David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occassional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Thursday, 12 October 2017


With three weeks without any games here in GHQ or elsewhere I’ve been trying to make progress on painting, mostly for my Wars of the French Revolution project,  if for no other reason than keeping the summit of the Lead Swelling within sight! (See my previous post for a peek at the growth in the Swelling!) My first task was to complete my unit of Eureka Miniatures Austrian Hussars, in the to do queue since May! The twelve figures proved less taxing than I feared and were completed in just over a week. They will join the Light Dragoons from the same manufacturer in my Austrian’s Light Cavalry Brigade ~

Next in the queue were two small units, in Black Powder terms, to represent the Hussars of the Damas Legion and the York Hussars. They are each four figures in number on two 80 x 60mm bases, compared to the normal strength of British or French cavalry in my collection of eight figures on four similar sized bases. They are unusual as the figures from Trent Miniatures were never released, seemingly neither Matt nor Duncan know why that was. I suspect that it’s because they don’t sit easily on the Trent horses. However, my wife remarked on seeing the finished figures that the poses of the riders actually made them look like riders in motion and I tend to agree. You will have to judge for yourselves ~

I’ve settled on a style of painting my figures for this project which suits my hand and eye at my age. I use just the base and highlight shades generally in the Foundry Paints triads, with the exception of faces, musket stocks, standard shafts and horse flesh. I still paint in the eyes where I think it will work for me, not the Austrian Hussars you’ll note this time. We need to remember that for the majority of us our hobby is wargaming not warpainting. I enjoy seeing the beautifully worked figures of the painters out there but my figures, and probably yours too, are viewed in the game from several feet away mostly. In that context, as Phil is wont to say, mine will do! As I termed them, the Painting Fascists nearly stole my hobby but I rallied just in time! (Mainly because my work wasn’t good enough or enjoyable as an experience. ) Now I find Painting more relaxing and less pressured. If I don’t feel like it I don’t do it and I certainly don’t suffer angst over the finished item! No doubt you’ll have your own views on this...

Monday, 9 October 2017

Lead Belt Fest!

I’ve been away for a couple of days in the East Midlands area between Nottingham and Newark mainly, the Lead Belt as wargamers have dubbed it, but also visiting the Derby Worlds Wargames Show, now confusingly in Leicestershire! I had a really good time I have to say and enjoyed both my visit to the show and my expedition to some of the Lead Belt’s major players. I met and chatted with several good chums, saw some half decent games and browsed the aisles of the show taking in much wargaming goodness. I also took the opportunity to move the Lead Lump up to Lead Swelling status. Before I give any comment on the show though I’ll show you what I bought ~

Mostly Trent Miniatures as you can see for my Wars of the French Revolution project: French Dragoon’s; French Hussar Command; British Light Dragoons; British Royal Artillery and Military Artificers. From Dave Thomas I bought some extra Perry Miniatures British Light Dragoons in Tarleton helmets and some American Militia in firing line and casualty poses, for my AWI expansion next year. From Coritani some new brushes; MDF bases from Warbases and Grass Tufts from Great Escape Games; from Redoubt a Mounted ACW Union General with an enormous beard!A decent haul I thought!
Turning to the show itself now, the first thing you’ll notice I hope is that I took no pictures of any of the games. Were they poor you might ask? Well, no; in fact there were some first class games on show and all being vigorously played! There simply just wasn’t the space around them for players let alone geriatric photographers!!!  Move over to the Traders’ area, and let’s face it that’s the main reason many folk attend these events, that again seemed very cramped between stands. I found it difficult to browse without being knocked and almost impossible to stand or sit and chat to folk I know. I didn’t venture into the Competition area as it holds no interest for me at all. But, I do wonder why this two day event survives as it seems to me Traders are being charged to subsidise folk who want to play in a competition. I’m sure Traders and the punters would happily see a better one day event with more space for both Traders and gamers! Just my two penneth as a former organiser of WMMS you understand, nothing more.
Despite my feeling about the cramped space I enjoyed my visit, but I did leave earlier than I planned as I was uncomfortable with the crowded aisles. I drove up to Nottingham and booked into my hotel for the night, The Village if you’re interested, right next door to WI HQ! After a satisfactory dinner and decent night I set off on the Lead Belt part of my tour, starting with a visit to Dan at WI HQ to discuss what I might contribute next year amongst other topics. Then, off to meet Duncan at Arcane to thank him for the Trent figures and to buy some Footsore VBCW figures from Steve: the new City Types and Gardeners and some more Militia Standard Bearers, as Pete Barfield is even as I type finishing his latest flag creations for my VBCW in Wolverhampton & S Staffs project!
From there it was a short drive out to East Stoke and Wargames Foundry. I always enjoy going there, even if I don’t buy much. I just marvel at all the figures they’ve bought to us down the years and the great skill of the myriad folk who’ve painted the display figures you see in the glass cases, those you see on their web pages of course. The welcome I find is always warm and genuine, encouraging the wallet open with little pain! I’d budgeted for a decent spend, mainly on AWI figures which I intend to work on next year (DV) to expand my AWI game’s size. You can see what I bought in the picture below. The odd piece is a 6lb Artillery piece for my RHA as they’d had none when I was there in the summer ~

