Commanders, a wargame digest

Commanders, a wargame digest


Dear Diary - a rolling 6 months of comment

26 Jun 2022

Quatre Bras

Been running through a game of Quatre Bras. In the Jours de Gloire series (boardgame).

The rules are not particularly long, but they have a lot of nuance and the ruleset has been constantly in my hands - though it has given rewarding play.

I have read through the rules several times as they embed. The game was good enough to justify a write-up, which will follow over the next few days.

23 Jun 2022

Command figures for 1066

The new command base mentioned below has arrived and it is splendid. A couple of unpainted command figures were ordered at the same time and I have just primed William, Harold and his two brothers.

So all of a sudden, I have a full complement of 1066 command as a starter to the project.

Details of all the figures are on the blog in a new post. LINK

23 Jun 2022

Preparing for Quatre Bras

This is the double package (Waterloo and Quatre Bras) that I picked up from the Phalanx show on Saturday.

A boardgame in the Jours de Gloire series from Canons en Carton. This is an updated edition of the 2015 (anniversary) game.

I have just started going through the rules, which are a little involved,  but they do seem to reflect the period nicely and I think once a few turns are played, it will click into place.

There are two counter sheets, so the first was cut and clipped last night and the other will hopefully get done today, so that there are no obstacles to getting this to the table.

One of the things that I really like the look of is that formations are activated when their chit is drawn from a cup, but the last chit is never drawn, so one formation will not get to go. Some formations have two activation chits, which ensures that they will always get to go, even if it is their ‘other’ chit that is the last to be drawn.

21 Jun 2022

Adding railway terrain

The 1/72 Pocket Armies project has been in need of a terrain boost, so the bits gathered over time to do a railway have gone onto the workbench.

I have made enough for 6’ of track, with a side branch to an engine shed, plus a stand alone signals box.

There is a post over on the blog that discusses the building process. LINK

21 Jun 2022

A bit of posh!

This lovely base is winging its way to me. It represents a crusades scene, with a mounted soldier and foot soldier, plus 3 monks.

I am advised that they are all Perry sculpts and painted to a high standard.

Now here’s the thing, although slightly out of period, it will be my intent to use this as a command base for the 1066 project.

19 Jun 2022

Phalanx 2022 (UK) wargame show

Nice to see this show opening its doors again. I had a great time there and came away with a few things that I hadn’t even thought about getting, so that added something to the day.

Bigger buys were the new Epic Prussians from Warlord Games in their ‘hot off the press’ starter set and a new boardgame from Canons en Carton, which contains two battles, one covering the whole of the Waterloo battle and the other giving a detailed look at Quatre Bras, so I shall look forward to delving into that package.

I have put a full show report over on the blog. LINK

13 Jun 2022

Painting base by base!

I have always batch painted typically around 16 figures at a time or more if the ‘unit’ needed it, such as 18 figures for my ACW and 20 for my napoleonic.

However with much of May being very unproductive on the painting side of things, I decided to get the brushes going again by just painting on a base by base method. Obviously with less figures per session, a final result is quickly obtained, which hopefully will get the painting mood back again. 

Here, a WWII Soviet Maxim machine gun team (AB. 20mm figures) was started today, with a block paint. Later I will do the quick tidy up, wash and then highlight, with a view to varnishing tomorrow. They are metal, so they get two coats, a gloss followed my a mat. They can be based the following day.

Yesterday a base of 5 painted riflemen were varnished in the morning and then put onto their 60mm base in the evening.

So it may be small bits each day, but it is regular and progress is progress.

12 Jun 2022

Latest Miniature Wargames

Issue 471 has hit UK shop shelves.

A new series by Konrad Kinch has started for a Cold war Black Ops scenario and the Live Free or Die (from Little wars TV) rules have a part 3 to cover the War of 1812 and this time, the battles of Thames Rover and Chippawa.

Jon Sutherland’s Command Decision series is in Rajasthan, India, 1804 and there is an article called Lion Rampart, a siege campaign for Lion Rampant. They are using a 6’ x 4’ table and there are rules for ladders, siege towers and rams in addition to the more general aspects of siege warfare.

Finally, the front cover feature is ‘Lost UFO’, which is based around the TV show in the 70’s called UFO and uses SHADO vehicles etc with hex based terrain tiles inspired by the GW game, Lost patrol.

I think it will be the Live Free or Die article that will get my prime attention, but as always, an overall good read.

11 Jun 2022

Splitting EPIC bases

The standard Epic infantry strip fits onto a 60mm provided base, but there is a gap between the soldiers and this is disruptive to my eye, so I have moved to 55mm MDF bases (from Warbases).

