Escorts for the Elephants

A previous post has covered the elephants that I’ve added to my Sassanid Persian force. As I had a few spare infantrymen left over from those put aside for a Levy Foot unit, I thought I’d use them to represent the optional light infantry elephant escorts that significantly improve the battlefield effectiveness of the pachyderms.

Okay, so those big wooden shields don’t make them look much like light infantry, but I did take a bit of time and trouble over these little chaps, even if only as a practice for the planned (and far bigger) Levy Foot unit. You can see them better from behind:

Loving the white hats, even if they aren’t especially historically accurate

A simple paint job that nevertheless looks quite good. Three shades of blue, red and flesh. Paint in the darkest colours; wash in GW Agrax Earthshade; highlight in the next lightest colour; finally, a tiny highlight in the lightest colour.

The real test, of course, is how they look with the elephants they are supposed to be escorting:

IABSM AAR: Sint Jooth, Day 2

Another great battle report from Tim Whitworth and the ‘Like a Stone Wall ‘ Wargames Group, this time put together from several Facebook posts mostly from the I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum! FB group.

This game is a continuation of their fight for the village of Sint Jooth in Holland in 1945. The British pulled out their war weary infantry on the night of 20th of January and re-grouped for an attack the next day (you can read the AAR covering the previous day’s action here).

Click on the picture below to see if the British had more luck on Day 2:

Huts for the Ancient Brits

With the game To The Strongest, each army really needs at least one, and usually three, camps. Obviously, one can cobble something together, but it’s nice to have some specific pieces for each force.

Forged in Battle’s Empire range has recently added a whole series of 10-15mm buildings that, when combined with a flat base, make rather nice camps. I’ve bought a few, with the first off the production line being these six Ancient British huts:

Loving these. Easy to paint up: spray white; paint the roofs straw colour and the doors brown; wash with GW Agrax Earthshade; leave to properly dry and then highlight the thatch and doors; finally, take a stippling brush to the walls.

They are perhaps a bit pricey at £24, but well worth it. Recommended.

Painting Challenge 2019: More First Entries of the Year

People’s first entries for the 2019 Painting Challenge are flooding in now, including a first-timer as well. Without further ado, let’s see what’s been submitted:

  • Carole sends in some scenery, and a lovely spaceship army for Hordes of Things

  • Sapper’s second entry of the year is some nice C14th English longbowmen

  • We have something from a first-timer next: John Emmett’s 28mm German Panzer III Flamm

  • Joe McGinn pops up ag’in: settlers from a Kickstarter and some FIW British Lights

  • It’s a second and third entry of the year from Travis Hiett: supports for his BEF

  • A huge first entry from Chris Cornwell: terrain boards and hordes of figures

  • Ralph Plowman has some 15mm sci-fi vehicles to share with us

  • And last but certainly not least, Owen is back with a bang: over a century of 15mm fantasy figures

As usual, clicking on the name of the person above will take you straight to their gallery (opens in a new window).

Plenty of room still for entrants this year, so pick up those brushes, scale the lead mountain, and join your fellow Lardies in the Challenge!

Today’s pictures are below:

A Few IABSM AARs

The I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum! Facebook Group is a great source of information and inspiration. It’s also a place where people post a lot of short and snappy After Action Reports slightly different from the larger write-ups you find on people’s blogs.

Now not everyone wants to be a member of Facebook, which I can perfectly well understand, so below you’ll find links to a few recently-FB-posted AARs that I’ve copied across to Vis Lardica.

I’ve got specific permission to do so from most of the authors, but for those few that I haven’t, I hope that they don’t mind: VL is a not-for-profit website (it’s the old joke: “How do you make a £1 million from wargaming? Start with £3 million!”) designed only to spread the Lard.

Belle Maison

Action in Tunisia

First Painting Challenge Update of 2019

Morning all!

