Television is rather a frightening business. But I get all the relaxation I want from my collection of model soldiers.
Peter Cushing

Monday 28 March 2016

€#%*ing goram it all to hell

Sorry for the long silence. A lot of my time has been taken up on recording revision podcasts for my year 11s on a variety of history topics. 

However, it wouldn't be a holiday without a new project on the horizon. In this case, it is also work related. The GCSE History coursework this year includes a question about the different tactics of the two world wars and their impact on casualty figures. Now; trench warfare is a piece of cake to teach. But getting the students to understand the reality of a war of movement like you get in North Africa or Northern France: the role of blitzkrieg and combined arms... That's quite tricky. 

This year I've had some success with using gaming simulations for Waterloo and Trafalgar (if anyone wants the rules I knocked together, give me a shout). So a simple Company level engagement for WW2 seems made to measure. 

So nice dig out some Flames of War stuff and got to work. 


You might remember I painted some German infantry, a few STuGs and a couple of shermans before. I've lost them. Totally gone. I've looked in the garage, the loft - no sign anywhere. This is a touch frustrating, hence the title of the post. 

Anyhow, onwards and upwards. So here's the start of the new project:

Saturday 19 March 2016

Prison Break - A Fistful of Lead AAR

Had our first game of Fistful of Lead in the town of Ratwater.

The scenario was as follows:

Al Swearingen has fallen foul of the law in the little town of Ratwater. The Marshall has locked him up wait the pleasure of Hizzonner Judge Roy Bean. But Al is not without friends, up in Dakota. And they’re comin’ to bust him out…

Al starts the game in the Marshall’s office in a cell chosen by the Lawman player. As far as possible, the Desperado player should not know which cell.

The sides were:

Rooster Cogburns men
Rooster and 3 lawmen. Rooster is a Gunslinger. All are armed with a pistol and rifle. One may be armed with a shotgun if preferred.
·         50 points if Al is still in custody when the Judge arrives
·         5 points for each Desperado killed.
·         10 points if Al is killed while trying to escape (i.e. outside the Marshall’s office)

The Deadwood Desperadoes
4 men – each with pistol and rifle. One may be armed with a shotgun if preferred. One of the them (probably Dan) is a Gunslinger. One has 1 stick of TNT – write down on the bottom of a rock which.
·         50 points if Al is off the table before the Judge arrives.
·         5 points for each lawman killed.
·         20 points if Rooster is killed.
If the TNT explodes next to the jail, the windows are blown out. At that point, Al becomes a character under the control of the Desperado player and can try to begin his escape.
Track turn numbers on a D12.

The Judge will arrive at the beginning of a random turn. The player controlling the Law will roll a d10 at the beginning of each turn (new deal) after the 2. On turn 3 he will arrive on a “1” or less. Turn 4, a “2” or less, etc. The game ends at the end of the turn when the Judge arrives. 

I set the town up and then my pardner - let's call him the Duke - picked sides. He decided to go for the role of the Lawmen. 
The sleepy down of Ratwater, unaware of the carnage that awaits...

I got to bring these cards out of retirement for the first time in years which was an added bonus!

The Mysterious Stranger who turned up to the help the law. The first couple of turns saw the Desperadoes head into town, shooting the deputy hiding on the roof of the Gem saloon. 

My desperados started sneaking round the side of the Marshall's office. This is the guy carrying the TNT. We're going to call him Joe Albatross. You'll see why in a bit. 

Marshall Rooster dodges across main street and takes down one of the desperadoes with a crack shot. 
Silas Adams  - the Desperado gunslinger - cracks off a shot through the window of the Marshall's office and knocks Wild Bill to the Floor.

The Stranger takes cover beside the general store and pins down the desperadoes behind the Marshall's. 

Joe Albatross is sneaking round the corner unaware that Wild Bill Hickok, recovered from the earlier shot, is lying in wait...

I just love this shot. It screams spaghetti western. 
Joe Albatross tosses the TNT  - which lands at his feet. He is knocked out by the blast - I'm assuming. He spent the rest of the game trying to recover from being Pinned, so it must've been a hell of a shock. Regardless, the cells are open and big Al makes a run for it - before being shot in the back by the Stranger.

Wild Bill then decides to shoot Al where he is lying on the floor. Luckily, Al survives. Wild Bill, we discovered, deserved to be shot in the back. He's useless. 
Meanwhile, Adams, not being the charitable sort, doesn't shrink from shooting Rooster in the back. 

