Battleshed Diaries

Monday 7 August 2017

Summer 2017 round up

3 picture montage

Whilst summer rain pelted down outside, I was recently possessed by an out of character tidy-up of the Battleshed. It's been a busy few weeks, what with family holidays, trekking trips and various other non-gaming activities clogging up the calendar. It's that time of year I suppose, nothing usual there. So, taking a quick break whilst sipping from a mug of steaming tea that had somehow acquired a small green flock floater, I got to contemplating where I'm at with my wargaming plans and projects.

The Scottish schools break up for the summer holidays at the end of June so the July-August period tends to be a bit of a lean month for many wargamers with family commitments. I still manged to get in some irregular wargaming both at my local club and in the Battleshed, albeit nothing adventurous - mostly systems I'm familiar with for ease of play; Saga, IHMN, Dead Man's Hand etc. Certainly, the painting queue has stalled, temporarily at least. But I'm confident the familiar rattle of brushes in a jar will be soon heard once again in the Battleshed as I consider my late summer/autumn plans.

Saturday past, I attended Claymore 2017 held at Edinburgh College’s Granton Campus. It's the annual wargaming show hosted by South East Scotland Wargames Club. A stalwart of the Scottish wargaming calendar. The last show I attended was Carronade back in May, my own club's event. So at Claymore I was just a regular punter again. I wasn't even sure until quite late the previous week that I would be able to go. The show was already busy when I arrived just after 10am with my meagre and hastily prepared shopping list. Like Carronade, it seems that the official door opening time is becoming more of a suggestion!
Falkirk District Wargames Club demonstration game
Claymore 2017: Falkirk District Wargames Club busy commanding Napoleonic Austrians and Bavarians

I knew some members from my club were hosting 'Neumarkt Rethought', a General D'Armee demonstration game. So I naturally headed over there first to say hello to the chaps. The game was already in full swing but that didn't stop John Ewing trying to get me to take a seat and start tumbling some dice. I politely declined. I only had a couple of hours spare and was eager to start the first recce circuit of the show. I've mentioned before that I'm not inclined to sit and play at wargaming shows. Mostly it's trying to take in new rules - usually hoarsely explained by the host whilst competing against the noise and bustle from the shuffling crowds that puts me off. Well, unless I'm part of the hosting team. But that's different!

I understand the chance to try out a variety of new games is part of the draw for many wargamers at shows. For me, though, its mostly about the shopping and a chance to chinwag with wargaming acquaintances. Maybe seek some project inspiration. Or come away with something that simply begged 'buy me , buy me!' Besides, the Falkirk club's table was situated right next to the Ainsty Castings stand, awash with Saga goodies which would be far too much of a temptation if I sat there too long. I don't actually need any more Saga miniatures! So, leaving my fellow club mates to command Napoleonic Austrians and Bavarians, I fetched my list and joined the throng. My thanks to John Ewing and the chaps for representing the Falkirk club at Claymore!

So, what was on my Claymore shopping list and what was the loot? Well. Ahem. Not a lot. At the top of a wee bit of paper I'd scrawled 'NO MINIATURES', capitalised and underscored twice, followed by a fusillade of redundant of exclamation marks. Then:

40mm bases
Carlist Wars literature
card sleeves,
fine detail paint brushes x2,
terrain stuff for the FF board

That was it. Pretty spartan, huh? To be fair, that's due to the time of year. And it was my third show of the year after Carronade and Vapnartak (York). And lots of web shopping in-between. I managed to purchase all but the last item, the cryptic 'terrain stuff for my FF board'. And inevitably, one extra item that wasn't on the list. And no miniatures. At least this years efforts to reduce my Lead Mountain are still in tact. A different story if I'd stayed near the Ainsty stand, no doubt!
Glasgow and District Wargaming Society public participation game
David Knight (FDWC, left) trying out the Glasgow & District Wargaming Society PP game

The 'FF terrain stuff' was just me trying to possibly take a short-cut for my unfinished Faustus Furius chariot racing circuit. Some pre-made Graeco-Roman buildings or ornamentation perhaps? That sort of thing. Nothing inspired at Claymore though. There were plenty of, um, 'columns' from various traders, but I've already a whole bunch already made using my Hirst Arts moulds.

