Sunday 30 June 2019

More basing thoughts

One of the problems with the last batch of bases is the Tamiya Desert Sand textured paint doesn't stick that well to the coins, and the PVA/sand doesn't either to the 'glossy' MDF surface of the movement trays/sabots.

I've just done a batch of bases and trays for the Spanish guerillas Tom painted for me a while ago, so this time, to see if it improves matters, I've started with a coat of Halfords matt black universal spray primer. (Note to self: I am now running out of said primer, so if it works I need to buy some more.)

More when I find time to do the next stages!

Saturday 29 June 2019

Miller's Tale episode 7 repost

There were, it appears, a number of issues some folks were having with the most recent podcast episode.
  • Like an idiot I added ID3 tags, which some podcast players don't like on M4A files. Thanks to Roger B-W for spotting this.
  • When I built the new server, I missed copying one change to a small but essential configuration file off the backup, which meant the episode wouldn't play in Firefox. Thanks to Dave Brown for reporting that.
  • I also changed the server that handles the podcast files from HTTP to HTTPS. This shouldn't make any difference, but you never know :D
  • Some podcast feed services cache the incorrectly-tagged version, so even though I fixed it you still might not have been able to play it. Thanks to Neil McGurk for flagging that this may be an issue.
So. Here's a fresh post, so it creates a new podcast feed entry, linking to a copy of the correct file, so the feed services can't cache it. If you've been having problems, try this and see if it resolves it.

Basing the 95th part 3 (and last)

Just the magnets to fit. The Warbases sabot bases/trays come optionally pre-drilled for 3mm magnets, and they also supply the magnets.

I'd have done this yesterday but I was out of superglue, so a quick trip to Hobbycraft for some Gorilla brush on was in order before I could do this.

The trick, I found, is to wiggle the glue-laden brush round inside the holes, put the base down on a bit of paper (making it easier to clean up if it sticks to it), and then feed in a stack of magnets. Make sure the bottom one is secure and flat in the hole, then slide the stack off to the side and repeat. This way, just in case it ever matters, all your magnets are the same way up.
And, just to prove it...

Friday 28 June 2019

Basing the 95th part 2

I was going to grab some photos of the intermediate stages in this process, but I was having too much fun and I forgot:

Basically the steps were:

  • Apply PVA
  • Dip in sand, allow to dry
  • Wash with AP String Tone
  • Overbrush with Vallejo Green Grey
  • Drybrush with Vallejo Dark Sand
  • Add AP grass tufts
  • Paint the edges and the holes in the sabot bases with Vallejo Green Grey
Done. And not so bad, though I say so myself.

As a side note, both the Valejo paints definitely benefitted from the new paint shaker.  I will definitely produce a video of that later   

Thursday 27 June 2019

Basing the 95th part 1

Started basing the 95th I got the other day.

Standard approach for my SP2 forces is going to be 20mm magnetic copper alloy discs (that's post '93 UK pennies to you), onto Warbases sabot bases with a magnet in, and then steel paper on the bottom of Really Useful boxes to hold them.

Stage 2, after supergluing to the coins, is Tamiya Desert Sand textured paint, as much for the bulk as anything else. Sadly this takes a while to dry, so that was it for today. Tomorrow, PVA, sand, another drying phase, I suspect.

(Yes, this is not my normal basing technique - I thought I'd try something different.)

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Moving a lot of boxes...

Ok. That's the club moved out till the third week in January.

Strangely enough I seem to have gone through my step count with several thousand to spare today :D

Kudos to Reuben for getting a LWB Transit through the St. John's arch, with about 6" to spare either side and the proximity sensors going mad!

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

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). 

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Next podcast.... almost in the can.

Just got the tops and tails, assembly edits, and the show links, to go  and we're good to roll.

Hoping to have this out over the weekend.

Tuesday 18 June 2019

World Anvil campaign design/documentation tool

I have been playing with World Anvil - essentially it’s a specialised Wiki-like tool for designing and documenting world settings for RPGs and the like - things like timelines make it great for this. .

I’m using it for my D&D world (and as such the main review will go in The Sage DM) but I’ve also just started using it to manage the complex background for Secret Project C (which is a setting for TFL’s Quadrant 13). Very impressed. More later. 

Monday 17 June 2019

Battle Report - 17-Jun-2019 - "Mike and the very bad no good dice rolls" - Pikeman's Lament

Not pretty, and getting less
pretty by the turn.
Today was a demonstration of the one real reservation I have about the Dan Mersey rulesets (Vicious Beast Rampant, MHWBK, etc). My (belated, because the chairman gets to drop out when numbers are unbalanced) first game in our Pikeman's Lament game.

