Slingshot 323 – Arrived in Manila

Rather, it arrived in the office today. It arrived in Manila on March 28 then spent until April 4 making its way the 5 kilometres from the airport to Makati where the office is. Still, it is an anticipated read every two months and with postal times, it gives me a wargaming fix between the digital editions of Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy turning up.

Also, in perfect timing, it arrived immediately before lunch, so it was sandwiches today, manageable in one hand and no dangling bits flicking chilli sauce everywhere and spotting magazine and shirt. Sandwiches also left one hand free.

So, what is in this read?

The issue starts off with a continued “fiery” discussion of the New Chronology of Egyptian Dynasties as well as the Jebel Barkal temple. Both these discussions have been moved to the SOA forum to keep relevance and stop us all hanging on for two months for the counter-arguments or the gracious folding of a position.

Aaron Bell discusses the Battle of Thapsus between Caesar and the Pompeian forces there led by Scipio and Juba. While a battle I knew of, for some reason I had never really got around to reading about it in detail. Lunch stretched a little past the hour today.

Of particular interest to me is David Kay’s use of 3D printing to produce 6mm accessories. Now that honourable number two son has a 3D printer and is printing Dystoptian War type vessels I may pay more attention that when he is telling me than in the past.

The refighting of the Battle of Arausio with DBA from Andy Offer was also interesting to me.

Of a high interest as well is the item by Periklis Deligiannis in the Battle of the Kalka River. After a fair time living in Mongolia I still have an interest in Mongol goings on. I also have this battle at home in a board game which I have not even punched the counters on. I may get that down off the shelf this weekend – the article is tonight’s post dinner reading.

Also including in Slingshot 323 is:

  • Over by Vespers: a Mediaeval Scenario Game – by Anthony Clipsom
  • Inventing Early Bronze Age Scenarios – by Steven Neate
  • The Long, the Short and the Flat: the Origin of the Longbow – by Anthony Clipsom
  • Slingshot Figure Reviews: 15mm early Imperial Roman Equites Auxiliares – by Mark Grindlay
  • Slingshot Figure Reviews: 28mm Viking Age Scots – by Thane Maxwell
  • Slingshot Book & Game Reviews: Roman Heavy Cavalry (1) – by Duncan Head
  • Slingshot Book & Game Reviews: Ptolemy I Soter, a Self-made Man – by Jim Webster
  • Slingshot Book & Game Reviews: Pandemic, Fall of Rome – by Gavin Pearson

If you are not a member of the Society of Ancients but have an interest in Ancient History and in particular wargaming, the Society’s membership fee is well worth the cost. Recommended.

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Early Days of Wargaming

A YouTube video turned up in my “Recommended Viewing” box the other day so I viewed it. It basically covered the early days of wargaming and in particular wargame figure manufacturing. I had pause to think then about my early days of wargaming and what was available then. I started gaming in the early 1970s I think. I can’t recall the exact date and time but I am certain it was after I left school and had cash in my pocket – that would have been 1972 for being out of school but I guess 1975 when there was cash in the pocket. So, around that time, a mate, Jeffrey, called and said, “come around home and let’s have a wargame?”

“Great” says I, “er, what’s a wargame?”.

Rolled up to Jeff’s and he had set up, on a Masonite board, Plasticine hills and a number of Airfix Union and Confederate soldiers and a copy of Donald Featherstone’s War Games. Jeff took the Confederates and whupped my boys good! It was great fun.

The following week we played again, this time Airfix Romans and Ancient Britons (oh how good those Roman Chariots looked). Jeff took the Romans and I the Britons. Let’s just say that the result was Boudicca’s revenge! Both games were probably the most fun I had playing in the early years. Simple rules, two people who did not know enough about the rules or the history to argue the finer points and unpainted plastic figures on the table.

Later we became more mainstream and started frequenting a shop, Models and Figurines, firstly at Naremburn in Sydney and later in Crows Nest where it eventually changed its name to the Tin Soldier.

