Friday, 9 March 2018

A Short Intermission

A combination of traveling for upcoming gigs and Mother's Day (the financial dictator's mum lives up in Yorkshire), plus a friend of said dictator's coming over to stay for a couple of days, and then having to clear my 'games room' so that a plumber can fit a replacement combi boiler at the back end of next week sadly means there'll be a short lull as far as new posts go here on the blog.

Before the forced break, I'd like to say thank you for the birthday wishes, and I had a smashing day which included a trip over to a car park over in Nottingham.

Not just any old car park mind you. At this one a walk over to the top corner resulted in me walking away with the main parts of my birthday present,
followed by a stroll down to the opposite corner to pick up the rest.
Yep, I've been totally spoiled this year, but you're just going to have to wait to find out what's in the bag, blisters and boxes.

Living so close (and having visited Games Workshop several times), I can't believe it's taken me this long to get over to Warlord and North Star - I reckon visits to Mantic and Sarissa Precision will now have to be arranged, especially as they're even closer to home!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

ECW Target Date Review

Time for a "stock take" on the ECW mini's I've been wading through since November last year.
I'd set myself the ambitious goal of two playable 'armies' for use with Victory Without Quarter by the end of February (well actually my birthday at the end of the first week of March but let's not split hairs), and I'm pleased to say I've managed it!
There's been some compromises along the way, as well as a fair amount of midnight oil burned, but here's the evidence that enthusiasm can compensate for lack of talent (to a degree!!)

The complete muster,
I've included a 'baggage train' that will see service across all of the 17thC games. The wagons are removable from their bases to also act as terrain pieces / objectives etc.
The rest of the tally comprises:
Four Regiments of Foote - each 6 pike and twelve shot
One unit of Commanded Shot - 12 'Forlorn Hope' shot
Two squadrons of Dragoons - mounted and dismounted, each of 6 Dragoons plus dismounts
Nine squadrons of Horse - 7 squadrons of 6 'arquebusiers' and 2 squadrons of 'cuirassiers'
Artillery Trayne - 2 heavy and 1 light gun and crews
Two (temporary) C-in-C's - these 2 single figures will become 'Brigadiers', the multi based C-in-C's are currently on the painting table.

One of the (several) appeals the Victory Without Quarter rule have, is that there are no points values or army lists, so the rules work perfectly for any style of game or campaign you wish to play.
Obviously, these units have been assembled specifically for "mass battles", but while working on them, I took into consideration the 'Pikeman's Lament' small battle / large skirmish rules I intend using (they share mechanics with the 'Dragon Rampant' rules I'm familiar and happy with), so I simply painted up this stand of 6 pikes which can be added to the 'green regiment' above,
then combine the two 'blue units' of pike, remove all the 'subordinate' (those without officers and cornets) squadrons of horse, and finally take away the 'red regiment' pike to leave the muskets as Commanded Shot. and...........
......... I have enough units to pick various combinations of "companies" to begin playing The Pikeman's Lament!

In a surprising display of forward thinking, I also based a few of the mounted figures on single bases - there's no requirement to do this for either Victory Without Quarter, or Pikeman's Lament, but these guys will fit in OK for Witchfinder General skirmish games.

All of the bases are simply covered in a homebrew green texture paint, and I'll revisit them once I've made a final decision on just how I want them to look, and how to achieve it!

I intend adding to the collection over time, to increase the options of choice of troop types and army composition (as well as adding "local" regiments for the campaign), but from this starting point there's no rush and I'll do it without the pressure of a target date!

Apologies for the poor photography and the fact it's a bit of a boring post, but I wanted to mark the occasion and sadly it's been done while suffering 'sleep deprevation' - the key snapped off  in the ignition while we were up in Bradford last night. The RAC were called out at 10:30 and made arrived with a first response (a recovery wagon too small for the job and no tools!) at 03:30. He called for a larger recovery wagon (still no tools) which arrived at 0840 and dropped us off at our local garage just after 10am. A taxi got us home just before lunch and then we were on 'hot standby' to go back to collect the van as soon as repairs were completed so I could get it home and unloaded.
I've spent a little time googling the alternatives out there in advance of our RAC membership expiring!

