VV 04

More lovely 1:1200 naval … I recently came across Revell’s reissued Littorio Class model (boxed as Roma) and could not resist.  Splendid and simple little model.

There’s more on the Reviews page

VV 03

VV 05


A page full of reviews has been added as I get round to photographing some of the recent additions to the P.B.Eye-Candy collection.

Scroll down the reviews page for …

Martin’s new Scouts range


Some thoughts on PSC vehicles …

PSC rev 06

And my recent trials of decals and markings.

decals 05

Tiger 01

This game mirrored some real events that took place in the Winter War … but for our purposes, the mission takes place in North Africa, just after the Vichy French forces joined the Allied cause.

Tiger 02

Some isolated German paratroops have taken possession of a broken down Tiger tank.  A French armoured car patrol has run into them and called up support.

The game is PBI and support for the Germans will come in the form of 2 ‘platoons’ of Saharianas … for the French, infantry is arriving and there will be an airstrike.

As you can see on the picture, the French player has been allowed to place a small platoon in ambush.


Tiger 03

The main objective is the broken down Tiger in the middle of the table.  It is not manned and has no function other than as a marker.

There are two secondary objectives …

Tiger 04

The Paras transport assets …

Tiger 05

… and the field kitchen and its essential victualing resources.  Because you just have to have one.

The Game:

At the start of the mission, some Laffly armoured cars are in a firefight around the gates to the old Casbah …

Tiger 06

The German AA truck was actually taken out by an anti-tank rifle from some of the Legionaires approaching from the East.

Tiger 07

But there was also a MG42 crew on the roof.

Tiger 08

… which effectivel pinned the Laffly’s down … and ultimately took them out.

Tiger 09

(one of these is destroyed, the little dice means the other is immoblised but might be recovered – unfortunately it got hit again … )

Meanwhile, the Arabs burst out in the buildings and close assaulted the Paras.

Tiger 10

Actually the placing player forgot they were in the square and machinegunned it.  So the first action was resolution of those hits … one of which went on the old jaloppy … and, on a saving roll of 1, turned out to be the group leader (PC equivalent and a Regular French Officer as it happens) …

If only you could plan these things.

In a bloody melee, the Arabs were thrown out …

Tiger 11

(PBI-style … the French airstrike lands in 3 empty squares)

Equally frustrating, the Hawk fighter missed its target (the required die roll allowing the defender to define the ‘off target’ drift).


We diced for these in traditional PBI style (which caused some predictable consternation as not everyone likes the mechanism) … I usually build arrivals into the scenario, but for this gathering I wanted to retain some flavour of the basic game.

Tiger 12

The Axis did rather well, getting their Company Commander and his jeep on early …

A fresh patrol …

Tiger 14

… and my newly painted Semovente – bought at Campaign, painted during the week – and straight onto the wargame table.  It had to be done.

Tiger 13

Amongst the French arrivals were these truck mounted Hotchkiss AA guns … quite vulnerable but about the best support weapons available to the French commander.

Tiger 15

But by this time the game (and real) clock was running it – and the intitial ‘coup de main’ had failed.

Although a bigger engagement could go either way, at this stage the French held none of the objectives and had lost a number of key vehicles (indeed all of the Lafflys … ) …

Fortune had allowed the Axis build to be more immediate and, as the picture shows, a strong grip was closing around the French footholds.

Tiger 16

Many thanks to the players for entertaining me for a coupe of hours – I really enjoyed seeing it play out.

This game still works for me.

Salute NtTii 01

In addition to my duties with the Society of Ancients, WD, The Battlefields Trust, the Art Gallery and my local battlefields at Naseby and Northampton, I am an occasional member of the Ad Hoc wargames group.