The TooFatLardies Painting Challenge 2019 is up and running, with many of you starting the year’s entries with a bang. Let’s waste no more time and get straight on to today’s submissions.

In no particular order, we have:

  • Mervyn kicks things off with a host of aliens…and a few humans to battle them

  • He’s joined by Mr Helliwell: more SYW figures, a barn…and a few fantasy humans

  • Travis sends in his first BEF squad: lovely

  • Steve Burt is still rooting around at the base of his lead mountain

  • Some British Paras from Jon Yuengling drop in to the Challenge

  • Mr Davenport has taken advantage of the Christmas festivities and produced a double handful of 28mm vehicles

  • And last, but by no means least, Kev sends in more 15mm ACW figures

As usual, clicking on the name of the person in the list above will take you straight to their gallery, which will open in a new window.

Here are today’s pictures

A Glut of Eastern Churches

It’s one thing to collect figures - you need all sorts of different sorts to represent different armies, units etc - but to collect models of eastern European churches as well?

That’s what I seem to gave done over the last few years, in that I seem incapable of not buying any model that could vaguely be described as a “religious building, eastern”!

I once joked that I would like to have enough churches to have a different one for each of the maps in my Bashnya of Bust! scenario pack for I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum! That would take seven, eight or nine, dependent on whether you assumed one of the buildings in some of the smaller villages were houses of worship or not. Whichever it is, I seem to be well on the way. Below is a gallery (in ascending order of size) of my church collection so far:

I’m pretty sure I don’t actually need any more eastern churches now, but if anyone should know of any others that are available…just add their details as a Comment and you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be spending my bottom dollar on another house of God!

First Painting of the New Year

These have been sitting on my painting table for a few months: ever since the TimeCast sale in fact.

Here we have the Village Church, a Small Barn, and the Village Accessory pack from TimeCast’s 15mm Eastern Europe range. IIRC these are the re-mastered models, and very nice they are too.

The resin is smooth and takes the paint well. I’d question whether the Barn is small or not, but I like the church and accessory pack very much. That’s my Painting Challenge started for 2019.

AAR: First Game of the Year

And so to the first battle of 2019: a game of I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum! against Dave using one of the scenarios from the TooFatLardies Summer Special 2016. For those unaware of the Specials, and now the Lard Magazine, these are a wonderful source of scenarios, information and inspiration for all Lard games.

The scenario, by Richard Morrill, was called George of the Jungle, and was set in Burma, 1945. A Company, 9th Borders, part of 63 Brigade of 17th Indian Division, was tasked with clearing a small village near Meiktila of Japanese. The reason for the scenario’s title is that this action includes the participation of George McDonald Fraser, author of the Flashman novels, and is mentioned in his autobiography Quartered Safe Out Here. I would play the Japanese, and Dave would play the British.

Click on the picture below to see what happened:

IABSM B.E.F. Photographed

Continuing my re-photographing of my collections, next up is the BEF: the British Expeditionary Force of 1940.

The album portrays a Regular Infantry Company plus its battalion, brigade and divisional support; plus the various options available for supporting armour.

This was actually the very first WW2 army that I painted up, and although the infantry have withstood the test of time (and many appearances on the battlefield), the armour could do with a complete refresh. In my defence, however, when I started this collection many years ago, there weren’t the range of cheap, plastic tanks available that there are now. Were I starting again, I’d be going for a complete company of each type of tank available from Zvezda!

Click on the pic below to see all:

The OB for the collection is taken from the second of my Blitzkrieg in the West theatre books for I Ain’t been Shot, Mum!

 

First of the Ancient British Foot

A bit more painting left over from last year: four bases, so one To The Strongest deep unit, of Ancient British foot in 15mm. The figures are Forged in Battle, excuse the shed!

celtsfront.JPG

Quite like these. The shields are partly painted and partly using LitteBigMan transfers. What decided which to use? Well, I couldn’t be bothered to cut out the holes in the transfers for the double-boss shields, so only used the transfers for the simple single-boss shields. I did try to do one: but it was annoyingly difficult and time-consuming!

