The Light Brigade

“There are your guns, Sir”. Poor Nolan seems to be delivering the message and dying at the same time, which is a neat trick.

It took some considerable time, but I finally completed the Light Brigade at about 1:20. A little less than that because maths is not really my strong suit.

The figures are all Great War Miniatures, which are a pleasure to paint, though on the large side.

13th Light dragoons. The 4th got dropped because they looked sort of boring.

I am pleased with how they came out, overall.

11th Hussars and the rocket scientists in charge

However it might be some considerable time before I paint any more horses……

8th Hussars and 17th Lancers. The bloke at the back is the regimental butcher. Don’t ask

The battle of the Alma… Sort of

It has been a quiet year for gaming, unsurprisingly. In celebration of vaccinations and the ability to actually interact with other people, I put on the Alma scenario from Neil Thomas’s 19th century war-games rules. No optional rules were used. The game was enjoyed by all, though it turned out to be rather briefer than I expected.

The British line awaits orders
The Russian position, looking across from the Causeway battery to the Great Redoubt

The rules were as written, save that we were using 28mm figures, and so I changed the distances in the rules to be measured in inches, and the squares on the map given to be 24” each.

I fear the Rifles have watched too many episodes of Sharpe on the telly
Russian Jaegers charge the incautious Rifles
Prince Menshikov is awoken by his staff for a quick update on the battle

The battle was brief because the overly aggressive British poured across the river and up the slope, rather rapidly discovering that Cannister fire is a BAD THING (to quote messers. Sellars and Yateman). I must admit I feel slight guilt about this, because I prepared quick play sheets for those involved, and I am afraid I neglected to emphasize that the British infantry outranged the Russian by double, and that thy could engage the guns from outside close (canister) range, and that the Russian infantry were more or less constrained to melee. Closing allowed the Russians to respond with energy. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

The Great Redoubt in action
The Black Watch appears outnumbered

In any case the British crossed the stream without softening up the Russians at all, allowing both the russian infantry to charge home and the Russian guns to fire at close range. They were driven off the slope in a welter of fallen lead. 

Sailors and Artillerists man the guns. Casualty figures represent hits.
Lord Raglan discusses the 3:30 at Cheltenham with his staff

We called it on turn 7. Oh well, sorry lads.

Figures are a mix of Wargames Foundry and Great War Miniatures

We hope to try some more soon.

The not-terribly-glorious 1st of June

In what seems to have been an early iteration of Brexit, we staged a hypothetical naval battle set in the 1850s, using the Broadside and Ram rules. Originally this was intended to be an British vs French extravaganza, but shortage of equipment of the French side caused the inclusion of some Prussians and Austrians, turning it into a early Brexit conflagration.

The British Heavy Squadron

The British Fleet

Vice Admiral Sir Charles ffoulkes-Heatherington

VictoriaWS3433SOL, Flag
ConstanceWS3432Steam Frigate
MerseyWS3432Steam Frigate
PhoebeWS3432Steam Frigate
DiademWS2332Steam Frigate

Rear Admiral The Hon. Algernon Gore-Booth

City of BaltimoreSS3402Armed Merchant

The French (and Allied) Fleet

Contre-Amiral Auguste Fevrier-Despointes

Louis XIVWS2333SOL
Ville De ParisWS3433SOL, Flag
ImpetueuseWS3432Steam Frigate
SouveraineWS3432Steam Frigate
NémésisWS2332Steam Frigate
CormandelSS4601Dispatch Vessel

Chef de division Marie-Joseph-Camille de Saint-Jean d’Angély

Erzherzog FriedrichWS2322Corvette
DanzigSS4612Dispatch Vessel
Preussischer Adler SS4612Dispatch Vessel

The fleets were composed, more or less, of the ships I had available, and the values worked out from the rules. In general, I used values for ships found in the data sections. While the smaller ships I’m fairly happy with I suspect the Ships of the Line should have higher offensive value, especially the 120-130 gun ships. For instance the Kaiser (91) in the data section of the Lissa scenario has an offensive value of 4, rather than 3. I decided to leave them all at 3 for a first outing, rather than wrestle with broadside throw weights. This would be because I am lazy.

The scenario is roughly this. The British squadron has been sent to intercept a vital French supply convoy, consisting of desperately needed ormolu clocks and rare columbian mustache wax. The French and their European allies will fight to retain these treasures, without which Parisian life would not be worth living.

