Monday 28 March 2016

1/3000 WW2 Soviet Baltic Fleet

Navwar Ships ready for some Campaign Action

The Fleet
Those of you who follow the blog will be aware of our plans to go all Baltic on you for our annual Naval Campaign. It's an ideal location for a set of scenarios and the mine / submarine aspect will give us a chance to try out some different types of game.

Battleships Marat and October Revolution
I purchased the ships from Navwar who must be the only company I know of who don't have direct ordering from their website, I had to scrat around the house for my cheque book ! Great service though they arrived after only three days.

Cruisers Kirov and Maxim Gorky
The Soviet Baltic Fleet is fairly small and a nice quick project. 2 Battleships, 2 Cruisers a couple of Destroyer Leaders and 20 or so Destroyers.

12 Project 7U Destroyers
6 old WW1 Novick Destroyers
4 Project 7 Destroyers
A couple of Project 30 Destroyers  (for something different)
So these guys are ready for action, I've got the remaining Germans I need for the Campaign on the paint table. After that Project Jutland begins in earnest.

I did a tutorial on my basing techniques HERE if you like the style.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Deep-Cut Studio - Darkwater and Plains, Gaming Mat Review

Von de Tann gliding over the new mat. 
A great addition to the gaming room here at Castle Reilly. Gaming mats are the newest "trend" in our world of little soldiers. We have all had scrappy bits of cloth which just happen to be about the right colour, snooker table cloth or table football cloths etc and to be honest that's been about it. I have seen teddy bear fur and home made cloths sprayed up with rattle cans but over the last few years gaming mats seem to have taken off.

Lots of different people make them, some come with pre printed roads and fields, I have even seen mats for specific battles, I like mine generic and most importantly reusable. I first thought about a gaming mat about a year ago, having bought and loved the space mats I use for X Wing it's not a giant leap for man kind to go from there to the historical table. A quick search of tinterwebnet found this company Deep-Cut Studio, what drew me to this company especially, well the wide range and being from Yarkshire, price. Tha hast to watch t'brass, tha knows.

Darkwater Mat
The mats can be purchased in a variety of different sizes to fit your requirements. Here at Castle Reilly we have a 12 x 6 table so three of the 6 x 4 mats covers the surface nicely. They also come in three different types of material, the entry level is PVC, next up is Cloth (which I bought) and finally Mouse Mat.

I can only really discuss the cloth version as that was my choice. I went for this medium for a couple of reasons. 1st I was concerned about the PVC being reflective for photos, I can't claim that this is true it was a fear so if anyone has the PVC version let me know. 2nd our gaming table isn't quite 12 x 6, it's a long story but we ended up cutting a few mm off the table during construction, so I needed cloth so that it would comfortably fold over the edges.

Plains Mat
I initially bought a single Plains Mat, as above, loved it and bought two more to fill the table. I will use these for my European games. There are plenty of different green options on the site to fit your needs, I particularly liked the mixed nature of the Plains mat with the different types of grass and random stoney areas.

Plains Mat in action during a recent SCW games and yes it is a donkey
I ordered three of the Darkwater mats for our Naval games and I will get another three mats for our "desert" type games, probably going for the Badlands design. The cloth option is about £5 more but as explained above that was my choice. Wayland Games has some offers on and I got the three Darkwater for just less than £110 including postage. Not cheap but cheaper than other manufacturers and for me it adds greatly to the visual appeal of the game.

Each of the mats has a manufacturer logo in one corner, it's quite discreet and on my table it folds over the edge anyway.

My only minor disappointment with the mats are the fold lines on the cloth. They arrive as you can see above in a large plastic zip lock bag folded up for easy delivery, it will depend on how long the one you buy has been in storage but the lines can be quite prominent. The picture above shows mine after I had ironed it, however do not despair ! I have had the Plains mats for a while now and they are now completely flat. I would recommend hanging them up for a few days post purchase and then gravity will do its work. A few games over the top will literally iron out any defects.