Come to think of it, I already have all the materials I need to complete the project. Its just that it'll take quite a good few hours to complete this scratch-build project. My club will be hosting a couple of games at the 'Big Roman Week Encampment' at Kinneil House, Bo'ness, in September and although I unfortunately can't attend due to another non-gaming commitment (see, that time of year!), I've been asked if my board would be available to use. Currently, I think its unlikely. At least, not without rushing it - which I prefer not to do. Hmm.

The brushes and card sleeves are pretty much self explanatory. The - lets call it the 'bonus buy' -  was a set of unpainted cobbled roads from Magnetic Displays. I'd ummed and ahhed over these at earlier shows this year so I didn't feel too guilty straying from the list. They're destined for In Her Majesty's Name gaming - although can be used for anything else requiring cobbles of course. These are a pack of resin cobbled roads (4 straights, 1 cross roads, 2 man hole covers), and after a quick wash, a spray of primer, a bit of dry-brushing, some pigments and the odd bit of flock for weeds they were soon ready to go. More sections can be ordered individually or as packs from Magnetic Displays as I need them. They came up a treat I think!

resin cobbled road unpainted
Resin cobbles unpainted
resin cobbed road set painted
The painted cobbles in situ in front of some warehouses - apparently near Quality Street (!)

The last items for my Claymore loot bag were the 40mm bases (from Pendraken) and the a book inspirationally titled 'The first Carlist war 1833-1840, A Military History & Uniform Guide' by Conrad Cairns. The latter being 'ordered' rather than bought direct from the Perry Miniatures stand.

You see, Perry only had one copy available at Claymore and I'd totally missed it even after a couple of show circuits. I only knew of it's existence when David Knight from my club called me over and pulled it from his swag bag, knowing that it would be of great interest to me considering my new 'autumn' project (more next). He very kindly offered to lend it to me there and then, but I couldn't take a brand new purchase from David before he'd even got it home! That wouldn't be right. No, instead I headed back to the Perry stand and ordered a copy to be posted out instead. So technically, its listed under my Claymore loot!
Conrad Cairns - the first Carlist war
So, what's this autumn project then? Well, my reader may recall the very same David Knight introducing me to Neil Thomas’ Wargaming Nineteenth Century Europe 1815-1878 back in June. It wasn't long into play before I felt a project coming on. The perfect shoehorn into 19th century historical gaming that I'd been looking for. The book comes with ten varied scenarios from throughout that century between various national forces. And there was the inspiration.

Why not build the forces for both sides for each scenario, learning about the antagonists and a bit of history as I progress? Having armies for both sides greatly enhances the prospects of actually getting an opponent and the armies themselves will form a core force should I decide to expand into other historical rules. The rules are accessible, compact and the relatively small number of figures required, for the scenarios at least, isn't prohibitive - especially as I've settled to play at 15mm. There, I've said (or rather, written) it. 15mm. I may have finally succumbed to the cultist whisperings of certain wargaming acquaintances - yes, Mr Warchest and Wee Bloke Pate!
15mm Cristino army bagged up
15mm Cristino forces ready and prepared for de-bagging! [from Total System Scenic]

A pile of wee plastic bags containing a 'Cristino (Liberal)' army in 15mm are already resident in the Battleshed. The first scenario in the book - the battle of Alegria 1834 - is from the first Carlist War (Spanish civil war); hence my purchase of 40mm bases and the Perry book at Claymore. Once the Cristinos are painted and based, I'll do the other side - the Carlists. I'll post up this whole project up in detail once I've started, but at least it'll give you a clue when I start mentioning obscure conflicts in future posts!

One other project I have in mind to complete, is the finale to our In Her Majesty's Name campaign. This has been reliant upon me wanting to build a suitable terrain board to do the campaign justice. Hence the 'cobbed street's. And what with one thing or another this project has been on hold for quite some time indeed. However, with a few campaign prequel games played and planned, I hope they provide the impetus I need to get that 'Super Weapon' built! At least before Christmas at any rate. Maybe.

So, that's where I'm currently at wargaming-wise. As the autumn-winter months set in, the gaming schedule tends (for me at least) to ramp up. I've no doubt they'll be lots of distractions at my club. That's a given. I'm resigned to the 'oh shiny!' syndrome. I'm even contemplating a mini Dead Man's Hand campaign (from Legends of DMH) as there's been a local resurgence of Wild West gaming of late. At least I wouldn't have to build any new terrain for that. It'll be interesting to see how things pan out anyway. Oh, and I'm still convinced large, shoulder and face bashing backpacks stuffed with solid rulebooks should be banned from wargaming events. Just saying.

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