Wednesday, 20 November 2019

28mm ACW a little bit of everything

Bob has said that he haven't had our ACW figures out for some time and he is right.  

As I have mentioned, the old cancer has made a come back and whilst the consultant tells me my response to chemo last time was remarkable (7 months without the need for further treatment) who knows what will happen this time.  So just in case, I have various bits and pieces that I have made or Jack has made which have never been on the table so I decided to go the whole hog and put all those elements out.  So we have buildings: cattle; a ship; gunboats; a train; defences; potentially rebellious forces; cavalry; infantry; ships guns; naval crews and marines all in one place.  Heaven knows how the rules - or we will cope - but it may make for some pretty pictures if nothing else!

So this is the scenario.

In essence the Confederates are repairing their river raider (scratch built by Jack) and restocking it.  Supplies are being brought in by train (Sarrissa).  The Union aim is to capture it.  The Boilers are not working properly and require two turns of (not consecutive) D6 to light and get them moving.  It moves at 3 inches first turn.  The train must also be saved using the same formula as it has no steam.

If the union forces cannot be defeated, as many Confederate troops should be evacuated or give their all to get the ship away!

 The confederates have a small patrol boat armed with a small gun. Move at 3 inches

The Confederates have regular and militia troops

The Confederate raider has 2 guns and a ship’s crew who are on board.

A party of militia pickets look after the grazing cattle

There are a group of armed slaves working for the Confederates, but is their loyalty okay?  They are untested and on a roll of D6 will attack the defenders. There are some troops on the train – but how many?

The Union Forces

The Union force has as well as land based troops have a ‘Boat Squadron’ of marines and sailors who’s aim is to try to capture the Raider in tact by a surprise river attack.  Can they coordinate with the land forces?

This is the 'naval forces available - a unit of marines, armed sailors and gun teams.

Next is finding the time when I am up to playing the game!

Monday, 18 November 2019

To Stuart – A fond Farewell

Stuart Asquith's funeral is on Tuesday 19th November.  There have been many kind words spoken and written about his contributions to the hobby.  Up till now I have held off making my own because I had hoped to do them following the funeral which is being held in Cheltenham.  I had planned to take Jack or ‘Uncle Jack’ as he was known to Stuart’s children, with me but the dreaded cancer has decided to make a return and I have to have more chemo on the 19th so I can no longer attend.

So I thought I would share my thoughts and memories.  I first met Stuart at the Harrow Model Shop when it was on St Anne’s Road.  I had visited the shop before to buy Jacklex figures but this time I was going to purchase some Hinchcliffe ECW figures.  It was Saturday 31st March 1973.  It is hard to credit that it was so long ago.  I remember it because it was the day when Red Rum won his first Grand National and I won the sweepstake at work!   Stuart was so easy to talk to and gave me some useful advice on figures, the ECW and the size of ‘army’ to go for – 4 of foot, 2 of horse and a gun was the legend!  I walked out of the model shop with brown paper bags full of figures.  Not sure I paid the right amount.

After that I would go his house over at Rayners Lane, he would pick me up and drop me back at the station and we would wargame on his dinning room table, Stuart with pipe in hand.  I became an unofficial member of Stuart’s Rayners Lane Wargame Group, and he would regularly host games involving two or three players.  Stuart introduced me to Bob Black who I still wargame with and later to Jack himself. 

We used the bayonet rules for the ECW and worked our way through various armies and periods, swapping armies back and forth; SYW, Ancients, Napoleonic’s, ECW always adding a unit here and there.  On a memorable occasion we travelled up to Doncaster to stay with Stuart’s old wargame adversary and friend Terry Wise and I can boast that I shared a bed with Stuart! 

He was also great friends with Ted Herbert (when did wargamers stop wearing ties?)

I also know that he regularly met and spoke fondly of Charles Grant, unfortunately one of the wargame legend’s I didn’t meet.

Stuart’s writing was always important to him and I always felt he was trying to give something back to the hobby that he loved.  His army organisation, for whatever period were thought out and often recorded.  He, unlike me, knew when to finish his ‘army’ and move on to another period.

In December 1978 Stuart stepped into the breach to act as my best man, after my friend came down with flu the day before. 

Ahh, the days when I had hair!
 Eventually, Stuart and Beryl decided to move from London to North Leach in Gloucestershire.  He called me before he left and said did I want some 54mm figures.  Two Zafira car loads later my loft was groaning under the weight!

Jack and I went to visit Stuart and Beryl a couple of times and often spoke on the phone and then for whatever the reason we seemed to lose touch.  When Stuart heard about my cancer I got an amazing letter from him and we communicated again through snail mail and by phone.  In September with Bob and Jack on board I drove down to North Leach to meet Stuart and Beryl .  I was able to return lots of the 54mm figures to him. He had been unwell during the course of the previous year and having not seen him for some years I was surprised.  However, once we got upstairs and started opening draws and looking at figures the old Stuart was back.  His enthusiasm for the various periods and ranges he had collected was wonderful to behold and as always, he and Beryl were wonderful hosts. 

I had thought it would be the last time we would meet up largely because of my cancer, but little did I know.  Jack has joked that he would be waiting for me at the pearly gates, now hopefully it will be Stuart and we can resume our wargames were we left off so many years ago.

Many thanks Stuart for opening the world of wargaming to me

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Egyptians and Assyrians a first try!

Took my Assyrians over to Bob’s to take on his Egyptians this week.  To be honest it didn’t go well.  We both struggled to remember how the rules worked and really got bogged down trying to work out the morale outcome between the Assyrian and Egyptian chariots.  Firing was simple and I had drawn up an OOB sheet which Bob copied across to his army which made unit and class identification easy.   But in the end we were forced to abandon the game and resolve that we need to try some small scale actions solely to work things out.  

I used these rules virtually every Sunday for a game and for the life of me I couldn’t remember how to work things out, only that it never seemed this difficult!  Anyway, I took a few pictures and we are determined that both armies deserve another proper outing!

Bob’s army needs some work on the bases as they were rapidly stuck on anything that came to hand including some of the original beer mats!  So we are going to have a base painting session to draw them altogether and give some cohesion. The Egyptians were aided by Hittites and an array of other troops! Many of the Hinchcliffe Hittites came via Stuart Asquith many, many moons ago.

The palm trees in these pictures are all off ebay.  You can get some fantastic bargains and great looking trees.  15 trees for £7.00 or a different variety 12 for £6.00.  Highly recommended.  They come in different sizes and all sizes are ideal for 25/28mm.  The small to mid range work for 20mm. They mix well together and can cover biblical to the present day and from Portugal in the west to the middle east and beyond.