Tuesday, 26 April 2016


I umpired a WWII platoon-level game this evening with two friends using the FUBAR one page ruleset from Craig Cartmell. What a superb little game it is- very simple, very intuitive and very clever, and more than adaptable enough to accommodate any house-ruling you might want to do. I did see that there is a specific WWII supplement for FUBAR, but I was content to bash my own slightly simpler version together for tonight. I can already see how I might add smoke rules and the like. The master stroke is the suppression system which simultaneously eliminates book-keeping or 'counter-clutter' and efficiently models the effects of pinning and morale. I heartily recommend checking them out.

We played with shiny-toy-soldier style Airfix figures and some other bits from Armourfast, Zvezda and the like- with improvised, toylike scenery to match,. These included a hastily rigged up couple of woods made from a chopped up old Christmas wreath, a doormat 'ploughed field' and roads made from cut-up mousemats from the poundshop. The classic old Airfix cottage, Inn and Church are now being sold by Dapol at a very reasonable price.  You may recognise them from all sorts of classic wargaming titles from the '60s onwards.

we played an imaginary German invasion of the sleepy 
Sussex village of Ample Parking.

Fritz has holed up in St. Mandy's, the bounder! Hope he
keeps his jackboots off the hassocks.

Plucky Brits rush to the rescue. 

A Cromwell ruins the vicarage lawn, but it's for a good cause. 

They don't like it up 'em, as a wise man once

All in defence of next year's carrot crop.

Just this PAK 40 to sort out and we can send the Nazi Sealion
back into the channel.

Sunday, 24 April 2016


In a couple of days I'll be giving my old-fashioned shiny Airfix WW2 lads a run out for a game of FUBAR, the one page ruleset produced by Craig Cartmell, of IHMN and Blood Eagle fame. There is a one-page supplement available specifically for WW2, as the core rules can be adapted to any platoon-level skirmish from WW2 into the far-future (even 40,000 years into the future I suspect), but I'm having a little tinker to try and make it as simple and quick as possible, and adapting it to my own figure collection.

The rules look simple, straightforward and fun, with a bare minimum of book keeping (none, really), and a very simple and intuitive morale/effectiveness/suppression system. I'm also rather interested in the 'generic sci-fi' variant- almost too many ideas for how best to use those!

It occurs to me that this may well be the first time I've played a points-free, 'unbalanced' game as a matter of choice. The two forces won't be hugely assymetrical- I'll be balancing a slight meteriel advantage on the German side with a higher experience rating on the British side- but nor will they be obsessively costed to a rigid points system. The spirit of the game will mean that this isn't a problem, and I'm wondering whether I will come to embrace the old-school aesthetic in this regard, and be more ready to dispense with points in other games too?

Friday, 22 April 2016

Emhar Saxons

Yesterday I took delivery of a box of Emhar Saxons for playing Blood Eagle in 1/72 scale. They were about £8 for a box of 50, so they work out at 16 pence each. Once I've based them on a penny, that goes up to 17p!

Rather good box art

The two linked sprues that come in the box

A close-up view of the detail

Size comparison with an Airfix German, and an old Space Marine

Emhar have their own formula of plastic which they boast is easier to glue and paint than regular 1:72 stuff. That may be true, but it seemed very much like Airfix stuff in the hand- a little bit bendy with that familiar greasy surface, so I gave my test figure the treatment that Henry Hyde advises in his Wargaming Compendium- I washed him with washing-up liquid and painted him with a decent coat of PVA glue before painting as normal. As I'm going for the 'toy-soldier' look,  I just gave him a bright and clean basecoat and a coat of Humbrol Glosscote. In the photos the varnish hasn't even begun to dry, so he looks even more shiny and gloopy than he will do.

Lovely figures- I shall probably get some of the Emhar Vikings as well soon.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Creatures and Warbands for Frostgrave.

I've been playing a little Frostgrave lately, and I've been using it as an excuse to paint a lot of models from the 1970s in a very clean bright and shiny 'toy soldier' look that I think looks good and suits the era of the miniatures. I've also created a few larger scratch built creatures, painted in the same style.

Here's my Giant Spider, made from dressmakers' pins, bamboo skewers and Milliput.

...and here's my Giant Worm, made from Milliput again, and a child's coat hanger! The orc-for-scale here is an old Prince August one.

Lastly, here's some sort of slime monster composed entirely of bamboo skewers and hot glue. The other figure is a golem, probably by Minifigs.

I hope you can see the kind of look I'm going for with the paintjobs. It polarises opinion a bit I think, but I really like it, and it's QUICK! A huge plus. Here are two of my Frostgrave warbands which also sometimes see action in Song of Blades and Heroes and Open Combat as well as dungeon crawls and whatnot. I'm hoping to expand both into opposing good and evil armies for Dragon Rampant.

The Fellowship of the Red Wyrm

The Thrall of Kronos

These two warbands are mostly composed of old Minifigs, Ral Partha, Prine August and Minot stuff. The giant mushroom is a 'proof of concept' for a fungal forest I'm hoping to finish later.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Usborne Viking paper house and axonometric paper

Although work has been busy, I've had time to make one of the houses in the book I mentioned yesterday. It went together very easily and I think it looks the business. Forgive the anachronistic Airfix British Infantry- they're there to give an idea of scale. As you can see, the house is on the compact side, but not I think jarringly so. As it is designed to be glued directly to a provided illustrated layout card, I added a rectangle of grey millboard (the stuff that reinforces A4 refill pads at the back) to give it some strength and a couple of millimetres of extra height.

I also jotted down a few ideas for a simple modular castle, made from wood and either card or lasercut MDF for the battlements, partly inspired by this post on Bob Cordery's superb 'Wargaming Miscellany' blog, and partly by the one in 'Wargaming on a Budget' by Iain Dickie. The task of planning on paper was made considerably easier by the use of axonometric graph paper. An architect friend told me about this, and how it is used. It allows you to draw a floorplan (or whatever) as a square or rectangle, without worrying about perspective, but also depict height as well. You can download it to your own specifications at the excellent Incompetech website.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Usborne Viking Settlement and Blood Eagle

A few years ago I bought In Her Majesty's Name, and despite really enjoying it and even collecting and painting some miniatures with IHMN in mind, I still haven't got round to playing it. This past weekend I picked up the authors' newest book, Blood Eagle, based on the same 'engine' as IHMN, and am once again enthused- hopefully this time I'll actually get some games in!

As luck would have it, I also picked up another book in the last few days: an old but pristine copy of Usborne's 'Make this Viking Settlement' (still in print) for a few quid from a charity shop. This beautifully presented and produced book should allow me to make a small table's worth of Viking houses and whatnot in OO/HO scale, which should be a reasonable match for some 1/72 Vikings and Saxons from Emhar I've had my eye on for a while.

In the last year or so my tastes in wargaming have veered toward the simple, the toylike, the inexpensive and the 'old school', so this way of playing Blood Eagle should tick a few of those boxes!