Restless Natives … at SALUTE2003

Before going to see my father-in-law yesterday, I was trawling through my collection of photographs when I came across a series that were taken at SALUTE2003.

Wargame Developments had been invited to put on a game at the show, and I volunteered to organise it. The game we eventually put on was RESTLESS NATIVES. These used a set of colonial wargames rules that I had been working on at the time (and which are still available in PDF format from the Colonial Wargaming website).

The rules were very simple, and used a card-driven turn sequence. There were a series of scenarios and Army Lists, and the players used dice to determine which scenario they played and what their army comprised. As a result no two games were the same, and from what I can remember, a lot of fun was had by all … including the team putting the game on!

The game being set up. As can be seen, the terrain is very simple and can be moved around to suit the particular scenario that is being fought out. Note also that the presenter (me!) is now somewhat older, greyer, and even more well set up.

The two main game presenters – Tony Hawkins and me – with our ‘funny hats’. The players were encouraged to wear appropriate headgear, and this seemed to add to their enjoyment of the game! (This picture has also been captioned as ‘Brothers Peachy Carnahan and Daniel Dravitt reporting for duty.’)

The Anglo-Sudanese are under attack, and have taken shelter behind improvised defences.

A close-up of the Anglo-Sudanese troops.

Aircraft of the Aces

Quite a large part of yesterday was taken up with driving my wife down to see her father in Herne Bay, Kent, then driving him to Canterbury to visit a friend in hospital there, and then driving him home again. During our return journey we were able to stop on the way back for a meal in a restaurant, and this gave me the opportunity to visit the branch of Waterstones at Bluewater.

What caught my eye on the Osprey display stand were two books from their AIRCAFT OF THE ACES series. The were FIAT CR.32 ACES OF THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR written by Alfredo Logoluso and illustrated by Richard Caruana (ISBN 978 1 84603 983 6) …

… and POLIKARPOV I-15, I-16 and I-153 ACES written by Mikhail Maslov and illustrated by Andrey Yurgenson (ISBN 978 1 84603 981 2).

They are Nos. 94 and 95 in the AIRCRAFT OF THE ACES series, and were both published this year.

As these books cover periods that are of particular interest to me – the Spanish Civil War and the Great Patriotic War – I bought them. I look forward to reading them in due course.

Ooops! The wrong colour green!

After my last blog entry, I was putting the flock and paints that I bought today into the draws I use for storage when I realised that paint I had used on the original modified Heroscape™ hexed terrain was not Goblin Green … it was Camo Green!

Camo Green

I don’t know how I confused to two colours as they don’t look anything like each other!

Anyway, the new Heroscape™ hexed terrain will be painted in Goblin Green (and not Camo Green!) as the latter does not match any of the flock that I have bought … or even seen on sale.

Where can you buy flock?

One thing that my recent play-tests have confirmed in my mind is that I intended to use my modified Heroscape™ hexed terrain more. It is simple to use, quick to put together (and take apart), and figures stand up easily on the hills that you build with it.

At present I have quite a bit already painted and flocked, but I have been thinking about adding to collection. To do that I will need paint and flock. The paint is no problem. To date I have used Games Workshop™ Goblin Green because it was – and still is – easy to get hold of and I find it easy to use. The flock, on the other hand, is not so easy to find.

Goblin Green

When I did my first set of modified terrain, Games Workshop™ sold pots of flock that matched the Goblin Green paint they sell. It was not cheap … but it was easy to get hold of. It isn’t now. Apparently they no longer sell flock; they sell static grass.

So this afternoon, I set off on a flock hunt. First I trawled the Internet to find a list of all the possible model shops and craft stores in South East London and North West Kent that might sell flock. A quick phone call to each soon indicated that most did not sell what I wanted – ‘There’s no call for it nowadays; people only want static grass‘. The only place that did have anything suitable in stock was THE SIGNAL BOX in Rochester, Kent. Pretty well as soon as I had put the phone down after my conversation with the member of staff I had spoken to, I was on my way to Rochester.

In the end I bought enough green and brown flock for my purposes, and although the green is not a match for my existing Games Workshop™ green flock – it is a much brighter shade of green – it is quite a good colour match for the Goblin Green paint.