I mentioned two posts below (and gave a link) of a YouTuber who was splitting his stands into 2 x 30mm. I quite like that functionality for making squares, road (march) column and movement over bridges look right, so I made up a test stand.

In the photo, front left is a 30mm Prussian line infantry stand on a 30mm MDF base and next to it, the raw raw plastic version. Behind is a 55mm MDF base of French infantry in long coats.

Individually the 30mm blocks look quite good, but you get a gap between them that catches my eye, which I had eradicated on the 55mm base and which I know will annoy to me. The solution would be to base to something like 27.5mm wide instead of 30mm in the same way that I have based the full strip on a 55mm base instead.

I’m not convinced that the extra work is worth the result.

9 Jun 2022

Prussian Tactics - Osprey

Looking at the free sprue that came with the recent Wargames Illustrated magazine, I noticed two blocks of figures that were different from the line infantry and it turns out that these are formed Jagers.

wondering how jagers were used in the Prussian army, I recalled having a book in my Kindle library called Prussian Napoleonic Tactics 1792 - 1815 from Osprey’s Elite series, by Peter Hofschroer.

what a fantastic title, crammed with the sort of detail that the wargamers yearn for. Battles and small actions are used to very good effect to explain the practical application of military training, while there are ample illustrations showing the organisation and intent of the evolving regulations. recommended!

9 Jun 2022

Something new with Epic 13.5mm

I was recently watching a YouTube video by Leon66 (link below), who is doing the Warlord Games waterloo Epic armies and he is cutting his infantry sprues down from 60mm frontages to 30mm frontages.

I thought it would be harder than he shows it to be, so I am presently using the free Prussian sprue that came with the latest Wargames Illustrated to have a little practice.

With the line infantry sprue (not the Landwehr one), it seems pretty straight forward and I will be able to show a completed single in a couple of days once the wash and varnish are dry.

I would normally be thinking of just using 2 x 60mm bases for a regiment for my smaller table, so four of these 30mm bases would be used instead and the only real benefit that I can see from doing this is that squares are easier on the eye than two back to back 60’s and the formation will be able to be shown in march column and move over 10mm scale bridges.

Anyway, we shall see. If it is not too much work, it may be worth it.

LINK - fast forward to just after the 8 minute mark to see the separation process.

6 Jun 2022

The Battle of Barnet 1471

The Piggy Longton narrative has a couple of threads running from it, one being the journey that King Henry is making back to London.

Now that Henry has left Piggy Longton, his story would no longer be of interest to the Dungborough Chronicles that record the ongoing machinations of my ‘Imaginations 1471’ campaign.

However, the issue of kingship is important and whether Henry survives the threat of Edward’s advances for the throne.

So we can turn to a boardgame to play out the historical battle of Barnet and feed those results back into our figures campaign.

There is an account of the battle on the blog. LINK

5 Jun 2022


The good weather allows for a couple of jobs. Firstly, some grey rattle can primer on the metal 1066 figures shown below (William, Harold and his two sons) and another batch of eight metal AB WWII Soviets.

Secondly, regarding the hills that I picked up at Partizan from The Tree Fellas, these are constructed from polystyrene (the ball type) and have cliff type edge to each of the four corner, which I have decided to remove and smooth down.

It is a messy job, so doing it in the doorway of the open garage just makes life easier and for all of the waste to still be collected. A saw knife re-sculpted the corners (and one of my knuckles!) and then ready mixed filler with green emulsion paint was added to give a new surface.

The filler took two days to dry properly before it could be sanded (again in the open air) and painted brown. Once dry it was flocked using thinned PVA to bond.

Over the next day or so I will be getting the boardgame ‘Men of Iron’ to the table, to play the Barnet scenario. I am using this to establish the kingship part of the ongoing Piggy Longton imaginations narrative, as King Henry makes his way back to London, amidst gathering rebel forces.

2 Jun 2022

Introducing Sword & Spear

For our face-to-face session this week, we just had a simple small game of Sword & Spear to introduce Mike to the rules.

Both sides had a similar number of units / army points and break points, but with a couple of different unit types on each side to help a wider application of the rules.

The rules are relatively short compared to how such things can be, but they are crammed with nuance, so moving a few units against each other is a good way for the rules to slowly reveal their nature and subtly. 

The game went well and was enjoyed by both of us. The Yorkist centre didn’t seem to wake-up at all! But their flanks (levy!) did put on an energetic display, with the right pushing aside enemy bill and then under the pursuit rules crashed forwards into Lancastrian archers.

As the mounting losses amongst the Lancastrian ranks worsened, not helped by the discipline test caused by routing units, their army broke, just as their Men-at-Arms were getting into decent attack positions. All told …. a successful session with a nice bit of eye candy.

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8