Mostly I’ve been involved in the ancient and medieval ones, but this year, for Salute, we revived Nick the Tsar … a rescue romp in revolutionary Russia …

Salute NtTii 02

54mm with custom components.  We played to a full house all day (6 games) … so here’s how it goes …

Salute NtTii 03

There are four players … Russians, foreign agents, men of mystery etc. each with a little team and maybe a vehicle entering Yekaterinburg … and you have to get down the road to the Ipatiev House and rescue the Tsar and his family from special captivity … the future of the Romanovs is in your hands.

Salute NtTii 04

The house is defended, and there are a number of other problems you might encounter.

Salute NtTii 05

… and your exit route is the train that will leave the station at the end of the game (you do not have unlimited time) …

Salute NtTii 06

The ‘search’ mechanism involves grabbing and opening up the ‘Faberge’ eggs (each of which contains the name of one of the Romanovs – so is random as you have very little time to effect the rescue) …

And lots of other nuances to entertain (we hope) both players and audience …

… and they’re off …

Salute NtTii 06a

(if you’re really lucky you might get an armoured car)

Salute NtTii 06b

(movement by sickle)

… and you have to fight your way in …

Salute NtTii 07

… Hopefully, if you haven’t already lost your marbles (you’ll have to play the game to get that reference I’m afraid), lots of very important persons will be found …

Salute NtTii 10

By this stage the Reds may well have called up some reinforcements …

Salute NtTii 11

… so you will have to get back to the train pretty quick!

Our game was interrupted by several attempts to rescue the Tsar on another table … but all of them came to a sticky end …

Salute NtTii 12

Tintin and Captain Haddock fail to rescue the Tsar at Salute 2017 …

They failed, you will have to nick the Tsar!


Apologies to followers and regular readers for a gap of some months – this has mainly been down to the combination of a long period of consolidation (chipping away at long term project rather than completing things that beg to be posted to the blog) coinciding with the meltdown of a laptop (thanks, Windows 10 and HP … the fact that you know this is an issue doesn’t minimise the inconvenience) …

Still … some updates are on the way and some pretty pictures from our game at Salute.

Welcome to 2017 at last.

A Day Out at Warfare …


I went to Warfare for a day out with the Society of Ancients, and in amongst the usual duties, I got to do some shopping and play some games …

There were a good number of 20th Century games … I particularly liked …




This wintry landscape was a compelling demo of Chain of Command inspired by the Band of Brothers Foy episode.

I don’t do 28mm skirmish games but this one was worth the hype.  We had a long chat … one of the passers-by had even worked on the original programme (and he was impressed too) – well done everyone!



So … Schweinfurt … well this was a Staines game and this time you get to play the heroic fighters who sortie out to repel the American bombers.   Nicely done – but it is futile … everyone is shooting your way, flak and Fortress 50cals …

warfare-2016-20c-03(Schweinfurt: flying into the bomber stream)

So, you are taking damage all over and, realistically you need to get lucky with your limited gunnery to do much damage to the big beasts … I set a couple of them on fire before all my ammunition was spent (and as you can see only just got out in one piece …) …


So, some traditional stuff and some good ideas … in all, I enjoyed this German take on the bombing war.

The shopping is also worth reporting …

In amongst a bundle of Zvezda boxes, I got a couple of Russian trucks (actually Katyushas, but that’s because I’m adapting them so opted for the extra wheels).

Anyway … hurrah!  When I got them home and started a build, it turns out to be a new sprue … and gone is the lousy bend and clip engine cover!  Now you get 3 pieces, top and side panels, that pop onto lugs on the engine!  Yes they have listened to our moans.  This is the sprue …


… and, ‘work in progress’ …


… a nice neat front with none of the frustration that used to be part of this package.

Given the Zis 5 model shares a sprue with  Katyusha, I’d assume Zis 5s have got or will get the same improvement.

worth sharing I think.  I was very pleased with this chance discovery!


