Monday, September 14, 2009

Colours 2009..

This weekend was one of my favourite wargame shows, "Colours" at Newbury race course, and better yet DG was down for a visit so he could go as well...

I had no specific shopping list for this show - I'm beginning to find that I do more painting during the cooler months so I've not been using paints and the like.. nonetheless there were a few things that I'm looking out for and I think I managed to fulfil those requirements (for a change!)

With the painting season upon me, and the "Raid on St Michel" campaign about to kick off though, I was aware that I may be one or two units short so first stop was the Peter Pig stand for some more bases.. I know I can make them myself much cheaper but at only £3 a bag of ready made one's, I can't be bothered!

The rest of the afternoon was spent browsing - first stop was the Newline Designs stand to gave a look at their ACW range in the flesh - I know, I know, I'd put that project on hold, but fairly recent activity in the ACW direction at John Preece's blog (see here) had re-lit the fires... the latest idea is derived from the fact that I would like to be able to re-use my AWI terrain and scenery rather than have to buy new, so that means bigger than 15mm, John is using Kennington miniatures, but the as an alternative the Newline range are also 20mm and very advantageously priced... if you go for the unit packs, or better still what they call a bargain pack (100 foot), then the figures are approximately 36-38p each for foot which is quite astonishing! I've picked up some samples which I'll be painting over the next few days to see how they come up but initial impressions are that they are very nice.. these are from the Newline site:

I was also looking for rules suitable for the period, which has continued to be a bit of a bug in the progress of the project - I'd like to try something different as I use derivations of the Will McNally rules for most other periods, and although I like them very much (otherwise I wouldn't use them quite as much as I do!) it would be nice to try something else.. I wanted to try something really "old school" but nothing in that line really caught my fancy, I had hopes of Mr Lincoln's War for a time but they have failed to grab me (in fact I must hoik them out and try pushing some bases around to see if I've changed my mind) so this weekend I was doing some reading at the various sellers..

Anywho, to bring this interminable ramble to an end I came home with "Guns at Gettysburg", having looked at:

~ the Polemos set - too high a level - regimental sized bases (not surprising given these are sold by Baccus!)
~ "House Divided" the Esprit de Corps derivative for the American Civil by Trevor Halsall; almost, almost, got interested but the layout is dreadful... and I couldn't cope with all the references...
~ "They Couldn't Shoot an Elephant" by the Too Fat Lardies - DG bought this one so we can do a comparison...

...interestingly enough, Matt (over at the Waterloo to Mons blog) has also mentioned another set ("Rank and File" from Crusader) that I didn't see yesterday, but which sound interesting... see here I'll have to check them out.

...and that was it on the purchase front - now for some games... so in my usual way, in reverse order, my games of the show were:


This massive game was put on by the Skirmish Wargames group, all of this was 54mm/1:35 scale, and included some simply gigantic Stuka's and other aircraft - very nice looking game:

...and just to show how big it was - a little film'ette..


In second place was this game based on the capture of "Primosole Bridge" on 14th July 1943, as part of Operation Husky the allied invasion of Sicily. Lovely looking game for which they were using "Crossfire". Those who have played Crossfire before will understand what all the patch work fields are about..

Interestingly this group had the same opinion of the vehicle part of the rules as DG and I had when we played it - they've replaced it with some from Battlefront (if I remember correctly) but they also mentioned there's a version 2 of Crossfire coming out soon...

Nice bunch of people though - late on a Sunday afternoon and they were still willing to have a chat...


..and the winner is....

This was a bit of a no brainer for me - what a lovely looking game - all in 25mm - this was out on by Thames Valley Wargamers. They were using "Forlorn Hope" as the rules, but with modified artillery to make them more effective.. nice looking game indeed - I especially like the horse holder for the Dragoons in the house yard..

...and there you have it - Colours 2009 in a nutshell.. An enjoyable day out, but I have to say that DG and I both thought it was a little flat this year, there seemed to be enough people (though the car park was not quite as full as I remember it last year) but the overall vibe was a little quiet. The games were OK (see above) but I had to look harder to find my top 3... traders didn't seem to busy (??), and the bring and buy was uninspiring this year...

...would I go again?? Of course I will, it's still a brilliant day out, and anyway, "use it or lose it"....


  1. Steve,

    I recently saw a copy of the Airfix guide to Wargaming the American Civil War in a local second hand bookstore. There's a ruleset in it and its old school credentials are pretty gilt edged. Give me a shout if you want it.

  2. Doh!! I already have it and had quite forgotten about it..! I shall have a look...

    Good to hear from you, and thanks for the offer - how's the training going?? Almost ended?

  3. Steve, I still use Fire and Fury, the main problem I have with it is the large unit sizes (brigades) so I need a large table for the game.

    Pete (Freewargames Rules) tried Rank and File down at the club and it worked OK, but Having watched It I felt it didn't have enough period feel for me. (There is a write up on his blog.

    I have also played the Peter Pig set with Pete and they are quite a different set of rules and one play through was not enough to get a complete impression, but they have a lot of innovative mechanisms.


  4. The only ACW rules I've played were "Johnny Reb" . . . and while they were good with a few units a side, they bogged down as the size of the action grew . . . you should be able to find something better I would think.

    -- Jeff

  5. Yes the Airfix guide rules by Terance Wise are excellent old style rules used them a lot 25 years ago & will again. Was Colours called 'Armageddon' many years ago?? vaguely remember that show in the 80's in Reading ...perhaps the show was a bit slow at the tail end of summer before people get painting again & develop new demonstration games?

  6. A number of people have said it seemed quieter, yet they had 1,000 people through the door on Saturday and all the traders I spoke to did more business this year than last (except book sellers who seemed to be down).

    Believe me it was manic at times with up to 4 deep at the stand...


    Black Hat Miniatures

  7. Steve,

    I have a whole corps of Newline designs. I really like the Confederate range that they do, and as you say the price is a very convincing argument.

    I bought Kennington miniatures, Newline and Qualiticast. Of these my favourite were Qualiticast but they no longer are trading.(anyone got any spares?) I did not get Irregular, but now they have remade the figures I would use them happily. I quite like Wodensfeld which MAY come back into production and the old Steve Hezzlewood figures frrom Rusty Scabbard Miniatures are a bargain if you don't mind them being a bit smaller.

    By the way the Strelets dismounted Union command are a perfect match for Newline. Painted they look just like metal and they give you such gems as Abe Lincoln, an Eagle bearer with a live Eagle and bandsmen. Some real beauties in that box way better than most of their range.

    Oh and finally Fire and Fury!

  8. So many people using Fire and Fury, but apart from Jeff very few comments on Johnny Reb... the biggest problem I have with F&F is the game scale - I much prefer regimental level games.... I'll have another read and see if my remembrance is correct..

  9. I really liked the grass effect in that ECW game. It just looked...rural!

  10. Isn't there a regimental version of FnF? IIRC the author was working on one..? I used to use Circa 1863 for ACW pre Fire and Fury - a decent set for a few brigades per side, if a little bloody, but that's easily tweeked.