Saturday, 3 March 2018

East of Jacksboro part 3

Continuing from the previous two posts.........

The strain on the door was finally too much, and the frame splintered as it gave way allowing three zombies to lurch into the room.  The group's hastily formed firing line was ready for them!

At the same moment at the front of the house, the two walking dead had gone straight for the cops and were frantically tearing at the hedge to try and reach their prey.

The bedroom erupted with the sound of gunfire as soon as Brad yelled the order to fire, and moments later the zeds had disappeared behind a cloud of gunsmoke

Distracted by the sound of the firefight from the house, one of the cops fluffed his shot and one of the zombies managed to make it around the hedgerow,
but was quickly knocked to the ground by a hefty smack with the shotgun butt, as another of the slavering monstrosities that had been attracted to the scene approached up the side of the road.

As soon as the officer had "popped the weasel", the two of them took up positions to face the new threat.

Things had gone quiet at the house, and the cops were unaware that Brad was now leading the group out to their assistance. They left via the gaping back door, not losing any time removing the temporary barricade at the front door.
(What's Hannah spotted?)

Both cops targeted the single blood thirsty zed, and it fell to their combined shots,
but the cops were dismayed to hear the frustrated groans of two more zombies trying to get at them through the hedge after they'd appeared from beyond the side of the house.
"Not more of 'em!" was the only comment as both officers wearily checked their firearms and prepared to deal with the new threat,
they were then somewhat surprised when Brad cautiously stepped into view by the corner of the house with his hands raised and calling out for them to hold their fire.
The cops were switched on enough to know what Brad intended to do, and began hollering and throwing taunts at the zombies to hold their attention - Brad followed  their queue and led the fella's straight to the unsuspecting rear of the zeds!
(To quote a recent post from Simon, "It's Clobberin' Time!")
Hefting his machete in a two handed grip, Brad split the skull of the zed in red. No sooner had the lifeless corpse collapsed into the hedge bottom, Travis swung his 'axe' at the second walker, but was evenly matched by his opponent, so Zac waded in with the butt of his assault rifle, only to be knocked down by the flailing zed! Luckily Nate had gathered his wits and pistol whipped the zombie about the head with his BAP, knocking it straight out of the fight to the ground where it twitched and died.

For a few seconds, everyone was just rooted to the spot, not saying a word as the adrenaline levels started to plummet. The silence was broken when one of the cops spoke
"OK, who's going to tell me just what you're doing here in the Johnson's place?"
Then the other cut in
"Is that you Amy? What are you doing here? How come you didn't leave with the rest of the folks in the neighborhood?"
Seeing the inquisitive looks on the faces of the group, Amy explained that a group of families had organized an evacuation convoy heading west,  to someplace in California, where there was talk about some kind of safe place or haven. They'd been told what to pack, where they'd be picked up and at what time, but she had to wait for her Pa - he's the local Doctor and he'd gone into town to stock up on medical supplies to take on the trip!
At that point she began sobbing uncontrollably  (possibly because of the protracted pun) and was comforted by Hannah. The cops looked at each other with a pained expression on their faces before one of them asked
"Who's in charge here?"

Brad told the others to go and rest up in the house and made his way around the hedge to speak to the officers,
Rep5  Pep4  Sav3  "logical"
Rep4  Pep3  Sav2  "dim"

At this point (Turn 20 would you believe?!), the action phase of the encounter has concluded, and I've decided to include Brad's negotiations with the police as part of the post-game 'admin'.  Of course this means the tale is
to be continued.

Oh look - no painted ECW cavalry this post!!