I am more than happy with my choice of mat. Some people like a bluer sea and Deep-Cut do offer more sea mats but having painted all my admittedly large collection of ships the same way for years they fit the bases well. I can't comment on durability as I have only owned them a week, but they are made from good quality strong cloth, you would have to go to some effort and probably a sharp implement to tear them. The design is printed on so I will keep them out of direct sunlight as a present caution.

Hopefully the review will be useful and if your balancing on the edge trying to decide whether to take the plunge into gaming mats, go for it, they are great.

Thursday 17 March 2016

X Wing - The Campaign - Game 24 - Off at a Tangent

The Captain Strikes Back

K Wing first outing
Welcome back, if you didn't know this is a continuation of the X Wing Campaign, full explanation and details of Campaign rules are here. The set up page is updated on a regular basis.

Mission Briefing


Recently a number of our ships have been reporting encounters with Imperial Bombers equipped with Hyperspace Drives and we need to get as much information on these new birds as possible.

Rebel spies have provided our Intelligence team with details of a planned attack on a deep space relay net using these ships. Details of the location are being uploaded to your ships data banks.

Get to the location and defend the relay.

May the Force be with you"

Team "Rebel Scum"

Rick O'Shea in his K6/B Wing (Hex Ace) (Squadron Leader)
Spike Sharpie, PS 4 E Wing (Triple Ace)
Pop Cicle, PS 4 K-Wing (Ace)
Crank Case, PS4 Y Wing (Double Ace)
Captain Tangent, PS3 T-70 X Wing
Baby Brian, X Wing

Team "Glorious Empire"

Tie Interceptor PS4 Saber Sqn
Tie Advanced, Storm Squadron "Jeff Vader" PS4
Tie Fighter, PS 7 "Scourge"
Tie Fighter, PS 5 "Winged Gundark"
Tie Fighter x 4, 2 PS1 and 2 PS3
Tie Bomber x 2 PS4

Empire ship selection is as follows,1 Tie per Rebel player, every third Tie will be a random named pilot, all other Ties are random Sqn Pilots (Roll a d6, 1 or 2 PS1, 3 or 4 PS3 and 5 or 6 PS4). Add 1 specialised Empire ship per three Ties, we ended up with Jeff Vader again, for the third game running and a basic Tie Interceptor. All specialised pilots are drawn at random.

Load outs are as follows;

Tie Bombers - 4 x HARM missiles (4 Attack Die, Range 1-3, need Target Lock, fire at Relay Nodes only)
Tie Advanced - Concussion Missile x 1, "Wet Tray" regen 1 lost shield on a green manoeuvre.

Set Up

Note K Wing and T70 not on program yet HWK and X Wing substitutes

Game should be played on a 5 x 3 table.

Set up

Rebel Players set up anywhere on the top table edge range 3 from the edge.

Imperial players set up anywhere on the bottom table edge range 3 from the edge.

Game lasts until one side secures victory or the end of turn 10.

Special Rules

Imperial Re-enforcements - When an Imperial Bomber is destroyed or exits the table another will jump in the following turn. From Imperial table edge roll 2d6 to determine where it jumps in. 1 die is its horizontal location (divide width by 6) and the second die is the range in from the table edge. Ships enter on their move determined by PS skill, they can take an action and shoot on the turn of entry but not move, Any collisions are resolved as normal.

Tie Bombers - Must attack the nearest Relay node unless none in range, remember their missiles are only effective against this target. Use standard jump rules but may jump at any stage.

Relay Nodes - Distribute randomly on the table with 1.5 Nodes per Rebel player (round up). Each Node has 4 Hull points and 1 Agility. They are immune to all but attacks from the Bombers.

Jump to Hyperspace  - To leave the table you need to declare your attempt and then try and gain 2 critical hits, hits from previous rolls carry forward. You cannot attempt to jump until after turn 4.

