Saturday 28 January 2023

Prepping For Normandy

   With less than a week and a bit before our proposed first games of Bolt Action in the desert, my brother sent me a text to say his armies wouldn't be finished in time, could we play something set in Normandy this month and come back to the desert for our next games. This gave me time to tidy some bits up I'd been putting off. . .

   The more games of Bolt Action my brother and me played in 2022, the more pleased I became with the boards we were putting out. The various door mats and teddy bear fur (that my club mercilessly mock me for) break up the continuous green mat and the hedges really help add cover, but the board is still lacking in a few key areas.

   The French buildings in my collection are not quite good enough anymore - there are a few key things I need to do to upgrade them (roofs mostly) are on my list of jobs and will get sorted once I have a bit more inspiration after a holiday to Normandy later this year. It would be really good to plonk a village that feels right onto the board.

   The other thing is a lack of walls. While hedges are a big way of making fields borders in north western Europe and feature in a lot of my games, stone walls are a prominent feature f the countryside and I wanted to add another type of cover to the board. With this in mind I picked up a box of Warlord's Stone Walls and got to work.

   While the photo doesn't show them properly and the one below is dark and terrible looking, I've built a single 2 sided field of about a foot by 2 foot (so hedges will do the rest of the field boundaries), plus a stone wall for a house which used the whole contents of a box. I've kept the painting as simple as possible, sprayed a beige, picked our bricks in a few other shades then washed.

   While doing the walls, we were also talking about the new gaming club my brother has joined and how it's exposing him to other games. So being the good older brother (?) I've promised to teach him one new game after every session of Bolt Action (time allowing) so that he had more of an idea of what he likes and what he doesn't so he can join in more easily. Having planned to pack a board of Normandy themed terrain, I had a thought about what to play using the same scenery and 100 years war made the most sense.

   The last game played with these collections showed the French were too light on foot sergeants, so I focussed on getting a unit painted ready for the game.

   All I have left to paint in my 100 years war project is a Joan of Arc figure that is lost somewhere in my backlog and a pair of early 100 years war French knights that I bought as an experiment. I am tempted to buy one more pack of metal French men at arms/knights on foot to add a few more banners and allow myself to field another unit of foot sgts but we'll see how this year goes.
Now if only I could find Joan . . .

   Annoyingly this delay in getting the desert games onto the board will end up affecting my targets for the year but as long as I can do a block of it in the springtime we should be alright.

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Thursday 26 January 2023


   Ok, so this is one of those hard projects to justify again. My twitter feed since just before Christmas has been slowly filling with gamers who normally paint historical armies suddenly buying boxes and boxes of Battletech and I have no idea why. So when one recommended a novel trilogy set in the universe, saying it was one of their favourite reads of the year, I added it to my backlog and carried on with my life.

   I have now read that series, and while it isn't going to rank in my top series any time soon it was interesting enough to make me curious. I've got a demo lined up at club at some point in the near future just to see how the game plays but I picked the beginners starter box up on a trip into London so I could muck about with some figures. I've gone with a fictitious colour scheme as I just don't know the factions well enough yet to have picked one and reversed a scheme I found online - not knowing if that scheme was a real one or not. I also purposely didn't halve the colours and instead thirded (?) them just as it seemed more interesting.

Pretty sure its a Griffin on the left and Vindicator on the right.

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Monday 23 January 2023

American Engineers

   One of my aims for this year was to try and play a few more scenario based games, on this target I've been going through my backlog of Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy magazine for ideas and I came across a road clearing mission. The scenario is designed for early war armies with the Germans as the attackers and French as defenders but I plan to run it late war with the Germans defending and Americans attacking.

   With the scenario in mind I had a look online for some WW2 engineers actually using the tools of the trade and came across Black Tree Designs' US Engineers which fitted the bill perfectly, so two packs were ordered (to give my brother a set so we could play the scenario twice playing both sides) and I sat back and waited for my order to arrive. It looks like Black Tree Designs have sped their process up as it only took 2 months for these to get here and for some reason one of my packs had an extra guy, which is perfect.

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Sunday 22 January 2023

More And More For The Desert

   I've actually been fairly busy painting figures recently it turns out, with this post being the last of the infantry for the current desert project* and is the bits that were a bit more fiddly to paint. Not a huge amount to say here but I did like painting the monkey.

*although I have a single sprue of SAS left for after I watch the BBC SAS drama

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Friday 20 January 2023

Even More For The Desert

   I always seem to run Bolt Action lists with the same three units of infantry, so when painting a new army I always feel like I've broken the back of the project once I'm a decent way into the third squad. This time I painted the third squad and the MMG.

   I'm well on the way on getting the infantry side of this project finished now, which will leave the vehicles, so many vehicles . . .

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Tuesday 17 January 2023

More For The Desert

   My painting mojo isn't quite where it could be so far this year, between getting covid towards the end of last year and seemly having an endless stream of colds which also meant our little boy wasn't sleeping through but I am trying to get some projects moving with the aim of getting a game of Bolt Action with my brother towards the end of the month.

   Using the theory that if you aren't churning out many figures, the best thing to do is only paint the figures you need in the short term and then add the nice to haves to the end, here are the second infantry squad, a Boys Anti-Tank Rifle and a medic (that isn't in my list . . .).

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Monday 2 January 2023

New Year - New Project. Into The Desert!

   So, what does 2023 have in stock for me? To be honest, at this point in the year I have no idea but I know what my plans going into it are, the first 6 months (ish) will focus on the Dark Ages* and a big focus on combat in the desert - primarily WW2 but I'd like to get my Crusades back on the table and maybe my New Kingdom Egyptians (interested Neil?). Then the last 6 months will be focussed on gaming in Normandy - again WW2 but including some 100 Years War and maybe some Norman on Norman conflict as Duke William cements his rule before his jaunt to England - which will be after a driving holiday to the province.** Then there will be a smattering of Lord of the Rings across the year as it's something my brothers and I are still playing and a few battle anniversaries I have plans to do something with.

*my favourite period in history and something that has been criminally overlooked in my gaming for the past three years

**but as ever, plans can get changed

   The first thing to do this year with all that in mind is to get the WW2 desert army painted as it's the biggest project for this plan. I picked up the British half of the Warlord Game's Gentleman's War box set that has been supplemented with free sprues from Wargames Illustrated and some other bits and pieces. We've decided to play at the 750 point level instead of the usual 1000 points due to the lack of veterans and expensive tanks***

***it also means we need slightly less trucks which were turning out to be a real drain on the wallet

   There will be more posts on these in the very near future (I hope) where I'll go into more details, but one thing I have decided to do on this project is tone my desert basing down a bit so its more brown than it is cream to blend into my new scenery better***.

***did I mention new scenery?

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