Wednesday 28 January 2009

It's That Man Again (Mr Hicks that is)!

Just in case you were worried people were taking 1938 too seriously:

Another excellent figure from Paul Hicks for the command pack of the Militia he is sculpting for Musketeer Miniatures.

Incidentally there is some precedent for this as there is a film showing a Home Guard unit which was trained to use roller skates, believe it or not!

Sunday 25 January 2009

My 1938 Project - Update

Having bought the 1938: A Very British Civil War Source Book and discussed it with Lenin last weekend it not only looks like this project is a real goer but I've also got him hooked (he ordered the Source Book when he got home!).

As with most other projects I always try to justify my "investment" by trying to ensure I get multiple uses for the figures, vehicles, terrain and the like. So my first thought was to look at the stuff I already have to see what might be suitable for 1938.


Obviously I'm keen to get some 1938 specific figures but it would be useful if at least some of them had alternate uses or were sourced from my existing collection or other developing projects.

Police and Auxiliary Constabulary
The most obvious choice for these would be to source them from my IWI Musketeer Miniatures collection; however, the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) wore a rifle green uniform that I really can't see an easy way of justifying on the mainland several years later. I am considering getting some more of the RIC figures but getting them done in the traditional blue uniform rather than the green. I think the uniforms and equipment should work.

Picture from the Musketeer Miniatures website

The Musketeer RIC Auxiliaries figures, whilst a nice mix of police and army uniforms, are again based on the RIC green and so I am reluctant to use them in this role; however, I can see them be useful elsewhere (see below). So as to Auxiliary Constabulary I am wondering whether I might use some of the Anglian Assault Guards I already have for Spanish Civil War:

As you can see these still need to be finished

Regular Army, Territorials and Yeomanry
For the regular army I can see an opportunity to utilise some of the Crusader Miniatures figures I have just bought for my early WW2/Operation Sealion project:

It is, of course arguable as to whether the new uniform patterns etc. would have been available in 1938 but since it is an alternative history project in any event I don't have too much trouble stretching it a little. Of course I would only be using these figures for only a small number of the key units.

For the others and also for any Territorials I plan to use some of the excellent Musketeer WW1 BEF figures:I do have some Renegade WW1 figures but they are significantly larger than the other figures I am planning to use and, in any case despite what I said above, these are so nice I must have some!

I am also wondering whether this might be an area where I could usefully make use of my Musketeer RIC Auxiliaries:

The BUF Legion and Fascist Militias
For the BUF (although I think this should be British Union or BUF&NS by this time) I think I need some very distinctive figures and the upcoming Musketeer ones seem just the job.

Of course this is another area where the Anglian Assault Guard might be used as an alternative to using them as Auxiliary Constabulary.

Local Defence Forces and Militias
With Wargames Foundry having a sale over the Christmas period I decided to pick up some packs to expand my early WW2 project and, in particular, figures suitable for Operation Sealion. So some of the Foundry Home Guard were an obvious choice. I avoided the traditional Dad's Army figures and opted instead for the ones in steel helmets which can then be used for 1938 as part of the Local Defence Forces.

Obviously these can be supplemented with the upcoming Musketeer militia figures for example.

The less well equipped militias provide an obvious opportunity to utilise my existing Musketeer IRA figures:The key gap with these figures is, of course, in the area of standard bearers which, as with the Spanish Civil War, is likely to be a major differentiator for the various factions. I am hoping that I may be able to utilise some of the Anglian SCW standard bearer figures but, unfortunately, a few of them are simply too SCW to work. This will need a bit of thought and possibly some head swaps!

This is obviously an area for a fertile imagination and Lenin and I have already discussed the idea of some US forces appearing either as volunteers (a la SCW) or as a more official but covert intervention for some reason to be determined.

Clearly there will be advisors from the various interested foreign powers as was the case in the SCW. It is likely that the Anglian range is going to be where most of those will be sourced, although I do have some early WW2 German figures which might be appropriate.

I also have several of my Pulp collection which might see service including the various seafaring types.


As with the figures there are some obvious overlaps with the vehicles I currently have, or am planning to get for, Spanish Civil War, early WW2 and Operation Sealion.

For later in the conflict, once Soviet supplies have started arriving I can see a use for my Anglian T26:

From Workbench
Most of the other Anglian vehicles are a little too obviously SCW to be ideal although their Panzer I (which I was already considering purchasing) might be appropriate.