Initial deployment. The two heavy squadrons approach each other at the top of the picture, and the light squadrons at the bottom

The French won the scouting roll, as I seem to have given them too many plusses, but then I messed up the benefits for winning, so it worked out, really.

The British Light Squadron. The counters show how many Action Points a command has, and the Admirals flag shows the flagship

The two pairs of squadrons engaged their opposite numbers more or less in insolation, partially because Admiral Gore- Booth (i.e. me) lost the plot, and did not support his superior as he was told until too late.

The French approach the British line, aiming to break though

The French heavy squadron approached the British head on, attempting to break through the line, clearly having read the Trafalgar post match review.British fire caused some damage, but was not effective enough.

The French piece the British Heavy Squadrons line, damaging most of the lead ships severely

The French broke the line, collisions being avoided (we decided if no damage took place, the ships would not stop their movement), and rapidly Shattered or Crippled enough British ships that the formation fell apart. This processes was enabled by poor births command and clearly substandard damage control training. In other words, ffoulkes-Heatherington showed a marked reluctance to roll greater than a 2 on either command or combat dice, resulting in the rapid destruction of his squadron.

The light squadrons engaged as well. The French detached two faster ships for an end run.

The two Prussian ships, finding the French advance too sedate for their liking, break away to approach the British

However the dices that had deserted the senior British admiral had scurried over to join the junior, and the French squadron found itself in difficulties.

The initial engagement between the light squadrons. The French are already suffering

Things only got worse for the French, though they had some success, Saint-Jean d’Angély’s squadron was reduced to wrecks, though managing to set a fire on the British second in line with almost their final shots.

The French light squadron has been doubled and is in difficulties, with two ships shattered, and more crippled. However, HMS Retribution is on fire! I don’t recall if we put that out or not….
The sinking wrecks of the other British squadron can be seen in the background

At this stage ffoulkes-Heatherington ordered a general withdrawal, gently reminding Gore-Booth of his ignored orders (oops again) , and the match was called, with a French/Euro victory.

General Thoughts

The rules played well and smoothly, even allowing for the umpire messing things up (including forgetting that there was a fleet break rule in the game. Sigh). The rules were clear, and no trouble was had proceeding through turns very rapidly.

The only things I’d look at to change are increasing the gunnery values of some of the larger ships (though not necessarily the defense factors), and adding some more things to do with command points. Some of the David Manley’s other rules have a similar system, but some additional things to spend action points on, and I think I shall adopt them in here, if only to provide variety.

I suspect also that I will not allow ships not in formation to provide supporting fire. This may be in the rules, but I couldn’t find it…

All in all a fun time, and we shall have another go sometime.


I finally painted enough stuff to have a go at Neil Thomas’s 19th century rules. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while (what can I say, I’m a slow painter).

The Russians prepare to advance

We used the scenario setup as in the rules, and ended up with the Pitched Battle scenario. The attacking French sent their 3 cavalry units on a flank march, and the Defending Russians (me) had a forward deployment, allowing the two cossack units to deploy well up the board. this proved to be a terrible mistake as the French shot them to pieces with their fancy rifled muskets.

The French line awaits the Russian advance

As a side note, I have doubled the moves and ranges more or less, because I have based things on very large bases.

The French flank march arrives

Hindered by their truly appalling command status, the Russians lumbered toward the French getting shot to pieces in the process. I was fairly sure it was a doomed outing, but the remnants of one infantry unit managed to stagger into the objective village on the left, and the grossly surprised 22nd Lancers managed to drive off a flank attack from the French hussars, then drive them from field, shortly afterward seeing the remnants of the Chasseurs d’Afrique off too. The Chasseurs had a previous close encounter with canister while charging a battery, and were regretting their enthusiasm by the time they met the lancers.

22nd Lancers charged in the flank! Doomed!

It was to be a flash in the pan, all the same. The flank marching French cavalry took the two batteries that had softened up the French in the objective village, though took severe casualties. The Russian remnants in the village were shot out of it, and the village reoccupied by the French.

The Chasseurs d’Afrique discover that charging guns can be a phyrric victory
Having seen off the hussars, the 22nd lancers face off with the Chasseurs d’Afrique. A few Russians in the village in the background face their doom.

The despairing Russian charges on the Russian right drove from the field two french units, but the scant remnants of the french musketry were insufficient to drive the French from either of their remaining objectives.

We called it at that stage, not wanting to continue farther. All in all we enjoyed the game, and are looking forward to having another go.