For the second part of our Autumn Games Day (following a Neil Thomas version of Gaugamela in the morning … ) the players split into two AK47 games … Graham will doubtless report the other game on his blog … while I put together a made-up clash between the split wings (factions?) of the Pan AfricaN Treaty Organisation …

‘Janno Beach’ might be any bit of tempting coastline from Sierra Leone to Somalia … sun, sea and palm trees … but times have moved on and the Soviet funded tourist hotel is but a shell … there are MiG fighters on the nearby airfield but no pilots … the villagers stay up in the hills.   Then again, you might be able to rent some speed boats from the local pirates.


So this is a 4′ x 4′ interpretation of the battlefield, laid out on my kitchen floor and photographed (so I could set it up quickly at Shedquarters … the tiling is irrelevant – it is for AK47 Classic) … there are 4 templates (I have marked the village at the top but it is too loose to count as a template), some ‘line of sight’ issues and a chunk of the board missing to water (but we were using the later AK version where you can swap vehicles for boats if needed) …

Imagine, in a different world, this might be a beautiful tourist bay boosting a buoyant modern economy.

For some time, the Treaty forces have been split … PANTO, the Settler organisation, has been fighting stiff opposition from French-inspired FRAP (Forces Revolutionaires Armees de Panto), but have cornered a small ‘force de Frappe’ in Janno Beach …

Next we played through the political manoeuvre and, remarkably, neither side got very much help – Panto indeed lost quality ratings to panic and could only run a few of its vehicles due to Sanctions and consequent fuel shortages (a bad day in paradise!) …

Perhaps inevitably, they failed in a final bid to hire ‘Mad Rupert’ and his mercenaries!

I played Panto and nominated the Freight Dump, Mosque and Airfield as my objectives.

ak47-janno-beach-03(P.B.Eye-Candy, first light: Panto’s one and only chopper flies into Janno Beach … the game is on)

If you need to know … we had …

Panto: Professional HQ of the General, 1 SA, 1 APC with AA gun; 2  Regular (T55) tanks; 1 Professional (Hind) attack helicopter; a Regular army unit of 4 SA, 1 RPG, 1 (Unimog) Truck RCL*, 1 Truck with AA gun; and Panto’s (militia) Women’s Revolutionary Volunteers, comprising 5 SA, 3 mortars, 1 RPG, 1 (Toyota) Truck with RCL.

*(the foot groups are mounted on camels at arrival)

Settlers: 90 political points.

Frap: a free roaming General in a requisitioned Mercedes plus … the renegade Paras de Panto (Professional) comprising 4 SA, 1 RPG, 1 mortar and 1 truck with RCL*; 2 Regular tanks (AMX 13/90s); 2 Regular army units, each of 4 SA, 1 RPG, 1 (Panhard) MG armoured car, 1 (Land Rover) Truck with RCL**; and the Frap militia of 6 SA***

*(actually a Vespa 150 TAP) – the recently accessioned Paras de Panto were on their first tabletop mission.

**only one of these army units made it onto the board

***actually a biker gang but at Janno Beach they traded their bikes with local pirates for some speed boats in order to raid the airfield from across the bay.

Dictatorship: 77 political points.

ak47-janno-beach-03a(Janno Beach: the Paras de Panto secure the Mosque and Gas Station)

Frap stationed the Paras in the town centre (which they secured throughout the day) and the only army unit to show up at the airfield.

Panto came in from the village/oil facility end of the board with the women’s militia, the helicopter and a solitary T55 (there being no fuel to run the other one).

The attack immediately faltered … whilst routinely acquiring targets over the battlefield, the prize Soviet-funded Hind helicopter – almost indestructible, they said – was taken down … seemingly by a group of paras who had set up a mortar on the Gas Station roof … Had they hit it with an almost vertical bomb shot?   Did they also have a light AA missile in their kit?   Was it a catastrophic failure triggered by small arms fire?  We will doubtless never know: the big beast came down out of the sky in a ball of flame.

ak47-janno-beach-05(Red Hind down … Panto lose control of the air flank)

The situation might have evened itself up over the succeeding turns … Panto’s T55 had driven into the centre ground (in part to avoid the para’s Vespa/RCL and RPGs who were making the cluster of buildings look a real nest of vipers) … and was getting some good shots in on the enemy softskins … although badly matched against the regulars now debouching from the Airfield, the women’s militia were successfully pinning them down with mortar fire.