In those heady days of pioneering wargames in the 1970s (back then it was “War Games” now we refer to “wargames” regardless of the failure of spell checkers to recognize the new fangled spelling from world wide usage) we were somewhat restricted in the figures available. Leaving aside the “flats” (German manufactured historical figures, moulded as flat figures), at the start there was HO/OO/20mm or 1/76 scale (Airfix) and 25mm size figures. The main suppliers we had access to at the start were Airfix (plastic figures and the subject of much conversion work); Hinchliffe (Frank Hinchliffe and designer and wargame figure painter extraordinaire, Peter Gilder); Lamming Miniature (from Bill Lamming); and Minifigs (owner Neville Dickinson and designer Dick Higgs). The clip below shows a news piece from around the mid to late 1980s I think about the setup of Miniature Figurines, the production of figures and wargaming in general. Worth a look for the history of it all.

Overcoming Painting Block

I’m having a Rimmer moment – writing and planning lists of the items to be painted in the lead pile and collecting (again) the colours to be used.

I was thinking of painting the Winter War (Finns vs Soviet) aircraft collection I had. Aircraft are quick and easy and should get me in the mood fairly quickly. Then there was the Prussians mentioned yesterday. At much the same time, I sorted the Greeks I had purchased for the start of my Peloponnesian project. Then there are also a large number of Aeronefs that I enjoy painting and want to get started on. And of course there are the 1/3000 scale fleets for Jutland (and I have my copy of Conway’s here to assist with masts etc), the two fleets for Matapan (and I have both Mal Wright’s Camouflage of Commonwealth fleets and Marco Ghiglino’s Italian Naval Camouflage of World War II) not too mention the British Pacific Fleet from World War 2 along with the US and Japanese fleets from the Battle of the Philippine Seas along with sundry German and British vessels from the early part of World War 2.

Also I have the Russian World War 1 fleet; the Soviet modern fleet; 1/300 scale modern Poles to finish along with World War 2 Japanese; and the 1/1200 World War 2 coastal set (British, German and Italian torpedo boats and the like).

Oh, I almost forgot, there is the Future War Commander Indonesians as an opponent for my FWC Aussies.

Definitely a Rimmer moment.

I think I’ll go home tonight and re-plan everything over dinner. Results tomorrow night … perhaps!

Little Wars TV – The Battle of Kharkov (Donets Campaign)

I am enjoying the wargames put one from time to time by the Little Wars guys. Little Wars has become my favourite wargaming channel. I enjoyed the Fourth Kawanakajima Wargame in early November. This week it is the Battle of Kharkov.

The Third Battle of Kharkov was a series of battles on the Eastern Front of World War II, undertaken by the German Army Group South against the Red Army, around the city of Kharkov between 19 February and 15 March 1943. Known to the German side as the Donets Campaign, and in the Soviet Union as the Donbas and Kharkov operations, the German counterstrike led to the recapture of the cities of Kharkov and Belgorod.

The commander of the German forces for this campaign was Erich von Manstein, with Paul Hausser, Hermann Hoth, E. von Mackensen and Theodor Eicke. The Soviets were led by Filipp Golikov, Nikolay Vatutin, K. Rokossovsky and Vasily Koptsov. Manstein’s. Wikipedia has a reasonable description of the Battle of Kharkov.

The battle was technically a German victory – against hugely overwhelming odds if Manstein’s report is to be believed however with the German losses in materiel and men, I think overall this can be considered a strategic victory for the Soviets, especially as by this stage of the war the Soviet tactics of attrition were really starting to pay off.

The Little Wars guys were refighting the battle using 1/285 scale vehicles and aircraft and 6mm figures. The wargame rules they used were A Fistful of TOWs. I had always thought of a Fistful of TOWs as modern wargame rules but I see that version 3 has extended the period covered from 1915 to 2015. As they are available in PDF form as well as hardcopy, I am thinking of downloading a copy for reading on my upcoming travels to Oz.

Enough of my rabbiting on … enjoy watching the wargame!

Little Wars TV – Fourth Kawanakajima Wargame

I mentioned back in LIttle Wars – a Favoured YouTube Channel, that Little Wars was one of my favourite channels. I watch for the new releases and have enjoyed some great refights (like the recent Agincourt one). A week ago they released another wargame, this one the Fourth Kawanakajima Wargame.