Armée d’Orient

I have been interested in the Crimean war for a long time, but never really got motivated to do anything about it. Having discovered some time, and no motivation to address anything else, I have started to build some armies to game it, using Neil Thomas’ 19th century war-games rules.


The army poses for one of those new fangled Daguerreotypes

I have finished the French (for the moment), having already gone a little over the top. I started with them because I think they get short shrift in the Anglo Centric histories, and rather a lot of them showed up to the ball.


The Cavalerie Légère minds the open flank. Chasseurs d’Afrique supported by Les Hussards

The figures in the army are a mixture; Wargames Foundry, Great War Miniatures, and Cibo’s Little Dudes being the majority contributors.

la Marine

La Marine waits to cross the stream. supported by a completely ahistorical unit of Légion étrangère. I had the figures, and I liked them, so…

The much too late legionnaires are Old Glory.


Not really a grand battery, is it?

The individual figures in the photos are to be used as markers, showing that the unit has received orders. I’ve come to dislike counters or tokens on the table.


La Armée d’Afrique waits by the stream also. Zouaves in front, Turcos behind

Some of the individual figures came from other manufacturers. I think the Sipahi is Askari, for instance.

the guard

La Garde Impériale in reserve. Voltigeurs and Grenadiers. I know the Grenadiers should have blue trousers for Crimea, but Le Pantalon Rouge, C’est La France! Besides, I can use them for 1859.

And my little army has too much Guard. But they are so handsome.

Heavy Cavalry

The Cuirassiers and Dragoons wait to exploit their chance

I did try and use the Orders of battle I could find, so that the units I painted were there. The Dragoons and Cuirassier regiments were both present.

The Line

La Ligne. Lots of vin rouge très ordinaire here. The Chasseurs have crossed the stream, the rest of the infantry waits

I’m going to have to fiddle with the ranges and movement rates in the rules. My bases are rather large, with removable individual figures, so they can be used for other games.


Maréchal Saint-Arnaud and his staff consider a particularly knotty problem

That’s the lot then. Somewhat more than I needed, but fun to paint.

On to the Russians now!

Messing around with boats

Despite appearances, I’ve still been painting things, and gaming. I just haven’t been writing about it that much. Probably because there was nothing much worthy of photography.


Some 1/2400 ships from Figurehead and Tumbling Dice.

I’ve painted something new, though, and thought I might share. I’ve become interested in mid-19th century games, and I found two companies producing small scale naval miniatures for the period (Figurehead and Tumbling Dice). For the moment, I’m sticking with wooden ships. I may do something with ironclads later, but my current interest is around the time of Crimea, so wooden ships it is. I was just pleased to find someone making the things.

The ships are in 1/2400, which is fairly challenging for me, so I regard this bunch as test pieces. I can only hope they’ll improve as we go along. Also, the manufacturers pieces are different, with Figurehead’s stuff looking smaller and frailer, and Tumbling Dice models having the ratlines moulded on. I’m not sure which I prefer.


Steam ships of the Line. Only 3, and I managed to put Agamemnon’s name on the wrong side of the base. And the bloody photo is fuzzy too

I even attempted to rig them, in a number of different methods, hoping to find something that will be acceptably fast and not result in my fingers getting stuck together and me swearing.


Two steam screw frigates

The bases I got from Warbases and etched them with a dremel. Again, I’m hoping that practice will improve the results.


Four paddle frigates and corvettes

I chose the names and color schemes with the help of reference books and Google. Most, for the moment, ended up being British, so I’ll try and insert more foreigners later. I’m not overly concerned with nationality, I think they are going to end up being pressed into service for somewhat imaginary things.

For rules, I’m planing to use David Manley’s Broadside and Ram rules, so clearly I need more boats as this is very much a fleet set. I could certainly use his Dahlgren and Columbiad rules, but for the moment, I’m enamored with the command and control elements so I’ll keep those as a backup.


Biggles in the Desert

If there wasn’t a Biggles book titled this, there certainly should have been.

Over the Desert Rats, 1940 style

Over the Desert Rats, 1940 style. Lyslanders and escort

I painted up some 1/285 aircraft for Check Your 6, and it took an unconscionable length of time. Some are Raiden, some Heroics and Ross, I think. Its been so long since I bought them, I’m not sure.


A flight of Gladiators

And then the matte sealer went all funny on me, causing much heartache. I managed to pull the worst of the damage back, though.


