York, Vapnartak 2018

Last weekend saw myself, Des, Martin, Ian and Paul all travel up to York for the Vapnartak show as we were putting on a ‘Sands of Sudan’ participation game. Martin and I were travelling up in Martin’s car during the day on Friday carrying most of the kit for the game and on the way we stopped off at Caliver Books. I’ve never been before and what an experience it is, I was glad Daren wasn’t with us as his Health and Safety trained brain would’ve flipped out! Anyway in amongst the chaos I spotted ‘First Clash’ by Kenneth Macksey and duly picked it up as I lost my copy sometime in the 90’s and have wanted a new one for ages now – I can see some WW3 style Canadians getting bought very soon so we can fight through the actions described. Then I found something that must have been put there by the pixies as I never knew it existed and I must be one of only a few people who’d be interested in it (there were 2 copies on the shelves) – ‘Das deutsche Bundesheer’ a reprint (in German) of a book about the German Federal Army in the 1830’s containing everything you need to know and 421 beautiful colour plates covering everything from the Lichtenstein infantry to Austrian Lombard Gendarmes, and for only £20! I did haver about buying it at first but Martin persuaded me to get it, as he said I’d only regret it later if I didn’t buy it, and I’m so glad I did as it’s possibly the best book I’ve ever bought.

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We all made it to York without any mishaps and spent a pleasant evening supping a few beers and after a decent curry we all tried to get some rest. Saturday saw us all going our separate ways to spend some time mooching about York before we headed over to York Racecourse in the afternoon to set the game up for Sunday. Des and I decided to visit the York Army Museum, and we were both mighty glad we did too. For the paltry sum of just £5 (a ticket that you can use anytime in the next year by the way), we spent a couple of hours walking round this small but excellent museum dedicated to the Yorkshire Regiment and the Royal Dragoon Guards (and all of their predecessors). I’ll let the pics tell the story here, I really can’t recommend it enough, if you have a spare hour or so please support it by dropping by, you won’t be disappointed. (click on pics to view larger versions)

After a, thankfully, drama free set-up of the game we once again popped out to the excellent ‘Pheonix’ pub that is also well worth a visit – a cracking little establishment with good beers, a lovely atmosphere and even a bar billiards table, if I lived near it I’d be down there all the time! – and then on to an Italian before heading back to the hotel early as we were all a bit knackered and a long day loomed ahead. Sunday saw us up and at ’em early and after a lovely big brekkie we set off for the show.

L to R: Paul, Des, me, Ian and Martin.

We got there without any fuss and promptly got everything ready once we made some last minute purchases and awaited opening time and our first game (sorry for the lack of in-action pics but we were just too busy). Thankfully it didn’t take long for us to fill the spaces and pretty soon the game was well underway with all involved seemingly having a whale of a time trying to carry out their varying missions whilst being interrupted by dastardly Mahdist types. The first game lasted from about 10.30 to 13.00 and saw the British column thwarted by constant pressure from the Mahdists, suffering heavy casualties in the infantry and having the cavalry completely wiped out. The Egyptian force sent out from the camp to assist the British came completely unstuck as well and died to a man whilst the Royal Navy guarding the ladies in the camp came very close to being overwhelmed by waves of angry locals but just managed to hold out so we declared a win for the Mahdi this time.

During the break we all darted off round the show to have a quick look and make purchases, which only amounted to a pack of lovely 15mm Imitation Legionnaires from Empires at War to start off my Pontic army for the clubs Sword and Spear ‘League’, I’ll be buying some more from them very soon. Pretty soon we had donned our hats again and the afternoon game got underway, again the chaps involved had a good time all round with the Imperial troops doing tons better this time, by the end of play the Egyptians and Brits had very nearly met up and had crushed all attempts to stop them so a resounding victory was declared. I didn’t get much time to check out the show really and so won’t comment as I don’t think my rushed spins round gave me a good idea of it but it was nicely busy and even the weirdness with the emergency drill false alarms didn’t spoil it for us.

