Monday, 4 December 2017

Resurrection and a Challenge.


That was some year I tell you.

After a false start getting the blog back on track caused by a mere malaise bought about by hobby change, I actually had a REAL world problem that nearly ended more than my blogging!

Completely out of left-field I developed a major heart problem. My Mitral valve catastrophically failed resulting in open heart surgery in January of this year. I underwent an emergency repair, fortunately (for me at least) averting my impending demise, however, that has subsequently failed and now I'm due back in Oxford in the new year for a brand new shiny metal replacement valve which will hopefully put an end to it all.

My attentions to my blog have been (understandably I think) averted. Nonetheless I shall apologise and assure anyone taking the time to pick back up on all things BBaL that I'll be making maximum effort from here on to keep up my posts.

I owe the inspiration for getting back to blogging to my new, great chum Curt of We met courtesy of a Sharpe Practice game at good mate Jim's (follow him on Twitter at @ltharrystocracy) in late October and he recently invited me to take part in the forthcoming

L to R: Curt, Jim & Phyllion (of gurning around our game of SP2

I have committed to painting 400 points over the three months that the challenge runs which, although is a small amount, takes into account that I'll have a break from mid-January for an unknown period.

I'm busy prepping figures (which is permitted) prior to the challenge starting on the 20th December. So plenty of cleaning up, undercoating and spraying ahead. The next few posts will focus on what choices I've made, but suffice to say there may be a few surprises in store which will reflect on the cataclysmic hobby changes I've made over the last 18 months.

Here's to bothering you far more frequently over the next few days!

Monday, 23 May 2016

It's been a while, but.......

Tentatively opens up one eye....



Scratches arse....

Steps into the sunlight rubbing eyes.....

Pours coffee.....

Flexes fingers.....

Sits before keyboard......

Tap, tap, tap.....

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Action Station!

Having started the latest pint-sized Chain of Command campaign "Old Hickory" against new oppo Ian (this time I get to play as Germans), I saw in one of the scenarios there is a train station. I've already got a lot of Normandy buildings for 15mm but don't have a station so I set out to add one to the collection.

I had in mind what I was looking for. The building at the top of this photo is the station in Bayeux, Normandy. On previous trips many years ago I'd stayed in the Hotel de Gare (bottom right) and the view each morning from my attic window was of the station some 50 yards away.

Searching on eBay turned up this Auhagen kit in TT scale. There were many other stations but many of them looked too German while this one was near enough. Unsure exactly now suitable TT was for 15mm I decided to jump in with both feet. I was NOT disappointed!

The kit arrived next morning from Wales & I set about putting it together.

I quickly got the main structure assembled but decided to leave the windows and detailing until after I'd painted the main building.

I cut a base (which would eventually include an enclosed stock yard) and gave the whole building a rough and ready base coat of chocolate brown craft paint to add some depth to the finish.

Next came a heavy drybrush of the walls. The windows with the kit came in white plastic, but remembering that the ones I'd seen were green I sprayed them and all the other fittings before drybrushing them too. Paul had given me some white Wills picket fencing in HO scale when he moved out so in a lightbulb moment I resolved to use them for my perimeter.

After working up the roofing and stone areas I added the doors, windows, gutters, fencing and the clock on the platform. Heavy drybrushing again to the base area made of hardboard. I like the pseudo-cobbled effect it gives so I use that a lot now. When finished I fixed the building down with No More Nails and added the grass.

Finished station with some 15mm paras for scale.

Another scale shot with a DD Sherman crossing the line.
I'm really pleased with the final outcome. It fits in a treat with my other buildings. Having been time consuming and relatively expensive (this kit was £18) I'd only recommend going this route when specialist structures are needed, But I'd definitely confirm that TT scale stuff is a great match for 15mm!

This should see its' debut within the next week or so in Mortain.

Friday, 12 June 2015

OML3 The Post 20th Century Games

Moving on to the games from the turn of the 20th century......
First up is Stu Surridge's lovely Russo-Japanese War encounter based on the battle of Shaho 1904 using Through the Mud & Blood. Both morning and afternoon games were apparently bloody affairs and remarks were made about not wanting to be a leader as they nearly all died!

Morning session of Shaho. Sid Roundwood & his opponent Douglas McMillan receive their pre-game briefings. You can read Stu's own coverage here:

I ran my version of Sari Bair Ridge-Gallipoli using Chain of Command. Morning and afternoon produced very different but equally knife-edge games. I'll expand on this in a future post.

The Custard Guzzlers from down Devon way put on a Big CoC game based around events from the 6th June 1940, where the British & French joined up to try tol hold the Weygand Line. You can read more over at Jason's own blog:

Rob Avery stepped up like a hero at the last minute to put on an IABSM late WW2 Russian Front game. Rob ran this in the morning before partaking in Rich's afternoon Fighting Season. while Geoff Bond ran the afternoon session. Here Rob (grey shorts) briefs Noddy & Ralph (Russians) as German commander Jamie (red hoops) looks on. Full AAR at:

Nick Overland brought along his Cold War adaptation of IABSM. West German forces were tasked with trying to stop the Red Army's advance into their homeland in this one, over some natty new terrain. Originally part of the "Lard Approved" program, this was I Ain't Been Nuked Mum's third annual visit. Hopefully it will see publication in it's own right later this year.

Last, but by no means least, is Rich Clarke's pre-cursor to his forthcoming release "Fighting Season". Set this time in Afghanistan's Green Zone. The scenario, rather aptly for the event, involved capturing that lovely, shiny red tractor! My son Connor had a go in the morning and now wants me to invest in a complete set up for this "'Cos it's ACE!" but then again what would you expect?
Next up, a more in depth look at the Sari Bair-Gallipoli game I put on at OML3

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

OML3 - The Pre 20thC Games

Last Saturday saw the latest OML event OML3 - The Lardest Day take place here in deepest Tractorshire. 36 TFL enthusiasts from Devon to Northants and South Wales to Buckinghamshire assembled for the usual recipe of a day's gaming followed by a social curry and lashings of alcohol.


Early morning during set up. Taken from the stage where Rich Clarke was running his Fighting Season game. There's two more WW2 games out of shot to the right. More on all three in  the next post.
 In all there were 10 games on offer for the day, hosting between two and four players each. Between them they covered a large part of the Lardy rules repertoire and from the fifth century to the last ten years! Here they are in chronological order.

Chris Churchill ran a game of Dux Brittanniarum involving getting a wagon train to the safety of a local village before it could be ambushed.

Jumping 1000 years to the Wars of the Roses, Paul Baldwin ran two sessions of the Sharpe Practice variant from the Summer Special 2013 entitled "Of All Base Passions" written by Pat Smith.
 Next up was without doubt the prettiest game on show. This time Sharpe in it's true setting of the Napoleonic Wars. Jim Ibbotson's wonderful brushmanship really put the topping on a cracker of a scenario where the French have to dawn raid a British held supply dump which is destined to aid the local Spanish guerrillas. I'm lucky enough to play on this set up whenever Jim's able.

Jim used a remodelled Citadel Realm of Battle game board & the excellent Spanish buildings are from Grand Manner.

"En Avant!" A mounted commander urges his men on to catch the British still asleep in their tents.
Having been rudely awaken by the dustman, err I mean sentry, the Brits line the walls of the churchyard to repel the attacking French.
Last up for this post is Phyllion's adaptation of Sharpe Practice (they're remarkably versatile y'know) for the Sudan. Unsure what the scenario was for this one, but it went over well with all who gamed it.

"They don't like it up 'em". British forces defend a lookout tower against the Mahdi's forces.
More Beja tribesmen bear down on the outnumbered colonial force.
That's all for the first installment. Apologies to those I've stolen photos from. I never had chance to take any all day.

Part 2 tomorrow......

