this is a level of excess that is a bridge too far to be acceptable. One thing it did do was resonated with comments in a later opinion piece in the same issue.

The opinion piece was by Chris King, whose column “The Irregular” carried a piece titled “Inclusion”. In this piece he talks about the future growth of the hobby relying on the hobby welcoming “people to the hobby, regardless of their race, their nationality, their gender, their beliefs, their abilities or any other label or lifestyle choices.”

Certainly there have been a number of what could academically be described as “misogynistic incidents” over recent years but could be better described by the less academic term of “bloody stupid behaviour by people who obviously believe the size of the object hanging between their thighs is an indication of intelligence, skill, ability and privilege”. There were a number of tweets floating around late last year if I recall correctly (or perhaps early this year) where at least one female wargamer in the UK was receiving support from a section of the wargames community as a result of issues with others.

Anthony’s left has somewhat redeemed the failure of his right.

In Australia in video games rather than more “traditional” wargames, Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen, a presenter for many years on the Good Game, was the target of cyber bullying and doxing (doxxing?) comments, even though her gaming skill (and the fact that she could put together a coherent sentence) rated her way in excess of most of her detractors.

The 2mm division assembles

Wargaming is not a large hobby relative to other pasttimes but it seems to be a bitchy one, and for no good reason. Criticism, and not constructive criticism, is levelled at wargmers based on ridiculous items such as figure scale (6mm and 2mm gamers have heard them all); rule sets (the pro-DBx anti-DBx arguments come to mind along with the DBA 2.2 vs DBA 3.0 debates); historical vs fantasy; technical questions such as “how good was the Bismarck ” in naval circles; and so on.

Forums, arguably so 20th Century in these days of Facebook and Twitter, have become more acrimonious places generally (there are some exceptions). One whose acronym means more to me now as I have worked in IT for 45 years as a “temporary file”, is a prime example and one I gave up on 10 years ago.

It is a hobby, a pastime, to coin the dictionary definition, “an activity that someone does regularly for enjoyment rather than work; a hobby”. My work day is full of stress and pressure so what can be better than sitting down in the evening, loved ones around, a good coffee or single malt in hand, and read or prepare for a future wargame project?

My early World War 2 Soviet Battlegroup

So, I agree with Chris King’s piece in WSS. Wargaming should be inclusive, not exclusive. We should be welcoming those who want to play with little toy soldiers or boardgames with open arms, making them feel welcome and help the hobby to expand. Wargaming is a worldwide pastime now. I am writing this from Manila, Philippines (there is a Manila in Australia too – just to be clear) and there is a healthy wargame club, the Makati Marauders, about a 1km walk from where I am living currently plus a large boardgames group. I know of a healthy number of players in South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and India. I know gamers in Brazil and Japan. So a hobby that was originally “Britocentric2“, then became “Eurocentric3” is now truly international with games played on all continents. There must be room for everyone in the hobby, especially for those of us a little old fashioned who like to handle the games pieces rather than just shuffle images around on a screen.

Play nice in the sandpit kids!


1. I just put some random photos of wargame figures through this piece to remind folks what my pastime is
2. OK, I wasn’t sure of a term to describe something that started in England (and Germany too I guess) then spread through many parts of the Commonwealth so being a good English speaker, I just made a word up
3. OK, so I think I just made up another one 🙂

Damn, another wargame project – Illyrians and the Great Revolt!

Yes, the bay is there – faintly visible. Invisible is the Bataan peninsula and other landmarks at the mouth of the bay

I’m sitting here, suffering with that most horrible of diseases, man ‘flu, looking out over a hazy, smoggy Manila Bay with a coffee and listening to the wireless playing Christmas Carols (it is the ‘ber months after all). I am also reading Jason Abdale’s recent work, The Great Illyrian Revolt concerning “Rome’s forgotten war in the Balkans AD 6-9” (review to come later – Mal’s review is here).

So as I am reading I am also thinking, “hmm, I am repurposing some Early Imperial Romans to DBA use, and they will make two armies”, followed by, “the Illyrian Revolt Abdale is talking about occurred just before the loss of the four legions in the Battle of Teutoburg … hmmm”.

So I started thinking, here is an excuse to buy some more wargame figures (like a wargamer needs an excuse!). Better, I can double up armies. The Illyrians are basically a loose style (Auxilia) within DBA rules so may need a little tweaking to start to get some historical balance. They also fought themselves as much as external enemies but those external enemies included Romans and Greeks so they fit well with the figures I have painted already as well as the future plans (the Peloponnesian Wars one in particular).

In addition, I could add to the Illyrians a couple of German armies for an additional enemy for the Early Imperial Romans.

Image taken from http://home.exetel.com.au/thrace/illyria.htm

As to the look of the Illyrians, I will need to do some more research, always a good thing, but I am thinking from what I have read recently, perhaps a little Thracian like, with some southern Italian, and Greek Thureophoroi rolled in. One of the neat things about the Illyrians will be the ability to raid my spares box and drag out a few of different types of figures to mix it.

The clothing colours of the Illyrians are described as broad, colourful  vertical stripes.

The illustration the the left is from the Warlords Games website, a firm who offers Illyrians in 28mm size, although they are currently out of stock.

My forces will be in 6mm size – probably from Baccus and Rapier as both those ranges are close in size. So yes, just what I need, another project. I think I will stop weighing the lead pile and simply measure the number of incomplete and unstarted projects to estimate the future lifespan of the wargamer!

Little Wars TV – D-Day Wargame – Rommel Rules

I do love the Little Wars TV YouTube channel, the guys are like so many of my mates from various wargame clubs over the years and in different countries, where winning is not as important as the game and fun was the target of the game. Little Wars TV recently decided to re-fight the first couple of days of D-Day, given that it is the 75th anniversary this year. The re-fight was controlled using modified Rommel rules (thanks guys, I am now considering getting yet another set of rules). For previous World War 2 games they have used Fistful of TOWs.

Part 1 of the two part video covers the objectives for each side, the landings and the drive inland from the beaches.

The second part covers D+1 – where the Allies will attempt to consolidate and meet their objectives and the Germans will attempt to both prevent the Allies reaching objectives but also achieve some objectives of their own.

Well worth watching these and as I mentioned, this has reawakened my interest in trying out Rommel as a set of World War 2 wargaming rules. I would also strongly recommend a visit to the Little Wars TV website to both see what’s new and interesting, grab some free stuff and check out their other videos. Thanks guys, love your work!