Wednesday, 15 November 2017


Today I unearthed one of my projects from about 5 or 6 years back; Napoleonic frigate actions in 1/450(ish) using the old Airfix "HMS Shannon" model as a basis. I have made up three of these plus a model of the USS Constitution (was this a Lindberg kit?), but they've been languishing in a box since before our first house move. A chat on Facebook about the Airfix "Victory" model prompted my memory on these and there was a request for some photos , so here they are. Very much a work in progress, bit I may just have to crack on and sort these out now (in between finishing off my new 1/3000 Span-Am models - more on those at the weekend!)

PS any ideas on what I could use for ratlines on these models? 

Monday, 13 November 2017


My lack of posting might suggest that I've not been up to much recently, but that would be wrong. At present there are 1/3000 Spainsh American warships, 20mm Japanese ans Australian WW2 forces, a load of generic satellites for my SF spaceship gaming and several 1/1200 ACW forts on my wrk bench.

But recently completed were two 15mm IS-3 tanks from Zvezda to go with my WW2 Winter Skirmish collection. Its a lovely model, builds up very quickly and easily into the rather modern looking Russian classic. Some stowage and a grubby whitewashed paint scheme completes the models, with which I'm very pleased as they bring back happy memories of my 1/76 Airfix model (for which I rebuilt the turret since the rear shape was completely wrong).

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Blast Tastic 2017

This morning I popped down to Michael Stockin's "Blast Tastic" Sci Fi wargames show in Filton, Bristol. This was the 4th year of the show and alas the last, as Mike has decided to draw stumps on the show for now. That is a pity as the show always has the promise to be the successor to the SFSFW's "Ragnarok" show but it was not to be.

Anyway, the show was a small but happy and fun affair, with a number of games on display. I ended up paying in Gary Mitchell's "Tripods" participation game, set in the UK in the 1980s and based on the background of the old BBC "Tripods" TV series. An alien vessel has crashed into a farm in deepest Somerset and a strange tripod machine stands motionless above the barn. As the local British Army commander I had to  (a) establish contact with the aliens (playing Beethoven from speakers mounted on a Challenger tank was one option), find and rescue two children of prominent government ministers who were known to be hiking in the area, obtain video and scientific data by helicopter and a few other things. Oh, and another government minister and the BBC were on hand too.

In the end my troops found the children, obtained the data and video, evacuated the children in the helicopter, attempted to make contact, then, when the aliens decided to let rip with a heat ray, put up a stout defence that ended quickly when my Challys put a couple of APDS rounds through the alien shields, completely destroying the tripod in a single salvo. Having given Johnny Alien a damned good thrashing I retired from the field  of battle with a nice cup of tea

The British Army's finest advance on the silent tripod

"How do these rules work again?"

Milan team in place, scorpions on overwatch, the Royal Greenjackets escort the rescued children away from the farm

"Get to da choppah!"

Milan team ready to fire

I grabbed a few snaps of the other games on show and then had to high tail it back to Gloucestershire, so only a flying visit. It was a fun morning, and sad to think there won't be another next year.

Friday, 6 October 2017

White Bear Red Sun

My latest publication, White Bear, Red Sun, landed at Wargame Vault this afternoonWBRS is a mini campaign covering the Russo Japanese War from the initial surprise attack on Port Arthur through to Tsushima and beyond. I'm quite pleased at how this one has turned out, after all its been about 20 years in the making!

Its based on an old series of articles and other material that I published in Battlefleet many years ago, but has been thoroughly updated and considerably added to over the years The main book comprises a brief history of the naval campaign, a set of  fast play pre-dreadnought rules (which may become available separately if there is interest in that), a self contained campaign system and a complete set of ship data for the rules allowing the campaign to be fought out over a weekend or a few club nights. As well as the main 48 page book in PDF format there are additional files with A4 and A3 versions of the campaign map, sea area control counters and ship record counters for both sides for use with the campaign system.

Depending on how these go I'll be starting work on a Spanish-American war version in the not too distant future (actually, who am I kidding, I've started already!)

 Wargame Vault Link

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Doncaster 2017

The Wings of Glory Aerodrome annual gathering took place at the Doncaster Air Museum this last weekend. I wasn't able to make the whole thing but I did get to be there for the "Ace of Aces" megadogfight on the Sunday.

Some of you may remember that when we ran the first of these events a few years back I was struck down with the lurgy - which I then inadvertently spread to many of the attendees, and that the following year I was also poorly (it seems i'm quite susceptible to colds and chest infections in the mid-September period!). Anyway, this year was similar in that I was recovering from a bout that stopped me making it to the Colours show at Newbury (well done Simon and Stuart for switching games), but family duties meant I had to be in Manchester that night and it was only an hour or so's drive across the (misty and foggy) Peak District.

My arrival was a (hopefully pleasant) surprise to many, and Tim (aka "Flying Helmut" on the Aerodrome) must have been especially pleased as it allowed him to prep his chums and give me the following welcome as we prepared for the game :D

To say I was chuffed is an understatement!

Anyway, the game was a couple of hours of "Wings" mayhem and for once I shot down more aircraft than I lost myself (4-3, although it should have been 5-3 but I was a victim of someone's dodgy maths) which learnt me a 9th place out of 30-odd players and a prize of a Barraca Nieuport 17 which was a welcome addition to my collection.

An excellent weekend, lovely as always to catch up with many old friends, an opportunity to make some new ones (and have a good old natter about mt FLoB and Action Stations rules), and made very special by having the opportunity to meet and chat with Andrea Angiolino, who as anyone who has ever met him knows is a thoroughly nice chap!

Looking forward to next year, and hoping I can make the whole weekend.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Connections 2017

Today I'm off to somewhere a bit special from a wargaming perspective. Its the Connections 2017 wargaming conference at Kings College London. I'm presenting with Dr Nick Bradbeer from UCL on the use of wargaming in the education of maritime engineering students in warship design on Thursday. Should be a fun few days :)

Friday, 25 August 2017

Battle of Sandwich, August 24th 1217

Yesterday saw the 800th anniversary of the battle of Sandwich, fought off the coast of Kent in August 1217. A French fleet led by notorious pirate Eustace the Monk was escorting a  convoy to London which was occupied by French forces under Prince Louis, who supported rebel factions during the Barons; War. An English squadron under Hughbert de Burgh intercepted the French off Sandwich. In the ensuing battle Eustace's ship was captured and the monk himself beheaded on the deck of his flagship (some say his head rested upon a trebuchet - that was carried as cargo - when the axeman chopped off his head!). The defeat of Eustace's force led to the withdrawal of the French army in London and brought an end to the war, so a decisive action indeed.

To celebrate this anniversary I put together a scenario based on the battle and fought it out using my "Lord of the Sea" medieval rules. What follows are a few snaps of the battle.

For anyone interested in trying out this battle I've uploaded the scenario to Wargame Vault

Battle of Sandwich 1217

The French cargo ships. De Burgh avoided these juicy targets and headed for Eustace's flagship instead

Hubert's ship (actually the Royal flagship from my Sluys collection)

French warships making a run for it

French merchants in the lead, the French warships sit between them and the English fleet

Hughbert's flagship encounters the flagship of Eustace the Monk. In the ensuing melee Eustace again found himself despatched. Hstory repeats itself!