So, thanks all round to Martin, Des, Ian and Paul for a great weekend, completely knackering but well worth it. A truly fantastic game was played, great fun was had, brilliant conversation and company was enjoyed, a cracking museum was visited and I got to wear a Pith helmet! Happy days indeed – here’s hoping the next one is as good.

 

Off to York at the weekend….

I have been invited along with Des and Ian to help Martin put on his truly fantastic Sudan game at the Vapnartak show on Sunday. There have already been some pics of it on here before, and it will be featured in the February edition of Miniature Wargames.

It is a large participation game in full colour 28mm-o-rama so if anyone is around and fancies joining in we will be on the bottom floor over in the corner – there will be big SLW banners and we will be sporting Fez’s or Pith helmets so we should easy to spot. The rules are easy to grasp and a right blast and you will be asked to carry out jolly wheezes such as escorting gentlemen of the press or rescuing some ladies whilst dodging the attentions of Mahdist types and dirty post card sellers.

Anyway, to whet your appetites here’s some pics from recent practice games, (click on them to see bigger versions)

Colours 2017

Saturday saw myself, Daren and Dan take the Neustadt game out on the road again for its final outing, this time to Colours at Newbury Racecourse. Getting to the venue and getting set up was quite straightforward, with no traffic problems on the way down to Newbury and without the one-way system hell of Sheffield to contend with, and pretty soon we had everything set up. After the usual cup of tea/coffee and bacon roll (not the best it has to be said!) we started the game just as the first waves of people rushed past to stampede toward the Bring and Buy.

We were short handed as neither Warren or Jonathan could make it so we were not expecting to get much done with regards to finishing the game at all so Dan and I decided on a new tactic of chucking everything on the table as quickly as possible to see if that worked. It did, and even though we only played around 4 or 5 turns we had managed to capture half of the supply convoy and destroy all of the defending Chieftains and secure a win as Daren admitted that he wouldn’t have been able to stop us from reaching the river with what he had left. We are planning on having one last go at this game at the next Big Game Saturday at the club so that we can really do it justice which is fitting I think.

The game seemed to go over quite well with lots of praise for Daren’s terrain, especially for the river which received praise from a few chaps I spoke to as to the simple ingenuity of it being suspended between two tables. Unfortunately we did suffer from a couple of know it all types who loftily told us their opinions on what we were doing wrong and how it was all totally unrealistic as they were in Germany and it wouldn’t have been like that – funny how bell-ends like that never seem to actually give the rest of us the benefit of their superior knowledge and put games on themselves aint it. Fortunately they were vastly outnumbered by the well wishers and so, overall, we enjoyed the day from a game point of view. The one slight gripe we did have was that the tables did seem to be a tad close together. Once you had a few interested people round the tables it was very tight space-wise: add to this the occasional bad mannered,  more well timbered and backpack sporting members of the gaming fraternity barging through and the chances of someone getting knocked onto a table was quite worrying.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to check out the show all that much but I did manage to slip away for a bit to pick some kit up from Heroics and Ros (which I have already posted about) and to have a good shufty at the games. Most of the other games were well presented and there were one or two which were ingenious – the one next to us that involved an underwater adventure was particularly good, we all agreed that the way the boat was done on a plinth to get depth was cracking. It also seemed to have a gone over very well with the constant stream of people joining in, particularly the younger ones who were having a hoot which was great to see. Unfortunately the pics I took of this game were absolute rubbish, so I can’t show any and I lost my note about who put it on – apologies!

The only two games that I was interested in seeing before we went was the Franco-Prussian game being put on by Bruce Weigle as I’d seen plots of pictures of his fantastic terrain before and was keen to see some ‘in the flesh’. I wasn’t disappointed as the snowy battlefield was expertly depicted, with the snow being realistically muddy where it should have been and the contours of the hills beautifully sculpted. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to speak to Bruce himself but it was a pleasure to see it, maybe next time he is over at a show I’ll be a punter and will get to have a go myself.

