Monday, April 27, 2015

Salute 2015.. a triumph!

Back now from Salute 2015 and just about recovered - the show is huge and seemingly getting bigger - two entire halls joined into one, and I'm sure they are about a half a mile square - your legs and feet know about it by the end of the day!

This year they also seemed to have use of an empty third hall which had a few tables and chairs in - that was definitely a good idea, but for next year can we have more chairs and tables??  It's a good place to stop, rest, recuperate, and get ready to re-enter the fray...

So what did I think of Salute this year - a definite nine out of ten for me, quite possibly one of the most enjoyable Salute's I've been to in some years almost totally because of some excellent games (participation and demo)...  crowds were huge, I heard at least half a dozen different languages so the cosmopolitan/international jet set were also in, and everyone was having a good time...  for the first time ever I saw a queue  to have a look at the latest releases on one stand (fantasy naturally), but I've never seen that before..  good to see people still get that excited about what are just little metal men at the end of the day....

Spends for the day (once you forget petrol for the 200 mile round trip, and the flat fee £15 to park) were less than £20 and I still consider it to be excellent value!

So what did I buy??

I have been following the blog (one of hundreds) of a chap who has been playing a linked series of scenario's from the "One Hour Wargames" book by Neil Thomas, and having seen a copy on the Paul Meekins stand reduced by £3 to £10 I thought I'd invest in a copy...  it has basic rules for a number of periods, but in the back there are 30 odd separate scenario's geared towards a small table top (he uses 3' x 3') and no more than 6 units/side, but often based on a historical battle or skirmish...  I look forward to trying them out and will report back once I have...  my thinking is that these will be perfect for a short pick up Skype games with DG...

The night before Salute DG and I had convened to play the 2015 John Corrigan Memorial game (watch out for a post on this) and during the game I had had pause to examine the basing on some of those venerable AWI figures which I must have based almost 20 to 25 years ago...  back then I'd use plastic card, but the weight of the figures, ongoing degradation in the plastic, and just general wear and tear was making them look a little sad - so second purchase of the day was on the Wargames Terrain stand where they were selling very reasonably priced MDF bases at £1 a pack, 6 for a fiver...  I bought 6 packs of the 3mm thick bases and will start re-basing just as soon as I decide whether I would like a change of design (name at the back of the stand, underneath, just a number, etcetc)...

Last stop was the Coritani stand for some Earth Brown paint, and that was the shopping done...  a mere three hours later...

So on to the meat of the show - the games!! In time honoured fashion here are they in reverse order.... just a reminder, that at the end of this, if you are wondering why some fascinating game doesn't feature, I am a 50+ historical war gamer who has gamed for more than 40 years and as a result comes with an amount of errrrmmm... "baggage"....  I've blogged on some of these "illogical" likes and dislikes before...  so if the missing game featured fantasy, 6mm figures (mere board game counters!) or hexes (work of the devil - I wargame, not boardgame), that's why they don't feature here... 

So first off a bunch of games that didn't make my top three, but were still of an eye catching nature enough to make me reach for the camera - in no order of merit....

"Cold War Gone Wet"

"It is 1982 and a conventional war has broken out between the Warsaw Pact and NATO. A force of SBS and Royal Marine Commandos have been tasked to carry out a raid on a Russian KRIVAK frigate in the Baltic Sea to capture the Russian communications code book".

The ship was the better part of 4 feet long...



The model was made for them by a radio control model ship enthusiast, and you can tell, because this is far more detailed than your average wargame terrain piece...  the model also is fully featured below decks...


I love those casualty markers..


They were using Cold War Gone Hot rules and it was some kind of tie in with one of the UK wargaming magazines (Wargames Illustrated I think)

Panzer Battles - St Vith

Presented by Blitzkrieg Miniatures - it was a hot old hall, but it felt cooler standing next to this table!



I loved the weathering on that Panther..


Napoleon - The Last Gamble

Difficult to escape from the fact that not only is it an Agincourt centenary year, it is also a centenary of Waterloo - and this was my choice...  I have to say I'm not overly enamoured of teddy bear fur but this was quite nice....


Game used General de Brigade rules and was present by the Loughton Strike Force club..


Being picky, but that's why I'm not overly enthused with the fur..  the basing style of the figures doesn't match what they're walking over..  (picky or what... )



Lovely - real old school type game...



...and I think I'll probably close it there - I'm not a fan of huge posts with hundreds of photo's so bear with, part 2 will be along in a mo'... 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Brother can you spare a time... "Trinity" - a review....

...as I've been very short of it lately... 

I won't apologise for the dearth of posts here lately, as that, I'm afraid, is just the way it is sometimes...as is typical for this time of year all my focus and attention has been on the boat [clicky], so the blog updates have all been going on there as I ticked off jobs prior to the launch date. Happily that has now come and gone, and the boat is in the water, so there's an opportunity for focus to switch back here a little more often...

This weekend is Salute and DG is coming down from the wild lands for the weekend - we have already made arrangements to meet for a game this Friday evening, and the choice is down to me - I may very well break out the American War of Independence and we can fight what will be the fourth John Corrigan Memorial game...