Turn 1. Roll 3 attack die
Turn 2. Roll 3 attack die + Pilot Skill / 2 (round up)
Turn 3. Automatically jump

When you run out of Tie Bomber models a Punisher will have to do.

Victory Conditions

Rebel Victory -  Half or more of the Relay Nodes are left at the game end.
Imperial Victory - More than half of the Relay Nodes are destroyed at the game end.
Draw - Any other result.

How did we get on

All change this evening as Rick O'Shea was back in the Squadron Leader chair in his increasingly invincible K6/B Wing. My usual fellow Empire Commander had come down with a spot of Ewok Fever so I was flying solo this evening and with 10 ships to control my brain was on overload,

Jeff Vader was there again, three games in the row for everyones Canteen Hero.

Initial success went to the Imperials as the Bombers quickly took out two of the closest Relay Nodes with little problem. Rick O'Shea made quick work of the central Bomber with his heavy laser cannon but it held on with one hull point to fire in the next phase and take out a Node before Crank Case finished it off.

The game saw the first use of a K Wing, its a little weak offensively at the moment as it has no upgrades on it and we were all trying to figure out the SLAM Action works, but it was big enough to comfortably survived and it can get ready now for some new upgrades.

The crucial point of the game was the arrival of the first Bomber reinforcement where it jumped in would be crucial. If it went well for the Imperials it could enter in range of a Node, of course it didn't and ended up in the bottom left hand corner of the table 3 turns away from the nearest Node and it was turn 8 so that was the game effectively over. Baby Brian kept his own personal record of being shot down in each of the 4 mission he has been on, at least he survived this time.

Then on the final turn the unthinkable happened, regular readers will know that we have been going on this campaign for about 18 months now and one player has particularly stood out in that time. Captain Tangent 11 missions and not so much a sniff of a kill.

Final turn, Bomber in range with 4 hit points left, the Captain rolls four hits ! The crowd held its breath as I rolled the one dodge die, a blank ! It had happened, like an eclipse of the sun, a once in a lifetime experience. Captain Tangent had a kill, The rest of the club must have thought we were mad as a large round of applause broke out to mark the event.

Another close match up where victory and defeat came down to the randomness of the entry of one ship.

Apologies for the blurred photo I couldnt believe what I had just seen

Result (2 pts for a win, 1 for a draw)

Rebel Win

Campaign overall score is, Empire 21 pts, Rebels 27 pts

X Wing madness will return with game 25 on the 6th of April 2016. A mission which will see our Rebel Pilots help out with the evacuation of the Planet Hoth.


Jim head mechanic in the Rebel Garage has his feet up with a copy of Whippet and Clog monthly as there is only one ship to work on.

Pilot upgrades prior to start of game 24

Pilot Crank Case added an Autoturret on the Y Wing.

The K6/B Wing is a B Wing upgrade for the Campaign, it costs 15 GC. The B Wing exchanges its manoeuvre dial for an X Wing dial, gains 1 hull and may add a Heavy Laser Cannon as an upgrade, it is only available to pilots with a PS of 5 or above.

Rebel Pilot results below,

Pilot Spike Sharpie - E Wing (PS4), survived, 1 kills, 4 GC - Totals, Missions 24, 12 GC, 19 kills
Pilot Rick O'Shea - K6/B Wing (PS5), survived, 1 kill, 5 GC - Totals, Missions 23, 14 GC, 33 kills
Pilot Pop Cicle - K Wing (PS4) survived, 0 kills, 4 GC - Totals, Missions 17, 4 GC, 6 kills
Pilot Crank Case - Y Wing (PS4) survived, 1 kill, 4 GC - Totals, Missions 18, 7 GC 12 kills
Pilot Captain Tangent - T70 X Wing (PS3), survived, 1 kill, 6 GC, Totals, Missions 12, 10 GC, 1 kill
Pilot Baby Brian - X Wing (1) shot down but survived - Totals Missions 2, 0 GC, 0 kills

