Monday, 29 April 2013

The Battle of St. Weonards

News has just reached your correspondent of a recent battle near the Welsh border at the village of St. Weonards.

It appears that the Reverend Meredith has got himself into trouble by splitting from the local Anglican League to go preaching around the Welsh border, drawing the attention of both the Welsh Nationalists and the Royalists...

I've been pointed in the direction of the Gloucester wargames club down in Lydbrook and this VBCW battle, as reported on Matt's Gaming Page. Please take a look, and also have a butchers at Matt's website at Glenbrook Games and Painting Service.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Unity and The Grey Lady

I wanted to expand my small collection of armour and so decided to take a punt on an eBay seller who is producing not-quite-historical resin tanks at ridiculously cheap prices, and here are the results…

First up is a medium tank for my BUF and Blackshorts, christened ‘Unity’, after one of the infamous Mitford sisters.

She being a BUF beast, I was content to spray her with black undercoat, drybrush on some mud and add a couple of transfers I had knocking around. The BUF symbol was printed out, stuck on with PVA and then painted over.

In response however, the Anglican League has built her nemesis, the Grey Lady – an absolute monster of a tank and a serious lump of resin!

I had to add the MG barrels on the sponsons but that was it. Both models came undercoated in grey and being a lazy so-and-so I decided to simply apply a wash and then do a little drybrushed highlighting and weathering.

Eagle eyed readers may spot a few small transfers – enough to make it interesting but nothing faction-specific so I can use her for any force.

Here are a couple of comparison shots…

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Tân yn Llŷn Brigade

My latest unit, the Welsh nationalist Tân yn Llŷn brigade.

Tân yn Llŷn infantry
Command team
Figures are mainly Brigade games Russian Civil War shock troopers, with the occasional head or weapon swap. The tricolour flag is based on the colours of the Urdd Gobaith Cymru (Welsh League of Hope/Youth), a Welsh youth movement founded in 1922.

Welsh Nationalists in Herefordshire
Considering Herefordshire’s long border with Wales, it is not surprising that there has been a Welsh nationalist presence in the county since the civil war erupted.

Welsh fighters fought for the Anglican League during the first clashes with the Royalists and in return the Bishop of Hereford did nothing to interfere with the spread of Welsh nationalism from North Wales down into the border counties of Radnorshire, Brecknockshire and Monmouthshire – not necessarily fertile ground for the nationalists, but nonetheless capable of sustaining a presence.

This salient into south Wales was able to survive not least in part by having a friendly Herefordshire to the east and only a semi-effective Royalist presence to the West – a presence largely offset by the Socialist ‘Little Moscows’ of the mining 'distressed areas' who were sympathetic towards the more left-leaning elements of Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru.

With the defeat of the Herefordian Anglican League and their retreat to Ross, this salient changed from a useful buffer zone to a vital supply line from the main nationalist areas of North Wales. The formation of the nationalist ‘Mountain Goats’ illustrates how both the Welsh were prepared to safeguard this mountainous route and thus keep the Royalists occupied with the Anglicans on the south Wales border.

The Welsh further assisted their allies with the formation of the Tân yn Llŷn brigade, named after the famous incident that was partly responsible for the explosion of nationalism in Wales. The Tân yn Llŷn brigade consisted of volunteers from throughout the Celtic fringe, including Cornishmen, Breton nationalists, Basque refugees and even second/third generation Welsh and Scottish from the Americas.

Armed and equipped from allies in Europe via cover organisations such as Yr Undeb Pan-Geltaidd (the Pan-Celtic League) and clad in locally made uniforms, this ‘brigade’ is intended to act as a core of ‘regulars’ around which local militias can be rallied when the time comes for the Welsh to once again march to the aid of the Anglican League or defend the precious salient.

Welsh nationalist officer
Welsh HMG team

Friday, 19 April 2013

Sitting On the Fence

A couple of weeks ago I made a chance discovery whist emptying our document shredder.

My wife likes to laminate our National Trust membership cards in order to make them a little tougher, and, as we’d just received our new cards, had put the old one in the shredder.

I discovered the semi-shredded remains of this card, heavily scored, but still held together by the laminate, and thought, as only wargamers/model makers do, ‘I could use that…’

So I cut the card in half, glued some thin plastic strips horizontally onto each half, added some bits of sprue and hey presto! A couple of plank fences made without the hassle of having to glue individual planks onto a frame!

20,000 Views Competition Thingie!

Thanks folks for your continued support of my humble blog and all your kind and encouraging comments.

It's becomming customary for bloggers to offer up a competition on occasions such as this, and as I have entered a few myself, it's  only fair that I reciprocate.