Figure acquisition wise that’s probably my lot for 2017. The Lead Swelling has expanded to five Really Useful Boxes. I may go to Warfare in November with Phil, but doubt i’ll buy more lead, and Wargamer in December to see chums before the winter hiatus that breaks at WMMS. I think I shall need those new brushes I bought! But for today, that’s it, I’m off to bed. Night!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

When they were up...

...they were up, so as to speak, but mostly it seemed they were down! The latest games here in GHQ featured figures from my Wars of the French Revolution collections. Phil in his guise as Lord Rawnsley, scion of that family of military nobodies, Jon as Lord Walton, and yours truly as the inept French General de Bykli, of whose military prowess the less said the better! I played the game twice you see: on Monday against Phil, and on Wednesday against Jon. I won neither game! Well, now that’s out of the way I feel free to say a few words about each of the games in turn and to show a few pictures I took of the action. So, back to Monday first and the game with Phil ~
Turn 1: the Allies win the Initiative. They succeed in all their Command
rolls and advance all along their front.

On the French left its a familiar story: Advance? Non!

Turn 2: the Alies decline to move at all. The French centre and right
advance full of elan, or something...

Turn 3: the French right left finally moves forward but the centre stalls. On
the right the cavalry get stuck in to each other to little effect!

Turn 4: French Light Cavalry swirl forward on the left while the infantry
decline to move in their support. The Hanoverian brigade awaits the enemy

Turn 5: the French Chasseurs a Cheval see off the British Light Dragoons.

Only to be thrashed by the Hompesch Hussars in their turn. The French
Hussars decline to move, again!

Turn 6: an overview of the battlefield. The Allied centre is too strong for the
French and both flanks are stalled with neither side feeling strong enough to
win a decisive advantage. We called it a draw and retired for tea and cake.

Fast forward to Wednesday evening and the second incarnation of the Wars of the French Revolution game herein GHQ saw Jon, as Lord Walton, seeking to do better that Lord Rawnsley had. A fiercely contested game was the result with a decisive win for the British after Turn 9 when the French army's morale finally failed in the face of overwhelmingly Disordering fire over four turns. Jon's ability to throw 6's beggars belief at times, and with my dice too!
The French are advancing in the centre and on the right. But for the Allies the
Marines have occupied the farm. French Light Infantry advance to contest the
building complex.

French cavalry surge to the attack on the left but the infantry decline to move.
Sound familiar?

On the French right the Heavy Cavalry is doing well forcing the British
Heavies to fall back. The Marines still hold the farm though and give flanking
fire on any cavalry passing by!

The French cavalry falls back and the right flank becomes a rather non event.
The Marines still hold that farm!

Turn 9: the French army has four Broken Brigades and retires from the field!