The other game that I was interested in seeing was the Eisenbach Gap, 1985 another Cold War game being put on by the Berks and Bucks Occasionals. I had seen some pics of this game on the Wargames Website and was intrigued as the game is a boardgame that has been changed into a miniatures game. I must say, I thought it was done really well with both the 1/200 Skytrex kit and the Kallistra hex based terrain fantastically well done. The miniatures and terrain complimented each other very well and was a great example of the board/miniature game crossover I thought. Hats off definitely chaps!

The largest, and to my mind, most impressive game on display was the ‘The Assault on Ali El-Muntar, 1917’ put on by Adrian Shepherd and Friends. A true work of terrain artistry I thought with the trench systems being particularly well modelled. Apart from the terrain on show the figures were also amazingly well done and chuck in the aircraft and tanks into the mix it made for an absolute cracker – the chaps involved seemed to be having a blast playing it too. Unfortunately my photo’s suffered from the weird light in the venue and only a couple came out well – hopefully John Treadaway managed to get some good pics for MW and has done the game the justice it deserved!

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As for the other games, I liked Dave Brown’s Marengo game which was being played with his new ‘General d’ Armee’ rules. There was another WWI game from the early period which included Belgians which are a firm favourite of mine from that period using ‘Through the Mud and the Blood’ rules, (again I’m sorry as I can’t remember who put it on if you let me know I’ll edit this!). There was a cracking table which, although seemingly simple, was very effective by the Battlegroup chaps which had a hilltop German defensive position that had clearly been the attention of some heavy Soviet fire. The trenches and battle damage modelled was top notch. Also one of note was the Palestro 1859 game by the Friday Night in Crawley team which, apart from the period being of interest – 1859 Franco-Austrian, had some well painted figures and a fantastically modelled castle.

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Well that’s it for our ‘away days’ for this year, we’ve been talking about what we will be doing for Joy of 6 next year and you never know we might have a go at one or two more shows too but it will be nice to attend as a punter to a couple!

 

 

Colours 2017 anyone?

I will be at the Colours show at Newbury Racecourse this Saturday with Daren and Dan putting on the Neustadt Cold War game we have done at Salute and Joy of 6. We will have a stonking great South London Warlords banner up by the table, please stop by and say hello if you are there as it would be great to meet anyone who reads my drivel!

The Joy of Six 2017

Some things are small but perfectly formed: Mini Coopers, Fiat 500s, Lambrettas, Kylie, Clare Grogan, Lichtenstein and now I’d like to add the Joy of Six show in Sheffield to the list. If you do not know already this show is the brainchild of Peter at Baccus Miniatures and is to promote 6mm gaming and it does this very well indeed.

As I have mentioned already on here I was there with the Neustadt Crossing game along with fellow South London Warlords Daren, Dan, Warren and Jonathan. After meeting up at the hotel in Sheffield, Warren had got the train up and Jonathan was meeting us there the next day with the rest of us arriving in Dan’s car, we headed off to meet up with Peter and other gamer types at a ‘beer and curry’ night that he had arranged. This a nice idea to get people together before the show, although the curry wasn’t the best – sorry Peter, general consensus from us – the pub was cracking and a good time was had by us and we did have a great laugh at the meal.

The next day saw us having to make the 5 minute drive to the venue which in the end took us nearly half an hour due to Sheffield’s lovely one way system! This meant that we arrived quite late and were a bit rushed getting everything set up. We just about got set up in time and managed to have a quick mooch about the show before the doors opened. The show in itself is in no way large, but the quality of the games on display was of a very high standard indeed. Traders were obviously limited to those who supply 6mm kit and they seemed to be doing brisk business all day. When I managed to get over to see Andy at H&R later in the day he looked completely knackered as they’d been so busy but I did get to have a quick chat with him and there are some very cool things in the 6mm Modern pipelines – the upcoming Danish Centurion and M41’s are superb and they have a Finnish Sisu coming out too, so very happy days for me! I also had a good look at Commission Figurines range of 6mm MDF figures and they were actually quite appealing, I liked the new ACW ones in particular.

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We had an absolutely cracking day at the show and we got to speak to a lovely bunch of people, especially the gents we met at the curry the night before. I also got to say hello again to Per from the fantastic ‘Roll a One’ blog which was nice too. Not only were those that came to look at our game a lovely bunch of people but whilst checking out the other games too there was a really nice vibe, everyone had time to chat, terrain tips were swapped and there was none of the snidey comments you can get from people at other shows who don’t dig 6mm. Indeed it is possibly the friendliest show I’ve ever been to and you actually had time to have a good chat with people whilst also getting the game done too.

Yes, the game. Unfortunately Comrade Noakesavitch and I failed once more to liberate Neustadt for the workers. We had hatched a seemingly brilliant, simple and effective plan the night before in the pub and it lasted about 3 turns before we realised why its not best to hatch brilliant military stratagems after a few pints. Highlights of the game were, for Warren definitely, a Harrier taking out both of our Hinds in one go after rolling double snake eyes and us driving a company of BMP’s through an artillery barrage (which didn’t go well). Also the plucky escort Scorpion taking on some T-62’s and coming out on top deserves a mention, fanny magnets all round for the crew of that vehicle. We didn’t get the bulk of our armour into action though and would have obviously triumphed once they engaged the filthy, capitalist-imperialist lap dogs. We have sworn to triumph one day, maybe next time eh Dan? And hopefully there will be a next time as it was an absolute pleasure as always, I haven’t laughed so much in ages.

We have been invited back for next year and will definitely be doing so. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has even a passing interest in 6mm gaming and can see it growing in popularity and maybe size. We’d all like to thank Peter and co for putting the show on and hope that it will be on the calendar for many years to come.

Here’s pics of some of the games that took my fancy, unfortunately the ones I took of Per’s game haven’t come out well at all (sorry Per!) but you can find some here: https://rollaone.com/ and well worth it they are too!

Deeside Defenders: 1st Bull Run, using new Fire and Fury Brigade rules which they were enjoying apparently which bodes well as Des has just secured some copies for us to use in the near future. A cracking bunch of lads and a lovely table.

 

Robert Dunlop and Sons: Messines Ridge 1917 – not sure of the rules. This was a proper busy table, it gave Dan a headache apparently but I thought it was fantastic, captured the Western Front well which was headache inducing I reckon! I have seen their games at shows before and are always well worth it.

 

Baccus: Siege of Manchester, 1642. Again not sure of the rules, quite a neat little table this with all of the 200-odd buildings cast in resin specifically for this game.

 

Mailed Fist: Last Train to Berlin, 1944 – Iron Cross rules. This was the game next to us and sported some great terrain. They were using an adapted version of the rules to enable the use of larger units. Cracking armoured train and town.

 

Dan Hodgson: Waterloo, 1815 using Polemos Rules. This was hands down for me the showstopper game. I was just gutted I didn’t get more time to study it more, or even to get involved. An absolute beauty.

 

Cold War Commanders: Landjut ’85, Cold War Commander rules. This game had just about everything a Cold War game could have from Soviet Attack Hovercraft to airliners, if you could think of it, it was on there!

 

Off to Joy of 6….

On Sunday, 16th July Daren, Dan, Warren, Jonathan and I will be taking the Nuestadt Crossing Cold War game that we put on at Salute to the Joy of 6 show in Sheffield. If you are unaware what this show is about well there’s a clue in the title, every game has 6mm/1/300th scale figures or models. The aim of the organiser (Pete from Baccus) is to promote the use of 6mm as a wargaming scale, indeed if you pitch up and declare that you are a 6mm sceptic then they will waive the paltry £3 entrance fee safe in the knowledge that the games being put on will change your mind!

Both Daren and  I have been keen to attend for the past few years as the games do look spectacular but have been unable to so it was great when we were accepted to put the game on and now we are really looking forward to it. So if you are there please pop by for a chat, I’m not sure exactly where we will be but we will have a stonking great South London Warlords banner up so it will be hard to miss us!