Not Present

Pilot Ensign WK Jnr (PS3) - T70 X Wing - Totals Missions 8, 15 GC, 7 kills
Pilot Obi Two - X Wing (PS1), Totals, Missions 2, 3 GC, 0 kills
Pilot Oi M'Groin - Y Wing (2), Totals, Missions 4, 3 GC 0 kills
Pilot Sir Jeremy Dodger - X Wing (2), Totals Missions 3, 7 GC, 2 kills
Pilot Twiki Bond - A Wing (1), Totals Missions 1, 6 GC, 0 kills

Roll of Honour (At the going down of the twin suns, we will remember them)
Pilot Brian sadly lost after only 2 missions, RIP
Pilot Commander Wayne Kerr veteran of 7 Missions, RIP

Ship Zone

Uber geeks area for those who want to see what our intrepid pilots fly.

A Kalidor Crescent is bought for 5 GC and adds a pilot skill slot.

Spike Sharpie, Kalidor Crescent with Sniper Trait - E Wing with Shield Upgrade
Pop Cicle - K Wing - unmodified.
Rick O'Shea, Kalidor Crescent Lighting Reflexes and Playing Possum- K6/B Wing with Heavy Laser Cannon, Engine Upgrade, Advanced Sensors and Reflective Coating.
WK Jnr - T70 X Wing with R2-D2 mech
Crank Case, Kalidor Crescent with Barrel Roll - Y Wing with Adv Proton Torpedoes and Autoturret.
Captain Tangent - Kalidor Crescent, T70 X Wing.
Obi Two - X Wing unmodified.
Baby Brian - awaiting new ship
Oi Mi'Groin - Y Wing with R10 Astromech and Autoturret
Sir Jeremy Dodger - X Wing with R2-D2 and shield upgrade
Twiki Bond - A Wing unmodified

Previous Game Links

Tuesday 8 March 2016

A Film Crew for the Spanish Civil War

And Some New Nationalist Recruits

Filming the action from the "safety" of the roof
I wanted a film crew as part of our big Spanish Civil War game of the attack on University City. Luckily I didn't have to go searching as one of our regular attendees had one hanging around.

The Crew
There was a camera man and camera, a Director and a guy with a clapper board. There was a fourth figure of a female reporter which I just didn't take to so I only painted up these guys. Apologies I don't know who the manufacturer is.

Camera and man
Couldn't resist the Land and Freedom on the clapper board 
The Crew play a vital part in our ongoing game, all will be revealed when I post up that game.

In action filming some Anarchists
For once I got round to painting stuff up for the game before it rather than getting enthused by it and painting stuff after. I bought the Figs I wanted to finish off my Carlist and my Legion forces at York this year along with a couple of support weapons. All these figures are from Empress Miniatures.

A few pics of the new Carlist boys, glad I  photographed these as I have realised I have forgotten to put grass tufts on them. A while back I did a Box to Table painting tutorial on these which you can find HERE

A HMG team, I have substituted a Carlist Officer for the Fig which came in the pack.

Nationalist Mortar

And finally a section of Legion again to finish off my forces for that faction. Again I did a Box to Table on these as well which is HERE

I also bought some SCW Cavalry from Empress at York and the Horses are half done for those. Next up on the paint table are some test bases for the new Crusades project.

Friday 4 March 2016

The Approach to Madrid - A Spanish Civil War Action

November 1936, a small village on the outskirts of the capital 

A Nationalist Air Attack goes in.
We had a spare Thursday last week in our gaming schedule before the start of our big Spanish Civil War game based on the attack on University City, I was wondering what to fit in for a one-off game and was considering a bit of WW1 Naval, but with some work to do on the rules, I came up with the idea of a SCW skirmish before the big match. I love this collection so having them on the table is never a chore. It will also get us back into the SCW swing having not played this period since November 2014.

