Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Miller's Tale Podcast episode 7 update

If you've been having trouble playing Episode 7 on Firefox, try again, as I have just remembered the config change I forgot to bring across from the old server :D Thanks to one of the four Dave Brown's I know (three of whom are wargamers) for reporting the issue.

Some 95th, and a club notice

I got my first batch of 95th back from my painter last night - very nice they are, too.

They're from either the now defunct Alban Miniatures or Offensive Miniatures - I think the latter -  except the mounted officer, who is, I'm fairly sure, Foundry, and the bloke in the top hat and stolen Rifles jacket, who is from Eagle Miniatures' Spanish guerrillas. Huge thanks to Tom, who clearly sees and wields a brush better than I do :D

In other news, becoming fed up of how easily the newer Army Painter paints separate, such that your first squeeze from a bottle of (say) Desert Yellow can be completely clear, I bought a paint shaker (OK, Amazon sell them as nail varnish shakers, but since neither the wife or I paint our nails, it won't get misappropriated, which is more than can be said for at least two kitchen knives so far :D)

In other other news.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: If the only means you have of getting news about Peterborough Wargames Club is reading my blog, then:

  1. Sign up to our forum and/or Facebook group.
  2. We are MOVING VENUES for the next three Mondays (1st, 8th, 15th) to HERE, as in where I am typing this, while the St. John's folks redecorate the whole place. More details on the club site and FB group.
On which score, I've just spent an hour rearranging things in the terrain workshop half of the studio so we can fit three scenery cupboards, 36 baseboards and three gaming tables in (which includes solving problems like 'where do the Omaha boards go?' :D

Monday, 24 June 2019

Battle Report - 24 Jun 2019 - "Villa Santa Anna"

View from above the farm, looking S.
Another IABSM Lite scenario, set in Italy '44 again. The British (Carl, Rod) are tasked with taking the farm of Santa Anna, a German (Colin) strongpoint. They have a troop of Churchill NA75s, a carrier section and two infantry platoon, as well as a Vickers - ranged against them are two understrength German platoons, a couple of MG42s, a StuG, and their CO's new pride and joy, an SdKfz 251/10. Probably a hand-me-down from elsewhere :D

The valley becomes rather a killing ground....
The Germans went for a fairly agressively forward deployment, with an infantry section on the E/W road, the StuG in the vineyard and the half-track by the avenue of trees leading up to the farm.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it got a bit bloody when the first British platoon deployed off blinds in the field, and then waded in to close assault one of the German sections. Result, 1-0 to the boys in khaki, as the survivors hightailed it to the farm.

Reconnaissance in force....
About that point, the two MG42s (one in the farm, one in the villa by the vineyard) as well as the Vickers which had deployed in the church tower, all opened up on the area of the field, and turned into something of a killing ground. It's fair to say none of the units involved in that scrap around the field did much useful for the rest of the game, not helped by the StuG popping up and dishing out HE and the inevitable pins. Meanwhile, over on the German right, the other platoon was dug in by the avenue, and the British sent the carriers and the other platoon that way, behind a heavy screen of 2" mortar smoke (I'll say this for Carl, he never fails to follow that bit of the British manual!)

After taking some fire from the carriers, that platoon fell back to the farm, and took up some carefully loopholed positions along the south wall.

The carriers and the blind carrying the other platoon carried on with their sweep around the German right, while the Churchills deployed off blinds, offloaded on the StuG twice each and to a man, missed. Wisely, Colin took this as a cue to be somewhere else, pulling it back onto the hill, and the British elected to deepen the smoke around that area anyway, causing the next few runs through the deck to result in quite a bit of 'no, can't see that for the smoke'. Bit of a two edged sword.

The halftrack deployed, missed the Churchill it could see once and had a second bounce off the armour. The Churchill inexplicably chose not to return fire but advanced into the smoke with its troop-mates. After a couple more rounds of jockeying for position one Churchill pulled back and nailed the 251/10, causing the CO to have to bail and then dodge a fusillade of small arms fire from the remains of the platoon in the field.