Here’s the back view. The tartan and stripe patterns look better at wargaming distance than under the microscope.

I now need another four units of these: the thought of painting which fills me with horror! The Hoplites are bad enough, but at least they are homogeneous: these all have to be painted individually. Anyone got a pile of well-painted Ancient Brits they don’t want any more?

TFL Painting Challenge 2018 Now Closed, 2019 Now Open

So the 2018 TooFatLardies Painting Challenge is now closed…and it has been a very quiet year.

Only thirty-four Lardies have participated, as opposed to forty-seven in 2017. On top of this, of those that had competed before, twenty scored less than last year’s total and only ten scored more.

On the plus side, however, eighteen people have now participated for all of the five years that the Challenge has run, with four more only missing the first year i.e. completing four years in a row.

The good news is, as I mentioned in yesterday’s New Year’s Day post, that I will run the Challenge again in 2019, and declare the competition officially open as from…now! Details are up on the site as usual but, as a quick reminder, send your entries to the usual address (with the photos clearly labelled please!) and I’ll open your gallery with your first entry.

We did have a few last minute entries, listed below:

  • Mr Hodge took a break from painting from early September to mid-December, but finished the year with a 238-point bang

  • Sapper popped in a quick unit of 7YW Carabiniers

  • Some last minute re-basing from Mervyn

  • And finally Ken admits that he’s been dragging his painting heels for a bit, but also ends the year of a high: a 90-point high to be exact

Clicking on the names highlighted above will take you straight to their individual 2018 Galleries (opens in a new window).

Good luck with 2019…and here’s a couple of picks from the above to encourage you to begin your new year at your painting table rather than in front of the TV!

Spearmen from Ken

The rather magnificently named Schaumburg-Lippe Carabiniers from Sapper

Some of Derek’s final entry for 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all my visitors, both old and new!

2018 was quite a year for me, with plenty of major changes in my life. In September I was made redundant after seventeen years with the same company. A nice pay-off meant that I didn’t really need to find a job very quickly, but the latest news is that I start a new role next Monday, Jan 7th: about a week after the end of my gardening leave. That means that I have had a rather pleasant, just about four months not working, which has meant plenty of time for wargaming!

A fearsome opponent!

A fearsome opponent!

I also switched from one martial arts association to another, so after 35 years studying one sort of jujitsu, I’m now (along with my wing chun kung fu) studying another, along with the six traditional Japanese weapons: sword, ‘chucks, bo, sai, tonfa, kama.

This meant wearing a white belt again for the first time in some twenty-five years, and standing way at the back of the class with a bunch of strangers rather than out at the front with loads of people I know: an interesting experience. I’m pleased to say those strangers are now friends, and I’m currently standing in the middle of the class, rapidly moving towards the front again!

Gaming

All this training means that I’ve never been part of a regular wargaming club (there are only so many evenings and weekends you can be out and remain married and a father!) so have some years only managed an average of one game a month. Redundancy, however, has mean that this year I have had more wargames than any other since my records began. Most have been I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum! or one of its variants (especially Arab-Israeli) or one of the other company-sized games from the TooFatLardies (Charlie Don’t Surf, Quadrant 13), but I have recently got back into Ancients playing To The Strongest, rather than my own Vis Bellica, which definitely needs a new edition and a lot of love.

Painting

Redundancy also meant I had plenty of time to paint figures, and my score in this year’s Painting Challenge reflects that: 1,859 versus my previous best of 1,219. These have been mostly sci-fi for Quadrant 13 or Arab-Israeli, but the last couple of months have seen a sudden influx of Ancients, and there is also a steady trickle of WW2 kit as well.

The time off meant that, before the Ancients fix took hold of me, I could make a sizeable dent in my lead mountain, which seemed to have accumulated vast amounts of sci-fi armies: major forces for the Astagar, Hive, Invaders and Space Dwarves have all been completed.