As such, I'm offering to do a write-up for a VBCW unit belonging to one lucky follower.

All you need to do is publically follow this blog and in the comments section below, tell me where your VBCW games are set (county or town etc) and what faction your chosen unit belongs to.

At the end of May I will draw the entries out of a hat and, after a little research, will make up a 'history' and write some cobblers for your unit!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

I Believe That Children Are the Future

I often read with jealousy the various wargaming blogs and forum threads that show proud dads introducing their offspring into the world of tabletop gaming. From a tender age these kids, usually sons, pick up some simple, often homebrewed rules, some eye-catching miniatures and away they go.

At the time of writing my eldest is 4, and is possibly the fluffiest girly girl you’re ever likely to meet. If it isn’t pink and doesn’t have fairy wings then she isn’t interested. Couple this with the fact that she has picked up on her mum’s distain of the hobby, and you can be pretty sure that she isn’t going to be rolling a D10 for morale any time soon.

Or so I thought…

Having chucked my minis willy-nilly into their boxes after the last VBCW game, I was putting them into some kind of order in the living room when the fluffy female one offered to help out. I didn’t think she would understand ‘okay, please sort the pseudo-fascists from the socialists’ and so instead tasked her with grouping together all my Twiggy Mommet protestors – ‘the ones with the scary masks’.

Amazingly she set to work without a twitter of protest (the same cannot be said when asking her to tidy her room) and asked (joy of joys) ‘Daddy, how do you wargame?’

Long story short, next thing I know she’s lining up her Disney princess dolls and we’re ‘wargaming’ on the carpet. Her rules consisted of rolling a large novelty D6 and moving each princess (mine wore a fetching orange ball gown) forwards that number of paces. The various toys strewn across the room became hazards, the worst being a wooden hippo that would ‘poo on your dress’ if you landed on it.

Her princess (Snow White I believe) quickly outpaced mine (not surprising considering the number of 6s she rolls during Junior Monopoly) and reached the toybox (our intended goal it transpired) way ahead of my orange Cinderella.

So there’s hope yet! You never know, she might start going along to a few games to fight alongside her old dad - especially if she keeps on rolling those 6s!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Radio Gaga! The Battle of Marcle Ridge

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In which what was initially going to be a small bash at Giles’ place quickly turned into a two-table scrap of Big Game proportions at the village hall!


In planning the game, Giles and I decided to once again set the action around the Much Marcle area, this time focussing on a local landmark, the TV transmitter at Marcle Ridge. As this transmitter wasn’t erected until the 1960’s, we changed the scenario so that the Royalist/Fascist forces had built a radio transmitter on the site and the dejected Anglican League was now obliged to destroy it.

With the sudden increase in players (us local VBCW nuts were joined by some of Giles’ Warhammer chums) and a second table on the cards, we quickly knocked out another scenario, in which workers at the nearby cider factory had been shanghaied into the royalist ranks. In order to keep these reinforcements from joining the defence of the station, the rebels also had to keep them occupied by attacking the factory. A full background was therefore written thus:-

The second battle of Ledbury saw a battered and dejected Anglican League force retreating back towards Ross-on-Wye. Luckily for them, the so-called Diocese of Archenfield was spared a further royalist/fascist onslaught as government forces, mindful of rebel groups still lurking in the Malvern Hills, concentrated on consolidating their gains.

As the Anglican League withdrew from Ledbury, a half-hearted BUF pursuit was bravely countered by a small rear-guard of Malvern Hills Conservators at Little Marcle. Soon a poorly-defined front line was established among the fields, villages and hills between Ledbury and Ross, with the landowners sandwiched in the middle switching allegiances as they saw fit.

This gave the local Anglican League leader, Brigadier Gideon Langnecke, time to reassemble, re-train and re-equip his forces while the government dawdled. He also began an effective propaganda campaign, made easier by the increasingly heavy-handed royalist rule over the county. Langnecke turned the unknown whereabouts of the Bishop of Hereford, the King’s attempt to gain possession of the treasures of Hereford Cathedral and the massacre of Twiggy Mommet protestors to his advantage, spreading discontent throughout Southern Herefordshire.

The royalists, mindful of the growing Anglican-fuelled discontent in the county, decided to indulge in a spot of counter-propaganda and, moving through the porous frontier between royalist and rebel areas, set up a radio transmitter on Marcle Ridge: a steep and narrow hill running north-south near the village of Much Marcle that overlooked the Ledbury-Ross road.