Al runs for the edge but runs out of movement here.

Luckily the next round sees the King of Spades and Al escape. The Desperadoes win!

A sadder and Wiser marshall Rooster patrols the town

Where quite a few of these got sold. 

 Basically, a great time was had by all. We enjoyed it so much, in fact that we reset and played again immediately. This time, the Judge arrived on Turn 5 so the Law won. I thoroughly recommend A Fistful of Lead - it's cinematic, entertaining and really, really easy. Although I beleive Jaye the author is a Damyankee it is very Oldhammer in attitude and its joy in narrative play.

As a postscript we finished off the evening by playing Condottiere. It's small, cheap and incredibly good. Buy it.

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Welcome to Ratwater

From Preacher

And from Deadwood:

Is born my new town:

The proprietors of the General Store are named after two of my favourite poets (and also my sons' middle names). 

The posters are a mishmash of real posters from the period; one for land in Idaho, one of Stetson hats, one for the funeral parlour in Tombstone... The signage was a bit of poser. I did fancy doing something quite ornate and then reconsidered. The town of Ratwater is currently a tiny little outpost and, when and if it grows, these will become sidestreet buildings. So it seemed a little more fitting to go with the rough and ready frontier look of the towns in The Outlaw Josey Wales. 

The signs were done following the lovely simple method suggested by the marvellous Mason of Lead Adventure fame.

And Friday will see the christening of Ratwater when I play my first game of the good Baron's Fistful of Lead rules. I have Morricone cued up and I've broken out my old Deadlands deck. I am ready. 

"Skin it. Skin that smokewagon and see what happens."

Friday 11 March 2016

Mosey into town...

No Western is complete without a town; Big Whisky, Laramie, Dodge or, of course, the grandaddy of them all, Deadwood.

Of course, funds are always tight; so how is one to establish a townstead? 4Ground is, obviously, the best possible choice but oh, my lord, it surely does cost.

I therefore sent smoke signals to the good folks at Sarissa precision; after all, a frontier town will have small buildings. And the Pony Express was as good as its reputation suggested:

A swift construction - they are very easy to slip together - and we have two false fronted buildings. 

A simple slap of watered down paint gives a look which matches quite closely with the descriptions I've been able to find that give you some idea of the colours you would find in the frontier boomtowns. 

Mr Al Swearingen is looking at opening a new business venture. 

There's a handy lookout point from the roof; just the place in which to keep watch over the showdown on the main street. 

I'm overall rather impressed with these; they're not as good as 4Ground but then they're half the price. For buildings to fill out the town they're prefectly satisfactory.

More importantly, we now have enough scenery to make a proper game of Fistful of Lead a possibility, so watch this space. 

....ah, but we're not done yet, are we? For, most important of all, a town needs a name. So what do we call this newly founded township? Any suggestions gratefully received below...

Tuesday 8 March 2016

"..and Hell's comin' with me, ya hear? Hell's comin' with me!"

Continuing my current Wild West phase - and pardner, I gotta tell ya, there ain't nuthin' as restorative as watching Deadwood and paintin' some desperadoes - I've finished off the cacti:

I think they turned out well enough for something that cost me nothing. A useful bit of scatter terrain. 

I also slapped a bit of paint on those fearless lawmen out of Dodge, the Earp brothers.

A lovely set of sculpts from Artizan but with a touch more flash than I'm used to from them. But still an imposing trio I'm sure you'll agree.

Next up I have three more mercenary sonsabitches and some more scenery and this phase of the project is done. 

Wednesday 2 March 2016


Hello to my new followers!

Had a bit of fun finishing off the basing of the last few cowboy miniatures so I now have a complete posse:

Of course, I say complete... I might have wandered on to Artizan Designs to treat myself. After all, there is surely no such thing as too many cowboys...

As it happens, I found one that I had forgotten about, so painted him up as Sy Tolliver from Deadwood.

This is a slightly different style to my usual paintjob, mainly caused by my trying to get a handle on the new brush. I've also noticed that the most recent sculpts I've bought have tended toward much sharper edges, lending themselves more toward the harder edge highlighting you see here. Has anyone else noticed a slight change in sculpting style over the last few years?

I also, heartened by my success with the standing stones, decided to make some scatter terrain. In this case, cacti:

Simple sculptures from super-sculpey (in one case Fimo) and a quick paint job. Quick, simple and fairly effective.