Two very different games and two different outcomes. French Command Roll failures in both games hampered their attacks on the left while Disorder did for them in the second game. I half joked with Jon before the second game got underway that I often spend half our games in a state of Disorder: I should have kept my mouth shut! No games now in GHQ or elsewhere until the end of the month as Phil and Di are away in the USofA on a touring holiday of the Deep South! I hope to get some painting done and will have something to show early next week.In the meantime I'm of the Derby Worlds tomorrow, so time for bed I think!

Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Battle of Bridgnorth Road

Inspired by a recent epic ECW game here in GHQ I planned a similar game setting for my VBCW campaign set in and around Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire and for new GHQ Irregular Derek to have a second bite at Bolt Action 2 rules. The game envisages a strike on force setting off from Whitwick Manor, lead by the Mander family, towards Bridgnorth. It just so happens that Militias from Tettenhall have got wind of this development and, supported by a BUF contingent from the Bilston Steel Division, plan to surprise the Manders.
The table layout features just the Bridgnorth Road as it meanders through South Staffordshire flanked by rich farmland divided by thick hedges and rickety fences and dotted with agricultural buildings, a roadside garage, a public house and copses of trees. The view towards Bridgnorth ~

The view looking towards Tettenhall along the Bridgnorth Road.

A Wolverhampton Corporation bus en route to Bridgnorth, just local colour.

The Chillington Mounted Rifles secure the garage and its supplies.

The BUF Bilston Steel Division move on their flank. Mander's forces seize
the supplies at the Red Lion. One Victory point in the bag!

The Chillington Rifles surprise the Hilton Main Miners and knock them out
of the action over two turns.
The Mander's Machine Gun Company sets itself up to cover the attack on
Home Farm and its double supplies.

The BUF flank the Red Lion and hope to help the Rifles roll up the units on
Mander's flank.

Fighting for Home Farm and its supplies swings first one way and then the

Despite loosing the miners on his right flank, Mander's forces seize the farm's
supplies in Turn 7.

Despite losing units covering both flanks Mander, played by Derek, was able to seize three Victory points of supplies by Turn 8 leaving two Victory points held by the Reactionaries from Tettenhall and three Victory points unclaimed by either side. The game ended in a draw in Turn 9, Swindley, played by yours truly, holding the garage and threatening the farm and Mander holding the Red Lion and the farm.
Peace returns to rural South Staffordshire...
...until the next time that s.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Light Infantry Regiment von Proxzi...

...an addition to my Hanoverians in the Wars of the French Revolution project. There is a bit of a story to their evolution for deployment in GHQ if you'll bear with me. You may have seen amongst recent posts that I've been seeking out uniform illustrations on the net via Google searches, motivation for which came from another wonderful gift from my son Matthew. He and his family have sold their house in Godalming and are moving the Herefordshire. In the sorting out Matt found many castings of figures he'd sculpted, some of which were not released for one reason or another. They turned out to mostly be Trent Miniatures and I was able to share them with my friend Colin Ashton ( of Carryings on up the Dale fame!) I kept these Lombard figures and some others as I hoped to use them to 'represent by proxy' some of the small Chasseurs units attached to the British army in Flanders from 1792-95, along with some Hanoverian Light Infantry. These Hanoverian Light Infantry should look like this ~

At least the two figures on the left that is. Using the Trent Miniatures Lombard Legion figures to stand in for them produces this unit ~

Straight away I can sense those sad types who count buttons taking a sharp intake of breath before having me drummed out of the Napoleonic Forum on Facebook! Yes, I know they are wrong on several counts, but on the table from 3' or more away I don't think anyone will notice or care. The general look of the unit will be sufficient and I know all my gaming chums will accept my deployment of these troops without hesitation. Now, should they have a drummer? A standard? A Pavarotti tribute act as Colonel? I don't know on the first two counts and I don't care on the third! They will do! And, remember, they have cost me nothing!

I've also completed six other figures from the same range. They will stand in for the Damas Legion Chasseurs, in Black Powder terms a 'Small Unit'. I plan to add some Hussars of the Damas Legion, using unreleased Chasseurs figures, again the uniforms on the figures will be close enough for me, and some Hussars de Beon, both small units again. It will bring both colour and fun to our games. Staying on the Wars of the French Revolution theme I'm currently painting my Eureka Austrian Hussars, I've already finished four; they have turned out to be much more straightforward to paint than I feared!.