Panto’s high point …

… and the battle seemed to swing: Frap’s regulars and Panto’s militia both disintegrated (the militia ultimately couldn’t handle the better quality soldiers but the T55 and mortar fire had reduced the enemy regulars to tatters in the process), Panto’s commander (frustratingly on foot due to that Sanctions/fuel problem) turned up at the now vacated Airfield and grabbed the objective … meanwhile the sole T55 zeroed in on the top corner of the mosque from which Frap’s commander was running the show … Kaboom!

ak47-janno-beach-06(a stunning shot from the T55 gunner … picking the enemy commander out on the Mosque rooftop)

It was a race against time … the Frap biker gang turned up … this time in speed boats … and diverted across the bay towards the Airfield (which was only being held by the commander and his bodyguard SA group).

ak47-janno-beach-07(speeding acroos the bay: a mix of military and non-military boats, hired from pirates, driven by bikers … what could possibly happen next?)

The Panto camel raiders, meanwhile, had arrived and took control of the Freight Dump.


A turning point …

So, in order to help out at the Airfield, the T55 commander turned his attention to the speed boats … firing at them but hitting none (well at least that saved us inventing a rule for occupants bailing out of a burning vehicle – the standard AK47 result with a brewed carrier – into the sea)!   At which point that Vespa emerged from behind the Mosque and spanged an RCL shot off at the tank!  … and blew it to bits with a dice roll that didn’t even need adding up!

ak47-janno-beach-08(Janno Beach: T55 tank taken out by a Vespa)

Of course, this is one of wargaming’s ‘champagne moments’  … I’d really only built the little TAP scooter model out of curiosity (and scarcely could have imagined it would bag a T55 on its first outing on the tabletop).

It is, of course, in this game, a professional RCL with vehicle mobility (a 2-wheeled ‘technical’, if you like, with a tank-killer weapon) so not such a surprise really (but in wargames, such things seldom work out) …

I was commanding Panto, by the way, so the tank was mine … awesome shooting, though … (I think it was the Vespa’s second ever shot!) …

… and that was how it all went wrong for Panto …

Frap’s AMX tanks turned up and bombarded the soldiers in the Freight Dump …


… and the biker militia were able to get in against the Panto general holding the Airfield … odds of 3:1 in their favour, but militia against professional – actually even, maybe, but they traded 2 kills in close quarter fire (so wiped the enemy out in what was otherwise ‘a draw’)

ak47-janno-beach-10(Frap militia celebrate around the captured control tower)

The random turn count just kept the game going long enough to let all this happen – and give Richard, in his first full game of AK47, a resounding victory.  As he was new to the full game we ran through the scoring system (despite the victory being clear) and for aficionados, Frap scored over 120 points.

Wow! … and I got a game full of quirky kit … a beach assault out of speed boats, a T55 knocked out by the Vespa … both commanders killed (the Frap one sniped by a T55 while hiding on the top of the Mosque … the Press won’t like that story … ) …

Got my chopper hit by a mortar, though … Never mind …

More pics …


ak47-janno-beach-04(figures and fuel pump by Peter Pig, Gas Station by Timecast, Mosque hand-built by me from cork tile and kebab stick)

ak47-janno-beach-12(T55 by Skytrex, Landy by QRF, Panhard by Peter Pig)

ak47-janno-beach-15(downtown Janno Beach: the wrecked hotel is converted from Warbases components … the blue car is Quality Castings, the red one a pimped up Chinese cheapy)

ak47-janno-beach-12a(Dusk over Janno Beach … twilight for Panto?)

Apologies if you first saw an earlier version of this post, uncorrected and without the final photos (my broadband was struggling with everything so I opted to publish the basic material, then add the finishing touches as an update)…