Sunday 28 February 2021

Pendraken Painting Competition 2021

After a year or two away, those nice chaps at Pendraken are running another Pendraken Painting Competition with some rather nice prizes on offer as always. The standard is always incredibly high with some very talented painters and modellers out there. As is the way of things I had planned on painting some units up that needed doing anyway, but failed completely! However I had some armour from the past 12 months that would just about pass muster, so some quick shots were taken this evening in the vain hope I might get close to a prize.

All the miniatures are from Pendraken's WWII and are naturally 10mm. So without further ado:

M41 Carro Comando

StuH-42 105mm

AB-41 Armoured Car



L3 CR Command Tankette

SPA Dovunque 35 with AA Gun

The preponderance of Italian kit is for a planned campaign, more of which in another post, as well as an ongoing fascination with the Sicilian Campaign and the Invasion of Mainland Italy. More updates on 'stuff' soon, but I'd better submit my photos before it's too late!

Thursday 18 February 2021

The Bristol 'Bocage' Inter-War Light Bomber

As mentioned in a previous post, a recent game set in the Bristol 'bocage' prompted a Pendraken forum member to comment that this sounded like the name of a British Inter-War aeroplane. This set the old grey cells a whirring and after a bit of thought, I decided to somehow convert a suitable model into something with the right 'look'. So after quite a bit of searching I settled upon the German WWI 'heavy bomber' AEG G IV kit from Red Eagle Miniatures as the basis for my design.

A delay caused by Covid meant that there was a delay in receiving my order, which in the grand scheme of things is no big deal, but last week the kit finally arrived. The model itself is really rather nice but like all kits for this period, the big issue is getting the struts to fit, which even for a former pro-modelmaker such as myself, is a challenge. I had no plan on how I wanted the plane to look like, so simply settled upon assembling it in stages, making decisions as I went along.

The final result can be seen below. In the end all I did realy was to alter the wing and tail ends as well as the rather obvious monoplane design, to give it a developmental look common to many Inter-War designs. This was largely as a result of it being damned tricky to get the struts to fit, as I had planned on keeping it a bi-plane design. I actually loved the look of it with the engines mounted above the wing, so I simply added some additional supports to tie them to the wing itself, which I think looks rather nice.
The finished build which has about a 12cm wongspan.

I did toy with the idea of making an enclosed cockpit and or turrets, but actually preferred the open look as I felt it was more in keeping with the design.

A Pendraken Bristol FE2B for size comparison.
The next major decision is what camouflage scheme to give it as well as what markings to use. At this period the British bombers were rather dull with a dark green top and black undersides as they were intended for night time operations. I will have a trawl through my old Airfix magazines as they have a whole host of superb articles on aeroplanes of this period, to see if anything a little different was used.

As for other gaming related activities, things are beginning to look up as as the weather is improving and warming up (famous last words!) so I am able to enjoy my other hobbies, so i'm enjoying my 'wargaming time' much more, rather than that being the only show in town. More updates to follow soon, all being well. So until next time, stay safe!

Wednesday 10 February 2021

Reconnaissance In Force

After a lovely early morning walk in some very crisp Winter sunshine with barely a soul about (too cold for the dog walkers!) I settled down to some games of Rebels & Patriots as planned. Not having played for a while I had a trial game in the morning to re-acquaint myself with the rules, then soon followed up with the planned one. I re-used the board from yesterdays HoW game and kept the same units, but transfered them to stats suitable for R&P.

In terms of the game, again I kept things simple, going for another Encounter type scenario. So without further ado, the captioned photos will hopefully give you an idea of how things panned out.
An overview of the table.

The Ruthenian troops, with their commander in the lead.

The Prusskian troops, with their leader to the rear.

The end of Turn 1. Both sides got off to a good start, apart from the Ruthenians who had one unit that failed to move.

The Prusskians continued to advance in good formation, whilst the Ruthenians had their Commander fail to move, but at least the Line Infantry on the left flank (middle left) formed Close Order.

The Ruthenian Commander causes a bit of a traffic jam.

Prusskian efficiency in manouevring in evidence, with the Jagers sitting pretty in the farmhouse.