Thursday, 1 March 2018

East Of Jacksboro Continued

Continuing from the previous post, Brad has entered the bedroom as he's going through the house looking the access to the attic - intending 'taking the high ground' if he can find and open it.
(I decided to use the "Risks and Rewards" deck again, since he had no idea just what (or who) might be behind the closed door)
His search was interrupted as he came face-to face with one of the original occupants of the house who'd obviously been bitten.
Narrowly avoiding being surprised by the zombie, Brad yelled a warning as he stepped forward and felled the creature with his machette.
The blow had only knocked the zombie to the floor, but Travis entered to help deliver the killing blow, just as Zac opened fire on the group of zeds attempting to break through the barricaded rear door. (The white dice show the zombies attempts to reduce the Defence Value of the barricades, the glass rear door is weaker than the solid front entrance, so Zac and Nate decided to try and keep down the numbers able to attempt breaking through - unfortunately Nate went Out Of Ammo, Zac failed to hit, and the shot attracted another zombie!)

The door to the bathroom was open, and Brad could see the shapes of the zombies crowded outside the front door through the frosted glass. Zac and Nate were keeping up a steady rate of fire and slowing down the zeds in their attempts to break into the house, but Hannah and Amy had no line of sight to do the same at the front, so he and Travis started taking aimed shots through the glass.
Fortunately, the sustained fire over several minutes only attracted one more of the walking dead.

Brad and Travis were increasing the bodycount on the front porch and stopping the zeds breaking through,  but at the back of the house, with a sickening crash the rear door and its barricade gave way!

Zac, Nate and the girls managed to get to the bedroom before the zombies shuffled through the shattered door, and Hannah went straight through to the bathroom to alert Brad and her brother,

just as a patrol responded to the gunfire. (It's 'Day 15' so they arrived 1/D6 + 1D6 turns after the first shot - 4 turns later). One of the officers checked out the pickup as the pair assessed the situation,
before opening fire on the undead crowding the front porch of the "Twain property" - knocking down three of them and attracting the attention of the fourth, which shambled hungrily towards them.

The two cops hadn't noticed Brad's group members behind the bunched crowd of zombies, and  before he could shout out, he saw the pistol and shotgun snatched up into the aim - he instinctively turned, grabbed Hannah and Travis and bundled them out through the bathroom door, kicking it closed behind him as the shots rang out!

Quickly reassessing the situation, Brad released his grip on Hannah and Travis, sending them to keep a lookout through the bedroom windows and made sure everyone else was OK.

Outside, the shotgun at point blank range over the hedge caused the hungry zombie to 'lose its head', but the knocked down group rose to their feet and were joined by another zed attracted by the gunfire to keep the cops busy,
while inside, the zeds were threatening to break through the bedroom door at any moment,
and Brad had the guys drag the bed over to create an obstacle which would hopefully give his hastily organised 'firing line' a killing zone when they did come through the doorway!

To be continued.................................

Right on target for the end of February, I'm delighted to be adding adding another cavalry unit to the ECW project in the shape of Haselrig's "Lobsters".
The iconic cuirassiers were a cinch to knock out in a hurry thanks to their (rather antiquated for the period) plate mail armour!

Thanks for visiting, and as ever, your comments and queries are more than welcome

Thursday, 22 February 2018

East Of Jacksboro

Following on from the previous encounter ( Jacksboro ), once they'd cleared the suburbs, Brad had made his mind up that they needed to try and make good their losses from leaving the RV behind. A short time 'off the road' to plan their next move and grab some shut-eye would also be a good idea - he didn't use the old phrase "Grab some Z's" anymore!.
An isolated single storey house appeared on a bend up ahead, and Brad eased on the brakes and cut the motor..........
....... playing "fair", I still rolled for any zombies generated by the engine noise where the pickup entered the encounter area before also rolling for the five members of the group - were the results typical of how this encounter would go?!

The group climbed out of their vehicle and assessed the situation -
Jacksboro was the centre of a busy agricultural area, and there were a LOT of wandering zeds surrounding them, probably from farms and packaging plants in the vicinity. They also thought they saw movement at the far end of the hedgerow in front of the house which turned out to be just bad cases of nerves, (raising the ER to 3), and to their surprise, a young woman holding a rifle was standing just beyond the house!