So - attacker/defender scenario - Parliament attacks, I defend for King and Country. With this in mind, I pick a force with two veteran shot, a gun, a stand of pike and a couple of units of commanded shot, and let AndyM2 come at me.

Very wisely, he decides first volley from veteran shot is not his idea of a good time, so hangs off at a safe distance, and skirmishes with some commanded shot and dragoons...

And I cannot make morale rolls to save my life. Andy is scraping activation rolls by the skin of his teeth, and I'm by turns activating nothing, rolling double ones on morale saves... it's all horrid :D

Talk about being nibbled to death by ducks... every time: dragoons or shot skirmish, one kill, I fail a test, unit goes back... lather, rinse, repeat.

Can't even blame the new Lardy dice, as they were being reserved for shooting at things... which I hardly got to do :D

Sunday 16 June 2019

That's better...

Trip to Trains4U completed, trader form for show dropped off, Plastic Weld and Revell Contacta acquired. and a bunch more Dark Ages figures assembled.

Apart from the fact that the Revell poly cement does my head in every time I put it down, because I try and put it down on the end opposite the needle....

Also installed another wifi security camera on the outside of the studio, as a couple of undesirables appear to have had a go at the door with a crowbar last night. :(

Little toerags. 

Saturday 15 June 2019

Some Dark Ages figures...

Started on assembling some GB Dark Ages Warriors to improve my somewhat tatty Saxon warriors for Dux B.

One of those days - chasing down my polystyrene cement to discover that the thin applicator tube on all three was blocked, and none responded to application of fine needle/wire. And my EMA Plastic Weld bottle is 90% empty and has lost all its stick. Eventually resorted to using a brush into one of the pots of Revell cement, which is all very well but in my rather confined workshop the fumes can be a bit overpowering.

Still, I got 5 assembled and I can go to Trains4U (which I need to anyway) tomorrow, if they're open, to get some more Plastic Weld and poly cement.

The observant will notice I'm switching to 20mm round bases for these. Also, the other reason for these is I have some GW Contrast paints on order, and I want to try them out.

belated #hobbystreak from yesterday

Did some work on the compendium rules clarification section, as a couple of interesting questions have reared their head on social media. Need to check whether the last copy I sent to Rich for sanity checking is on Dropbox or a mail attachment, as if it’s the latter I need to send him an update. :)

Would’ve got this posted last night, but didn’t get in until 1 am after a gig with the band. (Thank you to Neil Shuck, missus & friend, who came across from Leicester to catch the party)

Thursday 13 June 2019

More admin and a review

Today's the advert deadline for at least one of the magazines we advertise the show in, so time to dig out the previous year's advert and make the necessary adjustments. (And double check we have the right logo and name for our sponsor - I think it's stopped changing now :D)

Also, over on the Sage DM, there's an extended review of Wonderdraft for those of you looking for a program for drawing maps. The review is more focussed on RPG world-building/cartography, but it's still a handy tool (see recent post) if you're drawing battle /scenario maps, as there are a load of top-down building etc symbols you can use, and optional grids including square and hex.

Wednesday 12 June 2019

Hereward Reminders

Show/club committee meeting tonight, so that's taken up much of my hobby activity for the day (along with moving stuff out of the studio into the workshop).

Permit me, then, to remind folks:

  • the deadline for our early bird discount on trade stalls is past. If you are still interested, please check out the Trade Application page on the show site. We're getting a bit tight for space, though, so you may end up on the waiting list
  • if you're interested in bringing a participation game to the show, the form for that is also on the website.

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Beach boards 15 - almost done (and a plane or two)

Took a bit of time to gloss spray the beach boards again, and add missing shingle to the bay and promontory boards.

Also assembled two Flames of War Hurricanes for Italy air cover, except that I've dropped a white metal prop spinner on the floor and I can't find it. Grrrr.

Just got a little bit of drybrushing on the promontory, and the waves left to do on all the beach boards, which I have to do outside, and it is hosing it down at present, so that'll have to wait for another day.

Monday 10 June 2019

Maps and dungeons

Surprisingly, this doesn't belong on The Sage DM.

I've been drawing a map for our trophy-winning Partizan game (of Men Who Would Be King) so AndyMac can submit it with his article for Wargames Soldiers and Strategy. You don't get to see all of it, because, well, we'd like you to buy the mag! But here's a snippet, again drawn using the rather fabulous Wonderdraft.

This evening at the club was testing out an Open Combat scenario written by Colin for our show in September - this one's a decidedly fun cooperative (or not so) dungeon crawl. Definitely a nice exercise of what is an excellent set of rules. 

Sunday 9 June 2019

Back from OML7

Where, needless to say, an excellent time was had by all :D

Many stunning tables, a lot of CoC and Sharp Practice, some complete insanity (yes, that is Trumpton... and it's partly my fault).

I ran an Italy '44 IABSM Lite scenario - essentially two platoons and a recce section each - in which the two sides were hunting a downed Fiesler Storch and the two German officers who'd escaped the forced landing with plans for some of the Gothic Line defences... Fascinating games both - definitely interesting demonstrations of the effect of some cards (e.g. Reconnaissance Bonus vs Rapid Deployment), and easily done in the time available.

Wednesday 5 June 2019

OML 7 is.... eep... the day after tomorrow...

And I have a band rehearsal tomorrow night which I had almost completely forgotten about.

So, best laid plans of mice and men and all that, tonight was spent tarting up the player handouts for my game, making sure I have all the figures I need (where DID I put the SdKfz 251 variants?), finding the trees, and generally getting organised. Just for once I'd like not to be madly packing the car mid-Friday afternoon.

Small side note on the grass from yesterday - the layering spray is a perfectly good fixative, and despite what I said in the video, no need to seal the end result with PVA.

Tuesday 4 June 2019

WarWorld Scenics grass layering video

I had a play with my test piece just now, and here's the results. With video, no less!

As you can see, there's the neck end of 10mm depth of grass on the board.

Monday 3 June 2019

A new RPG blog, and lots of club admin

I have created a new blog, as I have a need to brain-dump some stuff about rôleplaying games that doesn't really belong on here. It's at The Sage DM, and will cover such topics as general thoughts on the art of DMing, converting D&D 2E to 5E, email/play by Google Docs, cartography, DnD Beyond (becoming the game aid I wish I'd written), and so on. I don't know how much I'll be posting (by no means as regularly as here), but I wanted to have a place to talk about these things that isn't this blog. I may flag articles in it if they crossover with aspects of the wargaming hobby.

And I'm not counting it towards the #hobbystreak after this post :D

Tonight is club night, and for once I don't have a game, having played all of yesterday :D We did have a committee meeting to discuss what to do while St. John's Ambulance are decorating our venue in July, which we think we've sorted, so I've offloaded the keys for locking up to another mug committee member, and am headed home for an early night.

Plan for the week:

  • I need to cobble together a couple of MDF buildings for OML.
  • Record a podcast (now I know what I'm talking about!)
  • More Dux Compendium
  • Order some Citadel Contrast paints
  • OML! Beer! Curry! Lard Assembled! Wargames!

Sunday 2 June 2019

Posh Lard 2019

Done for another year.
The freshly re-grassed Omaha boards.
I am a bit pleased.

Excellent day's gaming: folks appeared to have fun getting shot at on Omaha Beach, and the other two games looked brilliant. Richard Crawley brought his Menton '40 game, which I have played and loved, and the Gravesend folks delivered a brilliant Sainte Mere Église table for a Big Chain of Command game.

Note to self from the latter, remember that houses have gardens. The table looked brilliant.

The Butcher of Omaha dishing it out.
Sadly I was too busy to grab more than a couple of pics, not helped by having to fix The Cricketer's World Cup score feed (thanks Carl for taking over Bloody Omaha for half an hour!)

Huge thanks to everyone who came (including a morning visit from Big Rich in a very natty striped jacket). See you next year!

Now? Knackered. Going to unload the car, ponder my next podcast (I know what I'm talking about, I'd just like to save it till I'm coherent) and maybe scan a few maps in.

Saturday 1 June 2019

Posh Lard prep, mapping

Today I've finished re-grassing the Omaha Beach boards... didn't think you'd really want photos as if you aren't fed up of the process by now, I certainly am :D

Also tarted up the Flames of War obstacle and barbed wire sets I picked up at Campaign. Just, you know, to make life harder for the Americans than it already is.

The car is packed. I'm sure I'm missing something :D

You will also notice on the left a stack of pots of basing grass, aka the stuff I've shaken off the boards once done. Should last me a while.

I've also been playing with Wonderdraft, a rather fabulous mapping program that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. It'll import existing maps and allow you to keep them as a tracing layer, or let you draw your own, with a wide range of symbols for everything from continent down to city-scale maps.  I was actually using it to produce a better version of the map for my old D&D campaign, but I could also see it being useful for (say) Sharp Practice campaign maps etc. 

For those of you who missed it on Twitter:
The original map - 42 (+6) sheets of hand drawn A4. Has been hiding under my wife's jewellery case on her bedroom chest of drawers (for no reason either of us can explain) for the last decade.
A scan of a printout of the first attempt to computerise it (and reduce it to a manageable size!) using Pro-Fantasy's Campaign Cartographer (which is all very lovely but Windows only). In about 1994.
Using the above as a master to trace over using Wonderdraft. Total time about 2 hours.

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