Speaking too soon about Prusskian efficiency, as all but one of their units failed to move! In contrast the Ruthenians began to play catch up, making some good advances.

The Ruthenian troops try to shake out into some semblance of a battle line.

The stalled Prusskian troops.

The Prusskians got their act together, managing to advance and with two Line Infantry units now formed in Close Order. Again the Ruthenians had some failed moves, but the Commander and the Jagers managed to get some hits and disorder on the Prusskian Line Infantry on the road.

The Prusskian Line Infantry that are disordered are in the middle of the photo on the road.

As the Infantry manouevred and opened fire where possible, the Ruthenian cavalry charged and the Prusskian cavalry managed to get a counter-charge in. The Ruthenians got the better of the first clash and in the follow up, routed the Prusskian cavalry.

The Prusskian Line Infantry on the road failed to rally their disorder off and had to make another retreat away from the fighting. The Prusskian troops had the better of the shooting, disrupting the Ruthenian Jagers in the cornfield and the Line Infantry on the Left Flank. In response the Ruthenian cavalry and Jagers failed to rally off their disorder and so had to retreat back. the less said about their shooting the better!

Both sides struggle to get ascendency, but the Prusskians appear to have an edge.

The Prusskian managed to finally rally their Line Infantry and elsewhere the Line Infantry advanced to close with the enemy. However the Ruthenians were obviously waiting for them as their shooting led to tow Line infantry units being routed by their shooting, including the Prusskian commanders unit and he only just avoided becoming a casualty!

Both sides arrayed to shoot at each other.

The effects of the Ruthenian shooting are plain to see.

The Prusskian commander points to the way home for his troops.

End of the Game
With the losses in Turn 6 and no commander, it was game over for the Prusskians, who fled the field of battle.
Post Game Thoughts
That was a nice little game and played out very quickly and smoothly, which was nice. Having played a warm up game really helped as the game proper worked much better for it. So a few thoughts as always;
  • The rules give a nice, fun game with easy to remember rules. They are simple but not simplistic and units can be tweaked to suit various theatres and conflicts as required. For a club setting or even with some friends over and afternoon, you could easily play 3 - 4 games and so in effect play a mini-campaign with comparative ease.
  • The 2' x 2' table is perfect for this game using 10mm figures, requiring little in the way of terrain and figures. Whilst my figures that are based for bigger games work fine as they are, they really don't give the feel that it is a skirmish game and I kept thinking I was playing and HoW level game. I do have figures based for this game on coins and counters, but will paint them once I have finished other projects in the painting queue.
  • Although the rules are for the North American theatre, they can easily be used for Europe from the early 18thC through to the middle to late 19thC.
  • Whilst the rules play fine solo, I feel half the fun is playing against an opponent, especially with the traits that you roll for the Commanders. Maybe when FtF gaming returns I can persuade my gaming chums to give these rules a go.
  • I would like to compare these to the Sharp Practice II rules that I played a few years ago and see whic I prefer. I think the SPII rules have more detail but for my current gaming needs R&P ticks all the boxes.
I have some partially formed ideas about playing a narrative campaign with these rules, but need to flesh them out a bit. Combining them with Honours of War for bigger games could be fun to do, but again I need to think about this more and see how it might work. As always lots to think about as well as painting that I really should be getting on with. So until next time stay safe!

Tuesday 9 February 2021

Bumping Into The Enemy

After my post of yesterday helped break my wargaming ennui, I set up a very simple Encounter type action on my 2' x 2' board, with 'Honours of War' as the rules of choice for 18thC gaming. I decided to use my recently re-flagged AWI Imagi-Nations units rather than the MDF figures, just to give them a run out on the table and to inspire me to paint up the British opponents for them.

As before, I used the Austrian stats from HoW and made the Generals Dependable. I wanted to keep things pretty simple for my first game in a while, just to get back into the swing of things. Both sides had identical forces, again to keep it simple and would deploy from column of march. The objective would be simply to defeat the enemy force.

Both sides would arrive via a corner on the road, with the lead units about a full move onto the table. The forces of Prusskia would arrive via the top table corner, those of Ruthenia via the bottom one.
An overview of the table.