Force of Arms are another potential source with several possible vehicles in their range (which are cast in a fine resin and very easy to assemble) including their FT17 (which, if the paint scheme is selected carefully might also be usable for WW1, the Soviet-Polish War and SCW):

Picture from the Great Hall Miniatures website

They also have a Citroen truck which is relatively generic:

Picture from the Great Hall Miniatures website

along with their Gaz truck which I picked up for use in the Winter War:

From Workbench

And then there is the Bedford 30cwt in two variants:

Pictures from the Great Hall Miniatures website

Adding the Matchbox Models of Yesteryear die cast conversions I already have for SCW this should provide enough variety.

Friday 23 January 2009

Paul Hicks is at it again...

More 1938 figures from the talented Mr Hicks, this time some Militia wearing civvies with webbing and helmets:

They should also be available through Musketeer soon.

This is going to get expensive!

Wednesday 21 January 2009

Gaming Weekend - Day Three

Clash of Iron, 1944

Our first game on Monday was a slightly adapted version of the Clash of Iron scenario from Super Science Tales, one of the expansions for .45 Adventure. Lenin shifted the action from the Eastern Front to the Western just following the failure of Operation Wacht am Rhein (the Battle of the Bulge).

The scenario is in three chapters using the characteristic Rattrap 2' x 2' board (which is all you often end up using on a larger table anyway!). In Chapter 1 my small German force managed to penetrate the American supply base and find one of their suits of Power Armour.

In Chapter two we had a much tougher time getting ourselves and the Power Armour back out. Particularly due to the intervention of a rather tough US robot. We took a few casualties but, thanks to a stray mortar round, managed to get away.

The final Chapter saw us pick up some other stragglers, try to break through the US front line, past another US robot and make it to the German lines.

Initially, the .45 Adventure system seemed a little fiddly but as the game progressed we got back into it. One of the key issues is remembering any special attributes any of the characters has and using it appropriately. This is tricky enough when you only have a couple of characters but is a handful when you have more.

“Bloodying The Nose”, 17 December 1944

We went on to try the first scenario from the new Two Hour Wargames scenario book for Nuts!, Peiper at the Gates.

This one had the German forces advancing onto the table and encountering a partially dug in US force. My job as the Germans wasn't helped by Lenin rolling up a snowstorm which reduced visibility to only 8 inches!

Initially, things went pretty well with the US missing my half-track with their bazooka and then withdrawing from the barn just before I demolished it with the Panther's main gun. However, our advance stalled when the half-track broke down, we encountered stiff resistance from the farm house and the Panther wouldn't move.

I found that advancing troops (even using a Fast Move) across open ground was rather too hazardous and chose instead to flank the farm house. After popping a grenade through one of the windows my assault was repulsed and the synchronised advance of the MG42 team was stopped by a hail of lead. This ended up with something of a stalemate until I managed to get the Panther going again and took out the whole building (Lenin and I agreed that we need to look at those mechanics in the rules as they seem a little too extreme).

I pushed forward again, following the US Engineer unit which had retreated from the barn but came unstuck when they successfully disabled the Panther with a well aimed bazooka shot (my fault for exposing its flank armour!).

At this point and having inflicted quite a few casualties the US troops melted away into the snowstorm.

It was a great opportunity to get my Artizan and BAM late war figures our along with my Corgi die-casts.

Tarzan and the Slave Queen

Our final game was a trial of the Rattrap Broadsword Adventures rules with Tarzan trying to rescue some villagers from the clutches of an Amazon like tribe of slavers.

Things started well but Tarzan got trapped by a man eating plant and needed help to escape. In the meanwhile the slavers managed to capture some of the village children. Fortunately, we saved some of the villagers and were in the process of finding some more when Tarzan was surrounded by the slavers.

Whilst he held them off, the village headman rescued the others. The rules worked pretty well and, if anything, rather better than the earlier game (of course simply having played the earlier game might have contributed to that!) so we're likely to be seeing these ones again.

I am in the process of sorting out the photos from the various games and will be posting them to a new album on picasa shortly.

Gaming Weekend - Day Two

The Kilmichael Ambush, 28 November 1920

On Sunday we started with another Nuts! based game. This time moving to a slightly earlier period - the Irish War of Independence. Now I know this is a controversial period for some but the figures from Musketeer were too attractive to ignore and I found the background reading fascinating. Anyway, this scenario was based on the Kilmichael Ambush where 18 men of the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary were ambushed by the Flying Column of the West (Third) Cork Brigade of the IRA led by Tom Barry.