Writing

2018 was also a big year for my wargaming writing. The major project for the Jan-May period was the preparation and publication of the four Blitzkrieg in the West theatre supplements for IABSM. This was a major project that took over my life for about six months. It was really fun to do, even if a bit frustrating at times: the exact composition of some of the Belgian and Dutch units especially. Big Rich and I scratched our heads many times on those ones. And, one day, I will find out how the squadrons of 3RTR rolled off the docks at Calais!

If you do game the early war period, I cannot but recommend these. I’m still referring back to them myself on a regular basis, and regularly come across a little snippet of information that I’d forgotten that I’d found out. Or I see a query about unit composition on a wargaming website and think “well, that’s in the French theatre book” and wonder whether or not to answer the query or just put a link to the TFL shop!

The cover pics below, btw, do all link to the shop…

The Year Ahead

So what will 2019 bring wargaming-wise?

Well I’m not making any resolutions, as this is supposed to be fun not a chore, but what I am hoping for is:

  • Plenty more games, focusing on I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum! and To The Strongest

  • Getting all my Ancients armies up to To The Strongest strengths, and then adding a couple of new ones

  • Photographing my entire collection with my new camera

  • Writing another theatre supplement for IABSM to follow on from the four Blitzkrieg in the West editions.

  • Seeing the Painting Challenge continue for its sixth year

  • And, of course, keeping this blog updated on a regular, if not daily, basis

Your AAR concerning the company-sized games from the TooFatLardies (IABSM, CDS, Q13) are vital content for this blog (and the enormous archive of battle reports the site contains: some 500+ now) so do keep sending them in.

Otherwise, I wish you all the very best in 2019.

Check back soon.

Cheers

R

TFL Painting Challenge: Penultimate Post!

Today is the last day for submissions to the TooFatLardies 2018 Painting Challenge, and to encourage you all to pop that last entry through, we have an enormous penultimate update.

So, in no particular order, today we have:

  • Kev sends in a host of American Civil War figures in 15mm

  • There are some Hessians from Ed Bowen

  • Hardy perennial Andrew Helliwell submits his usual assortment of 7YW and medieval figures

  • John de Terre Neuve has been reading his early war theatre handbooks: sending in a very nice Belgian force along with a few Napoleonics and buildings

  • There are some nice modern African militia and their compound HQ from Andy Duffell

  • The Hat is back with a huge submission comprising a full company of WW2 US infantry and supports

  • Steve Burt is still working his way through his Salute freebies!

  • Another huge submission from Fred Bloggs. An ironic statement as they are all 6mm figures.

  • And last, but by no means least, there are four WW2 vehicles from Travis.

As usual, clicking on the name of the person in the above list will take you straight to their gallery (opens in a new window).

Today’s pictures are below:

Painting Challenge 2019

The good news is that I have decided to run the Challenge for its sixth year i.e. Jan-Dec 2019.

Details will be posted in due course, but the format will effectively be the same as the last five years…unless anyone has any ideas that they think I should implement to make it better.

No need for a formal e-mail letting me know you’re entering: just send in your first submissions in the new year to the usual e-mail address (admin@vislardica.com), clearing stating what you’ve sent me in a way that means I don’t have to spend time working out which unit are the grenadiers, which are the line etc!

One question. The website is creaking at the seams a bit with the number of pages. Before I started using Blogs properly, each AAR had its own page, so I’m quite close to the maximum 1,000 pages allowed. Each person’s Gallery uses one page: so for 2019, I’m either going to need to transfer previous AAR-on-a-page content to AAR-on-a-blog, which is not difficult but a bit tedious, or delete the 2014 Painting Challenge galleries. What do you want me to do? Not sure anyone ever looks at the past galleries (well the page stats say they don’t do it very often) but then it is nice to have an archive of entries if one ever does want to look back at what one has achieved. I don’t really mind either way: your thoughts by Comment please.