Monday, 4 May 2015

Jonny & the Diggers (part 2)

With just under six weeks to go until OML3 "The Lardest Day" I took the opportunity at last night's club to have a dress rehearsal for this year's Sari Bair-A Ridge Too Far Gallipoli game. I'm lucky enough to have been lent a great deal of the scenery and figures needed, but this would be the first time I would actually get to see both Mike Hobbs' and Alan Sheward's kit mixed together. The object of the evening was not so much sort out the final layout, but to see if there were any glaringly obvious omissions which would need to be sorted before the event.
View from the Anzac approach. There's about a 20"(50cm) rise from the near edge to the top of the slope.
I already had a plan in mind of how I wanted the table to look. 6' x 6'. A long sloping rise, based on two foot square tiles with a cloth overlay. Gallipoli is surprisingly much more verdant than would first be assumed with plenty of vegetation (cotton bushes, long grasses & even pine trees!) as well as the pale rocky soil. I found some more useful items while packing away at the end of the evening which I'll probably find use for on the day.
Another view from the bottom of the slope. I've hatched a plan to try to make it a little steeper (hopefully still allowing the figures to stand!)
Mike's trenches would form the Turkish line at the top. The trenches were often short, not too deep and not necessarily joined. so I'd opted for two 24" lengths on either flank with communication lines running to the rear on both sides.
Turks pour fire down on the approaching Anzacs from their trenches.
I'll be trying to make the dry stream bed at the foot of the slope more obvious and the lighter hills will maybe end up beneath the cloth too. There are more grass tufts to use on the day also. Again, the conundrum will be to provide more scenery without necessarily increasing the cover too much. I'm hoping that the folds in the ground will be the biggest source of concealment.
View along the Turkish lines.
Although I'm acutely aware that the Chain of Command mechanics for this stage of WW1 may provide a tad "vanilla" gaming experience, I'm hoping that the challenge of the terrain, objective and scenario may encourage the use of some of the less obvious options of approach to each phase. It differs hugely from the WW2 CoC game format. Most of the troops being armed with only rifles. No LMG's, little in the way of grenade usage and no fire teams! At this stage in warfare battles were still being conducted on a company level at least. So this will form only part of the picture as a couple of Anzac platoons are on table with the smallest manoeuvre element being 8-9 man sections. The HUGE Turkish platoons (83 men strong!) will only be represented in part also.

Anzac sections begin the long, unenviable slog up hill under heavy fire.

I'll be giving a lot of consideration to support choices too. A defensive machine gun or pre-assault bombardment can totally skew a game for either side. so it'll be a fine line to tread I fear.

This will need some thought. Maybe some "jamming" rules will be introduced? :^)
Lots more reading up should hopefully help in shaping the finer points of the game. overall I'm fairly happy with the way it's moving. It's all about making it playable from here.
Finally, the view from the top.
As always, please excuse the quality of the photos.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Jonny & the Diggers (part 1)

 No, not some long forgotten 50's rock & roll act but the forces facing off on the Gallipoli peninsular in 1915. So, with the Sari Bair game looming large on the horizon for OML3 the time was right to re-visit my old Battle Honours WW1 Turks who'd been languishing in a box in the garage for 10 years! I decided that the forthcoming game was the motivation I needed to lavish some long overdue attention on the little fellas.

After a quick inspection I decided I'd got far more than I needed (surprise, surprise!) and I'd paint a half-platoon of five 9 man sections, a senior leader and a junior leader with two maxim MMG's - although not all would actually see service this time around. I'd also need to make 4 jump-off points and some shock trackers. There were quite a lot of duplicates among them  so I decided to use some of the excellent Woodbine Designs range of separate heads to mix things up a little.

1st section with a couple of head  swaps on the bottom left figures.

2nd section with a well-fed junior leader and  head swaps on the two behind him.

3rd section - again a couple of fez head swaps.

Section 4 - straight out of the mix

Section 5 - again just the fez swapped

Two Maxim MMG's with dice frames in the bases for tracking crew losses and shock.

Shock trackers (casualties by Woodbine)

Jump-off Points using baggage from Grand Manner's WW1/Colonial range.

Senior Leader and Junior leader for the machine guns

Next up are the Anzac jump-off points and shock trackers which are based and ready to paint later this week.