6 Gladiators and 2 Lyslanders, probably 7 more aircraft than a rational person needs

I also spent a while browsing websites to try and find the right colors. Then I gave up, because in this scale, who is to know?

Now to find some Italians.

Somewhere over the Mediterranean


Short Sunderland with two flights of Fulmars as escort. It might be safer on it’s own

It took me much longer than it should to paint these, but I finally finished. Something terrible going on with my dullcote though (probably because it is an antique at this stage). In any case, some 1/285 aircraft for Check your 6 (CY6).


One of the flights of Fulmars. Apparently the yellow tails were for recognition. Like there were all that many two seat fighters floating around the Mediterranean

Embarrassingly I don’t have a very good idea where these came from. The Fulmars are for a Friend, the Sunderland is because.. I dunno. it’s big? I’m pretty sure that some of the Fulmars are Raiden. Others are not; there is pretty clearly two manufacturers here.


Orange and red on the front of the wings too. More ‘recognition’. I think the FAA ran out of paint.

For the Sunderland, I’ve had it a while, and no idea where it came from.

In any case, looking forward to dome desert-y action eventually.

Awake again

Hi there. It has been a very long time since I put anything here; that is really because it has been a while since I have done anything much on the gaming front.

Finally, however, some progress has been made and I finished off the Classical Indians for Art de la Guerre.

The figures for this batch are 1st Corps. An attached general, and some of those large chariots that are in breach of DoT regulations, but do look like fun.


There really is a bunch of lads in those Chariots


I assume that the lad not holding the unberella is the General


I don’t know about anyone else, but they scare me.

Given how long thy took me to complete, I may as well have applied the paint by individual molecule. Maybe I’ll do better in future.

Avanti Savoia or whatever

The local crowd, or some of them, at least, have become enamored of the Chain of Command rules from Two Fat Lardies. I will refrain from any comment about out physiognomy matching that of the rules authors (mostly because I am a major offender myself) and say that I do enjoy the rules, with some reservations about the amount of luck that can occur in one game. Having said that, I must admit that all the games I have participated in, or even watched, have been a bunch of fun.
So coming late to the game (ha, beware weak pun) and lagging much behind such skilled painters as this guy (I do love his stuff, no idea how he turns out so much in such a high quality) I decided to paint some Italians, on the grounds that no-one had any, and I could avoid invidious comparisons.
And the PDF with the army list was free online……

The first squad. Endless chaps with rifles, and 2 LMGs

The first squad. Endless chaps with rifles, and 2 LMGs

So, off I went, trying to build up a reasonable force, without the traditional wargamer “overbuy”, of which I am usually terribly culpable.
So I got 2 full squads, at squad having a rifle team and 2 LMG teams,

The other squad. Notice that the Italians have carefully applied bullseyes to their hats

The other squad. Notice that the Italians have carefully applied bullseyes to their hats

a scout squad of 12 guys and an NCO, 47mm and 20mm Antitank guns, a 65mm I dunno what sort of gun, it looks like it should have been on the Northwest Frontier or whatever the Italian equivalent is, an mug and 2 small mortars.
Yeah, I didn’t overbuy….  at least did not have many figures left over.

The support. Scouts squad, some mortars, MMG, and light ATG.

The support. Scouts squad, some mortars, MMG, and light ATG.

The figures are a core of the Perry ones, with some Artizan ones mixed in. The mortars and the 20mm atg came from Warlord games (to be honest, my least favorite figures of the bunch). The 47mm is a Perry piece but some of the gun crew are Battle Honors and some Askari Miniatures, who supplied all the Libyan type chaps in skullcaps, used for artillery fill ins and the scout squad. The 65mm gun took some getting, finally turning up as a Battle Honors model, which came also with the guys in helmets, which I ended up rather liking.

The artillery, such as it is.

The artillery, such as it is.

One of the advantages of sourcing figures from all over the place was that it gave the bunch a kind of “assorted” look. anything I read on the Italian army in North Africa indicated that the equipment was very mixed; people standing around in pictures with different type of webbing equipment, with different rifles, with grey-green stuff mixed in with the desert yellow. I tried to make them look like the photos, a bit. Added to this was the idea that the officers wandered around in paler coats, bleached by the sun, making them that much easier to distinguish from the regular troopers. I cannot think that this was a good idea, but what do I know…..

Some tanks were purchased also, being the subject of a later (much later, knowing me) post.