About then we called it for time: pretty clear that one StuG was unlikely to take out all the Churchills (although in campaign history it's not been unknown!). At which point, the armour support can pound the farm till the occupants are pinned, and the flanking force can go in. Almost certainly a British victory.

Thanks as ever to my players Colin, Carl and Rod, and to Rich and Nick for an excellent set of rules. 

Sunday, 23 June 2019

The Miller's Tale - Episode 7

Episode 7: In which Mike talks about umpiring. And the obvious elephant in the room...

Links to things mentioned in the podcast
If there's anything I missed, please let me know. I'm keen for any feedback, obviously enough - you can comment here, or if you'd rather it wasn't public, by email to podcast@the-mill-house.org.uk

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Ok, that's not what I expected to run out of...

Finished painting the SdKhz 251. Decided I probably need a paint shaker, since the newer AP colours and some of the Vallejo's seem very prone to separate. As a side effect of this, the Vallejo camo brown dried surprisingly glossy, so after a ink wash (in itself semi-gloss) I figured it could stand a coat of AP Anti-shine....

Picks up first can. Very empty sounding rattle.

Picks up second can. Even more empty sounding rattle.


Let history record there was just enough to do the half-track, with several vigorous re-shakes.

I wonder if Reuben still has any in left-over stock?

(And yes, I do know I was out of Balkankreuz decals, but that's another issue :D)

Friday, 21 June 2019

PSC SdKfz 251, some discoveries...

Undercoated and ready to roll - note the masking tape loop
it's tacked on to.
One of the side-effects of yesterday's scenario writing is that I decided the German CO needed a SdKfz 251/10 (the 37mm PaK variant).

Usefully, I have a stash of Plastic Soldier Company boxes sitting on the shelf which includes at least 2 boxes of 251/D's, as well as the box for the conversion kit which allows you to turn the vanilla 251 into a Stummel (75mm short), 37mm, Flamm or 81mm mortar carrier.

Have to say, nice kit: goes together easily barring the external MGs, which can be a little fiddly to get off the sprue without damaging them. Still, it looks the part, and shouldn't take long to pretty up to tabletop standard. As an aside, the 250 kit is IMO slightly better as you get more variants (any at all, in fact!) in the vanilla box.


  1. a loop of masking tape, sticky side out in both directions, makes a great holder for a model when you're wielding spray undercoat. Tip nicked from the folks at Crimson Guitars, who actually usually superglue two bits back-to-back for the same effect - basically reasonably sticky but low tack tape.
  2. Revell Contacta and PSC plastic is for some reason not a good combination - for me at least the solvent doesn't produce a sticky surface very fast - in fact it makes their plastic stick to fingers better than to itself
  3. Thanks to Tom Webster-Deakin for the tip on how to unblock a liquid poly nozzle - hold it in a gas flame till it's red hot, and the glue vaporises, then dunk it in cold water. Works a treat.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Scenario writing for IABSM

As I'm running a game at the club on Monday, and most of the players have probably seen the one I ran at OML7, I guess I need to write another.

Time to dig out my fictional collection of units. I know I could research some historical units for the area of the Gothic Line, but the Hereward Fusileers (an infantry regiment), the Mercia Light Horse (Churchill NA75s), the Granta Yeomanry (Shermans), the 223rd Field Regiment of the RA, and those dashing chaps from 93 Squadron RAF have acquired themselves some history and backstory, as well as (once I'm done with the designs) a complete set of custom cards from Artscow (once I've figured out why Silverlight has stopped working on my browser!)

Ranged up against them as ever are their usual foes, the 741 Grenadier Battalion and their ragtag collection of armour support (sadly, Unteroffizer Jurgen Honisch is still waiting repairs on his beloved Tiger 1E after a lucky hit from a verdamnt Firefly in the defence of San Marco). 
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