This Week


Lock ‘n Load Tactical - SOLO

This is the new package from Lock ‘n Load that provides an AI for solo players. I am not particularly a big fan of pure solitaire systems as for many years I seem to have quite adequately been able to play both sides in a variety of games equally and fairly and without my head exploding!

Anyway, I have a lot of their stuff, so I thought I would give it a try and to keep an open mind. For whatever reason, the cover has simulated coffee stains or something, a bizare design choice to my eyes, as I try to keep everything I own prestine and crease / stain free and looking smart!

The system is based on the same mechanics that Academy Games use for their tactical game and this has been done by mutual arrangement. However, the difference here is that (1) the solo pack should work with all scenarios in the system and (2) there will be times when the player has to make a judgement call on behalf of the AI, so that some common sense is preserved. I quite like the idea of that balance.

Anyway, it is something that takes me out of my comfort zone, so that is probably a good thing..... watch this space! 

 Lock ‘n Load Tactical Starter Kit.

This is an update full printed version of the earlier starter kit that was download only.

The upgrade brings two 1944 West Front infantry only scenarios and two scenarios from Vietnam ‘68.

The package includes a starter rule book, two full colour maps in both the stadard and the extra large size, plus 130 counters that are die cut with pre rounded corners.

I have posted an overview of the package, supported by an AAR over on the blog at the link below.



Smolensk 20

On the table this week was a face-to-face game of Smolensk 20 from the Fading Glory quad by GMT.

I have played quite a few games in the series, but thought that this produced one of the most enjoyable games to date. The scenario seems nicely balanced, with objectives that result in a fluidity of manoeuvre as two distinct areas of battle open up.

There were plenty of lovely frustrating touches such as units find themselves just one hex away from giving the player the attack they wanted or being pushed out of positions that then set up a sequence of difficulties or being ready to launch an important attack, night fall p ut an end to that.

My favourite moment in the battle came as Russian Artillery joined in the battle and Napoleon and the Old Guard were forced to retreat back through and out of Smolensk. City fires then started, which significantly restricts the pace of movement through the city, so that both Napoleon and The Guard became isolated due to slow progress back through the city to reach the crossing points of the Dnieper River, effectively putting them out of action for rest of the second day.

This is a four day battle, but our game came to a natural close on the night of day two, as the Russian Morale crashed down to zero, but it had been a close affair as the French had been just one space behind them on the morale track. This scenario will be getting an early replay.

Also this week, all the re-printed Lock ‘n Load stuff came into the UK, so I filled some gaps (via Second Chance Games). It all looks very nice and I think some of this subject matter will be making an early appearance on the blog.


This is one of Zvezda’s fast build 1/100 (15mm) plastic kits. It has just five parts, so is ideal for wargame army building. I have put shots of the sprue and completed model over on the Painting Table Page.

The last Kallistra 12mm Blister pack has been painted and based. This is a six horse limbered artillery piece and has been in the painting pile for close to three years. The ACW project just needs some dismounted Confederate cavalry and the forces will be complete for the density of game that I do.

The fourth and last Confederate regiment from the Perry’s 28mm Battle in a Box set has been painted and attached to bases. The base paste has been added and just needs dressing. The four guns that come with the set have been glued together and put into position on their bases and primed. I have cut the long bases down to around 73mm to reduce the footprint of each gun and accordingly, it will just have three crew. There is an example over on the Painting Table page of a completed base that I did from a stand alone box set last year.


Battle for Fox’s Gap.

I have had a go at the scenario and really enjoyed it. It is historically based and the game went down to the wire, so I am happy with the scenario (thanks Jonathan) and with the rules, which seem. to have the tempo for action about right.

There is a full AAR over on the blog with supporting map and pictures.


A bit of a busy week. As mentioned previously, a fellow blogger has created a scenario for my Two Flags - One Nation rules, which I obvioulsy want to try. So to prep for it, I have painted my 12mm Kallistra mounted cavalry and having brought 20 of those cheap e-bay type trees and thinking they should go in the bin, my sudden need to expand my collection of woodland had me set to work to bring them up to scratch. That involved using mount spray glue, re-flocking, dipping in PVA solution and then basing etc, so a bit of space needed to be set aside for that production line. I should get my first game of this up in a couple of days (but still need dismounted Conferedate cavalry, so will have to use a proxy).

Painting the small stuff is getting harder for older eyes, so I bought a cheap opti-visor type gadeget (see above photo). It cost £20, From Transport Models (UK) which is cheap for these sort of things, but the quality seems adequate for my needs at this stage. Anyway, I used it to look at some 28mm’s and saw a buckle on a cross belt that I had not seen originally ..... so a useful thing that works, but may have me spending more time with detail.

I picked up my copy of Clash of Eagles, the latest Black Powder supplement that covers Napoleon’s 1812 campaign. 200 pages, packed with information and is beautifully illustrated. I also got the free Ney figure, he is on foot, holding onto his hat (in a blizzard kind of way), he has his fur edged long coat on and is stood next to a broken wagon or gun wheel. Nice touch.

Anyway, now enthused by all things 1812, on Friday for our face-to-face game, I put up the Borodino scenario from the Napoleon 20 series as presented in the Fading Eagles quad game from GMT. It gave a good game, looked a hard grind for the French and then suddenly from good manoeuvering, the French enveloped significant Russian forces and drove their morale level down to zero - instant victory. All done and dusted inside two hours, so a good choice for a short evening game.

Back to the painting table, my 4th regiment of Perry 28mm ACW Confederates, from their Battle in a Box system, got painted. They have been primed and sitting on their painting dowels for an embarrassing number of (many) months, but as of today, are painted, inked and ready for some highlighting / touch-ups. I am not 100% sure to what end I am working on these, but at least the painting poles will be freed up over the next day or two.

Finally, I picked up the Osprey’s 38(t) v BT-7 from their Duel series, from Waterstones bookstore. A nice book, giving an interesting and informative read. My attention is getting drawn to the early part of the war, so these sort of things help tread that unfamiliar territory. A passage from the book generated my latest blog post concerning high explosive shell against armloured vehicles - shown at the link below.