Here’s info about the show:

http://www.thejoyof6.co.uk/

And here’s some pics of the game we are putting on:

https://tracksandthreads.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/salute-2017/

https://tracksandthreads.wordpress.com/2017/04/18/salute-game-run-through/

I’ll be posting pics later of some new buildings I have from Empires At War. They are 20mm MDF Normandy Houses for use with Chain of Command, the first one is done and I should have a couple more done later today as the second is well on the way to completion.

Salute 2017

I was picked up by Daren at 7 a.m. yesterday and I wasn’t feeling too great to be honest as my blood condition had chosen the past few days to be a complete bastard and make me feel shite so I was hoping that I would be able to last the day. A quick and easy drive across the water into Docklands saw us parked up right near an entrance to the Excel centre in about 20 minutes and so we were at our assigned table before 8 which was good. Dan arrived shortly after us and between the three of us we pretty soon had the game set up and we were munching on much needed Bacon baps and wondering where on earth the 4th member of the team, Tommo, was!

Tommo arrived at about 9 and after some much deserved ribbing he took over command of the NATO forces ready to cover the evacuation of the supplies at the Neustadt rail depot and to defend the river crossings from the Soviet breakthrough force collectively led by myself and Dan. I won’t go into the details of the game itself as it is still too painful! Suffice to say that the addition of 2 FV438 Swingfires, Warren’s brutal use of concentrated artillery and aggressive use of the Jagdpanzer Kannone’s ensured that what was seriously looking like a NATO defeat at one point ended in a defeat for the glorious Red Army.

It was really cool engaging with the people in the show who stopped by for a butchers or a chat about what we were doing. I didn’t hear a negative comment all day and there were some really nice things being said about the game with a lot of justifiable praise going to the excellent terrain made by Daren. Thanks to everyone that stopped by, we hope that you enjoyed it. One person said it was ‘elegant’ which I thought was really nice and completely understood where he was coming from and some lads from Germany took one look and said ‘is this game set in Germany’ which has got to be good! I did end up drawing people’s attention to the river though, I don’t think people realised that it was set between two tables which was a shame as I think it really is quite ingenious.

There was one interesting theme I noticed whilst talking to people, the younger punters were the ones that asked ‘is this Team Yankee’ whilst the older ones were happy that it wasn’t. There were a few people that mentioned that they might get their old collections out again which was nice and we also converted at least one chap to 6mm Cold War gaming, he re-appeared at the table with a great big smile on his face blaming us for the fact that he’d just spent £40 at H and R!

I got to meet a couple of people who said that they’d stop by which was cool too, really good to put faces to names and I got a chance to pop over to Baccus to talk about the Joy of 6 and grab some fliers but we didn’t get a chance to have a good look around the show ,which was a bit of a shame, as we were too busy running the game and chatting to people but from what I saw it looked like it was a good one. I did get to stop Richard from Too Fat Lardies as he walked past before the doors opened to say thanks for ‘Chain of Command’ and to have a quick chat about what is planned for it in the future, which was nice. Loot wise I just picked up some kit from a very busy Andy at Heroics and Ros and got a chance to have a look at their new Cold War infantry figures – I’ll definitely be putting in an order for some Brits and East Germans very soon. The day went very, very quickly and it was a great blast, apart from feeling knackered I even managed to head out for a beer and a curry with some of the other Warlords so my worries about staying the course earlier on were unfounded.

One last thing: I have to say many, many thanks to the three other chaps involved. Warren played a blinder and was a pleasure to play against as usual although he did pick on my lads quite unfairly! Dan was great to have as a teammate, apart from the many laughs our collectivism was unflinching even in defeat. Last but not least, Daren, who not only worked really hard making the game possible by his great terrain building skills but umpired the game too, we even forgave him for saying ‘we’ when referring to the Brits!

Gents it was a pleasure and a privilege, bags of fun was had and I am already looking forward to June and the Joy of 6.

Here’s some pics…