The Ruthenian troops led by their Cavalry and the Light Infantry.

The Prusskian forces likewise led.
Opening Moves
The Prusskian troops got the better of the opening moves, as the Ruthenian troops rolled a Poor command roll and so could not advance towards the enemy. Despite this the Ruthenian Light Infantry were able to get the opening shots of the engagement in.

The end of Turn 1.

The Ruthenian troops advance in column of march, as do the Prusskians.

The Ruthenian Light Infantry move ont the hill to cover the left flank.

The Prusskian Light Infantry move towards the farmhouse, as the Cavalry and Line Infantry move off to the right flank.

The end of Turn 2.

Both sides begin to deploy and the Ruthenian Light Infantry shoot at the Prusskian Cavalry (top left and centre).
Middle Game
Again the Prusskian Line Infantry manouevred more quickly and effectively than the Ruthenians, who once again had a Poor command roll. Both sides began to shoot at each other, with the Prusskians gaining the upper hand overall. The Ruthenian Cavalry charged and were met by a Counter Charge from the Prusskian Cavalry, with both sides causing terrible damage, but the Prusskian Cavalry were Routed, largely due to the hit they had from a previous Turn and the Ruthenian Cavalry had to retreat to Reform.

The end of Turn 3.

The Ruthenian Line Infantry take hits from the Prusskian Light Infantry in the cornfield.

The Cavalry clash sees the Prusskian Cavalry forced to Rout off the field and the Ruthenian Cavalry to Reform in the rear.

The end of Turn 4.

A Ruthenian Line Infantry unit forced to retreat and Reform due to the effective shooting from the Prusskian Light Infantry.

The Prusskian Light and Line Infantry in a good position, but are staring down the barrel of an artillery gun.
End Game
As both sides began to settle down to exchange fire, the Ruthenian Line infantry managed to get an Admirable command roll and so were able to close up with the Prusskian lines. Crucially the Ruthenians won the Shooting Initiative, which stood them in good stead, as they were able to Rout two Prusskian Line Infantry and just avoided the same happening to their own troops.

The end of Turn 5.

The Ruthenian Line Infantry rout their opposite numbers (middle left).

The Ruthenian Light Infantry just get the better of the Prusskian Line Infantry.

The end of Turn 6.

The ragged Ruthenian line manages to hold, but importantly breaks another Prusskian Line Infantry unit (top left).

The broken Prusskian Line Infantry unit (top middle) and the Ruthenian Line Infantry and Artillery just avoid having to retreat to Reform.

At least the Prusskian Line Infantry get the better of the Ruthenian Light Infantry, who will have to retreat and Reform.

End of Game
At this point the Prusskians, having lost two Line Infantry units and their Cavalry, were in no position to hold off the Ruthenians, who were too battered to be able to offer up a pursuit.

Post Game Thoughts
Well that was just the right sort of game to get me back into the swing of things and I really enjoyed myself. As always a few thoughts on how the game went etc:
  • I managed to set the game up the night before, which I find works best as everything is ready to go and I can look at the table with fresh eyes and tweak things if I think they are wrong. This is much better than setting things up in a rush on the day or evening as it were.
  • The game was nice and quick and could have gone either way. The Ruthenians probably won because at crucial times the won the Shooting Initiative and so they were able to knock out the opposition before they could respond. Their shooting was also slightly more effective and neither sides artillery covered themselves with glory, barely making the most of being in canister range! 
  • The small amount of troops worked a treat and is of similar size to the introductory scenario in the rulebook. 
  • Again the 2' x 2' table worked perfectly and allowed me to get them game in on the dining table without disrupting other members of the family too much. A bigger game does have an impact and currently this is not an option due to some home working requirements.
  • The Honours of War rules worked a treat as always and I look forward to giving them another run out soon, maybe with some additional unit stats to add a bit of variety.

Having used Honours of War, I fancy trying the same table, scenario and forces but with Rebels & Patriots. Hopefully time will permit in the next few days and I certainly am up for the game. So until next time keep safe!