This was a reflight of, yes, the Fourth Kawanakajima Battle. The refight was controlled by the Killer Katana wargame rules (look for the rule review this week and those rules are available from On Matters Military, a company I can recommend and have purchased from before). Fourth Kawanakajima was a large battle between competing samurai clans in the 16th century with armies of 10 to 12,000 men engaged. The refight itself was performed using 6mm figures (another favourite of mine). I am guessing they were Baccus 6mm samurai figures. Another range is produced by Heroics and Ros.

Whichever figures you like, do have a look at the refight and be inspired to paint hundred of 6mm samurai! I will admit that the samurai period of Japan has always had an interest for me, in part from my time in Korea. Anyway, have a look at the video and be inspired.

The Great Wargaming Survey 2018

It is that time of the year again, time for the Great Wargaming Survey for 2018. It has a focus on tabletop miniature wargaming.

As with previous surveys the purpose is to answer questions that come up regularly in discussions. As before, the results will be published online only for everyone to read, not just readers of Wargame, Soldiers and Strategy.

There are some sponsors to the survey so there are prizes to be won. In any case, all who answer the survey will get a 15% discount voucher for use at Karwansaray Publishing.

Filling out the entire survey should take around 5-10 minutes, and the survey remains open until 5 September 2018.

Click on the Link – The Great Wargaming Survey 2018

Battlefields in Miniature – Paul Davies – Review

Every so often I buy a book forgetting that I already have that book on the bookshelf. Friend Anthony suffers the same problem from time to time and as a result  we both get additions to our libraries as we give the other our duplicated purchases. These books are, in many cases, in areas where we normally do not read (enjoy the naval history books when I get them to you Anthony!). 🙂

One such book was Battlefields in Miniature by Paul Davies, published in 2015 by Pen and Sword Books. It looks like the hardback version of this book is out of print however Pen and Sword have an ePub and Kindle version listed (ePub, Kindle) in their catalogues.

There are a number of books published on wargames terrain making, many from the makers of various figure ranges and while normally books like this only provide a passing interest to me, this is one book I will refer to again and again, especially as I pursue my hobby here in the Philippines where there are limited wargaming clubs.

So, why this book? The 287 glossy colour pages make the book enjoyable to flick through. Better though is the organisation f the book with 18 chapters dealing with generalities, tools, materials and then a discussion of 17 types of terrain. The chapters included are:

  1. Welcome to the Workshop
  2. What’s Everyone  Else Doing?
  3. Before  You Get Started
  4. Terrain Cloths
  5. Terrain Tiles
  6. Custom or Sculpted terrain
  7. Rivers and Ponds
  8. Islands, Cliffs and Hills
  9. Trees
  10. Walls
  11. Fences and Screens
  12. Hedges
  13. Gates
  14. Cultivated Fields
  15. Roads
  16. Bridges
  17. Defences
  18. Buildings

The author, Paul Davies, will be recognised by many for his regular series of “how-to” articles in Wargames Illustrated. Throughout this book however he has combined techniques he had illustrated before and added new ones such that most wargamers should have little or no trouble constructing their own terrain by following his guidelines presented here.

As mentioned, I have the hardback version and it looks like only ePub and Kindle versions are currently available from Pen  and Sword.  I certainly will unashamedly be stealing some of Davies’ ideas when constructing my next batch of terrain and I am glad to have the book in my library (thank you Anthony). I do recommend this book to wargamers.

The Next Step – Normans

In When Inspiration is Failing Along Comes Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy 97 I mentioned that I was developing an interest in the Anarchy – Stephen and Mathilda’s brawl with each other over the English crown in the period 1135 to 1153. I spoke of Normans. I also mentioned that it was leading me to consider another wargames project so last night I did some more reading and research.

The Anarchy was some 70 years after William’s invasion of England so in fact, we are not talking about Normans as such but rather the Anglo-Norman successors of William’s invasion. The English barons supported Stephen so we are dealing with the Anglo-Normans.

Mathilda’s supporters included Robert of Gloucester and the Battle of Lincoln in 1141 pitted Robert against Stephen so Anglo-Norman vs Anglo-Norman army. Later Henry, Mathilda’s son, invaded with some knights so I can find an excuse to add a Feudal French force. The Normans also invaded Sicily so add a Sicilian opponent. Other enemies over the period involved include the pre-Feudal Scots and Scots Common, the Welsh, and lastly the Anglo-Norse. A fine collection of forces for a matched set.