When I start work on my new batch of modified Heroscape™ hexed terrain, I will take some photographs of each stage of the work involved and write it up as a ‘How to’ blog entry.

Rain started play …

Typical British summer weather (i.e. rain showers and overcast skies) has meant that play on the first day of the Fourth Test Match between England and Pakistan has been somewhat fragmented, and this gave me the excuse to push some model soldiers around on my wargames table.

What I actually did was to set up a simple tactical problem, and then played it through several times using slightly different versions of the rules I have been developing from Joseph Morschauser’s ‘Frontier’ wargames rules. The versions included the ideas I set out in an earlier blog entry plus suggestions made by some of the blog’s regular readers. The results were, to say the least, interesting.

First and foremost, all the variants worked … and a big ‘Thanks!’ needs to be said to all those who made suggestions; they were all very helpful. Secondly, this exercise made me think about two things:

  • What was the end result that I wanted to achieve by developing these rules? (i.e. Did I want rules that were simple to learn, quick to use, and fun to fight battles with or did I want rules that were somewhat more complex, possibly more ‘realistic’, and that might be less ‘fun’ to use?)
  • Would they still retain the essential ‘feel’ of the original Morschauser rules or would they become increasingly less Morschauser-like as they underwent further development?

At the moment, I am unsure of the answers to these questions … but I can feel myself leaning towards the ‘quick, simple, and fun’ and ‘Morschauser-like’ options more than the others.

Still thinking

I received some very interesting comments in response to my recent blog entry that mentioned the various options I was looking at with regard to the further development of Morschauser’s ‘Frontier’ wargames rules. They were all thought-provoking, and although there was no commonality in the suggestions made, I have not ruled any of them out (or in) as yet.

What I am probably going to do is to set up a couple of simple tactical situations and play each through using the different options suggested. I will then have a feel for which of them meets my particular requirements.

I might be able to do this later today or some time tomorrow. In the meantime I am re-reading various sections of Morschauser’s book and some of the articles he wrote to see if there is a possible solution therein.

Looking through my picture albums …

My wife and I began going on cruises before I began writing this blog, and as part of the ‘clean up’ process I did yesterday in the hope I could improve her computer’s performance, I found quite a few photographs from those earlier cruises stored thereon, some of which I though might interest my regular readers … so here goes …

Calvi (Corsica)
This is a monument that commemorates the landing of the French Batallion du Choc at Ajaccio on 13th and 14th September 1943, and its subsequent recruitment of local Corsican resistance fighters into its ranks.

Zeebrugge (Belgium)
The newly commissioned Leopold I (F930). She was formerly the HNLMS Karel Doorman (F827), the name-ship of a class of Dutch frigates that have now mostly been sold to other countries (two to Belgium, two to Portugal, and two to Chile).

St Petersburg (Russia)
The famous Cruiser Aurora, which is preserved as a monument and museum ship on the River Neva that runs through the centre of St Petersburg.

Her bow gun is supposed to have fired the shot that signalled the storming of the Winter Palace at the start of the October Revolution …

… but this may not actually be true!

Montjuich Castle (Barcelona)
This military museum is situated on a hill overlooking Barcelona, and was the scene of serious fighting during the early days of the Spanish Civil War. Amongst is large and varied collection are some interesting pieces of artillery including two different models of 57mm Anti-tank Gun …

… a Vickers 75mm Anti-aircraft Gun (which seems to have a lot of mount for not much barrel!) …

… and a Vickers 105mm Field Gun.

The latter was supplied to the Spanish Army before the Civil War, and has had a longer barrel added at a later date as part of an upgrading programme. The original Vickers design influenced the development of the famous British 25-pounder Field Gun/Howitzer.

Brest Naval Base
The rusting hulk of the French Aircraft Carrier Clemenceau awaiting disposal.

Unlike her sister ship Foch, she was sold for scrapping rather than for further service with another navy.

Maritime Museum (Rotterdam)
HNLMS Buffel is a nineteenth century iron-clad ram ship, and she is now one of the main attractions of the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam.