Saturday 25 April 2020

"Come And Have A Go If You Think You're Lard Enough!"- March 7th, 2020

One of the last days gaming I enjoyed before the (...hopefully, temporary...) end of “normal life” (pre-quarantine/ lockdown) was down in Southampton on the 7th March. This was the second running of “Come And Have A Go If You Think You’re Lard Enough”, the very enjoyable Lard “Games Day” organised by all-round friend of Lard, and great chum, Mark “Peaches” Backhouse.  Mark had brought together over 80 wargamers in a day of terrific gaming, featuring games covering the full spread of history from Roman Britain to the Second World War.

I took part in two great games, the first being a naval game set in the Danish Langelansbælt in the Napoleonic Wars, and the second set in the Northwest Frontier of the 1920s. I loved both of the games. Bob’s naval game was a really interesting challenge - balancing two British sloops against nearly a dozen Danish oared gunboats. What the British ships brought in gunpowder and fire-power, they lost in mobility, with the Danish gunboats literally trying to row rings around the British vessels as they sought to negotiate then shifting sandbars and islands of the Langelandsbælt.  I was the British commander, and I managed to inflict a fair bit of damage to the Danish gunboats, but only exited one of the British sloops off the table to bring supplies to the British fleet blockading Copenhagen,

In the second game, run by Colin, I helped out with the brave and ferocious religious rebels seeking to discomfort the forces of the British Crown. On a lovely looking table - with some terrific mountainous terrain - we had figured out a cunning plan to try and pin the British down. Well, that plan lasted for about 15 minutes, before defeat seemed to loom into view - at which point we decided to go for “route 1” - or “dusty road 1” - and simply charged everything in sight.  That seemed to work a little bit better, but - more to the point - was far, far more fun!

Both games were so much fun to play in - huge thanks to both Bob and Colin and all my fellow players for a great wargaming experience.

With Mark’s generous photo-sharing, here’s some other photos from the other great games from the day.

One of my favourite games of the whole day was an excellent kriegspiel run by Derek and Mark, featuring the 1809 campaign at Eckmühl.  Although I didn't play, I enjoyed dropping by to see the players' maps and plans, accompanied by some fine 6mm MDF figures which Mark had painted for the game.  Talking to the various players, enjoying their reactions ("Where are the French again?"), and watching the state of the players' maps during the course of the day was a really enjoyable sideline for the day.  Perhaps just as much as playing a kriegspiel, watching kriegspiel with good friends playing is a terrific way of passing the time.  Huge kudos to Derek, Mark and Nick for their work on this really fine game.

So that's all from "Lard Enough 2020".  it was the first, and sadly (so far) the only show I've attended in 2020 - for obvious reasons.  One of the things I've realised in the past seven week is how much I've missed games days and slows like this, and I am sure you feel the same.  So, here's to "Come And Have A Go If You Think You're Lard Enough, 2021"!

Sunday 19 April 2020

A Bumper Apple Harvest

I like tinkering around with bits of terrain and scenery.  I always think this is most fun when the items being tinkered with are things you've had hanging around for a while - maybe they're even items you've been using in games and which need to be freshened up a little bit.  I've been meaning to try and produce a couple of apple trees in 28mm for some time, and the two small trees I had earmarked for the job (very nicely produced by The Last Valley) have been sitting on a shelf forlornly for at least two years.

One of the things about the current world isolation and lockdown is having the chance to pick up some of the projects we might have placed on the back-burner for some time.  I therefore "painted" the trees with very-slightly diluted PVA glue, which really made the trees a lot more solid, added them to a base (from Warbases), did the groundwork, and then started to produce the "apples" from green-stuff.

Errr..... yes, dear readers, I made the apples from green-stuff.  It's not as mad as it seems.  (OK, well, it is a little bit mad, but please - don't give up yet).  Here's some apples - Bramleys - from the trees in my garden last autumn.  Some big, some small, a great many are misshapen, and the colours are definitely non-uniform.  

So, in other words, they're perfect to be re-created in green-stuff.  They didn't take long to produce - I did about 50.  Put on iPlayer, Netflix or a DVD (I chose the very good "Richard II" in "The Hollow Crown" series) and the time flies.

Then, when the apples have set, superglue them to the branches.  I also did a few windfalls on the ground and also added a couple of green-stuff eggs for some chickens I had painted recently.  The eggs are a bit large - as some posters on Twitter correctly noted - but hey, it was Easter and that's the time for all sorts of miracles.

When the apples are securely glued on, they're easy to paint with a base of light-ish green (Vallejo Lime Green), and a glaze of red (Vallejo Red and Dark Vermillion).  I'm enjoying using the Vallejo Glaze Medium - just take Vallejo Red (or Dark Vermillion for some variety), and dilute with the Vallejo glaze medium, and the result is a (hopefully) realistic tone for the apples both on the tree and collected in the apple barrels.  The eggs got painted a shade of peachy-ivory.  (And a big shout out and thank you to Nick - Moiterei - for suggesting the Vallejo Glaze Medium on the comments on this Blog some months back!)

And that was it.  Hopefully allowing battles to take place in an orchard, and for the Flemish apple harvest to be looted for years to come!


The Regiment of Horse of the Duc de Luxembourg, 1688

“Never allow them to move unthreatened. Always watch their lines of approach. Deny them a direct line to the flanks of your foot, My Lord.  Force them to stand.  Place them under fire at every opportunity if at all possible.  Above all, never lose your sight of their location in the Field. The regiments of Horse of the Sun King are the thin, sharp knife of His army and, unchecked, will cause the shipwreck of all our hopes.”

From the journal of Don Fernando de Torrescusa, Marquess de Girona, Envoy of His Most Catholic Majesty, Carlos the Second, King of Spain, to the Flemish Free City of Laarden in 1688.


This has, dear readers and friends, turned out to be an unusual year.  I’ve not blogged here as much as I thought I would have done.  It’s time to redress that omission, with some of the things I’ve been painting and doing during the first quarter of 2020.

So, here is the French regiment of Horse, from 1688 of the Duc de Luxembourg. I first blogged these in February as part of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge X – and yes, given the events of this year, that does seem a long time ago!  The details of the uniforms are taken from Robert Hall’s book on the armies of the Sun King: "Standards and Uniforms of the French Cavalry Under Louis XIV, 1688-1714" (published by “The Pike & Shot Society”).   The extract from the journal of Don Fernando de Torrescusa, Marquess de Girona, is (of course) fictional - but does go some way to reflect how nervous his historical contemporaries may have felt when the French horse took the field in number.

The figures are 28mm from the older Wargames Foundry range - this is not quite a venerable range of figures, having first come out in 1989, but with a little bit of care I still feel they can still look very fine on the table. They are perhaps more “big 25mm” than "true 28mm", and are a perfect match for Perry Miniatures and 1st Corps and Old Glory figures. They also fit very well with 28mm miniatures from The Assault Group, although the TAG horses are a little larger than the Foundry ones. They each come with a couple of arms so you can chose the pose of the arm, hand and sword. This adds a nice flexibility to the figure but does require a little fiddling with. 

I swapped out the Officer’s arm for a sword - which is more martial than his original hand which seemed to be completing a ducal wave. I also changed a couple of horses around from the ones supplied.  As with other French figures I've been painting, I added liberal amounts of green-stuff for feathers, knots of ribbons on shoulders, cravats and some extra hat lace. The French troops were known (like earlier Spanish Tercios) to be fancifully equipped with such non-martial additions to their uniform.

No doubt this was to help distinguish regiments of different combatants, or maybe to engender pride in a unit formation. Whatever the reason, I think it looks fun. And, also, there is a certain black amusement in being confronted by a six foot angry French cavalier on a ferocious horse charging at you while being festooned in more ribbons, bows and spectacular Pom-Poms than would be stitched onto any Texan cheerleader’s costume.

The standard finial is from Bicorne and the very fine flag is from GMB Designs.

I undercoated all the figures in Halfords 'car primer' - sprayed on in a couple of smooth actions.  I have no idea why I had such problems with the spray priming about a year ago.  These (and other) figures which I primed over Christmas and New Year seemed to prime very easily.

The paints I used were Vallejo, with the grey coats on the figures being painted with a base of Vallejo VMC Light Grey and washed with a mix of Vallejo inks (Grey mixed with Umber and diluted with some Vallejo Glaze Medium).  I tried to keep the horses as simple as possible.  I feel I have some work to do in that regard, particularly on the chestnut/roan horses.  I might experiment later during this year with horses which are much more basic, ideally to make the mounted figures’ uniforms “pop” a bit more.  I’ll let you know how that works out.


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