When Inspiration is Failing … along comes Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy 97

Like all good wargamers I have about 30 half-started; half-completed; or part-planned projects either in the painting queue (that will be those boxes over there), or scratched as notes on a piece of paper as the planning sessions start (and the figures for those will be in those other boxes over there or manufacturers catalogues filed away in the file system here).

And then along came Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy Issue 97 and I was saved – or at least project number 31 started to take shape in my mind’s eye.

The main theme of this issue is “Weird War”. Basically, alternate outcomes or what-if scenarios based around World War 2, and there are seven articles on that subject, articles such as a “What if?” assassination mission – Kill Stalin; Weird War II airborne operations – Operation Redrow; or Weird War II pulp adventures – Lieutenant Liberty and the Doom Platoon.

However, there were some other more mainstream articles included such as the perils of Ptolemaic Pachyderms – Elephant Archos; the Swedes vs. the Dutch in North America – The Battle at Fort Mosquito, 1655; and the one that caught my imagination, the Empress Matilda’s flight – Bitesize battle: escape from Oxford.

The article about Stephen and Mathilda caught my eye principally because several days before I had watched an historical piece on Netflix on the Empress Maud and Matilda. Coupled with that is a desire to have a reason to get some Normans (not that I ever really needed an excuse to buy more figures). The article discusses the escape of Mathilda from Oxford Castle in the winter when the castle was invested by Stephen’s forces. I am sure this provided the idea for Sansa’s escape from Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones.

Anyway, I digress, and who doesn’t like a good digression? Mathilda and Stephen tilted for the English crown in the mid 12th century. Both were Normans and this period of Norman history makes a change from William’s Wars or the Normans in Sicily. Anyway, as the tale goes, Mathilda was the daughter of King Henry I of England, and was his sole legitimate child after the death of his son Prince William in the ‘White Ship’ disaster.

She was married to Henry V of the Holy Roman Empire (hence the title Empress), and then when he died in 1125, to Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou.

She was supposed to be the heir to the English throne, however in 1135 Stephen of Blois claimed that Henry I had changed his mind on his deathbed and recognised Stephen as successor to the throne. The English barons backed this claim.

That is when the trouble started and a period known as The Anarchy commenced.

Stephen was more popular than Mathilda, as she was viewed as a foreigner and a woman who was married to one of the hated Angevin enemy. She was also proud and overbearing, arranging everything as she thought fit, according to her own whim.

Trouble started in 1141 when the Battle of Lincoln took place between Stephen and Matilda’s half-brother Robert, Earl of Gloucester. After fighting bravely, Stephen was overcome and captured and taken before Matilda who immediately had him imprisoned in Bristol Castle. He was later released.

Both Stephen and Mathilda were captured at various stages and escaped (the escape from Oxford being one such).

Henry, Mathilda’s son by the Count of Anjou also got involved, bringing some knights to England but they were defeated by Stephen’s men.

In 1153 Stephen agreed to the Treaty of Westminster with Henry of Anjou. This stated that Stephen should remain king for life (in the event this was less than one more year) and then Henry should succeed him.

Upon Stephen’s death in 1154, Henry was crowned King Henry II, the first of the Plantagenet line of kings.

So, what’s not to like about this period? A few armies of similar structure bouncing around England and a reason to expand the lead-pile … curse you Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy!

As for figures, well it will be 6mm scale for the space challenged and Normans of an appropriate ilk are available from:

  • Heroics and Ros – a range I remember from many years ago – Normans, Saxons, Vikings and a Medieval range
  • Baccus 6mm – a lovely range of 6mm Normans, Vikings and Saxons
  • Irregular Miniatures – a large range of figures but where the casts as not as clean or detailed as H&R or Baccus

For those interested, Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy have a number of well known folks from the wargaming world writing regular columns in the magazine as well such as Rick Priestley and Henry Hyde.

The magazine is recommended … as are the Normans!

YouTube – In the Mail 01

I sent a small order off to Heroics and Ros just after Christmas for more artillerymen and some more armour for the Poles (and therefore also for the Danes). T-72s and Leopards arrived in the mail recently – this is what was in the packet and will be used for Cold War Commander.

Video is here:

I also ordered and received some Ancient Britons. These will form part of a new project that is setting up in my brain currently – but more on that later.

Comments are welcome and have a safe Easter!