Friday, January 28, 2022

"Firing into the Brown" #4 - rebasing, books, campaigns, profits..

"So Carnehan weeds out the pick of his men, and sets the two of the Army to show them drill and at the end of two weeks the men can manoeuvre about as well as Volunteers. So he marches with the Chief to a great big plain on the top of a mountain, and the Chiefs men rushes into a village and takes it; we three Martinis firing into the brown of the enemy".

Kipling "The Man Who Would Be King"


Time for another update...

Getting slowly into the swing of things..  first off the WW2 French rebasing may be complete, but it's now time for the Germans, who are currently based on a variety of base sizes, and with a variety of basing styles..  

I'll be standardising on the same basing I used for the allied contingent...  pennies for the grunts, 2p's for the officers/command, and standardised (as much as possible) basing for the vehicles..

As you can see - three of the bases are done already - the anti tank guns at bottom in the following were the last items added to the project back in 2018..

Quick/cheap basing tip - get a bag of pennies from the bank - did you know you can get a hundred for only a pound - bargain! 😁 

Better get on with it then...


From the Times last Saturday...  not my cup of tea, but "sci-fi slash fantasy" doesn't offend the modern sensibilities for 'glorifying war', and we've all been locked in for a few years with money to spend and a need for entertainment, so perhaps not so surprising ..

Hornby have seen much the same; "As predicted in a trading update issued in April, Hornby has achieved sales of £48.5m for the year to 31st March 2021, up 28% on the year before. The company said that the company has swung to a pretax profit of £345,000 compared with a loss of £3.4m for fiscal 2020" (source was an industry mag), wonder what their results will be this year?

... interesting, eh?


Maigret is going about his work in rainy Paris, shadowed by Inspector Pyke who is on secondment from Scotland Yard to study the famous French detective's methods. The routine is disturbed when Maigret receives a telephone call from the island of Porquerolles, and island off the Mediterranean coast of France, just east of Toulon. 

A small-time crook has been murdered, the night after he had fervently declared his friendship with Maigret in front of a large group of the island's inhabitants... 

Maigret and Pyke head to Porquerolles to investigate further and in doing so get to meet an extensive cast of locals, rich (and not so rich) exiles, fishermen, local policemen, waiters and waitresses (since there is always food, and the local white wine)

Stunning book, Maigret is as much about the local atmosphere and scenery, and life, and food, as it is abut the crime, and Porquerolles sounds like the kind of place I would very much like to go to..   9/10


Click to embigen as they say...
I am being stupidly entertained at the moment by the item to the left that was recommended to me by my reader in a comment on the last post (cheers, Jim!)..

It's available on the Wargames Vault [clicky] for a stupidly small amount of money, and while I suspect that most people will buy it for the myriad ship details/data in support of the rules (and has anyone played them by the way? I am intrigued as to whether they are worth a punt) what was specifically recommended to me was the included solitaire campaign..

I was playing around with this at the weekend, with no intention of starting it in earnest, and here we are several (real) days later and I am at the end of the 3rd day of the campaign! 😁

My campaign is called "Hunt the Chattanooga" but in essence the campaign is about hunting down a Confederate ironclad, on a stretch of river nominally in Confederate hands. 

You play the Union commander with a fleet of 5 ships (3 warships, 2 supply ships) looking to find the aforesaid ironclad which intelligence says is being built/prepared, and which needs to be stopped before it wreaks havoc on Union shipping..

The campaign documentation has an entertaining mechanism to randomly build the course of your river, with river bank terrain, a random effects chart for the Union ships (mechanical defects, rudder issues, etc.) and also what in D&D terms would have been called a "wandering monster" roll for any Confederate forces encountered as you advance up the river...including aforesaid ironclad..

Generating the river as you move along it is proving more entertaining than you would expect and the map following/right shows my progress to the end of Day 3 which as been eventful for the Union to say the least, despite them not yet finding the Confederate ironclad.

"Hunt the Chattanooga" - Click to embigen...

As my Union force I chose a monitor and two good timber-clads (ie. biggish ships, but with light armour although a decent armament), because as David says, where's the fun in a fleet comprised entirely of ironclads, and I wanted a bit of a challenge..

So how is it going?

There have been a number of small skirmishes (too small to put on the table, but easy enough to work out with paper, pen and dice) with battles against gunboats large and small, and also Confederate batteries on the banks of the river armed with random numbers/types/weights of gun. 

I would say that while the Union fleet have been successful to date, their progress has not been without incident..

On day 3, when the force was taking on a Confederate hidden battery, that had surprised them by suddenly opening fire, the return fire from the Union ships resulted in one of the two guns on the monitor exploding - a fairly major setback as the two guns on the monitor are the largest the Union have, and will be critical when taking on the Confederate ironclad

As well as that, other engagements have also seen ships being damaged, but as of the end of day 3, the Union fleet is still complete, and I would calculate about 75-80% effective - supplies are good (one of my supply ships is carrying fuel, one ammunition) and there's no need to withdraw yet. 

Next step for the Union commander is to push on round the bend of the river to see what awaits..  

As a campaign resource very much recommended, and for not much more than a pint in cost - stay tuned for further campaign updates...


 Laters, as the young people are want to say...


  1. Glad to see the re-basing is going well and something I need to tackle on one project later on in the year. I don't have the will to take it on at present! The ACW campaign sounds good and might have a look at it for use with my ImagiNations forces for mid-19thC Europe.

    1. Steve J. - need to buckle down and start it.. been kind of side tracked by the ACW Naval campaign which as you say is eminently transferable.. was thinking it would be very good for something like solo WW2 bomber type missions..

  2. Really nice collection of early war stuff, look forward to whatever falls out of that. Great news for Hornby, though it is amazing how much turnover you need just to get that profit!

    1. Norm - I've always been drawn to the earlier parts of most of the conflicts I game, and WWII especially.. not really interested in bumper to bumper Tigers.. would much rather have Pz2's and 3's

  3. I only recognise two out of the four slebs mentioned in that Times article. I assume the Tom Holland referred to isn’t the one who writes history books and does a podcast with Dominic Sandbrook. He’s probably more of a DBA man 😆

    1. Nundanket - to be fair I only recognised Sheeran as well.. I think Cavill may have played Superman, or Captain America??? :o))

  4. Grand looking French chappies!

  5. Four weeks now! Glad the naval campaign is working out for you. I think the little incidents add to the narrative. One thing in favour of naval games is that they don't take long to set up.

    1. Ta for the heads up indeed, Jim.. I've found all the things you mention to be true.. have you tried the actual rules?? Kind of intrigued to know what people think of them, though I may take a punt anyway..

    2. No Steve - haven't tried them although I was tempted. Looking at the stats in the campaign rules I think they may be more 'fiddly' than Bill's or the Portable Wargame set, which may suit some people of course.

  6. An interesting punt on an ACW river campaign which seems to have paid dividends.

    1. Peter - for less than seven bucks it has paid for itself half a dozen times already.. recommended..