Since the IRA were supposed to have 36 men in reality I scaled them down a little to make the game a little more playable. Even so the ambush went pretty historically with Tom Barry waving down the front tender and then throwing a Mills bomb into the cab.

After that the Auxiliaries were caught between the first and second sections in a brutal crossfire. However, a courageous charge by some of the men from the rear tender did play havoc with the first section and, in the end, more Auxiliaries escaped than did historically and the IRA suffered several more casualties.

The Crossley tenders are converted from die-casts.

Objective Retrieval

After the IWI game we decided to try something a little different and Lenin pulled out his West End Games 25mm Star Wars figures, of which he has many! But are sadly no longer available, except through eBay and the like.

Using the Star Wars Miniature Battles rules we played a small scenario with a couple of squads per side. As usual I took the mantle of the forces of law and order and Lenin played the Rebels (I don't really have a Rebel haircut!).

Lenin made excellent use of the available cover and my stormtroopers ended up getting cut down rather quickly. Which upset Lenin no end, as the other figures he had painted especially for the game didn't even make it to the table!

It's a while since I've played the SWMB rules and, whilst I think the WEG Star Wars RPG rules (1st Edition) are excellent, and the miniatures rules tie in with those, for some reason the SWMB rules are just a little too fiddly. As a result we may be looking for an alternative set for future games - especially as Lenin has sold me quite a few of the Wizards of the Coast CMG figures which I can use for Hoth.

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Gaming Weekend - Day One

Last weekend Lenin visited for one of our regular weekends of gaming. We managed to get seven different games in over the three days along with a couple of board and card games.

I decided this time to provide a run down of the games in instalments. Here are the two we played on Saturday:

Arrow through Andalusia, 3 August 1936

Keen to get my Anglian 28mm Spanish Civil War figures onto the table, the first game was a scenario from the Iron Ivan book Atacar es Vencer!. Whilst the scenario was originally written for Disposable Heroes & Coffin for Seven Brothers I suitably adapted it to fit our favoured Two Hour Wargames' rules Nuts! and the figures I had available.

The Nationalist Column Asensio is on its way towards Madrid racing along the main highways until they encounter resistance, as they did here. They then dismounted elements of the 4th Bandera of the Spanish Foreign Legion, the 2nd Tabor of the Regulares of Tetuan and some local Guardia Civil and began an assault.

The Militia had built some barricades and were attempting to mount a stiff resistance despite their lack of almost any automatic weapons.

Initially the Nationalist advance was slow, with an attempted flanking manoeuvre by the Legion being blocked but eventually the lower Rep of the Militia began to show with more Hunker Down results and, with the volume of fire reduced the Nationalists were able to advance across the open ground to the barricades.

The attacks on the flanks were the first to go in followed by the centre and despite some valiant resistance by the Militia the Nationalists took the village.

The Patrol

Our next game was an opportunity to both trial the new Colonial Adventures rules, once again from Two Hour Wargames, and also to get some of Lenin's extensive Foundry/Copplestone Darkest Africa figures to the table.

The scenario was a simple two unit patrol by the Belgians across the table which triggered various random encounters with tribesmen as the patrol's advance proceeded.

The troops and terrain were rolled for randomly as outlined in the rules and we then proceeded with the trial game. We initially started with three possible enemy forces (PEFs) on separate areas of the board but as the game progressed one of these split a few times and we ended up with six PEFs. This combined with the other forces which can be triggered as you move across the table gave an interesting game. In the end the PEF at the far end of the table turned out to be the main enemy force which turned out to be a little more than we could handle resulting in a desperate last stand by Lenin's officer after both my entire force and his own troops had been killed to a man.

It later transpired that we hadn't been playing the final enemy mob quite correctly but in any event the rules gave us a fun game and will be making another appearance.

Sunday 18 January 2009

Musketeer Miniatures BUF coming...

Musketeer Miniatures have published some pictures of their upcoming BUF figures for 1938 from the talented Paul Hicks:

These are definitely going on my shopping list!

Sunday 11 January 2009

Larger Than Life

Two Hour Wargames have released Larger Than Life, their rules for Pulp adventures.

Given that a number of the Two Hour Wargames rules rank amongst my favourite rulesets this looks interesting. It will be interesting to see how they have adapted their rule mechanisms in order to provide a pulp flavour though, as some of their other rules can be a little brutal!

Lenin picked up a copy of the PDF so may have time to include it as one of his games for next weekend. If so, I'll be back with first impressions.