Speaking of Salute, as ever, I have no shopping list - I'm just going up to have a mooch about and soak up the atmosphere..  I always come back from a show with a renewed enthusiasm for the hobby, so I'm hoping this will kick start some painting activity along the lines of the last post...

Separately, I have just finished the second volume in Conn Iggulden's "War of the Roses" saga, "Trinity", and can report that it was a significantly better read than the first volume [clicky] but only one of may favourite characters from the first book features. The book covers the period from just before the 1st Battle of St Albans, to the Battle of Wakefield, and contributed enormously to my understanding of what was a hugely complicated era. Packed full of period colour, and very good descriptions of what it was like to fight in the era, this is a cracker..

Henry (VI) continues to exhibit signs of madness (he was paralysed, and to all intents asleep, for 18 months) and in this absence a power vacuum is filled by Margaret of Anjou (his wife) on one side representing the royal house of Lancaster, and the House of York lead by Richard, 3rd Duke of York, (very) effectively running the country on the other... the Trinity referred to is Richard, and his close allies Salisbury and Warwick (the Kingmaker)

During this period Henry recovers (for a short while) but is plunged into illness again after the 1st Battle of St Albans (a battle that both sides seemed to just stumble into) which he loses, and after which he effectively becomes hostage to York who is acting as regent..

Henry recovers again and relieves Richard, Salisbury and Warwick of all their titles and effectively sending them into exile in Ireland (Richard), and Calais (Warwick) but trouble foments again, and this time despite success at Blore Heath, the Lancastrians win at Ludford Bridge and this time York, Salisbury and Warwick are stripped of their titles and named traitors - not surprisingly they leave the country.

In 1460 they come back, gathering support as they march, they defeat the Lancastrians at Northampton and Henry is taken hostage, and Richard/Salisbury/Warwick reverse the earlier decisions taking back their land and titles and York is named successor. Margaret meanwhile escapes with Henry's son (and heir) - first to Wales, then to Scotland to gather allies...

York moves north to face this threat, and the book ends with the Battle of Wakefield, another Lancastrian victory, but this time Margaret takes no second chances and executes Richard, and Salisbury, on the battlefield.. 


Richard's older son (Edward - the younger son was also killed in the battle) escapes, as does Warwick... Leaving it nicely open for the third book - which must pretty quickly deal with the Battle of Towton..I for one can't wait!

Steve the Wargamer rates this one 9 out of 10....

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Waterloo diorama..

Just spotted this [clicky] in the online Daily Mail today... superb - must visit Winchester soon...



 

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Closure (?) on the body of the British solider found at Waterloo...

Good read in the paper yesterday - I wondered if they'd manage to close on the story..

Background to this in the following post [clicky], and this follow up [clicky] from a year later ... then this weekend we had the following..  click to 'embigen' as Conrad Kinch would say..

With thanks to the Sunday Times for the content....

...apologies for the missing text between scans, it reads ....Leicester in 2012, were able to use DNS from living relatives to check the identity of their skeleton, the team at ....



...you have to admire Bousquet's tenacity..  three years they've been investigating this... amazing!

Monday, March 30, 2015

"Words of Command" - a review..

Howling gale with lashing rain this Sunday so no chance of spending any time getting the boat [clicky] ready, grandson was at his other grandparents, eldest was at work, the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer also at work, so a lazy day lounging on the sofa was the order of the day - even more so when I realised at lunchtime that I'd missed the clocks changing and was running an hour late..  exhausting...

One thing I did want to do however, was to put some time in with the 6th Light Dragoons, now commanded by Matthew Hervey so while youngest was at the kennels (she has the best job ever, she's paid to go and play with the dogs for an hour or two!) I took myself off to the pub - couple of pints of Hophead [clicky] later and the book was finished...

So - let's start off with saying that, but for the last few chapters, this volume is not about rip roaring, blood, guts, smoke and black powder...  it's 1830, and with the best will in the world Britain was not heavily involved in overseas wars at the time, so Mallinson extemporises....

I would also say however, that I enjoyed the book enormously, easily as much as any of the previous volumes...  Hervey is as much about the mores and social aspects of the time, as he is about martial endeavour, and Mallinson slips in these little bits and pieces to take you back to the time in question...

So what is it about - the reality of serving in a light cavalry regiment in 1830 really - not all glory and charging at the enemy - a large part of it would have been civil policing (which takes up the first part of the book) involving industrial unrest, ludditism, etc In Hervey's case these are (hay) rick burners who he successfully manages to arrest in the environs of Windsor - as a result he is presented to the ailing King...

The second part of the book however deals with the celebrations at the time for the then 15th anniversary of Waterloo (clearly a parallel there then) - as part of an international brigade (with Dutch and Prussian light horse) the 6th form the British contingent at the celebrations. It couldn't come at a worse time however, since nationalist feeling in the region is running high for a independent Belgic nation (they were at the time governed by Holland)

As feelings run high, the French see the chance of making some political advantage, taking it upon himself, Hervey takes the 6th to the border to deter them - I won't spoil the story...

Elsewhere in the book, his disastrous marriage gets even worse, he doesn't see his daughter once, and I do worry that Fairbrother doesn't have enough to do, on the plus side his good friend Peto is recovered, and much happier...

I do hope we don't have to wait another 4 years for the next instalment!!    Steve the Wargamer rates this as an 8 out of 10....