Finally, and completely unrelated to any of this, a 2" mortar from Warlord Games for my VBCW project. It was free, sent along with some missing tripods from the BEF set. I've rendered it as a civilian with military equipment; worked quite well I thought. No No2 of course, but I'll let that pass for now ~

Back to those Hussars now! Toodle pip!

Monday, 18 September 2017

The Battle of Coven Heath

Monday saw Phil and I dusting off my ECW collections for our regular game here in GHQ. As ever our rules of choice were my own  'A Crowning Mercy' (available exclusively from Caliver Books). The figures forming the collection are mostly from Foundry and Perry Miniatures, supported by Warlord Games and some Bicorne guns. As usually is the case Phil took command of the Royalists in his persona as Sir Marmaduke Robinson and I commanded the Parliamentary cause as the dour Obadiah Bykleigh. The battle, which you won't find recorded for posterity in the great histories of the War, took place on the nearby Coven Heath, bisected by the road from Wolverhampton to the nest of Royalist vipers in Stafford. The Royalists are advancing southward to teach their opponents a lesson in loyalty, or so they think...
The army of Parliament marches onto the table, the Horse concentrated on
the right flank. Its all Medium Horse, so will be at a disadvantage in combat.

The Royalist army has concentrated its horse on its left flank. Its mostly
Heavy Horse, with some Cuirassiers and one formation of Medium Horse.
It has deployed all its infantry in the centre astride the road.

The Parliamentary Horse knows t is outclassed so throws everything into the
attack. The tactic proved costly in losses but slowed the Royalist advance to a

The Royalists were unusually cautious in the early moves, allowing the
enemy t get around their right flank with a Folorn Hope, supported in due
course by a regiment of Foote.

The Horse swirled back and forth on the flank, but superior Royalist Horse
were beginning to tell and the Parliamentary Horse was being slowly pushed

The Royalist cente was a logjam of formations all struggling to get into
action,while on the right the Oxford Foote try to drive off the Folorn Hope.

The gallant exploits of the outclassed Parliamentary Horse allows Obadiah
Bykleigh to advance his centre and deny the enemy room to manoeuvre and

The Oxford Foote is shattered and flees to the rear opening up the right
flank of the Royalists to being turned. Sensing a possible opportunity
Obadiah Bykleigh leads his Lifeguard of Horse forward.

The Parliamentary army goes onto the offensive all along its front. The
Royalist Hose is too badly mauled to be an effective threat thanks to the
exploits of the gallant but defeated Parliamentary Horse troops.

The Royalists begin to give way protected by the remnants of their Horse.

Both armies are exhausted! Parliament holds the field but cannot pursue
the Royalists as they fall back on Stafford. In the end a strategic win for the
forces of right, truth and justice, but in game terms a draw!

We played seventeen turns in just over two and a half hours! Good going by any measure we thought.
The sacrifice of the Horse by the Parliamentary army meant that when needed later in the game the Royalist horse was too badly mauled to affect the outcome with its infantry were under growing pressure. We called it a draw in the end as the Royalists quit the field but the Paliamentary army was too badly mauled itself to follow up for victory.
Next up in GHQ  will be a VBCW game, the Battle of Bridgnorth Road, which sees the reactionaries of Tettenhall and their allies attacked by the Socialists of Wolverhampton in an attempt to drive a wedge between armies to the south and east which could threaten the safety of the Peoples' Republic of Wolverhampton!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The British Army & Allies in the 1790's

I've been collecting illustrations of the uniforms of the British army and its Allies during the War of the First Coalition from 1792-95 and thought some of them might be of interest to others who are exploring this period for their wargaming. They are all found through internet searches and many may well be copyrighted so if any copyright holder does object then I will take them down of course.
Stating with several plates illustrating the uniforms of the British army ~


Light Infantry

Trent Miniatures do bandsmen and a drum major.

 The Hanoverian army ~

 Attached to the British army ~

By no means exhaustive, but enough to be going on with I hope. Now, back to painting Hanoverian Light Infantry stand-ins!