Amy Littlelake. Rep3 Pep1 Sav2 Free Spirit BAR and 1 food

She seemed friendly, but a little bewildered so Brad yelled over to her to head for the house as he set off with the group straight for the front door. Obviously in some state of shock, Amy stood rooted to the spot. (Failed to activate)
Brad lashed out at the zed barring their path, knocking it to the ground where Nate finished it off with a well aimed kick to the head - it didn't even get chance to groan, but the surrounding zombies could be heard as they stood around watching the survivors hungrily.
Brad was relieved to find the front door unlocked, and raced to the back of the house as soon as he'd swung it open and seen the main room empty -
Nate and Zac took up positions by the windows, and Travis closed and bolted the door as Hannah followed Brad towards the rear doors.
Amy was still rooted to the spot as the zombies were moving in! (Still failed activation) Brad and Hannah yelled at her to make a run for the house before it was too late!

Their shouts seemed to spark her into life, and she ran towards the door where Brad ushered both girls into the safety of the house,
closing the (glass!) doors behind him as he stepped inside with the zeds closing in,
on both sides of the house.
Brad quickly ordered the furniture rearranged to buy some extra time.
To Be Continued....

Meanwhile on the painting front, I was recently lucky enough to grab the 'survivors' from the Zombicide Black Plague core set. The four guys will eventually get done as a party of adventurers for D&D,
but the girls (which were the main reason I bought the set) jumped the queue and have been painted straight away for Witchfinder General
and of course, the week wouldn't be the same without knocking out another cavalry regiment - this time a little more colourful, and representing Astley's cavaliers.
We've got three days 'on the road' this weekend, so I probably won't be able to visit any blogs or respond to any comments until Monday, so until then, thanks for your time here and I hope you make the best of the weekend before the next Big Chill arrives.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Less IS More

Well, it certainly seems to be the case when applied to painting units for my fledgling ECW armies!
Hobby time has been severely limited this week (not helped by me also spending some time finally finishing "Resident Evil:Biohazard" on the Playstation!), but I've still managed to add another regiment of horse - Royalist this time, which have spent far less time under the brush than the previous unit.

Major Wormsley's Regiment of Horse

I deliberately chose another unit of buff coated arquebusiers so there would be a direct comparison with the previous paint session, but for these guys I started off by fully assembling the models, with the riders fixed on the horses, so painting would be as per a 'one piece casting'.
After priming, I decided to limit the range of colours for their palette,  and also "eased back" on picking out individual details (a step which proved to be really difficult, as the temptation to keep revisiting each mini was extremely hard to overcome!).
This meant adopting the mentality of viewing the whole, grouped  'unit' as I would normally view a single 'model', and concentrating on getting them to look OK on the table from normal viewing distance (they'd win no prizes in any painting competition, but they're not destined to sit on any display shelves - I think the word is "functional"!)

The speed painting allowed me to paint up the excellent little "Tavern Set" from Col. Bills,
and some casualty markers for the "Victory Without Quarter" rules,
proving that not only does the new approach to painting cavalry units save me time, but also doesn't  dent the painting mojo like the last regiment did!

Just to finish this post, here's yet another reminder why you should always keep an eye on the toy shelves in your local charity shop - I couldn't believe my luck this week, when I spotted this for 50p
The info on the chassis tells me it's a Maisto Humvee made in China, and because it's not 'playworn' the paint job will be OK until I find the round tuit that'll allow a repaint.

As ever, a big thankyou for visiting, and for those that prefer batreps to bodges, the next post should be more to your liking.

Friday, 9 February 2018


It's been a very busy week with work, and apart being able to enjoy some quick reads of the blogs (thanks guys!), hobby time has been at a premium. I was determined to post something this week though, so here's the 'speed bump'  that slowed down painting progress last week-
Byron's regiment, which adds two troops of horse to the tally.

I know my Achilles Heel for this project is mounted troops, which in theory should take about the same time as twice the number of foot to assemble, paint and base, but for some reason are taking me longer.
One "mistake" I made with these guys was to paint everything individually before final assembly - the next unit will be fully assembled first and then painted just like a 'one piece casting' along with  trying a few different techniques to try and speed things up, to see how much time that saves.

Very brief, but a 'progress report' none the less and I shall try to make up for it next week!