Soon the airwaves over Archenfield were being swamped with government speeches, royal proclamations and exhortations by Prime Minister Mosley for all rebels to lay down their arms. Langnecke’s work was being undone and the already precarious morale of his troops was plummeting.

He resolved to capture the transmitter – a task complicated by the fact that workers at the cider factory in Much Marcle had been pressed (pun intended) into service as a Royalist militia, reinforced by the South African rugby players who had taken part in the 2nd Battle of Ledbury. Langnecke therefore planned to keep this militia busy with a show of force at the factory whilst simultaneously advancing on Marcle Ridge up the gentler eastern side. Thus a patrol was sent out to disperse the small squad guarding the transmitter before both sides returned to their headquarters to report the situation, leaving the ridge unoccupied.

The scene was set for the next battle in Herefordshire – a battle for the hearts and minds of the county!
The players were briefed and asked to build a force using a platoon generator, and a couple had also taken the trouble to write some background: namely Roo for his South Africans and Gavin A for his Anglican League:-

Gavin A: 
My Anglican squad(ies) will be will known as Verity’s Van-guards*, led by Rev R R Verity, formerly newspaper editor of the Worcestershire Regiment, who, in all Christian conscience, could not support either the adulterous King or the godless Mosley despite most of the rest of the former regimental neighbours siding with that faction. As an “associate member” of a regiment, Verity understands the need for war as a last straw, which for Verity himself came when the BUF commandeered the vicarage in the village of Norton as accommodation for several of the nearby barracks’ ladies of dubious reputation, making him homeless in the process. A day’s walk over the Malvern Hills to the other side (figuratively and literally) saw Verity accept the shilling (and accompanying Lee Enfield) of the Bishop of Hereford in the Ledbury area. He hopes that his newspaper editing skills will come in handy for countering the insidious propaganda of the BUF and “King”, if the Anglicans ever capture this radio tower that is…
*Their first duty as a newly formed squad was to guard the cattle and farm-produce railway vans at Ledbury and Tarrington stations… the nickname stuck.
Reequipped following the 'skirmish' around Ledbury to suit both the English climate and continuing conflict the Pretoria Rifles Platoon led by Major GJ 'Stokkies' Joubert have decided to continue to fight for the King.  Always up for a scrap some of the Platoons cooks and Orderlies have stepped into the ranks to create a somewhat inexperienced 3rd section (replacing casualties suffered in their first combat)  For some reason the Herefordian local ladies rather like the strange accents and bronzed torsos so the attractions of staying outweigh the adventurous undertaking of trying to return home.  So much so one rather accommodating individual known locally as 'Lady Welly Top', who 'welcomed' the entire platoon over a single weekend, was convinced to recreate the Regimental Standard, albeit with some local twists.
Roo also volunteered to scratch build the radio transmitter site: 
In the site of a long abandoned shallow quarry in towards the crest if the ridge the Royalist forces had established their small transmitter station consisting of a Nissen hut, radio shack and privy.  The transmitter itself being over 30ft high was originally intended as a temporary solution but the necessity of getting construction material to the top of the ridge and the 'enlistment' of a local father and son electrician (perfectionists both) and Frank 'the shovel' Evans ensured the site was built to last.  Scant attention was made regarding security, a mere couple of slit trenches, mere scrapes in the earth and the recycling of some locally appropriated barbed wire serving to keep out any unwelcome visitors.
So table 1 would represent Marcle Ridge – a raised area running along the length of the table, one side heavily wooded and the other flanked by a farm.

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The dastardly Captain Arrowsmith and the BUF (played by Richard and Scott) would fight over the station with an Anglican League force led by Tym and Anthony.

Table 2 represented the cider factory and the orchards and open countryside around it.

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Langnecke and the Reverend Verity (me and Gavin A) would demonstrate outside the factory, held by Roo South Africans and Gavin H’s Stowford’s Pressed militia.

The Battle

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The Rev'd Verity's platoon deploys
So once again I will present to you a perspective of the battle from table 2, where Gavin A and I decided to fulfil our brief by simply keeping the royalists busy and keep them from marching off to support their fascist allies at the ridge. Our plan was to advance and cause as much mayhem as we could, luring them into thinking that an assault on the factory was underway.

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Langnecke's platoon deploys
Should they counterattack, then we would pull back and still them busy. Should we be able to actually capture the factory, then all the better!

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Defending the cider factory
Rev. Verity’s platoon (2 sections of militia, a section of Welsh nationalists, a sniper, mortar/spotter team, LMG team and an armoured tractor) arrayed in the open countryside. My (Langnecke’s) platoon (3 sections consisting of the Archenfield LDV, Archenfield Amateur Athletics Association and Ex-Serviceman’s Temperance Society militia, 2 tankettes, sniper, HMG team, LMG team and a horde of Twiggy Mommet protestors) advanced along the road and through the orchard at right-angles to Verity.

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Langnecke advances
Facing me, Joubert’s South Africans lined the stone factory walls and let loose a withering fire as soon as my forces came into range, halving the number of Temperance Leaguers. My MGs responded in kind, but while causing a few jitters, did little damage to the well-entrenched enemy.
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Joubert's boys hold firm
Meanwhile Verity’s troops advanced slowly under sniper and mortar fire, especially the mortar spotting team that had taken shelter behind an abandoned royalist roadblock and was directing a somewhat ineffective counter shelling.

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Verity's cautious advance
Slowed down but protected by the orchard, my LDV now joined the firing line against the South Africans, relieving the battered Temperance Leaguers who retired behind the tankettes and HMG, which continued to rake the stone walls despite near-continuous jamming.

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LDV advancing through the orchards
The Athletics team was sent to my extreme left, where they dug in along a hedgerow in order to either to threaten the defenders’ flank or wait in reserve as conditions dictated, The scarecrows plugged the gap between them and the orchard, loosing off whatever firearms they had while the remainder waited impatiently for an excuse to charge with their scythes and pitchforks.

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Athletes and scarecrows move up
While Langnecke grappled with the South Africans, the Stowfords Pressed men held their mostly shotgun armed militia in reserve, happy to keep Verity occupied with their longer range weapons  (including some wonderfully effective speculative mortar fire) from the factory buildings. With his spotters cut down by sniper fire and his unsupported advance section similarly blasted away by the defenders, the Reverend ‘s advance began to stall. His armoured tractor reached the defence works and began to rake the South Africans but was severely rattled by return fire.

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Verity's men under fire
The Pressed men’s mortar continued to wreak havoc, eventually landing squarely into the HQ group, blasting Verity, his command team and mortar into right-reverend little pieces! Luckily his remaining force passed their morale tests and, picking off bits of vicar, continued to advance and fire, keeping the factory defenders occupied.

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Perched on the chimney high above the factory, the South African sniper duelled it out with my sniper, ensconced up an apple tree. Both marksmen scored accurate hits, but neither managed to wound the other and continued to exchange shots from their eyries until the end of the game!

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South African rout
By now my forces’ fire finally began to tell on the South Africans, forcing their infantry sections to rout. Their positions were taken up by their command team and elements of the Stowfords militia, who would have also felt the sting of Anglican wrath, had every single piece of automatic weaponry not jammed at the same time! I bought the Athletes out of cover to help deal with these reserves (In retrospect I should have taken advantage of their longer range and used them and the scarecrows against the Stowfords militia much earlier on in the game), but by now the sun was setting and it was time to pack it in and put the kettle on.

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Athletes finally get going
We called the overall result a draw. The royalists had held the factory, but we had achieved our objective of keeping them off table 1. However news from that front was far from encouraging, for the BUF had managed to gain and hold the radio station. The Anglican League had fought with tenacity, but had been unable to dislodge the fascists from the ridge, which in itself had proved to be a difficult barrier to surmount. (Rich's account can be found here.)

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Action from table 1
Despite the outcome we had had yet another smashing days gaming! The participants were gentlemen all, the terrain was amazing, the catering was top-notch, rules were discussed and dissected and much fun was had by all. More photos can be found here, while umpire Giles’ view of things can be found here, here and here.

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More fighting on the ridge
I’ll leave the last word to Roo, AKA Stokkies Joubert :-
Communications have been sent home to South Africa calling for volunteers to restore the ranks of the recently formed Kings Own Pretorian Springbok Rifles (A volunteer legion of South Africans serving the King).  Badly mauled during the recent attack on the Westons Cider Factory the roster showed only two squads available for duty.  Stokkies Joubert has sworn to avenge his fallen comrades and has resigned his official commission to allow him to lead the Legion on to glory.  Determined to furnish his legion with artillery and suitable transport for a mechanised formation his scouts have been scouring local auctions for suitable items.  The search for a sniper worthy of the title may take a little longer however!

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The radio station remains in fascist hands

Thursday, 11 April 2013


Some motorised support for the Anglican League in the form of two little tankettes - a pair of converted smaller scale tanks that I bought second-hand from the Lead Adventure Forum.

The seller has done a great job making these, but I feel I've been rather heavy handed with the quickshade and drybrushed weathering. (Note that that gaming mat they've been photographed on is actually a green towel, bought for solo skirmish gaming purposes but yet to see action!)