IABSM French Photographed

One of the ‘toys’ I got for Christmas was a new digital camera. I’d had the old one for some seventeen years, and it had really started to give up the ghost. Batteries were drained with one shot, it hated anything but the brightest of sunlight, and the cover to the compartment for the batteries had developed the annoying habit of popping open at the slightest touch.

The new one came from the post-Christmas sale from John Lewis. This was another first from me, as I actually stood and queued outside for half an hour, and then rushed in with the tsunami of other shoppers to try and get a bargain: not something I have done before, as I usually avoid the whole “Sales” madness. It seems to have been worth it, however, as once I had actually worked out where the sale items were (in their own special area) I picked up the camera I wanted for £30 less than the sale price on Amazon.

New camera means an excuse to photograph some figures, so I re-shot all my 1940’s French. Still haven’t got exactly the results I was looking for, but they look a lot better than my previous gallery.

Some rather colourful R-35’s from a supporting GBC (Groupe de Bataillons de Chars)

I’ve got a lot more figures, especially Somua and Char B1 tanks, and some of the more esoteric portee vehicles that Battlefront was pushing during their Blitzkrieg phase, but I’ve tried to avoid cheese and stick to the official OB’s from the TFL Blitzkrieg in the West: the French handbook.

Reading the lists and building the gallery is a great way of seeing where the gaps are in my collection.

Must be time to get some more French: I wonder if I can find any of them on sale anywhere…

 


Christmas Painting

I always seem to get a lot of painting done over Christmas.

I think it’s because there’s nothing else to do apart from eating and drinking heavily (check), watching tv (check), arguing with the family (check), snoozing (check)!

Anyhow, three more units for my Ancients refurbishment completed:

Another four bases of Celtic light cavalry to pad out my chariot units

Another three Celtic chariot bases, meaning I can now field the minimum number required

Four Sassanid Persian elephant bases, so one full unit in To The Strongest, four units in Vis Bellica.

IABSM AAR: Blenneville or Bust #4G: Belle Maison

Bruce Romanick posted another IABSM AAR on the IABSM Facebook page.

Following on from their last game using the Blenneville or Bust! scenario pack (scenario #3D: Saint Melotte) this time the SAGE group played scenario #4G: Belle Maison, where both the Germans and the Americans are aiming to the occupy the same village in the valley.

According to Bruce’s post, which I hope he doesn’t mind that I reproduce here, the Yanks managed to push the German out of the village, with an opportune air strike taking out a Panther. A minor US win after 3+ hours.

Christmas Games - Militaria

Many years ago, there was what we would now call a Kickstarter for a military version of Trivial Pursuit.

I signed up and received the first of what was due to be several boxes of questions…and that unfortunately ended up being just the one. No money lost, I hasten to add, as you only paid for each box as they were produced.

20181225_110341.jpg

The one box has, however, given many hours of fun. Whilst the kids, when they were kids, answered the Kids questions; and now, as (young) adults, answer the Adult questions, or Harry Potter questions or some other specialisation, I attempt to answer the Militaria questions.

Here’s an example of one card: one of the easiest!

As I said, that’s one of the easiest. This is me yesterday trying to remember some obscure bit of military trivia…

IMG-20181223-WA0001.jpg

IABSM AAR: Cymru Am Byth #13: Swanning Up To Brussels

Tim Whitworth and the lads from the Like A Stone Wall wargames group played another game of I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum the other day, this time using the Cymru Am Byth scenario pack.

The scenario pack covers the operations of the Welsh Guards during WW2, and includes sixteen unique scenarios and a mini-campaign.

The LASW chaps played scenario #13: Swanning Up To Brussels: a German heroic rearguard action versus 1st and 2nd Battalion elements of the Welsh Guards Group that took place on 2nd September 1944.

Tim’s general comment was: “I'll just say the British found it hard going. In these rules the tactics that you employ certainly matter!”