A T26 and Pz1 advance
Our little scenario would represent the final push on the outskirts of the capital, with both sides feeling out each others strength prior to the main event.

Set Up

 Each grid sq is 2ft.

All terrain is as you see it, any reinforcements enter the table on that players entry point. Each player takes one of the entry points, Nationalist at the bottom of the table and enter on the first activation of their unit.

Nationalist Forces

Player 1 
1 x Legion HQ with 4 Figs (2 x Off, 1 x Sgt and 1 Std Bearer
3 x Legion Coys each with 8 Figs (Sgt with SMG, 1 x 2 man LMG team and 5 Rifles)
1 x HMG and crew
1 x Pz1 b

Player 2
1 x Moroccan Regulares HQ with 4 Figs (as above)
4 x Moroccan Regulares Coys with 8 Figs (1 x Sgt with Pistol and 7 Rifles)
1 x Pz1 b

Regulares advance through the cover of some woods 
Republican Forces

Player 1
1 x International Brigade HQ of 4 Figs  (as Legion)
4 x Int Brigade Coys of 8 Figs (1 Sgt with Rifle and 7 Rifles)
1 x Bilbao Armoured Car

Player 2
1 x Anarchist Militia HQ of 4 Figs  (3 elected for the day leaders and a Std Bearer)
4 x Anarchist Militia Coys of 8 Figs (all Rifles with 1 sort of in charge ish)
1 x FT-17 "Tank" armed with MG.

Through the Barricades  (all sing along)

Those of you who haven't seen our SCW games before, we give the players quite a lot of freedom how and what units and kit they get following the initial set up. We use a money system which can be weighted for a particular scenario, I've even bought some old Spanish currency to use.

For this game each side rolls a number of d10 each turn, every roll of 5 or below generates 10 pesetas, on the first turn the both sides have 10 rolls, after that it was 3 rolls each with a extra 2 rolls every 5 turns. The sides can then purchase more troops as well ammo.

The shopping list for both sides was;

5 psts 1d4 Ammo
10 psts 5 Ammo
10 psts 4" Barricade
15 add LMG to Republican Unit
20 psts add a Militia (Anarchist or Carlist ) Section / HQ
20 psts 1 Dynamitareos added to a unit
25 psts Add Int Brigade, Legion or Civil Guardia Section / HQ
40 psts Light Mortar
45 psts HMG
50 psts Heavy Mortar
55 psts Armoured Car
60 psts Anti Tank Gun or Light Tank (Nat only)
70 psts T26 Tank

Moroccan Troops taking cover
For rules we use our own home brew which is based around the Iron Ivan games Seven Coffins for Seven brothers set with a card activation system, event cards and the money side as described above.


We only set the one night aside for this so we had about 3 hours game time which was plenty to get to grips with each other. Luckily for the Nationalists they had good money rolls and could afford a T26 straight away, the Republicans opted to buy a couple of barricades and seal off their half of the table.

Republican Air flys over the table on route somewhere else.
The Republicans didn't get any luck with air support but the Nationalists managed one very effective run on the right hand barricade dropping bombs in the middle of the Anarchist HQ and taking out half the troops behind the barriers with their machine guns.

A unit of Legion had got the upper hand on some Militia in the foremost building on that side of the table using the extended range of their LMG and HMG to great effect.
The Legion in a firefight
On the other side of the table the other barricade had struggled too, the Brigadista behind it were engaged by a Pz1 and had nothing to reply with, the Bilbao joined in for support but was quickly taken out by a T26 from long range.

Republican Morale had started to fail with units getting pinned as our nights gaming came to an end. Nationalist Forces had only lost 3 men whilst the Republicans were closer to 20 so I would have to give the victory to Francos men. I don't think they will have it so easy in the University City game.

The Bilbao burns as a small unit of Int Brigade tries to hold out.
So I hope you have enjoyed our little SCW skirmish and will come back for the next installment when things get bigger.